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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

A trippy body switch makes for a mostly entertaining episode of The 100

Illustration for article titled A trippy body switch makes for a mostly entertaining episode of The 100

Last week’s episode of The 100 managed to kick this season into gear by digging a little deeper into the mystery of Sanctum. It offered up Naming Day, which in turn allowed both the people of Earth, and us watching at home, a better understanding of who these people are, and why they seem so creepy despite their supposed happiness. When Josephine was brought back in Clarke’s body, it was an episode-ending moment that felt like a game changer, as if the show was opening up new storytelling avenues.


“The Gospel Of Josephine” isn’t quite the explosive follow-up I was expecting, but it’s a solid episode that once again pulls back the curtain on Sanctum and exposes what’s really happening in this community. The episode immediately establishes Josephine’s character, as she swiftly kills the woman who reportedly killed her. I don’t quite see how this squares with the Josephine we saw earlier this season via flashbacks, but that’s the least of the baffling logic leaps in this episode.

The logic leaps, the way you have to really give yourself over to the contrivances, is the biggest issue with this episode. Having Josephine embody Clarke is great, and it gives Eliza Taylor room to have some fun with a different role. She’s nasty and snappy and attracted to Murphy, so you bet it’s a lot of fun. But, in terms of character, Josephine is in way over her head. She can’t possibly pass as Clarke, and she immediately throws up red flags when she grants Madi’s request to go to school. Then she writes with her right hand in front of her mother. There’s one red flag after another, and yet no one really notices until Bellamy gets stabbed, and that’s frustrating.

It’s the kind of selective character work that distracts from what’s otherwise a pretty terrifying episode, one that reveals that the Primes are storing their minds on hard drives and then uploading them, over hundreds of years, to Nightblood hosts. They’ve made themselves immortal, and they’ve done so by convincing families to sacrifice themselves to some sort of God, much like Delilah did. It’s brutal and manipulative, and the reveal is astonishingly uncomfortable to watch, as Gabriel and Russel experiment on the latest of who knows how many scared, non-consenting bodies.

“The Gospel Of Josephine” has to dumb down the characters to make the plot mechanics work, and while that’s mostly all fine and well in the long run, and The 100 doesn’t seem to be drawing out the fact that Clarke isn’t Clarke for too long, it does hamper the episode’s momentum. Every time it looks like things are picking up, be it with Bellamy talking about exploring more of Planet Alpha and creating their own place to live, or Jordan breaking into Sanctum’s holiest place to reveal the secrets of the Primes, those moments are undercut by Josephine having to sneak off to hatch her own plans, while everybody else stands around and seemingly doesn’t notice the peculiarity of her actions.

Still, on the whole, “The Gospel Of Josephine” moves the season’s larger story along in a way that’s intriguing. Sure, there’s still Diyoza and Octavia off on their own little adventure, which is difficult to connect with because of how little screen time it gets each week—Octavia is about to undergo a change of her own, though—but the point of this episode is to truly uncover the depths of depravity within Sanctum.


What’s interesting is that the show doesn’t paint everyone as villains. Josephine is clearly unhinged and willing to do anything to remain immortal, including pitching the idea to Murphy after revealing her true self to him, but Russel isn’t on board with the idea of sorting through the Earth people to determine who’s a Nightblood. Now though, with Jospehine learning about Abby being able to turn people into Nightbloods, like she did with Clarke, he could change his tune. These are interesting wrinkles in what could otherwise be a typical story of moral conflict, and that’s just what this season needs.

Stray observations

  • It’s strange to me that nobody would believe Jordan about Delilah. These people have been encountering populations with shady motivations for years on end, but Jordan’s wariness is just him not understanding his one night stand? Please.
  • It really sounds like Kane is going to die.
  • Josephine knows Madi is a Nightblood. She also knows that “Nightblood” is a pretty cool name for their condition.

Kyle Fowle is a freelance writer based out of Canada. He writes about TV and wrestling for The A.V. Club, Real Sport, EW, and Paste Magazine.