One of the more ponderous aspects of this season of The 100 has been the side story of Octavia and Diyoza wandering in the woods, getting caught in quicksand, and then getting the call from some sort of higher power called The Anomaly. It’s a story that’s been hit and miss; one episode hints at some intriguing mythology that this season can build on, and the next sees the show refusing to move the storyline forward. It’s been discouraging to say the least.
“The Old Man And The Anomaly” is a good example of both the frustrations and intrigues that come with this story. With Octavia dying, they’re in a rush to get to The Anomaly, the mysterious force that’s been calling them through drawings. They’re making their way through the woods, Xavier regaling them with his story of stealing another man’s identity when he left Sanctum in a fit of rage. Octavia barely hears it all, what with all the dying and such, and as they all get closer to The Anomaly they start to see weird things.
The Anomaly creates images of fears and desires, so Octavia sees Bellamy in a rough situation, tied up and beaten; Diyoza sees her child as a toddler; and Xavier sees his apparent true love, the one and only Josephine. These are interesting bits of information, especially in regards to Xavier, but as has been the case with this story all season long, the sluggish pace kills a lot of the intrigue. It feels like Octavia and Diyoza have been on this journey for ages, the storyline dragging even as it sprinkles in some fascinating character developments; namely, Diyoya and Octavia’s complicated relationship is genuinely fascinating. But there’s simply not enough screen time here. “The Old Man And The Anomaly” sees Octavia and Diyoza walking, walking some more, and then stepping into the giant green tornado that is The Anomaly. Octavia emerges healed, and Diyoza vanishes. Once again, there’s very few answers here, just more mystery, doled out at an excruciating pace.
Luckily, the rest of the episode manages to craft some thrills by once again backing Josephine into a corner. Last week, it was her battle with Clarke. This week, it’s Clarke’s friends trying to help save her while also dealing with Murphy and Emori betraying them and siding with the Primes. The team needs a plan to save Clark, and all they really have is the hope that Jackson can perform some brain surgery, which also involves escaping Sanctum and getting past the radiation shield. Maddi has a different plan, inspired by the Dark Commander in her head: kill all the Primes, and everyone that defends them, and take Sanctum for themselves and save Clarke that way.
Of course, these people are trying to stray away from genocide this time around, so Bellamy shoots that plan down. That doesn’t stop Maddi from putting a knife into a few Primes, and one misplaced stab into the gut of Jordan, who simply wants to save Delilah despite her brain being gone. The clash of plans makes for an exciting hour, with Emori turning on Josephine and going to Bellamy and Echo to help save Clarke, all while Maddi makes chopped liver out of a few Primes.
What’s exciting is that all of this is finally out in the open, and the season can start moving along at a faster clip. The Earth people know about Josephine, and they know about Clarke being alive in there somewhere, and the Primes know about what they know. Now, it’s time for confrontation, and that means Russel is on a war path to get his daughter back, while Bellamy dashes into the woods in the hopes of having the elusive Gabriel save Clarke.
At the same time, Abby has decided that “sacrificing” an innocent man to bring Kane back in exchange for some Nightblood is perfectly acceptable. Much like the Anomaly storyline, this isn’t the most fleshed out story, but it does embody a lot of what this season is about. There are questions about what it means to live when another must die, and what being “alive” even means in a world of hosts and minds stored on data chips.
In essence, “The Old Man And The Anomaly” is an episode of dualities. It’s an episode that moves some things along in a way that feels meaningful and purposeful, but also struggles from some serious pacing issues. It feels like this season is stretching eight episodes of story across 13 episodes. There’s some serious meat here, but there’s also a lot of filler.
- Maddi has absolutely gone off the deep end, and there’s no way she’s coming back without Clarke.
- This has no bearing on the review, but I keep having to look up Jordan’s character name. He’s just not sticking for some reason.
- I want more for Raven. More than just being the person who is sad and who cleans up other people’s messes.
- Kane, the ever righteous man, is apparently not too happy about Abby’s zombie experiments.