If you have yet to start watching The 100, I posted a spoiler-free review a few weeks ago, here on SciFi Mafia. Might I suggest that you consider binge watching and catching up with this show as an entertaining, riveting summer homework assignment! I highly recommend The 100 because it is a unique television series that successfully intermingles the politics of Battlestar Galactica, the extraordinary circumstances of LOST and the savage youth of Lord of the Flies – set in a remarkably progressive, brutal post-apocalyptic world.
Still unsure if you want to get start watching The 100? Click here and allow me to convince you exactly why it is so worth your time.
Please only read further if you’ve seen both seasons of The 100 thus far, because there are major spoilers throughout the article below!
As soon as Season 2 of The 100 ended in March, I decided to watch both seasons again in preparation for this article, my first foray into analysis of this stellar show for SciFiMafia. What I did not anticipate was the extraordinary length of this article, nor the impact that this series has had on my life in just a short time. I have been sleeping less, inspired in the late hours of the day to put the thoughts and theories that have been saturating my brain down on paper. This is an excellent problem to have, and quite honestly one that I did not expect again after LOST ended in 2010.
This show is very dark, with ephemeral victories and little levity, but The 100 is addictive as anything else on television right now. It has superseded my preconceived notions about a contemporary sci-fi series. In other words, the show has resuscitated my conspiracy theory neurons and currently resides in the exact center of my wheelhouse.
A basic overview of what is contained in this article: Part 1 is filled with observations about The 100 characters, incidents and the world as we know it 97 years in the future. Part 2 explores callbacks and parallels between specific characters and actions. Part 3 is a deep-dive into my initial theories about the show, which I am proud to label honestly as wild speculation, magical conjecture and crazy coincidences!
- Side note: I will be posting shorter in-depth weekly The 100 episode analysis articles here when the show returns in the fall. For those of you unfamiliar with my style – I do not recap episodes, but I do specialize in theorizing, as I did with LOST several years ago. Keep in mind that some of what you read will seem implausible or ridiculous, but that is what I enjoy the most while writing about a show like The 100. I encourage you to suspend your disbelief, ponder the possibilities beyond what is presented on screen each week, and engage in constructive conversation about the meticulous overanalyzation!
Part 1: Character, Incident and World Building Observations
Overall, the first two seasons of The 100 were incredibly satisfying on almost all levels. The pace accelerated appropriately, new characters and factions were introduced organically, the storylines progressed beautifully and the surprises were exceptionally executed.
Bellamy Blake, Octavia Blake and Clarke Griffin are just three of the many characters on The 100 who truly transformed before our very eyes from the beginning of Season 1 until the end of Season 2. In addition to remarkable character development and growth, all three actors (Bob Morley, Marie Avgeropoulos and Eliza Taylor) delivered elevated performances as the episodes advanced. The entire cast is actually very impressive, and they are very in sync and present on screen.
“The things that we’ve done to survive, they don’t define us.” – Clarke Griffin
There are no average television characters or teenagers on The 100. Just about every person that has arrived on Earth from the Ark has been speared, stabbed or shot at some point within the first two seasons. The sheer will of the Sky People to survive and save one another is relentless, a strength that they have in common with their new adversaries, the Grounders.
This is also not your average sci-fi television series. The primary leadership is female and youthful, the social climate tremendously progressive, and the mythology unique. As I’ve said before, The 100 is not trying to mimic or become the next LOST – this show has already developed into something special in just two seasons, and has the potential to become incredible.
To kick off my in-depth deconstruction of Seasons 1-2 of The 100, I must address what I believe to be the series-defining moment thus far; the giant gorilla in the room, if you will.
Without a doubt, the most talked about scene on The 100 has been the infamous kiss between Ark survivor Clarke Griffin of the Sky People and Commander Lexa of the Grounders. In my opinion, their moment of passion was entirely earned; this kiss was crafted organically and hinted at subtly throughout the second half of S2. It was the opposite of a ratings ploy or cliché move to attract more viewers – it was an honest, stunning and game-changing minute of television.
Let us back up a step. Quite frankly, many of the deep glances between Clarke and Lexa on several occasions leading up to the kiss were as electric as the moment they briefly disappeared into one another during this scene. The way that Lexa looks at Clarke and appears to have a direct line into her soul . . . that is how all of us deserve to be admired by someone with romantic aspirations; with respect, curiosity, love and yes – hunger. And allow me to state the obvious: being backed up into a table during a heated discussion has NEVER been sexier.
It is impossible to ignore the searing, palpable on-screen chemistry between Eliza Taylor and Alycia Debnam-Carey. Their kiss was written, filmed and performed perfectly. It was lovely and gentle, delicate more than aggressive, and lingered far longer than most on-screen television kisses tend to. A fearless, magnificent choice by all involved.
Clarke and Lexa’s relationship was clearly conceived from the beginning of S2, and subtly woven into the fabric of their journey together toward war. That is why and how the kiss made sense, and fit into the context of the situation and show.
The kiss took both of them by surprise, in a very rare moment when both of their guards were down. For Lexa in particular, what she had been feeling for Clarke but attempting to suppress finally percolated to the surface and she took a spontaneous risk fueled by the energy of the moment.
