The 100 Season 6 Episode 6, “Memento Mori,” tells a fast-paced story that juggles several plots and reveals a lot of new information about Sanctum. As the narrative picks up heading into midseason, “Memento Mori” manages to deliver several emotional moments even as it foregoes others for the sake of the plot.
Memento mori is a Latin phrase that means “remember that you will die.” Life, death, and resurrection are all at the core of The 100 Season 6, and that throughline continues into this episode as Murphy and Abby are lured in by Josephine’s promises of immortality and second chances.
Meanwhile, others face death and grief head-on as they are forced to confront the mortality of themselves and those they care about.
HEADS VS HEARTS:
One of The 100‘s most heavily-featured themes is the concept of being ruled by the head or the heart. On “Memento Mori,” the storylines within Sanctum each feature a character that leans more toward their head contrasting with one that leans more toward their heart.
The most aggressive clash is between Raven and Ryker. When they return from their radiation field lesson, Raven learns the truth about how the Primes of Sanctum have built their society on the corpses of the innocent.
Raven’s anger is once again completely understandable and she’s not wrong, but this one-note holier-than-thou attitude is starting to become very grating.
JC: I know this is hard, but we’ve all done things we aren’t proud of to survive.
Raven: I haven’t.
Raven is lucky that she’s never had to make those kinds of decisions because she’s always been surrounded by people like Clarke, Bellamy, and Abby who bear the weight so that others don’t have to.
Such a black-and-white perspective can certainly be tempting, even amongst the show’s audience. However, personally it’s becoming very difficult to relate to and it’s making Raven into a caricature of herself.
She may not have been the person to make sacrificial decisions at the cost of other lives, but once upon a time Raven was no stranger to violence and getting her hands dirty for her own motives. On The 100 Season 1, Raven electrocuted Lincoln in an attempt to save Finn, and on Season 2, she was ready to kill Lexa and start a war for him.
At her core, Raven is absolutely a good person and she has overcome her fair share of struggles. But that doesn’t actually make her better than everyone else.
What the Primes are doing is wrong, and while Ryker is no better than the rest of them since he continues to benefit from the resurrection system, Raven barely gives him the time of day to explain. Ryker does at least seem a touch more humane about the whole process than the Lightbournes, but he still doesn’t do anything about a process that he knows is wrong, and he can’t promise Raven that he’ll stop.
The 100 Season 6 is dividing the various characters along moral lines, to explore the question of how we do better. Because Ryker is already more empathetic than some of the other Primes, Raven’s words could get through to him and bring him onto her side in the inevitable fight for Sanctum.
Speaking of the fight for Sanctum, in the wake of realizing Clarke is “dead,” Bellamy spirals back into his old heart-over-head mentality. Just as Russell predicted, Bellamy is ready to burn this world down in the name of revenge.
Murphy provides the counterpoint, and even though his motivations are still rooted in his desire to save his own skin, Murphy’s perspective balances out Bellamy’s in a way that makes me want to side with both of them.
Bellamy’s heartache and anger over the loss of Clarke is something that resonates very deeply with the audience. The 100 is ultimately Clarke’s story and it always has been. While many have no doubt that she will eventually return to us, these past few episodes without her, watching Josephine manipulate those that love Clarke most, have been agonizing as much as they are deliciously angsty.
Bellamy: She cared about you, Murphy. I know it may not have always seemed like it but she did. She cared about all of us, and she would never let us die here.
Bellamy is so deep in his emotions over losing his best friend that he cannot hear the logic in Murphy’s perspective. While there is no completely right choice on the table here, I do believe that Murphy leans toward the better option. Their original plan to get the hell out of Dodge and build their own colony seems like the most ethical choice, and taking the deal could leave that avenue open.
Monty’s legacy remains a huge factor in this season as each character interprets his dying words in their own way, motivated by him and Harper to do better. Bellamy believes that Monty would be ashamed of Murphy in this moment, and maybe he would be; but Monty certainly wouldn’t be on board for Bellamy’s “burn the world down” plan either.
On The 100 Season 5 Episode 8, “How We Get to Peace,” I believe Bellamy and Clarke’s behavior and their cavalier attitude about murder very much played a part in Monty’s choice to stay behind with Harper and “show them how to live.”
Bellamy playing the Monty card here is a low blow, and his (understandable) refusal to listen to Murphy definitely stings to a degree. Murphy does care about saving his own ass like he always has, but he’s grown so much over the course of the show, and at this point, he absolutely cares about saving his friends too.
He truly believes that this is the best way to save them all. Murphy loves his friends. They’re as much his family as they are Bellamy’s. He still feels Clarke’s loss, even if he doesn’t react in the same way Bellamy does, and he doesn’t want to lose anyone else.
