Series: The 100

Survival isn't who you are. It's who you become. note 

"Who we are and who we need to be to survive are two very different things."
Bellamy Blake

The 100 (pronounced "The Hundred") is an American post-apocalyptic drama series airing on The CW. It is based on the novel of the same name by Kass Morgan. The series premiered on March 19, 2014, following Arrow.

Ninety-seven years prior to the start of the series, Earth was devastated by a nuclear war, killing all inhabitants and washing the planet in radiation. The only survivors of the human race were residents of twelve space stations, which were later combined into a single massive station called The Ark.

Fast-forward to the present day: One-hundred convicted juvenile offenders are sent down to Earth on a special mission to determine whether or not it has become safe to inhabit again. If they survive the mission, they'll be cleared of their crimes. However, many of the youth have mixed feelings about helping the society that threw them away, despite the fact that said society is deteriorating faster than its highers-up would like the general population to believe. Further complicating matters is the revelation that — despite what the Ark previously believed — the 100 are not alone on Earth.

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Tropes present in this series:

  • Absentee Actor: So far the only cast members to be in every episode are Eliza Taylor, Bob Morley and Marie Avgeropoulos.
  • Accidental Murder: The flares they sent up to signal the Ark burned down one of the Grounder villages by accident. Their leaders take this as a sign of war.
  • Action Girl: Several Grounder women are as competent in battle as the men — Anya, Lexa, and Indra are the most prominent. Octavia becomes one after training from Indra.
  • Action Survivor: None of the 100 know anything about Earth and very few know anything about combat. Those who survive do so by slowly learning how to fight.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The books focus on little else besides the 100; the show does more worldbuilding by lending focus to the adults on the Ark and the Mountain Men, and goes deeper into Grounder culture.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • From "The Colony" in the books to "The Ark" on the show.
    • People who survived the nuclear winter are called "Earthborn" in the books while the show calls them "Grounders."
  • Adapted Out: Glass and her storyline are not present in the series, which focuses on Wells, Clarke, Bellamy (the other 3 POVs, and that's before Wells is offed by Death by Adaptation) and the rest of the 100. Conversely, a bunch of Canon Foreigners were created. Other characters to be cut from the novels include Thalia, Luke, Lilly, Asher, and Graham.
  • After the End: 97 years after a nuclear war that spanned the globe.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: On The Ark, all crimes are punishable by death unless you're under eighteen years of age. This is for population control purposes, as there is limited life support on The Ark.
  • Alliterative Name: Bellamy Blake, Raven Reyes, Jasper Jordan, pilot-only character Callie Cartwig.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Though the Grounders are revealed to be much more complicated than as first appears, both they and the 100 so far seem to regard the Reapers this way. They're brutal warriors who attack everyone in sight. Later they're revealed to be Grounders harvested by the Mountain Men, turned feral by way of a Fantastic Drug.
  • Anyone Can Die: The fact that Earth is a Death World takes a heavy toll on the character roster. There is no Infant Immortality and only a small measure of Plot Armour (like when at the end of season 1 the Ark descended to the earth and the projected 5% that didn't break up on re-entry was the one with most of the main characters on it - although even this is questionable as the 5% referred to what part of the Ark would survive, so everyone got into that 5%, which comprised around 12 escape pods, 1 of which, with the main characters on it, has been focused on, 1 of which blew up, and 10 of which have an unknown fate thus far).
  • Apocalypse How: Caused by a nuclear war. The effect was "Planetary/Societal Collapse" for Earth and "Societal Disruption" for the Ark.
  • Anarchy Is Chaos: The 100 are a mess after Bellamy takes the reins and declares that they can do "whatever [they] want, whenever [they] want." It takes Wells and Charlotte's deaths and Murphy's exile to make them realize they need laws.
  • Artificial Intelligence: The Stinger for the end of the second season revealed that an AI was waiting for Jaha since he brought her a nuke unwittingly when he landed.
  • Artistic License Biology: While most of the series stays in the realm of the believable, the whole plot around the bone marrow injections does require a heavier measure of your Willing Suspension of Disbelief. The Mountain Men, unable to metabolize the radiation outside their mountain home, inject themselves with the bone marrow of the 44 Sky People they have hostage. Even if you could use bone marrow to jump start a genetic trait that one doesn't already possess (which is doubtful, but it's the future, so...), they still have only 44 potential donors. That's not enough genetic diversity to match to every one of the Mount Weather residents. Finding even one match would be extraordinarily unlikely.
    • Plus, radiation does not cause instantaneous burning and blistering in susceptible individuals. In fact, it's almost entirely the opposite: damage from radiation (except in extremely high doses, far above what humans could possibly "adapt" to) is almost entirely internal, and is not apparent until a good deal of time after exposure.
  • Artistic License Engineering: In the second season, Jaha descends to the ground using a nuclear missile. We can assume that it wasn't specifically converted into a shuttle because the warhead is still inside, yet it has a braking parachute and enough internal room for Jaha to climb aboard.
  • Badass Boast: Clarke to her mother:
    Clarke: You may be the chancellor but I am in charge.
    • Raven gets one when Bellamy points out that the bridge she intends to destroy has survived nuclear war and one hundred years of weather.
    Raven: It won't survive me. (It doesn't.)
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Heavily averted - whenever anyone gets wounded on this show the effects remain for the next several episodes (e.g. Clarke takes plenty of punishment after escaping Mount Weather, and the evidence remains clear afterwards).
