No Need for Alien or Machine to Exterminate Humankind – The 100

Dystopian settings often draw on how humankind experienced a form of apocalypse, throwing the contemporary civilization into turmoil. While it can be caused by machines (whether Skynet in the Terminator franchise or Cyborgs in the shape of the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica) or aliens (Falling Skies), humans can also very much be the cause for their own demise, such as in The Hunger Games.

The TV show The 100 depicts such a case. While the third season introduced the question of Artificial Intelligence, most of the prior narrative and even current story is related to how different human groups can’t cohabit peacefully.

The show’s major conflict is between the Sky people, who came down to Earth after the space Ark where they lived became unfit to keep them all alive, and the Grounders, who descend from the survivors of the nuclear apocalypse that killed most of the life on Earth a few decades ago. The tension between both sides remains significant even when peace seems to be attained sometimes. Getting more in depth within both groups is a pillar of the narrative, even when some character arcs seem to make little sense in season three, in the light of prior developments.

It is noticeable that genocide does happen by the end of the second season after a conflict between both the main groups and the people who lived in seclusion beneath Mount Weather. One of the main characters, Clarke Griffin, who emerged as one of the leaders of the young generation sent from the Ark in the pilot, chooses to kill the inhabitants of Mount Weather to protect her own people.

This is a testimony to one of the most compelling aspects of The 100. The often impossible cohabitation between humans remains predominant in the story, even as more groups emerge and try to either wipe another out, in a barbaric or more manipulative manner. Yet the show portrays characters who can have many diverse opinions and beliefs, regardless of age (the show used an older generation versus younger one at times but went past it for the most part), gender (many female leaders are featured), ethnicity (the only marker is the community they belong to: Sky People, Grounders…) or even sexual orientation.

Why do you think stories featuring humans having life-threatening difficulties to cohabit is important?

4 thoughts on “No Need for Alien or Machine to Exterminate Humankind – The 100

  1. We humans are a pretty ferocious and greedy species – despite there being many beautiful exceptions to the rule. This is a successful concept for The 100. We writers benefit from the human deficiencies; most readers prefer sinister characters to lovely ones – the latter often seem boring.
    We humans should learn from these difficulties to cohabit, Natacha. The respective human’s mind should matter most. I never lose time considering someone’s origin, belief, etc.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Karen! I loved the show in its first two seasons because I saw solid character development and better communication and peace being potentially attainable and possible to keep. Sadly, the third season (so far) has damaged the progress and many characters who had come a long way have gone back to basic for no understandable reasons. I understand the need for conflict in stories but I wish that writers wouldn’t damage the characters for shock value. I know I will go back to watch the rest of the show but I am still unhappy with how it has been going.

      1. If it weren’t for my husband, I would never have considered watching The 100, Natacha. Suddenly I was hooked, though. I totally agree that the third season was a major setback. Octavia was a long time favourite… Despite our disappointment, we are going to watch the series until the final curtain falls into place. Still hoping that at least a little good might survive.

        1. Octavia is a great character! I really liked how Bellamy had evolved as well, but the third season made me shake my head and after a certain male character’s death, who was about the one that had stayed true to his character arc (in my view) I was ready to throw the towel. I will continue watching, whenever I have time to catch up though. I also hope that a little good might survive.

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