Unfortunately, his desire to protect himself and the rest of his friends leads Murphy to give Josephine all of the tools she needs to manipulate Abby.
Abby Griffin is incredibly brilliant and her scientific genius has often saved the lives of many of our favorites on The 100, but she is definitely a character who is led by her heart. And right now, her heart is both her biggest strength and her biggest weakness.
Because she needs Abby’s mind, Josephine swoops in to take advantage of that big heart of hers, using all the pressure points she got from Murphy and everything she overheard the night before in order to break Abby.
JC: I know you blame yourself for Dad’s death, and I know you blame your addiction for what happened to Kane. Mom, I’m afraid of what will happen to you if you lose him too, and I can’t lose you.
Abby clearly isn’t completely on board with this plan, and as far as we know she doesn’t know for sure that anything has happened to Clarke. She’s uncomfortable with the idea of taking an innocent life to save Kane’s, as well as with Clarke’s unexpectedly cavalier attitude towards body-snatching. But Josephine preys on her feelings for both Kane and Clarke, and gets exactly what she wants.
While it is comforting to see Abby clock each un-Clarke-like slip that Josephine makes, the longer The 100 keeps her in the dark about it all, the more of a disservice it does to her character.
I understand that, for now, Abby cannot know the truth about JC for the sake of the nightblood plot moving forward, and to allow this potential avenue to save Kane to be explored. But if anyone aside from Bellamy or Madi were going to catch Josephine in her lie, it would be Abby.
As interested as I am in the nightblood story, Abby being “the whole ballgame,” and her passionate desire to save the man she loves, I also don’t want The 100 to sacrifice the relationship between Abby and Clarke for the sake of the plot.
Some have begun to theorize that Abby does realize that something is wrong with Clarke, but that she is playing the long game to learn more about the Primes and their resurrection system so that she can save both the people that she loves most. While I don’t quite believe that it will play out exactly like that, I also don’t want The 100 to pass by the opportunity to have Abby involved in the fight to save Clarke.
Bellamy: I take it she doesn’t know that her daughter is dead. You’re going to have to kill her too. You think my need for revenge is strong? There’s only one way this ends.
Abby is a force to be reckoned with, and Bellamy knows it. I love seeing these two team up to fight for what is right and I hope that this line from Bellamy is foreshadowing the resurrection of that powerful heart duo fighting to save the people they love.
The third and newest member of the “Heart-Led Characters Who Would Burn the World for Clarke Griffin” club is Madi, and her storyline on “Memento Mori” takes her down a dangerous path that has me very worried for the little Natblida.
I have to admit I’m very much not interested in this Sheidheda plot unless it somehow connects us back to the Becca/Cadogan story or reveals some kind of important information about where the current narrative is heading. As of right now, it seems like this plot is only here to lead Madi into making very poor and dangerous decisions.
I understand the need to have the Flame play a part in the new story after all of the effort to keep it in Madi’s head during Season 5. But I want that device to continue driving the rest of the story forward in new, interesting ways that are rooted in The 100‘s mythology.
Instead, this story feels disjointed from the rest of the action on Season 6 and I am struggling to understand the purpose of it outside causing frustration and chaos.
Tati Gabrielle shows an incredible range on this episode as she shifts seamlessly from commanding to nurturing to heartbroken. Gaia’s banishment creates another offshoot for the story and I’m wondering where exactly she will go from here. Will she run into Diyoza, Octavia, and Xavier? Will she find Jade in the Offering Grove? Or will she go off on an entirely different journey?
In the game of heart vs. head, it’s difficult to keep score because both sides frequently have merit.
On “Memento Mori,” heads like Josephine and Simone manipulate hearts like Abby to get their way, Madi lets her heart drown out the logic of Gaia’s head, and Murphy uses a solid balance of both to bring Bellamy back to the light and to keep Josephine from killing him.
This tug of war and the way each character is continually moving along the head/heart scale depending on their needs and the needs of those they love is a brilliant way to tell the story that The 100 has been trying to tell for 6 years. Who are you when you are pushed to the limits of survival? How far will you go to protect the ones you love? And what makes someone a good guy at the end of the world?
Russell’s heart contrasts against Josephine’s head, and her chilling lack of emotion for the sanctity of human life even extends to him as she is prepared to let Bellamy murder her own father in his quest for revenge. It’s exactly that disregard that finally pushes Bellamy back in the direction that Murphy tries to pull him toward for the entire episode.
Moving forward it will be interesting to see how each character uses the balance between their hearts and their heads in order to “be the good guys.” Both are crucial to not just surviving but living and finding the peace that these people have been looking for since day one. Hearts like Abby and Bellamy will play a huge role in saving what they love, while heads like Murphy, Gaia, and even Clarke will be vital to keeping them out of trouble.