It is important to remember that these characters are in their late teens and early twenties; they are human beings with normal hormones living under very unusual and difficult circumstances. So when they do connect with someone who is sharing the same experiences, emotional and physical attraction are natural responses, reactions and desires. Given the current sociopolitical climate, 97 years in the future – the gender of people involved in such a passionate moment is inconsequential. That is a genuinely gratifying perspective.
It is quite something that on The 100, arguably the most powerful, ruthless and brilliant strategist on Earth (that we’ve met thus far) is a young warrior who happens to be a lesbian. In this future world, that fact is 100% irrelevant to her people and her leadership. The sexual orientation of this particular character was written as simply one of the many complex characteristics about Lexa, and not as part of an agenda.
You could argue that Lexa’s sexuality was germane when the Ice Nation clan tortured and murdered her former partner Costia. But I would argue that the Ice Nation would have done exactly the same to Lexa’s boyfriend, if she had one at the time. One of the prevailing themes on The 100 is that love is weakness, but that theory does not specify gender. Nor should it.
“I’m not ready to be with anyone. Not yet.” – Clarke
An equally admirable and avant-garde fact about The 100 is that Clarke Griffin is an 18 year-old action heroine who just happens to be bisexual. It is obvious in her response after the kiss with Lexa; she specifically chose to say that she’s not ready to be with “anyone.” YET. That little three-letter word provides Lexa and the viewing audience with just a sliver of hope, but given what happens between Clarke and Lexa outside of Mount Weather, there are only jagged fragments of optimism left for a true Clexa relationship.
Yes, Clarke did engage in a one-night stand with Finn, but we have no idea whether she has previous experience with girls as well (up on the Ark, before being locked up). The point is that it doesn’t really matter on this show, and as with Lexa, Clarke’s bisexuality is just one facet of her essence.
File under: amazing coincidence. On The 100, we have Clarke, Lexa and the Grounder capital Polis. As a huge Superman fan, my overly active imagination can’t help but see Clark(e) Kent, Lex(a) Luthor and Metro(Polis).
File under: not a coincidence. In the same episode where Lexa and Clarke share a brief, sweet moment of passion, the writers feature a heated, carnal sex scene between Raven and Wick. That was certainly a thought-provoking choice and juxtaposition.
- [And now, an alphabetical breakdown of people, places and things on The 100, which is how all future analysis articles will also be organized]
We will witness the pain of Abby losing Clarke, again. But everything has changed; Abby has taken note of her daughter’s actions as a leader among the Sky People now on the ground, and she may have to alter her own strategies to mirror Clarke’s when faced with new enemies. Now that Abby is on Earth permanently, I look forward to further character development, particularly as a respected leader of the Sky People and in the absence of her equally respected daughter. And because Paige Turco is terrific, period.
A deeper connection between Abby and Kane is quite clearly simmering as well. Those two have certainly earned at least an attempt at a romantic dalliance after the rocky road they’ve traversed together.
“Anya was my mentor, before I was called to lead my people.” – Lexa
It is unlikely that The 100 will focus on Grounder flashbacks in future episodes, but the dynamic between Anya and Lexa must have been absolutely fascinating. After all, young Lexa was promoted to Commander before, or rather than, her mentor.
Commander is typically a naval rank and title, which leads me to believe that the very first Grounder Commander was a high-ranking officer on a naval vessel. Perhaps the “boat people” Grounders were the original clan to form on Earth after surviving at sea and then discovering the devastation on land.
“The Commander was my second.” – Anya
The Grounders obviously created their own leadership hierarchy out of necessity following the annihilation of almost all other human beings a century ago, but the evolution of their spirituality (demonstrated by their strong belief in reincarnation) is equally mysterious and compelling.
There is no way to sugar-coat the fact that Bellamy was a jackass for the first few episodes of The 100; brusque, self-centered and impulsive. Thankfully, his redeeming qualities started to materialize quickly; he rose up to the insane pressure and responsibility of overtaking Mount Weather and ultimately is the main reason Clarke is able to rescue their people. The hero within Bellamy has only started to emerge, and I suspect that he will step up to the plate and lead the Sky People in Clarke’s absence next season.
I am keenly aware that this will stir up controversy in some shipping corners, but I must confess that I find the chemistry between Bellamy and Clarke to be firmly in the friendship corner (on the show; I have not read the books). Truthfully, I felt this way from the first episode on, and LONG before Lexa entered the picture. [My opinion is but one among thousands, and not meant at all to disrespect those who ship Bellarke on The 100. We choose to root for our own favorite characters to wind up together, and all interpret chemistry differently.]
Without a doubt, Clarke and Bellamy love and care for one another, but I feel more of a sibling vibe between them and simply do not see a romantic future. They really shine when they are working in tandem to save the world and their people, and I look forward to their eventual reunion in S3.
Guardian. Protector. Savior. Warrior. Clarke Griffin has developed into a beautifully resilient leader, a quick study, curious to a fault and ferociously loyal. She has emerged as one of television’s most refreshing and inspiring heroes – a leader for the new age. Clarke is equally astute, responsible and flawed.
