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“Do better.”

Those were the words that Monty wanted his friends to hear, some 200 years into the future, when they eventually woke up from their cryofreeze and found themselves on the verge of exploring a new planet. The decades had given him time to think about everything they’d all done to survive, and he found himself appalled. Did they deserve to live? Perhaps. But if they did live, they had to do better. They had to stop resorting to violence and murder when under pressure, and then waving it all away with shoddy justifications. In other words, Monty was telling them that the ends don’t always justify the means, and he hoped they’d carry that with them as they landed on Planet Alpha.

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The sixth season of The 100 has been undeniably action packed, but the success of the season as a whole was always going to come down to whether or not Monty’s words were heeded. Throughout this season the remaining crew has run into toxic air, murderous people posing as Gods, the unknown powers of something called The Anomaly, and more than a few religious fanatics hellbent on making sure their lives of faith aren’t disrupted, even if that disruption comes in the form of the truth.

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Those obstacles tested the likes of Clarke, Bellamy, Octavia, Murphy, and the others. It forced them to rethink their instincts, attempting to salvage some of their humanity where, before Monty’s plea, they may have just acted on instinct. That’s produced some heartening moments here and there. Namely, Octavia’s season-long arc has been a redemption story worth telling. In “The Blood Of Sanctum” she finally gets back on her brother’s good side when she refuses to let the Believers of Sanctum die. She’s willing to forgo bloodshed to do the right thing, and in that moment Bellamy sees his sister. The storytelling is perhaps rushed, but the payoff is worth it. “The Blood Of Sanctum” is all about resetting this world and these characters, as Octavia is soon to find out.

The season finale is split into two threads: there’s Clarke attempting to rescue Madi while in space, and the people on the ground trying to save each other while escaping the murderous cult that is the people of Sanctum. The writers do a good job of balancing both stories, giving the emotional moments the time they need to play out—Clarke having to say goodbye to Abby is seriously heartbreaking—while also switching back and forth to keep the pace moving. As with so many of The 100's finales, this one puts the pedal to the floor and doesn’t let up.

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After Clarke floats Simone, killing the rest of Russel’s family, he makes a deal with the Dark Commander (aka. Sheidheda) inhabiting Madi’s body to rule over everyone. It’s the best revenge he can think of, but it’s a plan that goes sideways quickly when Clarke puts a gun to her head and pleads for Madi to emerge from inside her own head. She does, in very neat and tidy fashion. It’s a moment that feels right, but the execution still seems off. After an entire season of Madi’s life being in danger and her being the vessel for Clarke’s need to change, the whole story boils down to love triumphing over evil. Not a bad message, but certainly one that feels tacked on. Still, the Dark Commander isn’t gone just yet. In saving Madi the Flame was destroyed, and the Dark Commander was uploaded...somewhere.

With Season 7 announced as the final season of The 100, “The Blood Of Sanctum” essentially sets up two future stories. There’s Sheidheda lurking out there somewhere, and the mystery of The Anomaly. By the end of the episode everyone has come together to defeat the dangerous Believers of Sanctum, and have prepared themselves for a trip into The Anomaly when it’s revealed that Octavia has some sort of tattoo that Gabriel has been studying for 150 years. Their trip into The Anomaly messes with time in some way, as Hope (Diyoza’s child) appears, all grown up, and embraces Octavia as if they know each other well. Then Hope stabs her, and Octavia, limp in Bellamy’s arm, dissipates into the green fog of The Anomaly.

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Like so many of the show’s finales before it, “The Blood Of Sanctum” manages to wrap up the season’s overarching stories in a largely satisfying way while also going batshit crazy in its final stretch to make sure that we go into the next season with more than a few questions. I wonder if the whole “do better” theme really mattered in the end. These people seemingly did better when grading on a curve, but I’m not sure the show ever figured out why that was important and what it means in the long run.

But things are wrapping up, and that’s a good sign. The 100 has been entertaining this season, but it’s clearly running on fumes, digging into the same old themes in ways that often feel redundant. But that doesn’t mean a satisfying conclusion is out of reach. “The Blood Of Sanctum” isn’t the best finale of the show’s run, but it might be the one that offers up the most promise because it resets the characters and lays out a path with distinct stakes. So here’s to one last season, and the hope of doing better once and for all.

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Stray observations

  • I need more Indra in Season 7.
  • City of Light Community College.
  • I mostly like what this season did with ideology being a set of blinders within Sanctum, but it never really dug into the consequences enough. The 100 is too often afraid to take a stand, too interested in presenting “both sides” in the name of moral complication, which only results in a certain thematic emptiness.
  • That’s it for this season of reviews. Thanks so much for following along! May we meet again for one final season.

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