From l-r Octavia, Finn, Clarke, Jasper, Bellamy, and Monty
Survival isn't who you are. It's who you become.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. Further complicating matters is the revelation that — despite what they previously believed — they are not alone on Earth.
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Tropes present in this series:
- 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.
- 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.
- Adapted Out: Glass and her storyline are not present in the series, which focuses on Wells, Clarke, Bellamy (the other 3 POVs) and the rest of the 100. Conversely, a bunch of Canon Foreigners were created.
- 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.
- 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.
- Apocalypse How: Class 1 in regards to the Ark. At least a 2 on the surface. Caused by a nuclear war.
- 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.
- 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. Also some fans tend to think that given their weird upbringing there's more than meets the eye
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, 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.
- 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.
- Cold-Blooded Torture:
- What The 100 resort to in order to try and get the antidote to the poison for Finn.
- Happened to Lexa's dead girlfriend in her backstory; she was kidnapped and tortured by a rival clan.
- 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?
- 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..
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Mutiny: Diana Sidney takes over the exodus ship and sabotages the Ark after trying to kill the council.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 that the kids are wearing patched denim jackets.
- 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.
- The Notable Numeral: The 100. It's supposed to be the number of dropped criminals, but Bellamy makes the drop as well, and aren't a hundred of them anymore.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Hmm, I wonder if it'll be the only section with named characters?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Remnant: The Mountain Men have been revealed as one for the U.S. Government/Military, based out of Mount Weather.
- Anya's group may also be this as they seem to be part of a larger group with a quasi-military structure. Tristan refers to them as a "unit" and their ultimate leader is referred to as "The Commander".
- 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 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 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.
- The Grounders attacked and