'The 100' Season 7 Episode 7 Review: Echo readies for war as Russheda steps closer to power on Sanctum

This week's episode featured unexpected pairings and an exploration into the characters and what makes them tick, making Lindsey Morgan's directorial debut a pleasure to watch

                            'The 100' Season 7 Episode 7 Review: Echo readies for war as Russheda steps closer to power on Sanctum
(The CW)

Spoiler Alert for 'The 100' Season 7 Episode 7 - 'The Queen's Gambit'

This week's episode of 'The 100' is one we looked forward to for a while seeing that Lindsey Morgan -- who plays Reven Reyes -- directed it. While it may have felt a bit like a filler episode, the focus was on interpersonal relationships as we got a couple of unexpected pairings that were quite interesting to watch.

Besides a couple of major plot points which we will delve into soon, 'The Queen's Gambit' signifies that we are nearly done with half the season, and so there are some big changes. While some fans may have been disappointed with certain interactions and the lack of screen presence for Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor), as staunch fans of 'The 100', we believe that the episode will end up being significantly more important for the final season as future episodes unfold.

With that said, let's take a look at what happened in this week's episode and what it means for the prequel episode (which airs next week) and the second half of the seventh and final season.

The Enemy takes Sanctum

'The 100' (The CW)

To be fair, the definition of an "enemy" on 'The 100' is mired in shades of grey considering that Clarke and the others are the colonizers here — but then so are the people who have conspired to take control of Sanctum and have done so in the absence of Clarke and Indra (Adina Porter).

It all started with good intentions — Emori (Luisa D'Oliveira) wanted to hold a "reunification ceremony" to reunite the Children of Gabriel with their parents. The Children of Gabriel were mostly those who were abandoned as babies because they were "Null infants" — to get rid of those lacking the black blood gene to prevent those Nulls from further "muddying" the bloodline and diminishing the chance of Hosts being born.

Emori's intentions came from her own loss, something she tells Nelson (Lee Majdoub) about, having been abandoned as a child due to her radiation-deformed hand. This would have been a good thing, and perhaps Emori's naivete shows us why she is so good, but the fact that she did not understand the consequences that could have come also explains why good intentions don't go the right way on 'The 100'.

Had she had more support from her boyfriend, John Murphy (Richard Harmon), perhaps it would have gone better. While Murphy understood why Emori was doing it, it may not have occurred to him why important it was to her, and so, Russheda's (JR Bourne) efforts to keep Murphy with him while the reunification ceremony was ruined might not have worked. 

There's also Emori's questionable tactic of doing genetic testing to match Sanctumites with the Children of Gabriel without their consent. While the show did not delve into the ethical implications of this, it stands to reason that had she sought out their consents, she might have expected better results.

'The 100' (The CW)

This was why the task of taking over Sanctum was made much easier for Nikki (Alaina Huffman) and the other Eligius prisoners. We now know that Russheda (Sheidheda in Russell's body, which is technically someone else's body) has some sort of alliance with the Eligius prisoners through Nelson. Nelson, on the other hand, seems conflicted over what he wants in Gabriel Santiago's (Chuku Modu) absence. It seems he is shifting more towards becoming power-hungry, something that could be happening because the Primes are all dead now, and without the Primes, the Children of Gabriel are left stranded without a mission.

The scenes involving Russheda's and Murphy's chess game were wonderful to watch. Russheda is a good judge of character, quickly finding out what lurks beneath a person. He understood that Indra trusted Murphy enough to tell him that he was actually Sheidheda. Russheda also understood that more than survival, Murphy wants to be loved -- perhaps a direct consequence of the plotline last season when Murphy was convinced he would go to hell after death, something Emori also brings up in this week's episode. Murphy wants to be a hero and Russheda knows it.

Elsewhere in Sanctum — and perhaps our favorite scene of the episode — resident doctor Eric Jackson (Sachin Sahel) is stepping up in Clarke and Gaia's (Tati Gabrielle) absence to be a parental figure for Madi (Lola Flannery), and we love it! He knows Madi went through a panic attack and counsels her by processing her feelings. When Madi asks if she's crazy, he tells her that she is not and that "we don't like that term." Jackson understood that Madi's fear came from when she last became the commander and even points out that Bellamy Blake (Bob Morley) was wrong to ask her to take on that responsibility. Madi is quite young to have gone through all that she did and Jackson rightly tells her that she has to cut herself some slack. He also asks to keep her drawing book, in which she's drawn images of things and people she hasn't seen (including that of the anomaly stone). 

Catching up on Bardo

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While Gabriel seems to be having the time of his life — and that's saying something considering he's been alive for more than a century or so working on the Anomaly and wearing a white robe, the "friends" he sold out are jailed. Or are they?