THE ANOMALY IS CALLING
Our journey into the woods doesn’t exactly move any of the emotional storylines forward this week but it certainly reveals a lot of important information about the planet and sets up several plots that will likely take us through the end of the season.
After “The Gospel of Josephine” The Afictionados began to theorize that Xavier isn’t exactly who he says he is and that he is, in fact, Gabriel/The Old Man himself, and the more we learn about him the more I am inclined to believe they’re right.
Xavier confirms that The Old Man is Gabriel and with the amount of personal knowledge he has along with his knowledge of the history and inner workings of Sanctum, Xavier either is Gabriel or he knows him suspiciously well.
This trio is apparently made up entirely of terrorists with hard exteriors covering up their good hearts, and I’m very much here for it. Xavier, Diyoza, and Octavia see the others in surprisingly intimate ways that in turn makes each of them uncomfortable at being understood and exposed.
Xavier: I think you don’t want her to end up in the same page of the history books as you.
Diyoza: You see a lot.
Most of this storyline is transitional content to deliver information that will be useful down the line. Xavier doesn’t manage to save Octavia yet, but he reveals a lot of important information.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the magical healing tree sap is revealed in the same episode that Abby receives an apparent solution to “the Kane problem” that comes with a lot of unfortunate strings attached. If Abby continues to keep Kane’s original body on ice after he’s downloaded to a mind drive, they could potentially use this to heal his injuries.
Clarke still being alive, just trapped inside her and Josephine’s combined minds means that the hosts’ brains and memories remain intact, but no one has ever fought back before. With the introduction of both of these stories, our heroes could potentially save everyone they love, the Primes, and the innocent hosts too.
Another point towards Xavier being Gabriel is his revelation that “the Anomaly” has called to him before, the way that it is calling to both Octavia and Diyoza now.
On “The Children of Gabriel,” one of the warriors asked Xavier if he was going to walk into the Anomaly to find The Old Man. If Xavier is Gabriel, and Gabriel is still alive 200 years later without continuing to be a body snatcher, it’s possible that he walked into the Anomaly himself and somehow harnessed the power of immortality that way.
All of this continues to be a big mystery and I am very excited to watch it reach a fever pitch. Will the Anomaly be how Octavia faces her demons and kills Blodreina? Will it give them all immortality? Because it seems to control time, will the Anomaly send Diyoza forward and finally allow her to have her baby? I have no idea what’s coming next, but I can’t wait to find out.
LONG LIVE CLARKE GRIFFIN
Clarke is alive! Though it has only really been two episodes, and the instinct that she would always return never left, it’s nothing short of thrilling to see Clarke Griffin once more.
Josephine gets the first sleep she’s had since snatching Clarke’s body and there we find our heroine trapped in a literal prison cell of her own mind. Clarke is surrounded by her own drawings of the people she loves and the memories that haunt her.
We barely get a taste of what exactly is happening to Clarke right now, but those few seconds are enough to have the audience extremely excited for the next episode. Josephine has proven herself quite the fighter, but my money is always on Clarke at the end of the day. Whatever happens, this showdown is going to be one hundred percent epic and emotional.
- I didn’t touch on Echo’s journey in this episode because it felt disconnected from everything else. It does lay some interesting groundwork, however, and gives the audience more to question about this planet and the people on it.
- Echo giving mercy to the guard being eaten by the tree has some serious Clarke/Atom Season 1 energy.
- Does the whole Offering Grove/sacrifice to Sanctum system require that people be alive when they go? I thought it was implied that this is what they did with Rose’s body. What exactly do the bodies in the offering grove do for the rest of the people on the planet? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
- Please, please, don’t let Jade die like this thank you.
- I need a whole 6-page analysis on why Murphy’s instinct upon being woken up is to say “it wasn’t me.”
- Has Josephine actually loved anyone since Gabriel left? What did that breakup look like? I’m very ready for these two to collide again and to learn what exactly lead to them going their separate ways.
- Did Murphy bargain to get a second chip for Emori? That’s soft.
- Murphy is in love with Bellamy, you cannot change my mind.
- RIP Kaylee Lee. I am gonna miss you, girl.
- Please let Abby’s suspicions actually lead somewhere and please let her heart keep her on the side of the good guys. Thank you! I am a good person and I don’t ask for much!
- I love the dichotomy that Josie recognizes between her own parents’ heart/head dynamic and how she manipulates it to get her way.
- Simone and Abby are similar in a lot of ways, I can’t wait to see how they interact in this nightblood story.
- I’M SO GLAD CLARKE GRIFFIN IS BACK! THANK YOU!
What did you think of this episode of The 100? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
The 100 airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.
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