  • Better The Devil You Know: Chancellor Jaha willingly allows the execution of all criminals over age eighteen, even those who have committed minor crimes (and in some cases, none at all). That said, Abigail, whose husband was executed under Jaha's administration because he knew too much, says she prefers having Jaha in power over Kane and even risks being executed herself to keep him alive.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Bellamy and Octavia's relationship in spades. Bellamy's one redeeming character trait before Character Development is his care and protection towards Octavia (and even then, he was overprotective). His protection of Charlotte is also suggested to be due to his big brother instinct.
  • Biological Weapons Solve Everything: The Grounders send Murphy after infecting him with a virus to leave them all feverish and weak as they invade and kill them in the morning. It doesn't quite work, but only through quick thinking on the 100's part.
  • Bi the Way: Clarke, who has been attracted to both Finn and Lexa.
  • Blood from Every Orifice: The virus the Grounders send the 100 has people bleeding from the eyes, mouth, and nose.
  • Book Ends: Clarke starts and ends the first season alone, locked in an empty room with a painting of the night sky.
  • Born-Again Immortality: The Grounders note  believe this is what happens to their Commanders: when they die their spirits choose the next Commander and are reborn.
  • Boxed Crook: All 100 of the juveniles sent to Earth. If they succeed in their mission to Earth (read: survive, thus proving the habitability of the planet), then they will be pardoned for their crimes.
  • Brains: Evil; Brawn: Good: While the Grounders are the antagonists throughout much of the series, they do become allies (albeit via Teeth-Clenched Teamwork with the Sky People and many of their disputes come from misunderstandings. Meanwhile, the high-tech Mountain Men are willing to perform horrendous experiments and murder teenagers so that they themselves can go outside.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The Reapers, who are Grounders forcibly given a drug to turn them feral.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: The entire surviving human population is descended from the astronauts who were living on space stations at the time of the nuclear war...or so they thought. Turns out Earth is a bit more populated.
  • Canon Foreigner: The rest of the 100 that aren't Wells, Clarke, Octavia, and Bellamy were not identified by name in the book, let alone given personalities.
  • Character Development: Most of the core characters undergo this to a high degree.
    • Clarke goes from a naive All-Loving Hero into a Pragmatic Hero willing to do morally ambiguous things to survive.
    • Bellamy starts as a selfish anarchist whose one redeeming trait is his care for Octavia, but grows into a dependable leader who genuinely cares about the others.
    • Finn begins the series as a charming, devil-may-care rebel but becomes The Conscience of the group. And then Season 2 happened.
    • Octavia is impulsive, spontaneous, and rebellious, but matures considerably into someone willing to put her life on the line for those she loves.
    • Kane is initially willing to sacrifice people for the rest of the population, but has a Heel Realization and ends up trying to keep everyone else alive.
    • Jasper is awkward and dorky at the beginning, but is forced to grow up considerably in Season 2 after becoming the de facto leader of the 47 trying to keep them alive. The events of the second season finale were especially hard on him. The scene where Raven gives him back his goggles (which he'd been without for the entirety of the season due to being in Mount Weather) is supposed to symbolize how much he's changed.
    • Raven's character development focuses on how she starts to depend less on Finn and more on herself.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture:
    • Happened to Lexa's dead girlfriend in her backstory; she was kidnapped and tortured by a rival clan.
    • Also done to Murphy by the Grounders.
  • Cold Equation: With only four months left of life support for the Ark's current population, the option is quickly raised to "reduce" the population to buy time to repair it. There are only enough drop ships for 700 people and there are over 2000 on the Ark. So who gets to go on?
  • Con Lang: Trigedasleng, the other language spoken by the Grounders, which seems to be at least partially based on English.
    • The creator of the language says that it is derived from English, specifically from codes used by survivors to identify if someone was friend or foe. If you understood the words you were presumably a member of the group. It then developed into a language of it's own with distinct rules.
  • Crapsack World: The Ark is barely maintaining long-term life support, to the point where population control is in effect, adult criminals are executed regardless of the severity of the crime, and if that's not enough people are culled to reduce the load on the systems. Earth, while habitable, is a dangerous place even before the 100 discover that it is already inhabited by people who regard them as invaders. Survival — for those who manage to survive — often comes at the cost of great personal sacrifice and/or committing horrible acts against other people when their attempts to survive come into conflict with yours.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Bellamy's rescue team vs. Grounders. A group of juveniles up against hardened warriors born and raised in a hostile and lethal forest on the Grounders own territory. No surprise what happened next..
    • Octavia tries to go up against a seasoned Grounder warrior in "Survival of the Fittest." The end result is...not pretty.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Clarke gets the lion's share of viewpoint, but occasionally other characters will be focused on during the episode's main plot and/or backstory.
    • "His Sister's Keeper" tells the Blake siblings' backstories and explains why Bellamy is so hellbent on looking out for Octavia.
    • "Spacewalker" focuses on Finn and Raven, showing part of why Raven is so devoted to him.
  • Death World: Earth might not be as radioactive as feared, but between the deadly weather, hostile wildlife, even more hostile locals, and each other, it's not a very safe place for The 100 to live...and as it turns out later, Earth is actually radioactive, The Sky People and The Grounders are just immune to the radioactivity because they adapted over the century.
  • Downer Ending: The season 2 finale. Mount Weather releases their Grounder prisoners so Lexa takes her army and goes home, leaving Clarke high and dry. Clarke is forced into an escalating duel of wills with Cage Wallace, which eventually leads her to flood the mountain with radiation and kill all within, including Maya. The remaining Ark crew finally return home but Clarke can't bring herself to join them. In the B-plot, Jaha discovers that the nuclear warhead from the missile he rode to the ground has fallen into the possession of the insane A.I. that started the nuclear war in the first place.
    Clarke: I tried to be the good guy.
