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The 100 - Matryoshka - Review: "Two Minds Are Better Than One"

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The season 6 episode count finally reached double figures with last night's episode of The 100. After bidding farewell to Kane and seeing nothing at all of Sanctum last week, last night's hour reverted back to the more traditional format, with Sanctum the most prominent setting, along with an abundance of twists and turns. "Matryoshka" was directed by Amanda Tapping and written by Drew Lindo.

Let's start with the events within Sanctum. Things kicked off with the return of Simone, Raven and Abby from Eligius IV, and they brought with them the news that the prized methodology of creating Nightbloods was now no more because Kane took the last of the formula with him when he opted to float himself. The Sanctum they returned to was starly different to the Sanctum they left, however, with Russell declaring that Sanctum was in lockdown in the wake of Miranda's murder at the hands of Madi. They were still searching for Echo and Gaia who were unaccounted for, while everyone else from Eligius IV was being kept in a cell, or were outside the shield.

Russell told Simone what had happened, and what I'd suspected a few weeks ago was proven correct. It's Simone who is the more evil of the pair, and who has more of a thirst for blood and revenge, and things played out in similar fashion throughout the episode. However they share the same drive to get Josephine back, and that's the only thing that's keeping their relationship from completely disintegrating at this point. Simone was also fully aware and concerned about her people rising up against them if they became fully aware of what was happening to their hosts.

If you want to avoid hell, the answer's not immortality, it's morality.
Payback for the murder of Miranda was rather unusual because the murderer, Madi, was considered untouchable because she's a Nightblood and therefore a potential host. The prisoners were left to debate who would stand in her place and burn for her crimes, with Murphy essentially being voted for that job because he betrayed his people to allow Clarke to be used as a host. However things changed drastically when Tai, a friend of Riker's, went rogue and killed Simone because he disagreed with his daughter becoming a host. That made all of the prisoners a liability so Russell decided to burn them all. Echo's plan to kill Russell with a bow and arrow failed because Riker knocked her unconscious, so when the moment came for them to be burned, Murphy alleged they still knew how to create Nightblood. With Simone's host dead, this was suddenly very appealing to Russell, so he spared his prisoners and burned Tai instead.

To be honest, none of this stuff interested me very much. The tension the creative team tried to generate here was non-existent. It never seemed like Murphy would actually die, and then for everyone to suddenly be tied to the stakes completely killed the chance of anyone important dying. Though she never ended up doing anything of significance, it was good to see Echo had a decent understanding of the power dynamics and politics at play.

Precious little was learned about the Madi/Sheidheda saga, however. Gaia got herself captured so she could tell everyone else about Echo's plan, but her interactions with Madi was clearly her primary purpose in this episode. The good news is everyone is beginning to understand how dangerous Madi is becoming. We learned is Gaia can't remove the Flame from Madi because Madi changed its password, but Raven thinks she may be able to reverse-engineer the code in order to delete Sheidheda, so their next objective is to get Becca's notebook. Progress is moving at a snail's pace with this storyline, but here's hoping every little bit is bringing it closer to an end.

The real action - and most of my enjoyment from this episode - came from outside the shield and involved Clarke and Josephine. Last week, Clarke and Josephine were on their way to Gabriel so Josephine's mind drive could be extracted. Their argument over who should control the body and drive the motorbike was won by Clarke, and in this episode Clarke crashed the bike. With Russell's terribly inept search party just meters away, Clarke and Josephine actually worked constructively together for the first time, with Josephine pointing out a hidden maimai that she and Gabriel used for studying Sanctum's species.

It was at this point that I thought to myself how cool it could potentially be if Josephine and Clarke were able to harmoniously exist together in the long term. As I alluded to before, in all the time they've shared Clarke's body, they've never worked constructively together until now. The chemistry they have is also really unique. Sadly, Josephine seems to be short term only, and by the end of the episode she was all but gone, but two minds could be better than one.

That was because Gabriel and Octavia managed to locate Clarke in the maimai, and just in time too because she was enveloped in the vines and suffering from seizures. The Sanctum search party managed to do something right and located the trio, but somehow Bellamy had managed to masquerade as one of them and shot dead all but one, who was sent back to tell Russell that Josephine had been captured, therefore giving Bellamy, Clarke and Octavia the leverage they needed to save their friends.

This moment also reunited Bellamy and Octavia for the first time since her and Diyoza were banished from the Sanctum colony earlier in the season. Octavia gave Bellamy a big hug and Bellamy was rightly more reserved, but this whole moment felt a tad underdone. Octavia didn't say a word to Bellamy, which was probably what made things feel a bit off. Bear in mind that Octavia is freshly reinvigorated and out to earn forgiveness and redemption thanks to last week's episode, so this was the moment where Octavia should have made a completely new first impression on Bellamy, but that didn't happen. I'm reasonably positive that their relationship will grow in the coming weeks though.

Before I cover Josephine's demise, I thought her interactions with Clarke - which were reminiscent of "Nevermind" - were brilliantly done in the short screen time the creative team had. As the wall between the two minds deteriorated, Josephine's memories began to overflow into Clarke's much smaller space, with Clarke coming to the realization that deleting those memories was the only way to keep their shared mind stable. Eventually, picking and choosing the memories Josephine wanted to keep couldn't be done fast enough so Clarke set the air lock on a timer to open while she retreated to a safe place. In an instant, all of Josephine's memories that had overflowed were gone. It was a beautifully simple analogy and it was very well executed.

Josephine almost had the last laugh, and during Clarke's seizures she managed to regain control of Clarke's body. Though she could hardly move, she could still talk aplenty, and nearly convinced Gabriel to allow her to live on by erasing Clarke's mind instead of hers. It was a big decision for Gabriel to make, but eventually he used his disdain for the Primes to decide to kill Josephine's host. That would force Josephine's mind to download back to the mind drive, therefore allowing it to be implanted in a new host. However, Josephine remapped her download location to the neural mesh instead, giving her one last attempt at staying alive in Clarke's body. It took Clarke one last effort inside her mind to kill Josephine once and for all, spurred on by an emotional Bellamy.
You're a fighter! Now get up and fight!
With that, Josephine is dead, however it wouldn't surprise me if she's somehow not. Perhaps she can haunt Clarke in a similar way Sheidheda is affecting Madi. Either way, Sara Thompson has delivered a series of really solid performances as Josephine, and I wouldn't mind seeing her continue on in some capacity.

In all, this episode was good, but there's several ahead of it if I was to rank my favorite episodes this season. The Sanctum storyline crashed, but didn't burn, with most of my enjoyment eventuating from Josephine and Clarke, along with Gabriel, Bellamy and Octavia. I would have loved to have seen a longer finale between Gabriel and Josephine. This was a moment where two long lost lovers reunited, and it's been hinted at for several weeks, but it was over too soon. There wasn't even a kiss goodbye, and given that Josephine wasn't able to physically resist her death, the power imbalance felt a bit off as a result.

With just three episodes to come in this sixth season, the storylines look to be pointing towards the destruction of Sanctum which I'm moderately excited about, though it does seem rather unnecessary. A political overthrow would be my preference, but we'll have to wait and see.

Thanks as always for reading. I'd love to hear what you thought of this episode of The 100 so please share your thoughts and theories in the comments below. See you right back here next week.

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