The 100 season 7 episode 12 review: The Bellamy problem

The 100 -- "The Stranger" -- Image Number: HU712b_0077r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): John Pyper-Ferguson as Bill Cadogan and Bob Morley as Bellamy -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The 100 -- "The Stranger" -- Image Number: HU712b_0077r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): John Pyper-Ferguson as Bill Cadogan and Bob Morley as Bellamy -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved. /

Despite this week’s episode of The 100 bringing things together (finally), there’s a glaring problem with “The Stranger” — how believable Bellamy’s part is.

The final season of The 100 has arguably been one of the show’s weakest. With two villains, a hundred convoluted plot points (some of them brand new), and a focus that’s increasingly shifting away from the series’ two main characters, there’s really no other way to spin it.

But this week’s episode brought back much of what fans loved about the earlier seasons of the show. In a 42-minute episode alternating between what’s happening on Bardo and what’s taking place on Sanctum, “The Stranger” gave fans the emotionally impactful scenes this season has been missing — some between old friends like Clarke and Octavia, and others involving characters meeting for the first time, like Jordan and Hope.

These moments are the beating heart of The CW show, and frankly, they’re a large part of why the recent installments have failed to land properly. The 100 is known for its action and suspense, but the relationships are what fuel those things. “The Stranger” finally gave those relationships some much-needed screen time to develop.

The drama in Sanctum has also reached its boiling point, and JR Bourne plays Sheidheda even better than he played Russell. Even if some of the happenings during this storyline are a bit unbelievable, it’s hard to care when it’s so obvious this villain is having a blast. In fact, after “The Stranger,” one can’t help but wonder whether The 100 would have benefited from making Bourne’s character the only Big Bad of season seven. (Unfortunately, then we wouldn’t have any background for a potential prequel series….)

Murphy, Emori, and Indra also carry the episode (they’ve been carrying much of the season, if we’re being honest), and the anxiety that one of them might perish at the Dark Commander’s hand will keep viewers on edge throughout “The Stranger.”

The events unfolding on Bardo are almost as suspenseful, even if the “sending-characters-to-other-planets” bit is starting to get stale. Still, it’s hard to watch Clarke and her friends grapple with what’s happened to Bellamy, all while being at the mercy of the Disciples.

And that brings us to the glaring problem with this week’s episode, the one that makes it difficult to focus on anything else happening: Bellamy Blake.

During the previous episode, fans were treated to an entire 42-minute run dedicated to what happened to Bellamy after Octavia saw him “die.” Supposedly, it was meant to convince us that Bellamy became taken by the ways of the Disciples, enough so that he’d willingly betray his friends at the end of “Etherea.”

The problem? It just didn’t work.

Bellamy spent this week’s episode watching as Cadogan tortured Raven and Clarke and felt only the slightest bit of remorse (not enough to step in, obviously). He told Echo that his beliefs were more important than their relationship. He asked guards to accompany him to speak with his own sister and his best friend.

All of this being the result of Bellamy seeing a few lights and a vision of his mother feels like a stretch. We’ve witnessed Bellamy make terrible decisions before (ahem, season three), but he genuinely believed those were for the good of his people. It’s just not in his character to put anything else before love — and the fact that he does so without preamble makes it that much more jarring.

Had the series shown Bellamy being brainwashed, much in the way Echo and the others were, it could have built to this. Instead, it sloppily tries to convince viewers that Bellamy would turn on the people he loves most after the rushed events of one episode. And it’s so hard to extend believability here that you can’t even be mad at Bellamy’s character; the anger has to be directed toward the show instead.

Luckily, there is one silver lining at the end of “The Stranger,” though it still doesn’t solve the Bellamy problem: The final moments of the episode show Clarke and the Disciples arriving back on Sanctum, shocked to see Russell (they don’t know about Sheidheda just yet) sitting on a bone throne. This means the two storylines of this season are finally about to converge — and our odds are on the Dark Commander over the Disciples.

Next. 5 reasons The CW should green light The 100 prequel. dark

What did you think of this week’s episode of The 100? Let us know in the comments below!