    Abby: Maybe there are no good guys.
  • The Dreaded: The "Reapers", a breed of Grounder so terrifying that even Anya and her tribe of hardened warriors don't dare venture into the tunnels that the Reapers call home.
  • Driven to Suicide: Pre-teen Charlotte (the youngest of the young convicts sent to Earth), guilt-ridden over having killed Wells in a misguided attempt to quiet her inner demons and unwilling to be the cause of any more bloodletting, averts Infant Immortality big time by jumping off a cliff to her death.
  • Dropped After the Pilot: In the pilot, Abigail had a best friend called Callie Cartwig who was an important enough member of the Ark that she could act as liaison between the rulers and the people and speak on the council's behalf, and openly confronted Kane. She isn't even mentioned passed the first episode due to budgetary reasons, and Word of God is the character was executed offscreen.
  • Duel to the Death: Phase 2 of the Cerberus Program involves two Grounders killing each other for another dose of the Psycho Serum, which they're addicted to. Those that kill the loser go on to become Reapers.
  • Dwindling Party:
    • The 100 don't number a hundred for very long, much to the chagrin of their leaders. To give you an idea, they were actually "the 98" within the first twenty minutes of the show. The producers have joked that by the end of the first season, they should be called "The 50". In the first season finale, Bellamy notes that 18 people have died out of the population of 102...and that's before the battle with the Grounders. In the second season, they have the additional threat of the Mountain Men wanting their ability to withstand radiation to contend with. By the second season finale 48 of the original 102 are left according to Word of God.
    • The band of followers Jaha takes with him to find the City of Light. By the second season finale's end, only he and Murphy are still alive.
  • Dystopia:
    • The Ark isn't a great place to live, what with harsh laws and the tight restrictions on resources and population, but it's mostly just a matter of trying to survive on limited resources. It's still not without reason that the kids are happy to be left to their own resources on Earth.
    • Mount Weather initially doesn't seem like one — the people are well-fed and content, they just can't go outside because of the high radiation. And then we learn they're harvesting Grounders for their blood.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: Discussed during Season 2. Lexa believes that Love Is a Weakness and that Clarke should follow her example if she wants to be an effective leader. Clarke tries and comes to the conclusion that closing yourself off to all feelings is pointless.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: Dolls or toys are sometimes found and focused upon in pre-war ruins, calling to mind the children's death. The second season finale has the football that some of the Mountain Men children were seen playing with - in the scene where they have all died from radiation, it makes a reappearance at the very edge of the screen, hinting at the children's corpses just beyond it.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Clarke works with Anya to escape Mount Weather in "Reapercussions." Despite the fact that Clarke basically saved Anya's life, Anya knocks her out and plans to take her back to the Grounders because she "can't show [her] face without a prize."
    • Camp Jaha and the Grounders are mistrustful of each other, but are willing to work together to take down Mount Weather because they both have people trapped inside.
  • Eternal English: Kinda. A hundred years of (mostly) mutual isolation and the Sky People, Grounders and Mountain Men can all understand each other perfectly fine in English, although the Grounders do have their own Con Lang.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Post-apocalyptic Earth is like this. Lampshaded in "Earth Kills":
    Wells: Alcohol is toxic.
    Finn: This is Earth. Everything is toxic.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Even the strictly controlled dystopia of the Ark is reluctant to kill children. It'll lock them up until eighteen and then execute them if their trial doesn't go well, and it'll use them as lab rats to determine if Earth is habitable again, but they are at least given something of a chance.
    • In "Murphy's Law", they had no problem with killing Murphy when he's believed to have killed Wells. But it's justified, considering the way he treats everyone. But when Charlotte confessed, they wouldn't kill her, which pissed off Murphy.
    • Murphy has shown himself to be a general Jerkass, who is quite comfortable with cold-blooded murder when he's not out being the local bully. But even he seems horrified when Finn wants to attack a village, starts threatening them, and especially when he starts killing them. Muprhy even tries to convince him to just leave on a few occasions. Likewise later when Jaha sacrifices their companion to keep him and Murphy un-eaten.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Finn and Clarke were talking about how her friend Wells betrayed her.
    Finn: Are you sure Wells told his dad?
    Clarke: He's the only person I told.
    Finn: But is he the only person who knew?
    [Clarke stops to think for a moment. The only other person who knew was... her mother.
  • Faking the Dead: Removing the wristband monitors makes the wearer appear to be dead as far as the people back on the Ark know. After the landing, Bellamy wants to make it appear that The 100 all died so the Ark won't send anybody else down, leaving them free to live by their own (lack of) rules.
  • Family of Choice: Because of their time on the ground away from the adults in space and the hardships they undertook to survive, the 100 become fiercely protective of each other and consider each other family.
  • Fanservice: Surprisingly for an Alloy Entertainment series on The CW but understandably given the premise, not that prevalent (although there is some, like Octavia's dip in the pilot and the rather snug legwear favoured by Clarke and her mother Abby).
  • Fantastic Racism: The Mountain Men see the Grounders as animals.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Grounders are increasingly looking like the First Nations, especially in relation to the would-be colonizers from the Ark.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Enforced by the Mountain Men by torching the village of any Grounder who so much as touches a gun (or any other kind of high technology).
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Due to All Crimes Are Equal, the tiniest misdemeanor is the same under the law as cold-blooded murder. However, although they are punished equally by the law, society hasn't come to view misdemeanors as death-worthy offenses and instead resents the laws, at best accepting them as a brutal necessity.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: During the pilot, five of the main cast, Clarke, Octavia, Jasper, Monty and Finn go off to Mount Weather to get food and supplies. During this hike, Jasper saves Octavia from being killed by a snake and then, after he tries to show off his courage, gets Impaled with Extreme Prejudice. The other four (except Octavia because she's injured from the snake) plus Bellamy go to save him. This results in them becoming close friends.
