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Here's how it works. We talk. I ask questions, you answer truthfully, if you do not I will know it. If your answers are satisfactory, your consciousness and that of your entire species will become one with ours. You will transcend your human form and then become infinite. If you fail to earn this evolutionary leap, you will be eliminated, turned to crystal the way the Bardoans and countless other civilizations before them were.
The Judge explains the test to Bill Cadogan. [src]

Transcendence is a concept introduced in Season Seven. When a being transcends, they evolve to become part of a universal consciousness, existing as energy beyond their original mortal forms. Transcended beings are at peace, will never feel pain, and will never die. The implication is that all transcended beings become part of an immortal hive mind.

Test

The final test, also known as the "Last War" to the Disciples, or "Judgment Day" by Becca Franko, is an evaluation administered by the Judge to determine if a species will transcend or be eliminated.

Since the dawn of time, when a species reached a point where they were able to activate the final code on the Anomaly Stone, a member of the species could take the last test. The testee would cross the bridge created by the Anomaly Stone to an altered state of being and meet the Judge. The testee would have the chance to decline the test but if they accept, the test and the result of it cannot be halted.

The test itself involves the Judge asking the testee questions. The testee must answer truthfully and the Judge will then decide if their answers are satisfactory.

If the testee passes, then all alive members of the testee's species transcend. If the testee fails, then the entire species is wiped out with Gen-9. For species that pass the test, transcendence is a choice such that individuals can choose not to transcend with the rest of their kind and to thus return to their mortal form. However, once they choose not to transcend, the individual will never be able to have offspring and they will not be able to transcend upon their eventual death.

Hundreds of years ago, the Bardoans and the Ethereans took the test: the Bardoans failed and were wiped out, while the Ethereans successfully transcended. In 2054, Becca Franko discovered the code through the Flame, but Becca declined to take the test on behalf of humanity, instead returning to Earth. Hundreds of years later, Bill Cadogan accepted the test on behalf of humanity, but Clarke Griffin killed him before he could answer the first question, but failed to stop the test. Clarke failed in her own attempt at the test and the Judge deemed that humanity was unworthy of transcendence. However, Raven Reyes appealed to the Judge to reconsider her decision and to at least give humanity more time to be ready. After Octavia Blake convinced Wonkru, the Eligius Prisoners and the Disciples to stand down and stop fighting, the Judge deemed humanity worthy after all, and the human race successfully transcended. The Judge later admitted to Clarke that humanity had already added a great deal to the transcended in only a short period of time and she was glad to have been wrong about them.