“Your instincts will tell you to take care of everyone else first.” – Abby Griffin
During her quick ascension into a leadership role with the Sky People and respected ally to the Grounders, everyone underestimates Clarke at some point. And most live (or die) to regret it. Clarke is an alternate universe variant of Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones. They are both sharp, smart and stubborn; they gain strength and confidence with every obstacle. Both are also very human at the core; they misjudge, they endure, they triumph, they adjust, adapt and move forward.
But Clarke Griffin is not a hero who has suffered lightly. This is the person responsible for a Grounder slaughter with rocket fuel at the end of S1, and Mount Weather genocide with fresh air at the end of S2. At the very least, Clarke Griffin deserves to go on a Walkabout to wherever the hell she wants.
That being said, Clarke is now out there on her own with no weapons, water, food or shelter. We know that she’s a badass, but she also better be a Girl Scout. Because winter is coming.
It is sadly ironic in early S1 that Finn is initially hesitant to use newly acquired guns and is also seeking to broker peace with the Grounders, given his disturbingly quick turn to the dark side and future massacre of innocent people.
Finn’s complete 180 was . . . abrupt. He was probably out of his mind due to dehydration, exhaustion and desperation – so he snapped, and that is why he pulled the trigger. As much as I’d like to think that he (and almost everyone else) would do anything under the guise of finding/saving Clarke, I simply did not buy into the notion that he murdered Grounders in cold blood because he believed they’d harmed her.
“There are some lines you can’t uncross.” – Bellamy
But I will say that the use of Ghost Finn to assuage Clarke’s guilt about ending his life before the Grounders did was a powerful use of the trope, and one that they wrapped up efficiently.
Upon re-watch of The 100, I noticed that at first, the Grounders spare and save the lives of Ark survivors (Jasper and Octavia). Of course they were sending a message via Jasper-On-A-Stick, but it is questionable whether they meant to kill or just harm him, whereas Lincoln flat out rescued Octavia. I can only imagine that if there was an order to hurt but not kill Jasper, it came down from Commander Lexa herself.
Then again, shortly thereafter, the Grounders snatched up an armed Ark survivor in the woods and dispatched his dead body to the ground immediately, to warn his friends. One has to wonder whether the Grounders were given orders to kill at that point only if actual boundary lines were crossed.
“We are what we are.” – Lexa
It really would be amazing to see flashbacks from 97 years ago on Earth, to witness the post-apocalyptic organization of the Grounders. But the show must progress, and other clans must be introduced, leaving little time or room for the origin stories of all factions.
By giving Lincoln a choice in the S2 finale (leaving him a knife to cut himself free and return to Octavia), it seems Indra has made hers. She remains loyal to the Commander, but begrudgingly recognizes both Lincoln’s bond with Octavia and Lexa’s bond with Clarke. She grew to tolerate Clarke and respected Lexa’s wishes regarding her safety, but it remains to be seen what Indra’s next obstacle and move will be, especially now that she appears to have remained with Lexa and her people.
I am hoping that they promote Adina Porter to series regular on The 100 and expand Indra’s role, because she has become such a crucial, riveting character and a Grounder leader with great dimensions yet to be uncovered.
I suspect that Jasper will emerge as a new leader among the Sky People, potentially recruiting some of the remaining younger Ark survivors in Camp Jaha into an insurgent group of his own. Whether he welcomes Monty into the fold remains to be seen, but I’d like to think that their friendship will gradually return and repair. Jasper’s maturity and transformation into a captain for his people happened rapidly and ended tragically (for Maya and fellow Mount Weather sympathizers); a follow-up, rebellious left turn for him would not be out of character.
The goggles that Raven kindly returned to Jasper in the S2 finale are quite symbolic; they may serve as his Looking Glass, a glimpse into the recent past at the boy who landed on Earth and the man who emerged from Mount Weather.
That sound you hear is Alycia Debnam-Carey’s career catapulting into the stratosphere. She first appears on The 100 as Lexa in episode 2.06 (“Fog of War”), and immediately impacts the story, energy, chemistry and direction of the season (if not future seasons, given the actor’s availability).
As Lexa, Debnam-Carey exudes a young Angelina Jolie vibe, exhibiting an equally impressive dose of exceptional strength and vulnerability. Lexa is fiercely loyal to her people, and calm and controlled on the exterior out of necessity. Any hint of what is simmering beneath is a rare, fascinating glimpse into her heart and mind.
Those in positions of extreme power are likely among the loneliest people on Earth. Thus, Lexa’s connection with Clarke is realistic and understandable. When Lexa opens up to Clarke about her ex love Costia and the details about her horrifying death, an integral layer of Lexa’s emotional labyrinth starts to crumble and trust starts to seep in.
It seems that Costia’s only crime (that we know about) was loving Lexa, which is precisely why Lexa’s heart remains sequestered behind an emotional fortress, despite allowing recent visitation rights to Clarke.
Lexa’s decision to make a deal with the Mountain Men, to end the Reaper factory inside Mount Weather and release her people after years of abduction and torture, made perfect sense. It was not a miscalculation. She is the Commander of thousands, one of 12 leaders on Earth with responsibilities very few can fathom or would envy. Yes, Lexa fell for Clarke and yes, a very strong connection was forged between them in a short amount of time. But just as Lexa said, she made the decision to save her people with her head and not her heart.
