The 100 6x09 "What You Take With You" Review
Episode 6x09 of The 100, “What You Take With You,” written by Nikki Goldwaser and directed by Marshall Virtue, saw the return of Clarke, Octavia finally starting down the path to redemption, the return of some old friends, and a farewell to another. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
After Octavia came sprinting back out of the anomaly at the end of the last episode, Gabriel desperately wanted to know what happened in there. He’s been waiting 150 years for someone to go into the anomaly and tell him what it’s like (why doesn’t he just… go into it himself?) and Octavia is the first person to ever come back out of it. But she can’t remember anything. Gabriel has an idea — a concentrated form of the red sun toxin that they have used in the past to uncover hidden memories. He mixes up a concoction to inject into her arm, and Octavia slips into a spiritual journey.
She finds herself alone in his hut, faced with two glowing boxes. The green one has angelic music, voices whispering her name. Then the glowing red box appears, rattling, angry voices emanating from within. We also distinctly see a photo of Josephine on the same table as that box. Octavia has to choose: green for the anomaly, or red for the Red Queen? The sounds coming from the red box definitely bring back images of the fighting pit Octavia ruled over, which makes me wonder if the gentle sounds coming from the green box are also associated with a period in her past, a period of time in the anomaly that she found peace. She opens the red box and a swarm of red, glowing butterflies pour out, reminding us of the innocent moment in Season 1 where Octavia followed glowing blue butterflies. When the butterflies clear, Octavia is standing in the fighting arena, angry members of Wonkru shouting and beating on the fences, Blodreina looking down on her. We also see a large strip of cloth covered in symbols that are familiar to us — we see them in the new opening sequence — but not to Octavia. She flashes back to moments in the bunker, and then further, as she stabs Pike through the gut, as she sentences Bellamy to fight in the pit, as she kills her own people to make them eat human flesh, as she leads them into the gorge to be slaughtered. Octavia tries to flee the pit, but finds herself chained down, and instead collapses into the fetal position and sobs.
After what seems like a long time, the door to the arena swings open, and in walks Pike. Their conversation was so poignant that I just have to share the whole thing here. He tells Octavia that they have unfinished business, and she denies it, simplifying their story to: “You killed Lincoln, and you died for it. End of story.”
“Was it? You think murdering someone in cold blood, even someone you have reason to hate, is justifiable?”
“And yet, it turned you into this.” [He gestures at the pit]
“Think what you want, I’m not here for you.”
“No. You’re here because of me. The path to the future goes through the past, Miss Blake. Psychology 101. We are what we’ve done and what’s been done to us. Now, you’ve had a rough go, I’ll give you that. And it’s made your dark side strong. I suppose you needed that, to protect yourself under the floor. But what about now? Who are you now? What do you want, Octavia?”
“I want you gone.”
“You tried that; it didn’t take. It has to be something else.”
“I want to know what happened inside the anomaly. That’s why I’m here.”
“Maybe nothing happened. Or maybe you’re not supposed to know! They don’t call it the anomaly for nothing. What I know is, you chose the red box, so stop wasting my time and answer my damn question! What do you want? … Okay. Because class is in session, allow me to facilitate the discussion. How does it feel to know that… everyone hates you, everyone you care about, even your brother?”
“Oh, I expect not. But that’s not the worst part, is it? You hate yourself too.”
[Octavia starts crying]
“Good. One more time. What do you want?”
“Deeper. Much, much deeper. Forgiveness is for minor offenses. You murdered people to get them to eat their friends and families. And then you burned the farm to get them to march, because you couldn’t live with the idea of not getting to that valley, even when there was another way! You got 400 people killed in that gorge! You caused the world to be destroyed! What you want needs to be earned! Now SAY IT!”
“What’s that? I can’t hear you.”
“Ding ding ding! A gold star for Miss Blake. I was trying to earn mine when you put a sword through me. Which brings us to big question number 2. What are you willing to do to get it?”
“What if I don’t deserve it?”
“Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.”