  • First Episode Spoiler: The reason the 100 were sent to Earth is because the Ark is dying, a fact those in charge are trying to keep from the general populace.
  • Five-Man Band: Usually the 100 will split into this.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: There's a possible truce between the Grounders and Camp Jaha in order to deal with Mount Weather. But, to solidify it, they want Finn to die for killing all of the innocent people at the village.
    • Cage dangles the recaptured Grounder prisoners and forces Lexa to choose between them, or her personal desire for justice and revenge...and Clarke/the alliance with the Skaikru. She chooses her duty to her people—even though she's obviously in pain, and Word of God says she had genuinely fallen in love with Clarke.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: The first part of season 2. By the fifth episode, they've converged.
    • Clarke escaping Mount Weather along with Anya, leaving the rest of the surviving 100 behind. After Clarke makes it back to Camp Jaha, scenes with Jasper, Monty, and Miller fill in this plotline.
    • Bellamy, Murphy, and Finn searching for Clarke and the others.
    • Abby and Kane struggling to lead Camp Jaha.
    • Octavia trying to find Lincoln and the others, coming into conflict with Grounders.
    • Jaha crashlanding on Earth after being left behind in "We Are Grounders pt. 2" and making it back to his people.
  • Future Slang: Averted. Slang doesn't appear to have evolved much at all during the last 97 years. A notable exception is the term "floated" used to refer to spacing.
  • Genocide Dilemma: The end of the Second Season comes down to whether Clarke will kill the innocent Mountain Men and the ones on their side to save her captured people. She and Bellamy ultimately go through with it, killing off the entirety of the Mountain Men population.
  • Gilded Cage: How Clarke sees Mount Weather, contrasting Jasper's view of it. She's not exactly wrong — they have great facilities, they're cared for, and the president actually seems like a pretty stand-up guy. The only downside is that you can't leave because the radiation will kill the residents. Except all this is riding on the backs of Grounders being drained for their blood, which is immune to radiation.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Even the best characters like Abby and Clarke have their flaws, while Kane and Bellamy, the initial main villains, are both Well-Intentioned Extremists. Interestingly however both their Dragons are substantially nastier than they are. The Grounders aren't too bad either; while brutal out of necessity they're only attacking Camp Jaha because some of the 100's moves were misconstrued as calls for war. Even the Mountain Men, despite using Grounders as blood bags, are doing so because they're trying to find a way back to the ground (even though they're smug and evil about it).
    Clarke: I tried to be the good guy.
    Abby: Maybe there are no good guys.
  • Hair Contrast Duo: Blonde, idealistic, caring Clarke with, well, pretty much everyone she interacts with at first, especially her more pragmatic mother and the older, moodier Bellamy.
  • Hereditary Republic: The Wallace family has held the Presidency of Mount Weather for three generations since Dante Wallace's father. His son Cage takes it from him in a coup, however.
  • He Knows Too Much: Clarke's father was executed because he found out that The Ark was running out of life support systems and tried to go public with it.
  • Human Resources: The Mountain Men capture Grounders and use their blood when they need transfusions.
    • Also the bone marrow treatments. Seems to be the Mountain Men's thing.
  • I Did What I Had to Do:
    • Multiple people on the Ark claim they alone are doing what must be done. Kane uses it to justify ordering Abby's execution for breaking a minor law to save Chancellor Jaha, while she says she did what she had to do to save Jaha so Kane would not become Chancellor.
    • This is basically the go-to answer to any morally dubious actions taken in the series.
  • The Immune:
    • The Grounders and the Ark-survivors are able to live on the surface because they had adapted over time, with Natural Selection ensuring that immune grounders passed it on and the Ark-survivors grew up with solar radiation, which is even stronger. The people who live in the underground base didn't, so any exposure to the outside world could kill them.
    • Octavia, Jasper, and Finn are immune to the virus the Grounders send to weaken the camp.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. Not even kids are safe on the Death World. Shown when preteen Charlotte is Driven to Suicide and young Artigas is shown to be one of the victims of the Grounder massacre. Bellamy is notably conflicted about killing off the innocent kids in Mount Weather, but he and Clarke end up doing it to keep the Sky People safe.
  • Info Dump: The pilot starts with a rather massive one that manages to load the main backstory into a couple of minutes of narration and As You Know conversations.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Murphy and Jaha on their journey in season 2. They do grow closer, but it's also happening in the middle of the latter's Sanity Slippage.
  • Involuntary Battle to the Death: The Grounders force this on Jaha and Kane, with the ultimatum that both of them will die if they refuse. They refuse for two days, instead discussing how to broker peace. Turns out to have been a Secret Test of Character by Lexa, who had posed as a slave girl in order to decide whether their desire for peace was genuine.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • In the second episode: "I thought you said there are no rules."
    • In the third: "I have to slay my demons."
    • "I Am Become Death" has "Bygones." Though spoken by the same person in each case, the context is radically different.
    • In S2-E16, Lincoln injects Cage with the same drug used to turn Lincoln into a Reaper. As Cage dies, Lincoln says "the first dose is the worst." This is the same thing Cage said when he dosed Lincoln.
    • Likewise, just before taking Jasper away to harvest, Doctor Tsing says to the teens "I want you to know, you're very special to us." Guess what Jasper says shortly afterwards, when she's dying of radiation exposure?