The Grounder Commander is bound by duty and sworn to protect her people at any cost. Betraying Clarke’s trust may end up being the most expensive decision Lexa has ever made, but one that she would make again under the same circumstances. Deep down, Clarke not only knows that to be the truth, but realizes she would likely make the same choice for her people. Given what Clarke did to the residents of Mount Weather in order to free her friends, that should not come as a surprise to anyone.
A powerful warrior balancing dual allegiances, Lincoln is easily one of the most unique, brave and admirable characters on The 100. He is undaunted by the constant risk to his life by helping the Sky People and working alongside the Grounders, and is completely unable to mask his love for Octavia.
Lincoln’s choice to join Octavia in the S2 finale seems to have severed his loyalty to and connection with Lexa and the Grounders. The consequences of his actions place Lincoln in more danger than perhaps anyone else on the show next season.
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” – Abraham Lincoln
But now that they’ve been accepted together as a respected team and force to be reckoned with in Camp Jaha, I foresee Lincoln and Octavia teaming up to train Ark survivors for future battles and prep for new enemies.
I love that John Murphy gets the living Ben Linus beaten out of him throughout S1. Sure, he was duplicitous and a murderous grim reaper for a time, but he continuously provides necessary comic relief in the dark new world of The 100.
Richard Harmon’s promotion to full season regular in S3 and his current exile in A.I.ville are both excellent indicators that we will be treated to more classic Murphy quips and contemptible violent encounters.
Octavia is the only former Ark resident to share a true connection with a Grounder. But now neither she nor Lincoln feel as though they have a home anymore; they no longer connect with the Sky People and Grounders, respectively. Yet they wind up together back at Camp Jaha, and loyalties are sure to be tested next season.
Without hesitation, I would say that Octavia Blake wins the award for Most Monumental Metamorphosis on The 100. This is a girl who spent her formative years hidden under the floor in a tiny room – a veritable womb that restrained her freedom and ability to develop, imprisoning her childhood. Once the Ark delivered her to Earth, Octavia’s remarkable rebirth from Guiltless Girl to Warrior Woman began.
To me, the most under-the-radar hero of The 100 is Raven Reyes. Tenacious Raven is the secret weapon of the Sky People, a mastermind, and the smartest mechanic to emerge from the sky since Kaylee Frye.
Raven has already endured and survived life-threatening injuries, and yet I find it to be significant that they would mention she has a heart murmur. I’m fairly certain that a) they will not kill off one of their most resourceful and badass female characters this soon and b) they wouldn’t do so with something like a pre-existing medical condition. That being said, I’ve learned not to grow too attached to beloved characters in sci-fi, let alone ones living in a new universe where future tech and medicine may lead to or be responsible for their demise.
Ravens are spirit animals, intelligent creatures that serve as messengers. They are also symbols of freedom, and a link between Heaven and Earth – able to roam the land and soar through the sky. This particular Raven flew from the Ark down to the ground, with a message from Abby. I’d pick her first too.
On The 100, the Ark is appropriately named, a variation on Noah’s Ark, in space – a haven where families were safe from the destruction of Earth below, 97 years ago.
Given the scarcity of resources up on the Ark for almost a century, as well as their one-child-per-family law, I assume that mandatory birth control was administered for population control. But down on the ground, the remaining Sky People are certainly not protected in the same way. So it seems rather inevitable that given the natural progression of many relationships on the show, there will be an Ark (or former Ark, in Octavia’s case) baby born in the near future on The 100.
Following the apocalypse down on Earth, a melting pot of human survivors from a wide variety of nations linked together to form and survive up on the Ark in space: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Japan, Russia, the UK, the U.S., Uganda and Venezuela. If I had one complaint about The 100, it would be that the Ark survivors now on the ground are seemingly all from the United States and not very representative of said international communities. But my issue may be prematurely stated, as we have yet to meet all surviving Sky People and there is plenty of opportunity for new character introduction and integration in future seasons.
I have a new appreciation for how early, on the 2-season build up to the Mount Weather, confrontation was constructed and executed. As early as episode 1.3, acid fog was deployed. At the time, the Ark survivors did not know it emanated from Mount Weather, nor did they have any clue that the location was even occupied until Lincoln mentioned Mountain Men later in the season.
Fun fact: in the U.S. prison system, Level 5 is the highest level of security. Mount Weather was a former military base and bunker, and their residences and mess hall were located on Level 5. In the end, it was too secure – they were trapped and killed on the very level they called home.
For what it’s worth, I am at a loss to explain why a military base is filled with valuable art. Given the pristine condition of the art, the archive was already in Mount Weather when the bombs were dropped. I can only assume that someone from ALIE’s camp preemptively stole art from around the globe and preserved it for future history lessons (just a reminder: ALIE is the hologram in the red dress that Jaha encounters at the end of S2; see further ALIE theories below).
Random aside: I am particularly fond of the fact that they used Mount Weather as a set and location on The 100, as the real Mount Weather in Virginia happens to be a place that Mulder visited in the very last episode of The X-Files.
