The last season of “The 100” was released just last week, and I am unashamed to say that I watched the entirety of the season in only a couple of days. As it ended, I was reminded of how the show evoked real emotion from me, and the many times I tried and failed to replicate the hairstyles of those on the show. My reminiscing brought me here, an article in homage to one of my favorite television shows and that I genuinely believe everyone should give a chance for its enjoyment and lessons.
“The 100” is supplied with all the things dystopian shows commonly have: attractive characters, love, hate and everything else that comes with the ‘end of the world.’ But there are some aspects from which “The 100” deviates from its dystopian counterparts, for one, its handling of morality. One of the most notable things about all the characters in “The 100” is that none of them, at least not the main characters, are a wholly right person. Indeed the first 100 sent down are sent down as they are criminals in some way or another. All of them have done things that have harmed others; they have done something wrong to help ‘their’ people. As Forbes writer Erik Kain notes, these decisions often spur from the normal human hamartia — hubris, greed, etc. — but these decisions can also happen “because someone did what they thought was the right thing, and it wasn’t.” The characters in this show are often faced with impossible decisions. Their choices and reaction to others’ choices become an integral part of who they are as they reflect that individual. Through these reactions and selections, we see the effect our moral code has on our actions and relationships. Every decision affects the character in some capacity and progresses their development; watching these protagonists’ stories only adds to the show’s enjoyability. The complexity of these characters’ decisions fuels the conflict within the show and highlights humanity’s imperfections.
The show plays around with the idea surrounding conflict: both between an ‘other’ and between protagonists with different morals. In nearly every season, the characters are embroiled in a dispute with the ‘other.’ In “The 100,” it seems like peace comes only after the bloodshed that could be avoided if not for a human tendency towards greed and revenge. The nature of conflict mirrors the reality of war in our world: neither side truly wins. But these conflicts also shed light on something we often forget in real life. In each of the seasons, the protagonists’ journey reveals that the ‘other’ is the same as them. They are all humans, but their believed difference ignites conflict and causes harm. Indeed, Jason Rothenburg, creator of “The 100,” states that unless the protagonists understand this, they are “going to keep perpetuating this cycle of violence that leads to apocalypse.” It is a lesson we should heed as well. The conflict between characters serves as a vehicle to turn foe into friend and friend into enemy. These changes move the plot forward while also hooking the viewer. “The 100’s” intricate use of conflict forces us to take another look at the show and our world, and it makes the show all the more enjoyable.
“The 100” has never found mainstream success; as such, it serves as a hidden gem of sorts. With its newer and more distinct take on the ‘end-of-the-world’ trope, “The 100” would be a worthy watch for any TV lover. And more importantly, it’s narrative on morality and conflict could provide much discussion for any of those who love dissecting works.