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In "Murphy's Law", Murphy is brutally beaten and nearly hanged for a murder he didn't commit-he is very much pissed off afterwards. He then calls for the death of the real murderer, who Bellamy and Clarke are protecting from him. The fact that it's a little girl means nothing to him. While Murphy is a jerkass deserving of a beating, his near death by lynching is ignored by everyone and ordered by Bellamy, who helped hang him, to simply drop it. None of this would have happened had Clarke not incited a lynch mob in the first place. Murphy raises the question why it's okay to hang him but not the real murderer and Clarke acknowledges she shouldn't have pressed the accusation in public.
    • Abigail breaks the law by using more than the allocated medicine to save Jaha. Kane tries to have her floated for it, as is the punishment for all law breakers, and Jaha tells him that a wise man should know when to ignore the law, before pardoning Abigail. The problem is she did break the law and Jaha has previously had people killed for similar offences. Kane did rush the execution but since Jaha immediately pardoned her this was actually a reasonable thing to do. Kane did have other motives but he was applying the law fairly to all people, as opposed to Jaha who ignores the law when it suits his interests.
  • Just a Kid: The adults of Camp Jaha repeatedly dismiss Clarke, Bellamy, Finn, Raven, etc. and insist on enforcing their way of doing things, despite the 100 knowing more about Earth by the time they arrived, because they're "just kids".
  • Kangaroo Court: The Commander of the Grounders allows them to put Finn on trial, but expects they will condemn him to death because of his crime.
  • Karmic Death: Finale of season two. Cage dies from the very drug he used to turn Grounders into Reapers, and the very syringe he was about to inject Lincoln with. The event even comes with an Ironic Echo.
  • Light Is Not Good: Our first glimpse of Mount Weather is in an all-white room, with Clarke in an all-white outfit. Its inhabitants also willingly use Grounders are blood bags.
  • Magical Defibrillator: Abby uses a shock stick to restart Lincoln's heart.
  • Mauve Shirt: Initially the series focuses on the main cast trying to lead the 100, so some minor delinquents are given a bit of personality before their inevitable doom. Lampshaded by Myles, who comments that he and the main cast don't really hang out much. He's offed later in the same episode.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • In "The Calm", Jaha informs Kane that the actions he took to help the survivors of the Exodus ship disaster were against the law. Kane responds that a wise man once told him that you have to know when not to follow the law, a Call Back to Jaha and Kane's conversation in the Pilot.
    • "May we meet again" is used frequently by the Arkers, in both temporary but uncertain goodbyes and as last rites to the dead. Lexa repeats the Ark phrase to Clarke in "Blood Must Have Blood part 1" echoing Clarke's use of the Grounder rites over Finn in "Remember Me".
    • From the season two finale, "Blood Must Have Blood part 2":
      • Clarke tells Bellamy that "[he] did good" with the 100 in "We Are Grounders." Kane tells him this again after the Arkers are freed.
      • The phrase "good guys" — in an earlier episode, Abby chides Clarke by telling to remember that they're the good guys. After Clarke's actions in this episode, she tells her mother that she tried, and Abby tells her, "Maybe there are no good guys."
      • Bellamy tells Clarke that if she wants forgiveness for irradiating Mount Weather and killing everyone inside, he's willing to forgive her — a direct parallel to their conversation in "Day Trip" where Clarke forgives him for indirectly causing the Culling.
      • When Clarke refuses, she says "I bear it, so they don't have to", the same thing President Wallace said to her earlier in the episode.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The "Ark". As in Noah's Ark.
    • One of the episodes is titled "Murphy's Law".
    • In Classical Mythology, Cerberus was guard dog to the Underworld. The "Cerberus Project" involves creating Reapers out of strong Grounders so that the Grounders will fear Mount Weather.
    • The episode Day Trip. Aside from two characters going on a journey, it also features everyone getting high.
  • Medical Horror: See Human Resources above.
  • Mercy Kill: Clarke punctures Atom's jugular to spare him a more drawn-out death after he's burned so badly by acidic fog that he can barely move and is begging to die. Later she kills Finn to spare him from a slow death by torture.
  • Modern Stasis/No New Fashions in the Future: Justified by a tiny population living on limited resources. It's more surprising that they still have denim left than the kids are wearing patched denim jackets.
  • Moral Myopia: It comes up when they try and prevent Finn's execution. His crime is brushed aside by Abby initially, but when they call for his life to avenge the 18 lost they jump through hoops to try and get past it.
  • Mushroom Samba: In "Day Trip" nearly everyone eats these nuts with hallucinogenic properties and starts tripping out.
  • Mutants: Present thanks to the extreme radiation post-nuclear fallout altering the genetic structure of some organisms. Their existence is established in the pilot, where the characters meet a deer with two heads. Among humans, mutants are ostracized and looked down upon.
  • The Mutiny: Diana Sidney takes over the exodus ship and sabotages the Ark after trying to kill the council.
  • Necessary Fail: It turned out to be very fortunate that the 100's drop ship didn't land at Mount Weather as intended — if it had, the 100 would have been very easy prey for the Mountain Men.
  • The Needs of the Many: A recurring conflict — is sacrificing a few people for the greater good of everyone else the right way to go about it?
    • Kane thinks so, and gives the go-signal for what comes to be known as "The Culling" — 320 people killed to buy more time. He later realizes he was very wrong about this.
    • Jaha initially seemed reluctant to believe so, but states as much in "Survival of the Fittest."
    • The reason Tsing is so willing to perform unethical experiments is that continued research will help the Mountain Men return to their proper home.
    • Clarke is adamant about protecting everybody and thus doesn't want to hand over Finn to the Grounders and pushes for the rescue of the 47 in Mount Weather despite the costs.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Experimenting with the wristbands made every one of them short out.
