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The 100 takes some time to dig into its painful, genocidal past

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Much of this season of The 100 has in some way been about how these characters that we’ve watched for 5+ seasons have been doing terrible things for quite some time. That’s always been a theme with this show, but the group stumbling upon Sanctuary, and trying to create a new, better life to honor the memory of Monty, has felt like a more purposeful approach. Monty’s simple instructions, to “do better” this time around, have influenced much of the action this season. At the same time, it’s often felt like the show has used the language of moral reckoning while never actually putting the characters through any sort of substantial trials and tribulations.

“What You Take With You” changes that. It’s the most thematically focused episode of the season. It’s an episode that includes a lot of the season’s more haphazard stories—namely the very vague role of The Anomaly and how that impacts Octavia and Diyoza—but finds a way to focus them, creating something that feels intimate and important. Nearly everything at Sanctum this season has been fun, but what’s been missing is the character development. This week’s episode changes that, bringing a lot of this season into focus.

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There are essentially three story threads that make up “What You Take With You.” There’s Kane dealing with the moral ramifications of Abby’s host procedure; Octavia trying to determine what The Anomaly has taught her; and Bellamy doing everything he can to save Clarke and remove Josephine from her body. While Bellamy and Josephine’s journey doesn’t quite align with the episode’s intentions—while remaining entertaining, it should be said—there’s some seriously captivating, thorough character work happening with Octavia, Kane, and Abby.

For Octavia, this moment has been a long time coming. She’s done a lot of terrible things to stay alive in this world, and she’s managed to justify a lot of it along the way. At some point though she’d have to come face-to-face with those actions, and her trip into The Anomaly allows that to happen. She’s forced to revisit her past, watch Pike die, see Bellamy in The Pit, and quite literally wrestle with her demons when she does battle with Blodreina.

It’s an exorcism of sorts, as Octavia seems to banish Blodreina and become a new person. Pike, in some ways the embodiment of Lincoln, the one death she never truly managed to overcome, asks her again and again who she wants to be now, now that she’s free of the underground. Octavia has never had to answer that. She’s only moved forward as Blodreina, retaining her killer instinct because she’s never considered other options. Now, she’s heading back to help her people. It’s all a little rushed, crammed into a single episode and all, but after weeks of this story refusing to move forward, I’m hesitant to complain about a swift emotional resolution that gets Octavia into a different space.

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Then, there’s resurrected Kane. This episode is essentially a send-off for Henry Ian Cusick, who has spent most of this season playing a frozen corpse. Now, revived as part of Abby’s deal with the Primes, Kane and Cusick are ready to say goodbye. It’s a fitting farewell, too. Kane, despite his relative villainy in the first season, has long been a voice of reason, compassion, and moral standing. He’s been the one hoping to guide these broken people through unimaginable circumstances. So, it makes sense that coming back in the body of a “host” doesn’t sit well with him.

What’s great about Kane’s arc here is that it avoids grandstanding. There’s no big emotional speeches, no moment where Kane lays into Abby for what she’s done. Instead, he understands her pain and her need for him to survive, and yet lays out how he can’t possibly live under these circumstances. He says goodbye to her for good, floating himself along with the Nightblood serum, an act of self-sacrifice for the greater good of his people. It’s a noble, emotional way to go out, and it’s one of the best character send-offs this show has executed.

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Now, the season’s overarching plot can move forward again. The pieces are set to collide. Abby must move on, the Primes no longer have the Nightblood serum, Gabriel may well hear Bellamy and Clarke’s case, and Octavia is about to make her presence known. This season has remained intriguing simply by experimenting with contained episodes, but “What You Take With You” promises something more cohesive in the near future. It sets up a fascinating conflict built on ideas of morality, community, loyalty, and survival, and adds some necessary stakes to the season’s remaining episodes.


Stray observations

  • What an emotional episode. From Kane and Abby’s entire farewell, to Bellamy’s “I won’t let you die.”
  • “I am not one of the sheep you raised.” Kane doesn’t care who these people are, he already knows their whole hierarchy is nonsense.
  • Pike confronting Octavia was fantastic. A scene brimming with history, consequence, and moral reckoning. I loved it.
  • Welcome back, Indra.
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About the author

Kyle Fowle

Kyle Fowle is a freelance writer based out of Canada. He writes about TV and wrestling for The A.V. Club, Real Sport, EW, and Paste Magazine.