PART 2: PARALLELS
I am quite fond of a show that takes the time to circle back and make references to lines of dialogue or scenes from earlier episodes and seasons. Although most have been subtle, there have been a few that stand out on The 100.
By the end of the S1, Clarke and Bellamy had become authoritative leaders together on the ground through action and organization, sharing the responsibilities and burdens therein. By the end of S2, Clarke and Lexa had taken on similar duties and concerns for their people, while Bellamy was away saving the day in Mount Weather. Both duos delivered bone-chilling ‘Live Together, Die Alone’-style speeches to their gathered masses throughout the first two seasons, presenting joint leadership and united fronts.
In part 1 of the S2 finale, Clarke and Lexa push the button together to blow open the Mount Weather door. In part 2 of the S2 finale, Clarke and Bellamy push the lever together to eradiate the Mount Weather people on Level 5.
Up on the Ark, Abby was constantly trying to save her people by using her medical expertise. Down on Earth, Clarke was doing exactly the same.
Long before having to make the horrifying decision to kill Finn, lest he be tortured and killed at the hands of the Grounders, Clarke mercy-killed Bellamy’s Ark buddy Atom after he was exposed to acid fog.
Folks stranded on the Ark volunteered for the Culling, to sacrifice their lives so that others could live longer with the remaining oxygen and supplies. They gathered in a central location for the air to be turned off, and after they perished, Abby slowly surveyed the scene with great sadness. A short time later down on Earth, folks in Mount Weather were gathered in a central location when the outside air was suddenly turned on, killing all remaining residents. After she eradiated the people in Mount Weather on level 5, Clarke slowly surveyed the scene with great horror. A chilling mother/daughter parallel scenario.
Bellamy was a Cadet up on the Ark, but he never made Guard. The beauty of Bellamy’s heroic actions at the end of S2 is that he did so in a Guard uniform. Granted, it was a Mount Weather Guard uni, but it is a powerful visual nonetheless.
The drop ship food hut caught on fire in S1, destroying all of the Ark survivors’ food. In S2, Finn lights a Grounder food hut on fire, destroying their sustenance.
Toward the end of S1, Bellamy tells Clarke she could use a drink. In the S2 finale, he tells her that they deserve one.
In the days leading up to their joint attack on Mount Weather, Lexa told Clarke that “sometimes you have to concede a battle to win a war.” After making a deal with the Mountain Men, Lexa told Clarke that “the duty to protect my people comes first.”
Similarly, Clarke had acknowledged to Lexa that “you may be heartless, but at least you’re smart.” And that is why Lexa reiterated after Mount Weather that “I made this choice with my head and not my heart.”
Ghost Wells told his father Jaha up on the Ark that “you’re not done yet; you’ve got work to do.” A short time later, ALIE informed Jaha that “we have work to do.”
Part 3: Theories! Wild Speculation, Magical Conjecture and Crazy Coincidences
A.L.I.E & JAHA
Confession: I might be obsessed with A.L.I.E. more than any other character on The 100. Let’s begin with her name: ALIE(n)! Or perhaps Artificial Life Intelligence Extraterrestrial.
“I tried to stop her, but I lost control. She got the launch codes. It was her. She did it. It was MY fault. I’m sorry.” – Lighthouse Larry
From here on out, for lack of an actual name, I will refer to the distraught and deceased man in the lighthouse man cave as Lighthouse Larry. From the video that Murphy watched, we can safely assume that Larry designed and programmed ALIE at least 97 years ago, in 2052 (which places current day on The 100 in the year 2149, according to my math). In addition to the massive amounts of data she absorbed during programming, it seems she also learned an essential human skill: emotional manipulation. Given modern technology today, just imagine what it will be like that far in the future.
ALIE’s DNA likely consists of nanotech, molecularly manufactured artificial intelligence created atom by atom. She may be the first human replicate, with a brain far more powerful than any human remaining on Earth.
“The Singularity will represent the culmination of the merger of our biological thinking and existence with our technology, resulting in a world that is still human but that transcends our biological roots. here will be no distinction, post-singularity, between human and machine nor between physical and virtual reality. If you wonder what will remain unequivocally human in such a world, it’s simply this quality: ours is the species that inherently seeks to extend its physical and mental reach beyond current limitations.”
– Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near
The 100 has boldly applied Kurzweil’s prescient notions by creating ALIE as the singularity; in this case, the Big Bad – a super computer responsible an apocalypse that almost wiped out humanity. With a blatant yet appreciated nod to Number Six on Battlestar Galactica, the show quite cleverly disguises the evil technology as a ridiculously attractive woman wearing a beautiful red dress. The color red typically indicates love, but in ALIE’s case I believe they’re implying more of Devil than Cupid.
If I had to guess, the solar panels in the City of Light were set up to harvest solar energy, tapping into the sun’s energy and heat in order to power ALIE’s tech. The City of Light serves as nothing more than a mirage, a false beacon of hope to those who have been lured by mythology to attempt the journey, and a front that simply fields her energy source.
“The Lord said, I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
– Genesis, Chapter 6 (New Revised Standard Version)
Perhaps in her instant digital absorption of all historical texts, ALIE took this Bible verse to heart. We have no idea what prompted her to destroy the planet, but ALIE has been over-programmed to the point where she believes herself to be an omniscient being and the sole controller on Earth.