Now Blodreina enters the conversation — “Shut up, Pike.” She strides into the arena, and suddenly Pike is in chains too, and there’s a sword at Octavia’s feet. She orders Octavia to kill Pike. “Here we go again,” says Pike. “Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Einstein said that.” Pike and Blodreina argue, the angel and devil on her shoulders, and Octavia crumbles to the ground, whispering her old mantra: “I’m not afraid.” Blodreina holds her sword at Pike’s throat. “Charles Pike of Farm Station,” she begins, and Octavia flashes to a memory of Lincoln on his knees in the mud. “You have been sentenced to death in accordance to the laws of Wonkru,” Blodreina continues. Octavia flashes again to Pike saying a very similar thing as he prepares to execute Lincoln. “Any last words?” Blodreina asks. “Not for you,” reply Lincoln and Pike. Pike looks at Octavia and repeats Lincoln’s last words; “May we meet again” in Trigedasleng. Octavia tearfully leaps to her feet and blocks Blodreina from executing Pike, and in doing so, she breaks the cycle. Pike vanishes, and Blodreina charges Octavia. The two even fight differently now; Blodreina wild and reckless, Octavia careful and guarded. The fight ultimately ends with Octavia stabbing Blodreina through the heart and saying in Trig, “Blodreina no more.” She then wakes up on the table in Gabriel’s hut, a tear leaking from her eye.
Octavia has been one of my least favorite characters for several years, and the deciding factor was when she beat Bellamy bloody while he was chained to a rock. Then in Season 4, they teetered on the edge of making her an antagonist, but didn’t have the courage to pull the trigger. Finally, in Season 5, they went full villain with her, which was the most interesting she’d been to me in 2 seasons. But in Season 6, they looked to be trying to start up a redemption arc, but didn’t start with the most important thing: making amends. Octavia justifies why she turned the fighting pit into a source of entertainment, she justifies why she burned down the algae farm and forced her people into an ambush that killed hundreds, she justifies her abuse of people she loves. And then she demands they wipe the slate clean and pretend it never happened — without so much as an apology. Now, finally, finally, we’re seeing Octavia actually work toward redemption. I’m not gonna lie; seeing Pike rip into Octavia like that, exposing her entitled, selfish nature and listing out all the awful things she’s done was one of the most gratifying scenes of television I’ve seen recently. I want to like Octavia again. I’m invested in this redemption story, to see if she actually learns from her drug-induced spiritual journey and does better and works on her problems. (Can you tell I’m all about Monty’s admonition to “do better here”?) The one thing I would have preferred in Octavia’s breaking the cycle would have been for her to just walk out of that fighting pit. I wanted them to show that she doesn’t always have to kill something or someone. They could have had her leave Blodreina to be miserable and fester in her fighting pit, and walk out and be free to start her journey of redemption.
So, what are we thinking about the anomaly? Any theories? Before the season started, I thought the anomaly could be a temporal rift, a place where two universes were touching. That would explain the showdowns between two versions of Octavia we saw in the trailer, and why some dead characters were coming back. Of course, we now know the reasons for both of those, but still aren’t sure what the anomaly is. It definitely seems that time moves differently there; Octavia ran into it with ratty hair and an old lady arm, and came back seconds later completely normal. But it seemed more time had passed for her, though she doesn’t remember what happened in it. I also have a feeling that Diyoza might not come back out, or if she does, she’ll be much older (hence the kid she saw, Hope). Also, I know this connection has been made a million times, but — the anomaly eats up radio messages and spits them back out at random. Can you think of any other important radio calls that went unanswered but have been referenced several times throughout the season? I will eat my hat if Bellamy doesn’t hear Clarke’s radio messages to him at some point here.
I know a lot of people have picked up on the chemistry between Gabriel and Octavia, I’m not super here for The 100 throwing another love interest at Octavia. She needs to be single and alone and work through her issues because she consistently abuses the people closest to her, who often happen to be people of color — Bellamy, Lincoln, Indra, and likely now Gabriel.
Back in the woods, Bellamy hauls a handcuffed Josephine along to find the Children of Gabriel. Josephine insists that they need to turn back, because they’ll kill her if they find out she’s a Prime, but Bellamy vows he won’t let that happen. And we get yet another instance of a character calling Bellamy or Clarke out on their feelings for each other. “The people you care about are in trouble. I guess you just care about her more,” Josephine accuses him. Bellamy succeeds in finding the Children of Gabriel, but even though they don’t know Josephine is a prime, they still take the two captive and chain them up in a cave that we definitely haven’t seen used before for every cave on Earth. Bellamy tries to tell them that he has information Gabriel needs to know, but the Children don’t seem convinced. While they wait for their fate to be decided, Josephine commiserates with Bellamy about having been in love with and pining for someone for hundreds of years, very clearly implying a parallel with him and Clarke. “What, are we gonna be friends now?” she snarks. “Doubtful,” Bellamy fires back, a clear parallel to him telling Echo that he’d never trust her in Season 4. This clearly means that Bellamy and Josephine are gonna date, right?
