“Once we’re free, you will burn.”
These are words that Madi/Sheidheda promises to Russell. But at the end of “Adjustment Protocol,” it’s the God of Sanctum who’s practicing a scorched earth policy. He will find life for himself and his family no matter the cost, which if we’re being honest, is what Clarke has done for the past five seasons. The difference, of course, is that Russell has had a few decades and multiple bodies worth of life. In this episode, we see how his obsession for eternal life knows no bounds. Let’s get into it…
As Russell sews up Clarke’s neck, Abby, Jackson, and Raven walk in to tend to Madi. Abby is immediately heartbroken upon seeing “Josie.” But Russell has no time for her tears; he tells her to get more doses of bone marrow out of Madi. He’s planning to resurrect all the Primes that evening, including Simone, who he’s eager to bring back. Trying to stall him, Clarke tells him to wait until she’s there to do it.
Once they leave, Abby decides to make herself a nightblood so she can extract her own bone marrow rather than taking from Madi. (Listen, I don’t profess to be an expert here, but I feel like it would take a while for Abby’s bone marrow to be usable??) Anyway, Jackson tells her that the bone marrow will kill more innocent people, and she points out that they just have to do “better today than we did yesterday,” like Kane said. Abby then apologizes for calling Jackson a war criminal, and they have a tender moment together. (In retrospect, this should have been a sign.)
Just then, “Josie” walks in and hugs Abby. They all are ecstatic to see Clarke back in her own body and immediately ask her for help in getting Becca’s book for Madi. But Clarke says she needs Raven’s help with the shield. Despite Abby’s sacrifice, Madi still isn’t doing so good, so they decide that Ryker can help with the shield and Raven can tend to the little nightblood.
Slight wrench in the plan: When Clarke enters the machine shop, she finds Ryker dead. Improvising, she cuts the mind drive out of his head and plays it cool when Russell comes in and realizes Echo, who was to be Simone’s host, is gone. But it doesn’t matter. He says they have enough hosts and bone marrow doses to resurrect everyone.
Outside the walls, Gabriel and his crew approach the radiation barrier. Bellamy wants him to cross over and help Clarke, but Octavia tells him to have faith in her to get it done. Gabriel decides to practice patience until he hears a couple of nearby guards discussing that evening’s Naming Day. He won’t let Russell kill more people, so he drops the plan where they let people get out safely and rushes into the barrier. “I can’t sacrifice the few to save the many,” he yells back to Bellamy and O. (I’ll be honest with you, readers: This is about where things picked up so fast I was having a hard time following. But in a Teen Wolf style, I didn’t mind the confusion too much and just went along for the ride.)
Clarke is on the hunt to find Priya, whom she can use to get the barrier down. She finds her in the bar, where Gaia, Echo, and Miller are hiding. Thinking that the two are going to wipe a host, the trio comes out to kill them. But when “Josie” takes out Priya herself, they realize it’s Clarke. She fills them in on the plan.
Banished from the lab, Abby, Raven, and Jackson wait in the hall of Prime bones. In a reflective moment, Abby tells Raven that it wasn’t worth it when she created a host for Marcus. She says she focused on what she lost, not on what she has. She apologizes “for all of it,” and finishes her speech, “You are my family, Raven.” You guys, double apologies in an episode definitely raises a red flag.
Russell comes in and ruins the moment. He has five hosts with him, but Abby points out she made six blood marrow doses. He smiles and injects her in the neck. As she falls asleep, she has flashes of her life: Clarke as a baby, her husband, Marcus, and I think you all know where these red flags are going.
Gabriel walks into Sanctum and drops the red sun toxin into the water. Immediately after, a guard notices and Gabriel asks to be taken to Russell Prime. Face to face, the two foes argue about the meaning of life. Gabriel says, “Without death, life is meaningless.” He tells the leader of Sanctum to stop the killing, but Russell says the new hosts were honored to become one with the Primes… “most of them anyway.” Just then, an alarm goes off signaling the red sun toxin.
Using the distraction, Gabriel grabs a guard’s gun and trains it on Russell. He tells him these will be the last resurrections — but in the end, he can’t shoot his old friend. Russell goes out and tells the gathering crowd that the sirens are a false alarm, the “demon Gabriel” has been caught, and they should prepare for all their gods to return that night.
Meanwhile, Clarke has convinced Priya to take down the shield. The Children of Gabriel are inside now, but since Russell told everyone about the false alarm, there’s no way to get people out of Sanctum. Echo has an idea: They use the truth. Approaching the crowd, Bellamy yells out that they’re not gods and the Primes don’t become one with their hosts. “They kill them,” he says. “They steal your bodies so they can live forever.” And Priya backs him up.
As people start to murmur and take in the truth, Russell puts an end to it with a red sun bomb. “Non-believers must be purified,” he says as he throws it into the crowd. The Children of Gabriel have masks, but everyone else starts fighting. Delilah’s mom kills Priya for taking her daughter.
Things are getting ugly, so Bellamy, Echo, Octavia, and the Children of Gabriel close themselves into a room to take cover. Clarke and Gaia (posing as Josie’s guard) head back into the palace just in time. And before she knows it, Abby walks in. But it’s not Abby, it’s Simone. Russell used Abby’s body as a host to resurrect his wife. No no no no no no no no.
Still pretending to be Josie, Clarke can’t even react to the loss of her mother. Russell says that they need to get away and Simone holds a gun to Madi’s face to force Raven to pilot the dropship to take them back to Eligius. As they’re fleeing, a guard notices Gaia and tries to stop her, but Clarke says they need her to get onto the ship.
The final shot is the ship’s blast doors opening with Niylah, Indra, and other grounders holding guns on Simone/Abby, Russell, and Clarke/Josie, who have their guns on Madi, Raven, and Gaia.
I was worried we wouldn’t get out of this finale without losing someone, and now I’m worried we won’t get out without losing multiple someones. Holding my breath until next week… How are you all doing?