    • Bellamy calls Clarke out for not keeping her mouth shut about the knowledge of Wells' killer. This ultimately led to Charlotte's suicide.
    • Bellamy tells Charlotte she needs to slay her demons when she's awake in order to stop her nightmares. Later, she sees Clarke perform a Mercy Kill by stabbing the carotid artery. She murders Wells using the same technique she saw Clarke use, and says it's to slay her demons, given that Wells reminds her of his father, who killed both of her parents.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Clarke insists on going back for Jasper once they realize he's alive. Finn rightly points out that they're likely to lose more people saving him, but decides to help when she won't be dissuaded.
  • No Periods, Period: It's pretty fortunate that none of the female members of the 100 seem to experience menstrual cycles while stranded on the ground with no supplies.
  • The Notable Numeral: The 100. It's supposed to be the number of dropped criminals, but Bellamy makes the drop as well, Raven follows soon after, and there aren't a hundred of them anymore.
  • Not So Different: When Abby and Kane are trapped under rubble for most of "Resurrection" following Mount Weather's missile attack in the previous episode, they gradually realise that the tough choice Clarke had to make - she knew it was coming and could have warned them, but if she had Mount Weather would have figured out they had someone (Bellamy) inside who was working for them - is like the life-or-death choices they had to make on the Ark.
  • Nuclear Nasty: One of the threats of a post-nuclear-apocalypse Earth. The first animal seen is a beautiful buck grazing in the forest-and then it turns and we see it has part of a second head growing out of its first. Mutant humans are also present, often with physical deformations such as extreme syndactyly or a deformed mouth.
  • Oh, Crap:
    Clarke: We're not alone.
  • Open Secret: Maya states everyone in Mount Weather knew that the Grounders were being harvested for the sake of their blood. Only the Ark kids didn't.
  • Only Child Syndrome: Bellamy and Octavia are the only siblings seen, and their being siblings is given special weight considering this trope is justified — no one on the Ark is allowed to have more than one kid.
  • Only One Name: All the grounders; surnames don't seem to exist among them anymore.
  • Peace Conference: Finn tries to organize one between the Grounders and The 100 to prevent violence from escalating once people from the Ark arrive. It failed as both sides brought weapons and Jasper shot prematurely, putting them at war.
  • Plot Armor:
    • In the S1 finale when it's decided the entire Ark would be sent down to the ground, but it was likely only one section of the station would survive. Naturally, it's the only section with named characters.
    • Jaha's band of followers dwindles over the course of Season 2, leaving just him and the other major character in it, Murphy, alive.
  • Population Control: By the Ark's laws, people are only allowed to have one child, the medical resources allowed for saving a single life are strictly limited, and even minor criminals over eighteen are executed instead of imprisoned to conserve resources. Being an illegal child is just as illegal as having one. If the population is still too high to be sustained, then even innocent people can be executed.
  • The Promised Land: The City of Light, a supposed utopia for all outcasts. No one is really sure if it even exists, and the road towards it is dangerous.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Inverted. In the books, Wells and Clarke were in a relationship prior to his betrayal of her parents; in the show Wells clearly likes her but is offed before anything can come of it. Also inverted with Bellamy and Clarke, who get together fairly quickly in the books but show no explicit romantic interest in each other in the show despite clearly sharing a very strong bond.
  • Psycho Serum: How the Mountain Men turn strong Grounders into the psychotic, murderous Reapers is by injecting them with such a drug. They become so addicted to it that they're willing to kill others in order for another dosage.
  • Punny Name: Some of the episode titles. 'Inclement Weather' and 'Day Trip' stand out.
  • Reality Ensues: The Mountain Men make quick work of any opposition in the finale. Given that they're remnants of the U.S. Government/Military armed with state-of-the-art technology, neither the 100 or Grounders really stood a chance after both had lost their numbers fighting. Both sides end up captured.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Jaha and Kane for the Ark Survivors, and the president for the Mountain Men.
  • Recycled In Space: It's Lord of the Flies AFTER THE END! AND COED! (Pretty Little Liars in space, also.)
  • Redemption Rejection: Murphy seemed to be on the path of redeeming his character, with some even accepting him back. But then he decides to go on a revenge killing spree instead. He does better in the second season. but Raven still holds him accountable and was willing to put him out to die instead of Finn.
  • Related in the Adaptation: In the books, Wells is revealed to be half-brother to Bellamy and Octavia. It is unknown whether or not this is true in the series, but it's never mentioned and Wells dies in the third episode anyway.
  • The Remnant: The Mountain Men have been revealed as one for the U.S. Government/Military, based out of Mount Weather.
  • Revenge Before Reason: After Murphy regains the trust of the 100, he ruins it all by going on a revenge spree against the people who wronged him. To be fair, he convinced himself that he would become the leader after killing Bellamy. His plan goes less than spectacularly.
  • Rousseau Was Right: One of the themes of the show is that many of the "villains" are basically good people stuck in wretched situations and forced to make tough decisions. Listing them:
    • Bellamy shot Jaha so he could come to Earth and look after his sister Octavia and while he does put innocent lives at risk in an effort to save himself, he also looks out for The 100 and tries to keep them alive.
    • Jaha has had a lot of people executed and he risked The 100's lives sending them to Earth, but it was all in the name of ensuring humanity's survival. Also, he's a Reasonable Authority Figure who tries to avoid unnecessary killing.
    • Kane plays a big role in the execution of 320 innocent Ark residents, but he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist trying to keep the human race alive. The realization that the aforementioned execution was unnecessary is a huge My God, What Have I Done? moment for him.