And as Josephine tells Bellamy about having been in love with Gabriel for all those years, and how he’s been trying to kill her for the last 70, Clarke taps out through Josephine’s finger in Morse code: B-O-O H-O-O. Bellamy realizes that Clarke can hear them, and Josephine tells him that means the wall separating their minds is almost gone. Which means Clarke will die soon, and Josephine will download back into her mind drive. Bellamy asks Josephine to let him talk to Clarke, but she refuses, saying she’d have to give over control to do that. But she tells him that since Clarke can hear him, “just say what you want to say.” The Bellarke theme swells as Bellamy looks at her, hope and heartbreak evident in his eyes. “I won’t let you die,” he vows, then turns away before tears can spill over.
“My father was a fool for letting you people stay. All that time spent building a sanctuary for the human race, and he destroys it because of the most human thing of all — love.” She looks at Bellamy and adds, “One look at you — he should have known how this would end.” She’s right; Bellamy is going to tear Sanctum down to save Clarke.
“I guess I’m just saying all this because I know so much about you now.”
“Hmm, you do, huh?”
“Mm-hmm. Take you and Clarke, for instance. Now that’s a weird relationship, isn’t it? First you want to kill her to save your own ass, even though it means the genocide of your own people on the Ark, and then you become besties, bonding over the actual genocide at Mount Weather. ‘Together.’ You lock her up, she locks you up, you leave her on Earth, she leaves you to die in the fighting pits. I mean, it’s exhausting, frankly.”
“Tell me about it.” (And all the Bellarke shippers watching yelled, “RIGHT?!”)
Their captors come back into the cave and prepare Bellamy and Josephine to be moved, saying that the Sanctum riders are coming. Josephine struggles against the man moving her, earning a shove for her trouble. The man picks her back up, but a blonde woman notices a trickle of black blood from her lip. The Children of Gabriel prepare to execute her, despite Bellamy’s frantic pleas. As Bellamy tries to convince them to let her live, Josephine closes her eyes, and when she opens them, we can tell that Clarke is back in control. “Wait!” she calls out, head still on a stone to be beheaded. “Gabriel loves her. Is this what he would want?” The man swings his sword down at her neck, but she kicks his knee and quickly kills or incapacitates the group of people in the cave. Bellamy, eyes shining, can tell Clarke is back in control, and Clarke tells him that Josephine knew she had to give control back to Clarke or get her head cut off. Clarke tries to free Bellamy from the chains still holding him to the cave wall, but more Children of Gabriel approach, and Bellamy tells her to run. She refuses to leave him at first, but he insists, so she dashes off, but not before giving him the key to his cuffs. (Can we just take a second to appreciate Eliza? I know I’m always singing her praises, but she makes a distinct difference between Clarke and Josephine, from her voice to her body language, and it’s so cool to watch.)
Clarke sprints through the woods away from the Children of Gabriel, following the sounds of motorbikes. She manages to flag down the Sanctum riders, who recognize her as Josephine, and take care of her pursuers. Most of the riders take off after the rest of the Children, but Jade stays to get Josephine back to Sanctum. But Clarke hits her over the head with a rock and takes her motorbike for herself. But she’s startled to find Josephine 1.0 standing next to the bike, admonishing her for knocking Jade out. Things are getting worse, Josephine explains, and Clarke needs to give back control. Josephine will just take it back when Clarke falls asleep, anyway. But Clarke grabs Jade’s radio and says, “Gabriel, my name is Clarke Griffin. Josephine Lightbourne is in my head. If you can hear this, we’re coming to you.” When Josephine sees that Clarke isn’t going to go back to Sanctum, she offers to drive the motorbike — but Clarke will have to give over control. But with a smirk, Clarke straddles the bike and starts it. Josephine realizes that, just like she got knowledge from Clarke, Clarke got some of her knowledge. “Sucks, doesn’t it,” Clarke says to her in Mandarin, then puts the helmet on and roars off through the woods.
After Octavia wakes up, she makes a beeline to one of the motorbikes she and Diyoza left outside Gabriel’s hut. He follows her, asking what she saw in the anomaly, but she still doesn’t know, but she does know what she has to do now. The anomaly gave her a second chance, and now she has to earn it. The two shake hands as Octavia prepares to leave, but then a radio message comes in, one of the Children of Gabriel telling him that they have a prisoner that claims Primes can now make hosts. Then Clarke’s message comes through, and Octavia decides to stay there and wait for Clarke.
