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The 100's Lindsey Morgan Talks Directing Those 'Electric' Murphy and Sheidheda Scenes

She also breaks down Clarke and Raven's reactions to Bellamy's death

Lindsay MacDonald

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the latest episode of The 100, "The Queen's Gambit." Read at your own risk!]

The 100 has pulled some crazy twists in the last seven years, but the one in Thursday's episode, "The Queen's Gambit," might take the cake. We learned a lot about the Disciples this week, but more importantly we learned their leader is actually Bill Cadogan (John Pyper-Ferguson), the Second Dawn cult leader from Season 4. 

The final scene of the episode showed Anders (Neal McDonough) waking Cadogan up from cryo-sleep, which he's apparently been surviving in for a thousand years since he and his followers presumably found their way to this new solar system. The how's and why's of all that are still a mystery (potentially to be answered in next week's backdoor pilot for the prequel spin-off), but the big picture is starting to come into focus. 

Back in Sactum, Sheidheda (JR Bourne) and Murphy (Richard Harmon) went head to head, while Clarke and the gang arrived on Bardo and learned of Bellamy's (Bob Morley) fate and took it pretty hard. TV Guide spoke to Lindsey Morgan, who stepped behind the camera to direct "The Queen's Gambit" about this absolutely packed episode and where we go from here.

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So this was your big directorial debut. Were you nervous? Excited? Terrified? All of the above?
Lindsey Morgan: All of the above. Nervous, excited, yeah, the whole gamut of emotions.

Were you more comfortable directing The 100 because it's a show you've been familiar with for seven years or was it still a daunting task?
Morgan: It's interesting because it is The 100, so I feel like we do try to do something new every season, bring in a new world, a new society, a new culture. So even though I had such a great history and expertise in a lot of places of the show, I still felt the need to be hypersensitive to the new lore that we were creating - the new world, a world of Bardo and their society and their culture because, you know, you just can't get that wrong. That was probably the most difficult task for me, just making sure, crossing my T's and dotting my I's about everything for that society and doing it justice for how Jason [Rothenberg] envisions it for the rest of the season."

We know Bob Morley directed an episode last season, so did you get to talk shop with him?
Morgan: Yes, I did. I actually reached out to Bob at the beginning because I didn't know I was gonna have the chance to direct until three weeks before I got the approval. So I was feeling pretty overwhelmed, and I reached out to Bob and he was very giving with his mentorship and his own experience, and what he felt worked for him and what he wish he did better. That really helped guide me on my process."

The scenes between Sheidheda and Murphy were so electric, you could just feel this creeping sense of dread. What was it like to get to direct those scenes with two such amazing actors?
Morgan: It was like cooking with gasoline the whole time - like you said, electric. And those two together, they're probably two of my favorite actors and characters on the show, and so I was really excited that I got to just be locked in a room with them. There isn't a lot of action that happens in the scene, but they're so good. You're magnetized to them the whole time. Jason was really inspired by Silence the Lambs when he wrote these scenes... and I really wanted to try to bring that Hannibal Lecter element and Clarice Starling bravado to it. And I felt like we captured it, and I felt like they both interpreted it completely new on their own and elevated it, but it was really cool watching them work. I remember one time, one take JR said something, and the whole crew just like gasped. They were all frightened by him, and it was so amazing.

Lindsey Morgan, The 100

Lindsey Morgan, The 100


Was there any scene or that you're particularly proud of for this episode?
Morgan: There were some really interesting things I got to play with and do, but I had to have 12 minutes cut from my episode. So when I think about it, I'm like, "Holy moly, that was one-fourth of it." So some of the extra trimmings and doodads I really enjoyed got cut because they were just style stuff, but I really love the chess transitions between Emori and back to JR and Richard. That was like a fun style thing I wanted to really get and put in... I really love the chess scenes. I love that I got to work with those two and try to help bring out some of the nuances that they were playing. But then, also, I loved working with Lola Flanery and helping her get to the really vulnerable and beautiful place she had with the Sachin [Sahel]. I love that I got to work with Lee [Majdoub] and, and Luisa [D'Oliveira]. I think we haven't seen them a lot in the show - a lot of their backstory - and we got to dive in to both of them. I think Luisa really breaks our hearts this episode. I love that I got to work with her in that moment for her character to really show herself.

Now that, everyone knows about Bellamy's death, how are they all going to react to that news?
Morgan: Oh, man, that was such an interesting scene because I was thinking and playing with it as like, "Everyone's devastated, and Clarke should drop to her knees, and the world ends, right?" And then I spoke with Jason about it, and he was like, "You know, in that moment, it's got to be that pure shock. Shock." And also, in true The 100 fashion, no one knows if it's true. Of course Gabriel (Chuku Modu) tells them, but Gabriel is one of them now. Gabriel is in all white, he has tattoos on his face. Who knows if he was turned? So I really love that we're in this grey area that, of course we're devastated, but we're also in shock. Also, you just don't know what to believe or if it's true even. And then we cut out! So you're like, "What's gonna happen next?!" When I read it, I was shocked. I am curious to see the fans' reaction, but also it's The 100, so it's never going to be what you think.

I did notice Raven's eyes immediately go to Clarke when she heard the news. Was that a, "Oh no, poor Clarke," moment or a, "Oh no, Clarke's about to burn it down," moment?
Morgan: I think Raven felt just the wind got knocked out of her. But she was more worried about her sister than herself, and it was just like, "Oh no, how is Clarke going to take this?" I don't think I was quite worried about the rampage aspect, I was just worried about how she'd react. But rampage is a good reaction.

You never know with Clarke.
Morgan: Oh, you never know. True, true, true. You never know. I think Raven just was like, "Clarke is the most important person in this room right now. How is she doing? How can I help her?"

The 100 airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

Marie Avgeropoulos and Tasya Teles, The 100

Marie Avgeropoulos and Tasya Teles, The 100