    • Diana may or may not count for this - she arranges a mutiny against Jaha and risks Abby's life, but it's to give the workers, who are normally pushed aside in favor of the Council and the guard, a chance to go to Earth. Or so she says.
    • The Grounders attacked and killed members of The 100, but it was because they believed that The 100 were invaders, a belief that was "confirmed" in their minds when the flares that The 100 used to signal The Ark came back to the surface and burned down a Grounder village.
    • The Mountain Men created the Acid Fog, capture Grounders to use as blood sources and drug,torture and modify them into bestial Reapers, one of them pushes to experiment on the 47, putting their people first above all else.
    • Clarke and Bellamy killing all the Mountain Men, including the ones that helped them and kids, to save the people that had been captured since it would never stop otherwise.
    • Even Lexa abandoning the Sky People is an example of this; her own people were held hostage in the Mountain by armed guards by the time they were able to blow the door. If she had refused the deal she would have been ordering her people to die by scores, in full knowledge of the fact that she consciously allowed their friends and family to be killed. If she'd betrayed her arrangement with Cage once the Grounder prisoners were released, it would have destroyed her credibility as a leader and her ability to make future alliances and negotiate truces between hostile clans; in a post-apocalyptic world, if your word isn't your bond you have no way of enforcing contract law or treaties. She chose her duty to her people over her personal desires.
  • Scenery Porn: Earth looks pretty damn good for a planet that was devastated by nuclear war, and the series isn't shy about showing off the awesome scenery.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: To do so risks becoming a Heroic Sacrifice under the Ark's laws, but a near-certain death sentence doesn't stop Abby from using as much blood as necessary to save Chancellor Jaha's life. Chancellor Jaha then pardons her even though she's technically guilty. Jaha later tells Kane that knowing when not to follow the law is an important part of being Chancellor.
  • Sex for Services: Seems to be a common (though illegal) way to trade for favors with what limited resources they have on the Ark.
    • Bellamy's mother did this so she knew when to hide Octavia, as well as to secure Bellamy a spot on the Guard.
    • Suggested of Raven when she needs a part to complete an illegal space lifeboat.
    Nygel: I owe a favor to the chief of electrical, and he's got a thing for tough, pretty girls like you.
  • Shoot the Hostage: Near the end of the second season, Lincoln is held hostage by a Mountain Men sniper. It's a sign of how far Clarke's gone from her All-Loving Hero beginnings that she simply shoots at the sniper's center mass - through Lincoln's shoulder. He just congratulates her on her good aim and goes to get patched up.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the season finale, one of the 100s shout "Game over, man!"
    • Ricky Whittle's character was only known as Grounder until he revealed his name to be Lincoln, which so happened to be the name of the character he played on an episode of NCIS in 2013.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Wells catches a lot of flak because people hate his father for enforcing the Ark's draconian laws. It gets him killed in the third episode.
  • Six Student Clique: Clarke (Head), Bellamy and Miller (Muscle), Jasper and Monty (Quirk), Finn and Harper (Pretty One), Raven and Wells (Smart One), and Octavia and Murphy (Wild One).
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Mostly on the cynical side, with some notable exceptions.
    • The very first moral conflict on whether to inform the public of the Ark's failures or not is resolved in a deeply idealistic way: When the public is informed of the need for 300 people to be killed, the result is not riots or panic, but 400 people calmly offering their lives to help the rest. Played with some more when that turns out to have been a Senseless Sacrifice...
  • Super Breeding Program: The original plan that Mount Weather had for the 49 kids were to insert them into the gene pool.
  • Take a Third Option: Given the deciding vote on whether to "cull" 209 innocent citizens to buy time to save the Ark, Chancellor Jaha chooses to abstain so the resulting tie will force a revote in ten days, giving Abby until then to prove the Earth is habitable or they will have to kill them.
  • Take Back Your Gift: Raven returns the pendant Finn made for her when she finds out that he is in love with Clarke.
  • Take Care of the Kids: Abby asks her friend Callie to watch over Clarke for her when she thinks she's about to be executed.
  • Taking the Heat: Finn took the blame for Raven's illegal spacewalk, because he (as a juvenile) would only be imprisoned while Raven (as an adult) would have been floated.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Too much freedom leads to the kids going a little wild. Then they found themselves against the Grounders.
  • Teenage Wasteland: And how! The 100 consist of a hundred teenage juvenile offenders sent down to Earth's surface with absolutely no adult supervision. There was supposed to be a guard, but he was replaced by Bellamy, who is only a few years older. It takes them less than ten minutes to start taking off the wristbands that are monitoring their vital signs and less than a day to declare that their new motto is "Whatever the hell we want, whenever the hell we want."
    • This doesn't last all that long, though — they are forced to get more organized and disciplined as the harsh realities of survival make themselves known.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • In the early episodes, any collaboration with Clarke and Bellamy. They outright disliked each other then, but were willing to put the rest of the 100 above that. Later, it grows into genuine teamwork.
    • The alliance between the Grounders and the survivors of the Ark. There's rampant mistrust on both sides, but both want to take down the Mountain Men.
    • Also, anyone who works with Murphy.
  • The Ark: The last bastion for the survivors of the nuclear winter. At least that's what they thought.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Several of the teenagers are named after famous science fiction writers:
    • Grounders may also have historically themed names.
      • Lincoln's village was built around the Lincoln memorial.
      • Lexa is a name derived from Alexander.
      • Gustus is also a derivative of Augustus.
      • Octavia's eligibility for both the historical and sci-fi name themes might be a nod to her dabbling in both cultures.
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: Season 2 alternates between the Mount Weather crew and the rest of the Sky People trying to find a way to save them, but adds Jaha and Murphy's quest for the City of Light to the mix. It's geographically removed (as it's them trekking across unfamiliar terrain) and has little in common with the other two plots...until the season two stinger.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!:
    Octavia: "We're back, bitches!"