On the Eligius ship, Kane is having trouble adjusting to his new life. He looks at his new body, unsettled by not bearing the marks of his past life, but Abby says that he doesn’t ever have to worry about “that” (being killed or nearly killed) ever again. So she’s definitely not gonna be satisfied giving him this one life; she will try to make him live forever and likely do the same herself. I wonder if they gave Abby a lineup to choose from for Kane’s new body, because he sure is hot, and she’s taking every opportunity to get her hands and mouth on him, to the point where I was howling with laughter during a solemn scene. This is how I imagine the scene where Abby picked a new body for Kane playing out (slight NSFW warning for butts):
Also, Marcus “Known Cannibal” Kane telling Abby she tastes different is hilarious considering, you know, “The Dark Year.” There’s also an interesting parallel (or lack thereof?) in one of his conversations with Abby. Bellamy told Echo in the beginning of Season 5 “Nothing is going to change on the ground,” and Abby tells Kane here, “Things will be different on the ground.”
Raven confronts Abby about killing Gavin so Kane can live. She asks Kane if he’s okay with this, but before he can answer, Simone and a group of guards walk in. As Simone and Abby discuss getting the rest of the nightblood serum down to Sanctum so they can make more hosts, Kane notices one of the guards looking at him strangely. “You knew him,” he says to the woman, who tells him that Gavin was her husband. Kane is already horrified, but then the woman asks him to pass a message on to her husband, and Kane realizes the Primes have been lying to the people. The woman leaves to get the shuttle ready to go down to Sanctum, and Kane confronts Simone, despite Abby’s attempts to quiet him. The confrontation was so “Kane” that I’m half convinced they just put prosthetics on HIC’s face to make him look different! After Kane storms off, Raven gives Abby a self-righteous look and says, “I’m not sure it was worth it to him.”
Raven and Kane wake up Indra (!!!!) and she instantly knows something is afoot. Her suspicions are confirmed when Kane 2.0 warmly greets her in Trigedasleng. We later see Indra looking out the window of the ship onto the planet, while Raven and Kane argue. Raven says that she didn’t know until they got to the Eligius ship what Abby was planning, otherwise she wouldn’t have flown the shuttle, and tells Kane that she tried to talk Abby out of it. “Not hard enough,” he replies, much like his response to Bellamy in Season 2 when Bellamy told him that he’d done his best to protect the delinquents against the grounders. Kane can’t believe what Abby has done, and doesn’t understand why, but Indra tells him it’s because Abby loves him. Kane can’t believe that Indra could be okay with this, but as she points out, “On the Ark, you floated people for stealing food. On the ground, my people cheered as children fought to the death to lead us. Is this so much worse?” She suggests that this might be what they need to do to survive, just like those other scenarios. “What I know is that I am looking at my once crucified, resurrected friend, and I can see why some might think that’s a miracle.” (Side note, does this imply that the grounders do have records/knowledge of religions before the apocalypse? Or that Skaikru told them about Jesus while they were in the bunker?)
Kane tells Indra why the whole hosts and Primes thing is bad, and Raven tells Kane that this is why they need him. This exchange annoyed me, because obviously Indra can tell that murdering innocent people and lying about their deaths is bad, and they don’t need Kane to tell them that. Kane then tells Raven that she’s always known what’s right. I’ll admit I laughed here, because if that’s true, that means that Raven has consciously made the wrong decision time and time again. She tortured Lincoln, she tried to turn Murphy in for Finn’s massacre, she refused to help Luna and her people when they were suffering from radiation sickness. The show and the fandom often try to prop Raven up as this paragon of right and goodness, but the truth is, she’s done just as many terrible things as the rest of them, and is by no means a good moral compass.
Raven, Abby, and the Sanctum delegation, along with the container of nightblood serum, prepare to go down to Sanctum, waiting for Kane to join them. But suddenly Indra, Niylah, and several other members of Wonkru burst through the shuttle doors with guns, and Raven grabs the nightblood serum from Simone and hands it over. Indra leaves with it, while Abby and Simone demand to know what’s happening. Raven tells Abby that Kane told them to keep her there, and when Abby tries to push past Niylah, Niylah tells her that she doesn’t want to see this. Abby pleads with Raven to let her go, and Raven relents and takes her to the airlock. In yet another parallel to Abby’s losing another man she loved via floating, Indra tries to hold her back from the airlock, telling her she shouldn’t be there, but Raven tells Indra she deserves a chance to say goodbye. Abby, sobbing, begs Kane through the airlock door not to do this, and as the camera focuses on their nearly-touching hands, then pans up to Kane’s face, we see the crucifixion scars on his wrist, the symbol of the coalition on his forearm, and Henry Ian Cusick’s familiar face once more. He tells Abby that this was wrong, but that if he’d been in the same position, he probably would have done the same to get her back. But he won’t be able to live with himself, and neither will she. Abby insists that they can make a new life, they can start over. But Kane tells her that he’s doing what she always said she would do — making sure they deserved to survive. But I can’t for the life of me see how killing himself after a stranger sacrificed his life for him is what makes them deserve to survive. Kane tells Abby that she’s strong, much stronger than him, and thanks her for all the times she’s saved him— not just his life, but him. He tells her that if he doesn’t do this now, they’ll both live to regret it, and so many more innocent lives will be lost (again… how?). After all the times Abby has said, “first we survive, then we find our humanity again,” this is how they get their humanity back. Abby breaks down in sobs, and Indra starts to recite the Travelers’ Blessing, with Raven joining in. “May we meet again,” Indra tells him in Trigedasleng, then steels herself and opens the airlock. Raven catches Abby as she collapses, and we see Kane fly out into the vacuum of space.