I have to imagine that in order to pull off what she did 97 years ago, after acquiring Larry’s launch codes, ALIE hacked into all military systems around the globe to position the bombs that eradicated most of the planet. Only her immediate surroundings remained intact, and great lengths were taken to secure very particular items and buildings in advance.
In essence, ALIE is the now world’s watchtower, the ultimate Panopticon* – an omnipresent entity monitoring every remaining human being both up in the sky and on down on land. After the bombs dropped, and because of her very advanced tech, ALIE essentially took control of both planet Earth and the air space above.
*The Panopticon was originally conceived by British philosopher Jeremy Bentham as an architectural system designed for around-the-clock surveillance. The people being watched are unable to see their observer, and most are unaware that they are being observed or that they have very little privacy.
I strongly believe that ALIE has been monitoring all Earth and Sky communications for the last century. She is probably keenly aware of the remaining 12 clans, allowing them to fight amongst themselves and battle new Earth intruders. And yet ALIE has an unknown yet essential and intriguing connection to the Grounders.
Because of the muffled static signal that Monty heard on all frequencies of Mount Weather’s communications system, he believed that the Mountain Men were responsible for jamming the Ark communications system (which brought the Exodus ship crashing down to Earth). But more than likely, it was ALIE. Her primary interest, aside from acquiring the intact missile, is technology. Crashing a spaceship in your backyard conveniently provides an amazing array of electronic equipment.
The desert Grounders living in the sand (“wastelanders”) are technology scavengers, an indication that they may work for ALIE . . . likely without having any idea who she is, what she looks like or where she is located. Yet this same faction of Grounders is also loyal to Lexa (which was revealed when they delivered Jaha to her upon his capture). I can’t imagine that Lexa has met ALIE, nor is she aware of or would believe in an overseeing presence on the planet. Color me confused and entirely invested.
I surmise that the sea creatures that attacked Octavia in S1 and Jaha’s boat in S2 are part of Earth’s new security system – created, controlled and dispatched by ALIE. That Lincoln has a drawing of this creature in his notebook suggests that ALIE has not hesitated to enforce boundaries within the clans before, using them whenever she sees fit.
This I know for sure – ALIE is not working alone. An AI is incapable of the physical activities she oversees. From cleaning up the remains of leftover Lighthouse Larry to magically relocating the missile to her house, we must assume that she has corporeal minions.
“I thought this was my destiny.” – Jaha
“It is, Thelonious. You were meant to come here.” – ALIE
ALIE is the woman behind the curtain in Oz, The Architect of The Matrix, the Island on LOST. She chose Thelonius Jaha, the John Locke of The 100, who believes that everything happens for a reason – a man of faith, with visions and a very strong belief in destiny. Before Jaha, there were likely many Others recruited for specific missions, only to be exterminated after outgrowing their usefulness. The skeletons in ALIE’s virtual closet likely line the technology-strewn beaches beneath the abandoned boats of failed truth seekers along her shores.
It also seems within the realm of real possibility that ALIE programmed imaginary baby Wells up on the Ark to reinvigorate Jaha; her impetus to get him to figure out that her coveted missile was his ride down to Earth.
“Curiouser and curiouser.” – Jaha
ALIE’s wild goose chase was Jaha’s white rabbit, and she led him down numerous rabbit holes along the way with one goal in mind: getting the missile down to her on the ground.
For whatever reason, ALIE does not seem to be concerned by Murphy or his quick inhabitation of her former programmer’s man cave. Perhaps Murphy is part of ALIE’s master plan, allowed to live because he is associated with Jaha and may come in handy down the line.
We have to ponder what ALIE’s end game really is. There is not much left to destroy, so perhaps the missile is for another future execrable endeavor.
“Midway on our life’s journey, I found myself in dark woods, the right road lost.”
– Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy
Italian poet Alighieri’s literary masterpiece Divine Comedy contains a famous section called “Inferno,” a metaphor about Dante’s odyssey though the nine circles of Hell on Earth: anger, fraud, greed, heresy, limbo, lust, treachery and violence. If those circles ring a bell, it is because our Ark friends discover a fresh hell on Earth brimming with these exact harbingers when they land on the ground.
Although there are only seven levels in Mount Weather, the internal structure of this former military base actually resembles an inverted version of what has been illustrated as Dante’s Inferno. Flip that mountain on its head, and the layers of Dante Wallace’s mismanaged House of Hades are revealed.
Dante Alighieri is the hero in his own story and feels his own experiences represent his entire community. Paging Dante Wallace!
“Deliverance comes at a cost. I bear it so they don’t have to.” – Dante Wallace
In yet another coincidence between The 100 and Divine Comedy, in Canto I of “Inferno,” Dante loses his way and finds himself following his “true path” toward the light. He encounters a she-wolf that no one has yet been able to tame or overthrow. Jaha/ALIE and Dante/Clarke, party of two!
But perhaps the most intriguing comparison may be between the Ninth Circle of Hell (Treachery) and the Ice Nation. In the poem, traitors are encased in ice and frozen in a lake if their deception leads to the betrayal of an important relationship. Let’s just hope that Clarke does not wander anywhere near the Ice Nation during her travels, especially if their Queen knows that Clarke and Lexa escaped tonDC or suspects that they’re . . . close.