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: "Floating," the preferred form of execution, consists of putting a person into an airlock and ejecting them from the outer door.
  • Title by Number: Though they are also referred to as "The 100" in-story.
  • Title Drop: 'The 100' is mentioned on a regular basis. Some of the episode titles too, e.g. 'We Are Grounders' is part of Bellamy's speech in said episode.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Let's just say it's easy to see why Jaha considers most of the Hundred expendable. Frequently Clarke or Wells pointing out what they need to do merits nothing but contempt from the rest of the Hundred.
  • Torture Always Works: Averted twice. Lincoln didn't give up the poison antidote due to torture, it was only when Octavia poisoned herself. Second time Finn tortures a Grounder for Clarke's whereabouts (which the Grounder doesn't even know). The guy gives them false information, which leads to a wild goose chase that gets lots of people in an innocent village killed.
  • Trash the Set: The Season one finale sees both regular sets utterly destroyed: The Ark is brought down, and the Hundred's camp is thoroughly incinerated.
  • Tragic Monster: Unexpectedly the cannibalistic and savage Reapers turn out to be a whole tribe of these. When it is revealed that they are former Grounder captives, who due to being physically fit where turned into Warrior\Slaves by Mt Weather experiments to be used as both weapons, hunters and gatherers against their will.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Just about every teenage male shown-it comes with the territory of being a juvenile offender in a dystopian future.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting:
    • The first season alternates between the 100 trying to survive on the ground and the adults on the Ark trying to survive in space.
    • Season 2 starts out as Four Lines, All Waiting but becomes this near the midseason finale. Camp Jaha and the Grounders try to work towards peace while Mount Weather scenes are provided by Monty, Jasper, and the rest Clarke left behind as they consider escape.
  • Underground City: The Mountain Men live in a military base underneath a mountain converted to something of this sort.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Pretty much everyone on the show since they're mainly in survival mode.
  • Vancouver Doubling: implied by the Ark security rifles (Chinese Type 97 and 97 B) being unavailable in the US, even for specialized prop stores, and recently confirmed by Word of God.
  • Weakened by the Light: The outside world in general but especially sunlight is a death sentence for the Mountain Men since they've lost their ability to metabolize radiation after a hundred years of living underground.
  • We Have Ways of Making You Talk: Said by Bellamy when they needed the antidote from the Grounder. The only one he gives it up to is Octavia, when she takes the poison herself.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Unity Day" ended with the Exodus ship being hijacked by Diana and crashing into the ground before exploding with Clarke's mother thought to be on-board and a Peace Conference Finn tried to set up with the Grounders ended with war being declared. In addition, because of the ship's premature launch, the Ark will be shutting down and killing everyone on-board.
    • "We Are Grounders" The Ark falls down on Earth, the Hundred destroy their own camp to repel a Grounder attack, Mount Weather has been operational all along, and they kidnapped (at least) Clarke and Monty.
    • "Inclement Weather" Octavia tries to get Lincoln back but Reapers capture him as well as the leader of the Grounder camp, Jaha has a Helpful Hallucination of his son that helps him get back to Earth, and Clarke discovers Anya and other Grounders were captured and then being drained of their blood.
    • "Human Trials" Finn fires on the Grounder's Camp villagers, which turned out to be a plan by a grounder they expelled and use them as revenge, Kane has been tricked and captured by said grounder who also caught Jaha, the Mount Weather lead scientist wants to use the 47 for experimentation, starting with Jasper, the Head of Security drugged Lincoln so much that he was willing to kill for another dose to use as a soldier, and war looks inevitable.
    • "Fog of War" Jasper and Monty learned about the secret of the Grounders being harvested by Maya, we learn that the Lincoln was with a combination of torture, experimentation and brain altering drugs. Was turned into a Reaper, Mount Weather jams the radio signals of the Ark Survivors and unleashed the Acid Fog, and the commander of the Grounders sends Jaha back to them to send a message to leave or die in two days.
    • "Long Into An Abyss" After seeing Abigail save Lincoln from being a Reaper, the Grounders' commander agrees to grant Clarke a truce between their people. There's just this one thing she wants in return... Finn to be executed for killing innocent Grounders.
    • "Spacewalker" Finn ultimately surrenders and it forces Clarke to Mercy Kill him.
    • "Blood Must Have Blood": The main cast all make it, but Lexa betrays the Sky People, ultimately forcing Clarke and Bellamy to irradiate Mount Weather and kill off its population. Jaha and Murphy make it to the "promised land" — only to stumble upon the AI that ended the world the first time.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • When Clarke meets with the leader of the Grounders to try and arrange a peace treaty, the Grounder rightly points out that some of the 100's actions could be construed as acts of war (such as capturing and torturing Lincoln). We also learn that the flares used to signal the Ark burned down a Grounder encampment.
    • Clarke and Bellamy deliver a joint one to Abigail for abandoning Finn and Murphy after they went out to rescue Clarke and killing off Anya, the only Grounder willing to work for peace between the two sides.
    • Raven to Clarke after Finn is mercy-killed. This is mostly due to Raven's grief, as she later realises there was no other way.
  • World of Snark: On a planet populated entirely by teenagers, this is pretty much a given.
  • Worst Aid: The show flip-flops on this. There are episodes where attention is drawn to the correct treatment of various injuries (e.g. leaving a knife in the wound until proper care is available) since Abigail is The Medic and Clarke studied under. In other episodes, they happily transfuse blood of unknown donors and recipients, push arrows through wounds and so on.