This show has always had trouble distinguishing between true self-sacrifice and suicide. Within the first few episodes of the show, a young girl threw herself off a cliff to escape the consequences of murdering someone. It was portrayed as heartbreaking, but ultimately the only solution. A few episodes later, when it became public knowledge that the Ark was failing, 320 members of the Ark sacrificed their lives so that their children and the rest of the Ark inhabitants could survive long enough to find a solution. I would argue that this was in fact noble self-sacrifice, albeit unnecessary, as we found out at the end of the episode. In Season 2, after Finn suffered a mental break and slaughtered a village of grounders, rather than deal with what he had done, he sacrificed himself to the grounders to be tortured to death. Now, he was undeniably in a nigh-impossible situation, with Lexa calling for his death, but the Sky People were willing to work towards a solution. Nonetheless, again, his suicide was the only way he could fix things.
In Season 4, Raven and Clarke both acted self-sacrificially — Raven by straining herself to find a solution to save her people, even though she knew it would likely ultimately fry her brain, and Clarke by climbing the tower to align the satellite so that Bellamy, Raven, Harper, Monty, Emori, Murphy, and Echo could get to the Ark in space, even though she stood a better chance of surviving inside Becca’s lab, and very little chance of surviving at all. Again, I would classify those things as selfless acts to save their friends. There have been plenty of others, from Jaha staying on the Ring to get the Ark back to Earth, to Clarke telling Roan she’ll go peacefully with him (to her death, as far as she knows) if he spares Bellamy. But there have also been instances of straight-up suicide portrayed in, if not a fully positive light, at least a neutral light. Finn didn’t know how to deal with what he’d done, so he killed himself. Charlotte didn’t know how to deal with what she’d done, so she killed herself. Jasper and most of the delinquents committed mass suicide because they couldn’t deal with life on the ground. Octavia tried to get McCreary’s men to kill her in the gorge so she wouldn’t have to do the hard work of being better. And Kane threw himself out an airlock because he didn’t know how to deal with what Abby had done.
I understand that Henry Ian Cusick got another, larger role in a different show, so they had to write him out of The 100, but Greyston Holt did a fantastic job as Kane, so much so that I almost believed he truly was Kane. How much more interesting would it have been if Kane had decided to take Monty’s words to heart and do better, instead of just giving lectures on morality like he’s been doing in the last couple seasons? They definitely needed to destroy the nightblood serum that Abby had made so that the Primes couldn’t make more hosts and kill more innocent people to continue living forever, but it was absolutely unnecessary for Kane to die. Clarke has synthetic nightblood too; does she need to die? Yet the show completely framed it as Kane sacrificing himself for the greater good. I mean, at least with Finn’s sacrifice, his death accomplished something. But with Kane it’s like when King David from the Bible, while on the run for his life, wished for some water from his well in Bethlehem, then when some of his men risked their lives to get it for him, poured it all on the ground. Kane killing himself didn’t bring Gavin back, nor was it necessary to keep the Primes from making nightblood, it just spat in the face of the sacrifice Gavin made and was solely because Kane couldn’t accept it. If they really wanted to be done with Kane, and wanted his death to be a heroic sacrifice, it would have been more interesting and heroic for him to somehow sacrifice his own life to let the host, Gavin, continue to live. I mean, Abby can totally fish Kane’s body out of space, take out his Mind Drive, and plug him into a new body! And who’s to say they can’t get the nightblood serum while they’re out there? While Kane’s death was executed (no pun intended) beautifully, the absolute unnecessity of it just left it feeling a little bit hollow.
Michaela’s episode rating: 🐝🐝🐝🐝
The 100 airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on the CW.