Echo (Tasya Teles) and Octavia Blake (Marie Avgeropoulos) are in one room while Charmaine Diyoza (Ivana Milicevic) and Hope Diyoza (Shelby Flannery) are in another. First, let's look at the long-awaited mother-daughter reunion. Diyoza is mostly upset that her daughter came to rescue her and grew up to be a killer like her, but she is more upset to learn that her daughter knows the history of her "terrorist" past on Earth. We also learned that Diyoza slept with Hope's father, Paxton McCreary (William Miller) to get him on her side during the uprising on the Eligius ship. 

While Hope wants to fight her way out of Bardo, Diyoza is smarter about it — she knows they don't have a chance of escaping and her previous tactics won't work. To prove it, Diyoza challenges her daughter to a fight, easily subduing her. This is when Hope breaks down — more than half her life she has been waiting to be reunited with her mother and Aunty O, and now that she has, her life is still about fighting. 

Meanwhile, we get to see more of Echo's breakdown in the aftermath of her learning that Bellamy is dead. It starts with a "Becho" flashback on the Ring, where the two characters were after the second Praimfaya, and where they first got together. In a conversation about weaknesses, Echo points out that Octavia is Bellamy's strength, not weakness. Bellamy, on the other hand, tells Echo that her weakness is her loyalty, especially when it causes her to do things that she knows are not good — like when she nearly killed Octavia or when she betrayed Bellamy in Mount Weather.

While it was nice to see Bellamy back, even if it was for a little bit, the scenes were more about Echo — a much-needed depth is given to the character and explains what could be in store for Echo. 

'The 100' (The CW)

Octavia trying to comfort Echo over Bellamy's supposed death shows us just how much she has grown. She knows what Echo is going through — she even tells her that after Lincoln (Ricky Whittle) died, Bellamy let Octavia beat him up because he knew that's what she needed. While Octavia has had that space to grow and establish a family with the Diyozas, Echo wasn't lucky enough, which explains why she is going through so much pain and acting out the way she is.

This is why when Echo scars her face and tells Anders (Neal McDonough) that she's ready to fight in the last war, we are not sure whether she is doing it for revenge or whether she really believes in just getting through this. While fans could be inclined to think the former, as Echo trains to become a Disciple, we may see an unexpected end. Thanks to Echo inferring about the true nature of their "imprisonment," Octavia, Hope, and Diyoza volunteer to fight as well.

Finally, Clarke and the others, including Raven, Jackson Miller (Jarod Joseph), Niylah (Jessica Harmon), and Jordan Green (Shannon Kook), reach Bardo. The Disciples get ready to fight but as soon as Gabriel says Clarke, they instead become venerated with her instead. Once Anders is informed, he heads to a secret room, confirming the fan theory that the Shepherd is indeed Bill Cadogan.

Final thoughts

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One of the things we appreciated in this week's episode was the reveal that Nelson was born Sachin, which was said to mean "pure." This could have been a nice shoutout to cast member Sachin Sahel, and even if it wasn't, we are making it so. Sahel, whom we interviewed before the final season premiered, is as much a fan of this show as anyone else — and as any other fan would know, one of the best parts of 'The 100'. We also love that Sahel's character, Jackson, is stepping up to be Madi's guardian.

Given both Madi's and Hope's reactions over the past couple of episodes, we are seeing the impact of the messy lives our heroes have had to lead, especially on their children. Both daughters have had to go through so much over their lives on 'The 100' while their mothers tried their best to shield them from their struggles.

We are worried about what could come to happen on Sanctum during the continued absence of Clarke and the others. On that note, we found it odd that Indra disappeared right after she took power — she knows how precarious the situation on Sanctum is, and it may have been more prudent to send someone in search of Clarke and Gaia instead of going herself.

We are not going to lie — there were many times we thought either Emori or Murphy might die in this episode. But like Clarke and Indra, Nikki and Russheda might try to use the faux-Primes to their advantage to control the Sanctumites. How much Murphy and Emori would cooperate is another question.

As we wrote earlier, 'The Queen's Gambit' mostly felt like a filler episode, however, the dissection of each character, their personal relationships, and more made the episode stand out. While it may lack the action that has become the norm of this season (and generally the show), 'The 100' is also about what makes each of its characters tick — something the show has excelled at. Lindsey Morgan does a wonderful job of bringing this story to the viewers and we applaud her handling of each of those private, unexpected interactions.

Bardo and the Disciples continue to grow more confusing as we learn more about them. What are they trying to find from the Anomaly stone? Could they be trying to travel to the past to Earth before the first Praimfaya? The next episode is the prequel episode, 'Anaconda', so we are certain we will get solid answers then.

'The 100' airs on The CW on Wednesday nights at 8/7c.

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