Transcended Beings

Quotes

Bill Cadogan: "My god. What did you do? You're shivering. Where did you go?"
Becca Franko: "We're not ready. I have to shut it down."
Bill Cadogan: "What are you talking about?"
Becca Franko: "If you saw what I saw, you would let me shut it down."
Bill Cadogan: "Tell me what you saw, and I might."
Becca Franko: "Judgment Day."
Bill Cadogan: "Judgment Day came and went, and we're still here."
Becca Franko: "Because that wasn't Judgment Day. Please you have to trust me and know that none of us is ready for this."
Bill Cadogan: "I am."
Becca Franko: "Especially not you."
-- in Anaconda
Echo (about the crystalized Bardoans): "This is what you're preparing to fight?"
Anders: "No. The Bardoans lost their Last War. This is all that is left."
Octavia Blake: "Let me get this straight. The 10-foot aliens with superior technology that built this place got genocided and turned to stone by the enemy that we're gonna fight."
Anders: "Precisely. Now you know what you're training for."
Charmaine Diyoza: "I do love me an unwinnable war."
-- in The Flock
Jordan Green (reading the translated Bardoan logs about transcendence): "The orb becomes like a star, challenging all we have done and all that we are."
Bill Cadogan: "Beautiful, don't you think?"
Jordan Green: "Only then will the Last War begin. Make it past and cease to be fallible. Transcend into greatness. Evolve into more."
-- in A Little Sacrifice
Niylah: "Jordan has a theory."
Jordan Green: "That they got it wrong. The Last War isn't a war at all. If I'm right..."
Niylah: "And that's a big if."
Jordan Green: "Then it's a test. Now, I'm just guessing here but probably to be taken by whoever enters the code."
Gabriel Santiago: "One individual representing a whole species."
Niylah: "No pressure there."
-- in A Little Sacrifice
Bellamy Blake: "I had an experience, something that changed me to my core, something that explains why we're still here and where we're going. It came to me in a vision. Mom was there. The Shepherd led me to her and there was a light and it was beautiful and warm and peaceful and I chose it and when I opened my eyes the storm had passed just like that."
Clarke Griffin: "Bellamy--"
Bellamy Blake: "Clarke I-- I know how it sounds, but it's real. A war is coming, the last war we will ever fight. Win it and we become the light."
Clarke Griffin: "Is that what the cult leader told you?"
Octavia Blake: "Did he tell you what happens if we lose?"
Bellamy Blake: "We won't."
Octavia Blake: "We turn into crystal, wiped out like Medusa turning people into stone. It's the end of everything."
-- in The Stranger
Sheidheda: "Pretty pictures, don't you think? These restraints won't do at all.
Bill Cadogan: "You're lucky my people brought you here, or you'd be dead right now.
Sheidheda: "I feel lucky."
Bill Cadogan: "Did you draw this?"
Sheidheda: "No... but I know who did. Oh. Incredible."
Bill Cadogan: "Yes. Our medicine is incredible. So is our ability to dig through your memories, but I'd rather save the time. What do you want?"
Sheidheda: "First, I'll need assurances. Sanctum is mine. We destroy the Stone. You people never come back."
Bill Cadogan: "The Stones are indestructible, but, yes, you can have Sanctum, not that it'll matter. I don't think you comprehend what this means."
Sheidheda: "It means someone has memories that are not their own, memories that you require in order to start a war with whoever made the Stones, a war I want no part of. One planet will be fine, thank you very much."
Bill Cadogan: "Not a war, the Last War, and you'll be part of it whether you like it or not."
Sheidheda: "How's that?"
Bill Cadogan: "If we win, we transcend, evolving beyond these meat sacks that age and die, becoming one with a universal consciousness."
Sheidheda: "I like this meat sack. It's new."
Bill Cadogan: "This will be better. And whether you fight with us or not, even you will transcend. Every member of the human family will."
Sheidheda: "Good luck with that. Do we have a deal or not?"
Bill Cadogan: "You fool. If we lose, it won't matter what planet you're on or whether you're fighting. Every member of the human family dies."
-- in A Sort of Homecoming
The Judge (as Callie Cadogan; explaining the test to Bill Cadogan): "Here's how it works. We talk. I ask questions, you answer truthfully, if you do not I will know it. If your answers are satisfactory, your consciousness and that of your entire species will become one with ours. You will transcend your human form and then become infinite. If you fail to earn this evolutionary leap, you will be eliminated, turned to crystal the way the Bardoans and countless other civilizations before them were."
-- The Last War

Notes and Trivia

  • In "The Last War", humanity achieves transcendence with the following exceptions:
  • Both Levitt and Echo had fatal injuries and were near-death when they transcended.
    • Echo's heart had stopped, but Hope kept her alive using CPR.
  • Madi Griffin had a massive stroke which left her in a paralytic state but with her mind still fully intact, hence she was still alive and able to transcend.
  • Emori had originally passed away, but was resurrected due to Murphy using his own body as a living host for her Mind Drive. Thus she was still alive and was able to transcend.
  • For individuals who transcend but later choose to return to their mortal form:
    • Any mortal wound sustained prior to transcendence is fully healed, as was the case with Levitt and Echo.
    • The individual can be restored to their original body even if they transcended in a host body, as was the case with Emori.
    • Returning appears not to heal any non-mortal injuries as Raven still uses the leg brace that she required after her spinal injury from Murphy.
  • While it is possible to return to mortal form, those who have can never transcend again nor can they have children.
  • No matter what position the being transcended is in, the energy impression they leave behind is always in a standing position arms outstretched to the sky.
  • Bill Cadogan states in "A Sort of Homecoming" that those who transcend become one with a universal consciousness.
  • In "The Blood of Sanctum," Jordan Green had a vision of transcendence while he was being Adjusted. Russell Lightbourne also had a similar vision as revealed in "From the Ashes," but he never understood what it meant.
  • The concept of Transcendence is similar to Ascension in Stargate.

Gallery

See Also

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