WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The 100 Season 7, Episode 3 “False Gods,” which Wednesday on The CW.
Nearly a century before the start of The 100, the Earth was devastated by a nuclear armageddon that eradicated the vast majority of humanity. While a contingent of the population took refuge on an orbital space station known as the Ark for generations, there were elements of humanity that continued to survive on the planet’s surface. With civilization obliterated by nuclear fire and the subsequent chaos, these last remnants of humanity would form tribes and, on the latest episode of the season, the various tribes have effectively balkanized, creating a significant change in the status quo.
At the end of Season 5, when humanity left an Earth that had been rendered completely uninhabitable, the tribes were all united. Emerging from a bunker under hellish conditions led by Octavia Blake, the Grounders — as the tribes were called by the refugees from the Ark — sought a new commander to led them forward. Octavia’s second, Madi Griffin was chosen to become the new Commander after it was discovered she could be fitted with the Flame, a drive that contained all the consciousnesses of the previous Commanders stored digitally. After the successful implant, Madi was closely guarded by Gaia, the designated Flamekeeper.
Season 6 had seen the characters arrive on the faraway world of Sanctum, with the majority of the Grounders remaining in cryosleep after traveling across outer space for decades. As they remained in stasis, Madi fell under the risk of having her mind controlled by Sheidheda, the Dark Commander that had ruled the Grounders generations ago with a bloody regime. To save Madi, Gaia and Raven Reyes purged the Flame though Sheidheda would upload himself to an unknown location in the Season 6 finale. While Madi was saved from the villainous influence in her own mind, the Flame was effectively rendered inert in the process.
At the start of Season 7, the Grounders have all emerged from cryosleep and begun to acclimate to their new home on Sanctum, unaware of the wider conflict that unfolded over the course of the previous season and the final fate of Madi and the Flame. Facing rival factions on a new, unfamiliar world, tensions between the Grounders are at an all-time high and they demand to receive guidance straight from Madi and the accumulated wisdom of leadership stored within the Flame. While Gaia and her mother Indra initially play coy while Madi continues to recover from her ordeal last season, Gaia — against the vocal concerns of her mother — reveals to the assembled tribes that the Flame has been destroyed.
While Gaia broke this news with the intent to unify her people for a new tomorrow through the truth, Indra’s concerns prove completely well-founded when the Grounders break into their separate tribes, no longer unified under Madi’s leadership. And with Sheidheda revealed to be alive and well within the body of Russell Prime, the leader of a zealous cult on Sanctum willing to fight and die for his survival, the main characters no longer have the unified Grounder army to keep the villain’s forces in check as the battle lines are drawn between the last remnants of humanity, a fact that Sheidheda has noticed himself as he continues to prepare his latest plot for complete, bloody domination.
The 100 stars Eliza Taylor, Marie Avgeropoulos, Bob Morley, Lindsey Morgan, Richard Harmon, Tasya Teles and Shannon Kook. The series airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
As tensions mount in the final season of The 100, the alliance between Earth's last tribes is eroded by a surprise character.