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The 100 - The Flock - Review: "How Much Was Necessary?"

Following last week's backdoor pilot for a potential spinoff series, The 100 was back to normal for the most part, but one has to wonder how much of the storytelling in this episode was really necessary, because the overall story barely progressed at all. Alyssa Clark wrote "The Flock", which was directed by first-timer Amyn Kaderali.

This was yet another episode that didn't feature Bellamy, but even more surprisingly Clarke wasn't see at all either for the second time this season. That's a big part of why I don't think the storyline moved much because Clarke is the catalyst for that, and with last week's episode being dented somewhat due to its backdoor pilot responsibilities - and an impending 3 week break until the next episode - more needed to happen this week.

All that aside, this hour wasn't a bad one overall. Sanctum was back on the agenda, and the events on Bardo began three months prior, and built up to the point that we saw at the end of last week's hour in which Hope was missing from the big reveal that Octavia, Echo and Diyoza partook in.

We'll deal with the former first, with the events on Sanctum picking up from where the seventh episode left off. Eligius prisoner Nikki led the takeover of the Sanctum ceremony, and wasted no time demanding that Murphy, Russell and Raven make themselves known, otherwise Emori and other hostages would be executed.

Given the scenes in the recap at the start of the episode, the conclusion was essentially foregone, and the showrunners probably did themselves a disservice by including Indra's words and Russell's visuals in it. Given Murphy's soulmate was in imminent danger, he wasn't about to take any chances and proposed to Indra that handing himself and Russell (Sheidheda) in was the best option. Indra would launch a counter-attack by using a really handy tunnel that had been discovered which led to the hall where the hostages were. I'd be lying if I said I didn't roll my eyes at that.

Fast forward a little bit, and the counter-attack was successful, with Nikki and her allies surrendering without a fight, which was a bit of a let-down. This was probably done because the showrunners wanted to have maximum impact for Sheidheda's next move, which was to reveal himself publicly, and then slaughter everyone. The immediate lead-up to this moment was headed by another very strong effort by JR Bourne - despite loathing his character and storyline, I do enjoy his acting. Murphy and Indra's loyalists were greeted with one of the most gruesome scenes of bloodshed this series has produced, with dozens of people dead and dying, and Sheidheda in the center of them all, covered in blood.

It seems pretty clear to me at this point that while the real meat of The 100's final season storytelling is occurring on Bardo, the Sheidheda uprising is going to be the primary subplot to give everyone else who's not important something to do in the meantime. I've said it many times before that I don't like Sheidheda, and that his storyline should have ended long ago, which is even more true now. What's even more depressing is that the Bardo storyline is far from done, and will likely last through to the end of the season. One can only hope that Sheidheda is gone long before then, and a reunification of sorts can be arranged. At least Sheidheda has finally gone public with his true identity, and Murphy and Emori were forced to do the same, but that's very minor in the larger scheme of things. There's still a fair few important minor characters floating about, because most of those Sheidheda killed were low on the pecking order. Now, hopefully, everyone left will quit the bickering and power plays and just put a bullet through Sheidheda's skull already.

I don't think many fans expected to get such a detailed recap of what Hope, Diyoza, Octavia and Echo went through in the three months prior to meeting up with Clarke and her group once more. I'd honestly have been satisfied with a few flashbacks instead of the majority of an episode devoted to it all, but more time allows for more depth, and I think this storyline will benefit from that.

Things kicked off with Anders giving the quartet a first-hand look at the destruction the enemy the Disciples are up against. The view from the elevator doors was unlike anything we've seen previously, and that enemy clearly means business and is technologically advanced. We've still not seen this enemy in the flesh yet, so there's still time for a bait and switch of sorts, which would come as no surprise to me. Regardless, it "motivated" the four main characters to begin training in earnest, thanks to a couple of handy tips provided by Levitt. Anders leading the training - which is apparently something he never does, is one of many red flags.

Anders gave the quartet a tour of his educational facilities, and the laboratory where human embryos are developed. This was quite surprising, and that level of detail helped better justify this storyline taking a chunk of time in an episode as opposed to a few flashbacks. The entire purpose of everything, in paraphrased terms, was to strip the need for feelings and emotional attachment, which is one of the more interesting broader concepts this series has raised. Obviously, being able to adjust to that regime was the key to passing the Disciple training, which Hope couldn't do, and was therefore subsequently failed. I don't believe Dioyza, Occtavia and Echo have been brainwashed - instead their experiences to date better prepared them to be able to feign their compliance. Echo punishing Hope harshly was actually her way of removing a liability so their covers weren't blown.

Following rules isn't how you win a war.
Octavia beginning a relationship with Levitt came out of nowhere. I was looking carefully at that scene to see if Octavia was simply playing the game, or was pursuing a genuine connection - something she's never had throughout this series. I think it's the latter, but it's no doubt going to impact how she now approaches her role as a Disciple. Clearly showing the symbols etched into her back also leads me to believe Levitt will see and decode them too.

In summary, this episode of The 100 didn't really do much for me largely because of the lack of overall story progression. The Sanctum storyline has taken a turn for the worse with Sheidheda gaining power and doing damage. It's just not my cup of tea unfortunately, and the showrunners really could have done much better. On Bardo, though the content was good for the most part, again the broader storyline didn't go anywhere. I'd have rather seen more content including Clarke, her group, and Cadogan, following on from what we saw at the end of last week's hour. Hope, Echo, Octavia and Diyoza's events could have been condensed - as could the Sanctum events, and allowed for more Clarke/Cadogan stuff to butter the fans up for a long three week wait until the next episode. Despite that though, this was still an enjoyable hour, which is the main thing at the end of the day.

Thanks as always for reading! Be sure to share your thoughts and theories in the comments below, and I'll see you back here in August.

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