Grounder Echo, newly freed from her Mount Weather cage, is part of the Ice Nation clan. We know that relations between Lexa’s Grounders and the Ice Nation are strained at best, so Echo’s reintegration with her people and interaction with Lexa should prove to be quite significant in S3.
Almost all of the character names on The 100 are based on authors and important figures from the past, but I’d like to think that Echo was named, in part, after catecholamines (neurotransmitters released during times of stress to help prepare the body for fight or flight). Given what Echo has been through in Mount Weather, it is apt, if not entirely coincidental.
THE ICE NATION
The 100 show runner Jason Rothenberg confirmed on Twitter that the Ice Nation’s top advisor and war chief who attended the meeting in tonDC were both killed when the village was bombed. When the Ice Nation Queen gets word that Lexa and the leader of the Sky People escaped before the bomb dropped, Clarke will be in even more grave danger out there on her own. Tensions between Lexa and this Grounder faction were already running high due to their history and Costia, and Lexa certainly won’t stand to let history repeat itself. Love may be weakness, but that won’t stop her from protecting Clarke under any circumstance, if given the chance again.
IT’S ALL GREEK TO ME
In Mount Weather, evil Dr. Tsing references the Cerberus Program. In Greek mythology, Cerberus was a three-headed dog beast that guarded the underworld (Dante himself encountered Cerberus in Divine Comedy). It is safe to say that capturing and caging human beings for bloodletting qualifies as the underworld on The 100. Dr. Tsing and Dante Wallace were designating specific Grounders to become a special breed of Reaper, controlled by chemical injections and high-pitched sounds, to be used as their security system. These human beings were being made into guard dogs for Mount Weather.
Polis is simply a Greek word for ‘city.’ Rothenberg has stated that the Grounder city capital of Polis is NOT Annapolis, as many of us had speculated – so it could be any number of former cities. Thankfully they do not waste precious screen time on The 100 by showing us endless hikes through various terrains to get from one location to another, but it is challenging to determine just WHERE Polis may be.
I choose to believe that because Lexa’s name derives from Alexandria, there is a logistical connection to location. The distance between Alexandria, VA and Washington DC makes sense if the Grounder capital is actually located there (roughly an 8 mile walk). On this show, it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary for a clan’s capital city to relate to their Commander’s namesake. If Virginia is Grounder territory, I’m looking forward to finding out if the other 11 clans claim land in any of the original 13 U.S. colonies. Of course there are 13 colonies and 12 clans . . . that we know of. Maybe the Ark survivors/Sky People will be the 13th clan to form on Earth.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Jaha was in the desert badlands of what used to be Manhattan during his journey toward the City of Light, 250 miles or so away from his people. So he and Murphy are now even farther away from all remaining Sky People, in an unknown location. I have to speculate that ALIE was responsible for guiding their boat across the sea, to land them on her shore. Although it appears that the lighthouse man cave and her palatial White House are on an island somewhere, I tend to believe that the location is just a coastal region somewhere along the Atlantic Ocean. Maybe even the Hamptons (ALIE “lives” in a fancy mansion on the water after all)! Of course she would have the capability to program their route, the boat and the sea monster that quickly dispatched of Jaha’s two Red Shirts.
Manhattan is now a massive sand city populated by “wastelander” Grounders who likely sought out refuge there after being exposed to acid fog or other biochemical warfare dispensed by the Mountain Men (future generations were born with deformities, likely after parents were exposed). But as I mentioned previously, these Grounders remain as loyal to the Commander as those on the battlefield in the forests.
We have yet to meet her, but in episode 1.12 Lincoln told Clarke to “chart a course to the Eastern Sea. There’s a clan there, led by a woman called Luna, a friend. Tell her I sent you.”
Luna is the Grounder clan leader of the “Boat People.” It is questionable whether it is pure coincidence that Jaha magically finds a boat to take them to ALIE Island. In addition to the wasterlander Grounders, Luna may also very well be connected to or aligned with ALIE – perhaps as the Machine’s actual physical eyes and ears on the ground. If that is the case, Luna is potentially a fraudulent friend and danger to Lincoln, and by association, to the Sky People.
The Eastern Sea where Luna is based likely refers to the Atlantic Coast on the East Coast of the United States. Exactly in the region where I believe ALIE is located.
As for her name – the original Luna Park amusement park on Coney Island in New York just happened to be covered in over 250,000 lights. Just a note to keep Luna, the City of Lights and location in the back of your mind as S3 unfolds.
THE NUMBER 12
Following the apocalypse, 12 space ships linked up in the sky (originally 13; one was lost) and 12 clans made an accord on the ground. We can chalk it up to yet another terrific Battlestar Galactica homage, but of course my mind wanders to other convoluted options as well.
The Majestic 12 was rumored to be a top-secret committee of twelve people investigating extraterrestrial activity, created by President Truman back in the 1947 after a UFO allegedly crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. They were concerned with what was to be done with the alien technology found aboard the spacecraft. ALIE seems to have reverse-engineered and remedied that process, given her immaculate acquisition of missiles a century ago and again in present day.
Additionally, the number 12 Tarot card is The Hanged Man or “suspension person,” symbolizing suspension between physical and mystical worlds. It represents sacrifice – in order to gain, you must give. Quite fitting with the Grounder belief in reincarnation and “blood must have blood.”
While religion does not seem to play an obvious role 97 years in the future, spirituality is strong among those who survived the apocalypse. The Grounders believe in reincarnation, in the transmigration of souls from one leader to another.
“When I die, my spirit will find the next commander.” – Lexa
Although I hope that Lexa remains their Commander from start to finish on The 100, I do look forward to the day when the Grounders find themselves startled by her successor – when it turns out to be Octavia, formerly of the Sky People.
Then again, Lexa did tell Clarke that, “You were born for this. Same as me.” Cue many of our worst-case scenario imaginations running wild, as we envision Lexa eventually dying in Clarke’s arms, their spirits forever intertwined.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Cage Wallace. A little on the nose, that one. The man who cages human beings in a bunker dungeon? Got it.
We know that The 100 is named for the 100 Ark kids sent down to Earth, but there are some other compelling coincidences. 100 is the atomic number of the synthetic element fermium, which is toxic due to radioactivity. In the 1950’s, Fermium was discovered in the debris of a thermonuclear explosion in the Pacific Ocean. It is worth pointing this out because our favorite new A.I. collects nuclear missiles, and her destruction of the planet 97 years ago left the ground covered in radiation.
Another interesting factoid about the number 100 is that the Karman line lies at an altitude of 100 kilometers above the Earth’s sea level, and commonly represents the boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.
SEASON 3 PREDICTIONS
Without a doubt, we will witness the mental anguish and psychological damage suffered by the Grounders and Ark survivors who were held captive in Mount Weather; both parties will experience lingering trauma that informs and affects all future relationships (friendly and hostile).
“You should come with me to the capitol. Polis will change the way you think about us.” – Lexa
“You already have.” – Clarke
While it would be fantastic to see Clarke head to the capital (Polis) and reunite with Lexa in the beginning of S3, I feel that would be too obvious – and too soon. However, it would be VERY interesting to see Lexa’s reaction when she hears about how Clarke saved her people and eliminated the Mountain Men. I have a feeling that this may be the catalyst for Lexa to seek out and find Clarke (if Lexa returns next season).
Regardless of Debnam-Carey’s availability (she is currently starring in and contractually committed to Fear The Walking Dead), the focus in S3 won’t be and shouldn’t be primarily on Clarke and Lexa. Yes, Debnam-Carey’s series also films in Vancouver, but the shows are on different networks and logistics may prevent her from appearing at all or frequently.
Keep in mind that if and when Clarke and Lexa reunite, it will not be easy for either of them. No matter how long they will have been apart since Lexa departed Mount Weather with her people, and even if Clarke understands exactly why Lexa did what she did – defensive walls will be up and trust will have be earned again. So manage your expectations, because it is highly unlikely that Clarke will run right into Lexa’s arms when they see each another for the first time again – let alone fall into her bed.
Harper and Monty: yes please! Really, more focus on Monty (Christopher Larkin), Harper (Chelsey Reist) and Monroe (Katie Stuart) in S3 would be fantastic.
“Under the terms of the truce, the lands surrounding the Mountain are forbidden.” – Indra
The truce between Lexa’s Grounders and the Mountain Men will have been nullified now that the entire population of Mount Weather is deceased. I can’t imagine that Abby, Kane and the remaining Sky People would disregard all of the weapons, supplies, food and technology/surveillance equipment in Mount Weather. I expect to see many Camp Jaha folks pitching in to help remove and bury or burn the bodies, and then gather necessities from within the facility – but not move in or use it for shelter.
I am thrilled about the possibility of being introduced to different clans and regions on post-apocalyptic Earth. It would not at all be surprising to meet the Ice Nation, especially because of their acrimonious history with Lexa and how Clarke might respond to encountering them (knowing what she does about Costia).
Jaha will have no choice but to work with and for ALIE. Something tells me her plan involves Murphy as well, but he will not be happy about having to leave his new man cave. Audacious prediction: Murphy takes an actual shower! Or he just drinks himself silly and binge watches LOST.
May we meet again (a popular phrase from The 100, and my new “see you in another life, brother”)! I will be covering all new episodes of The 100 for SciFi Mafia when the show returns in the fall, deconstructing each new episode every week.
As always, I encourage your constructive feedback and commentary. My hope is that you absorb and enjoy the weekly analysis, and then engage in conversation about it with me here and on social media! You can find me on Twitter @JOpinionated.
Please also check out and follow The 100 Charity Project, a charitable endeavor to inspire fans of the show to make a difference by supporting various causes. My interview with founders Devon Bostick (Jasper on The 100) and Layne Morgan (The 100 writers’ PA) can be found here.
The 100, starring Eliza Taylor, Paige Turco, Thomas McDonell, Marie Avgeropoulos, Bob Morley, Christopher Larkin, Devon Bostick, Isaiah Washington, Ricky Whittle, Lindsey Morgan, Richard Harmon and Henry Ian Cusick, returns for Season 3 in the fall on The CW.