The apocalypse is officially here...on TV, anyway.
The 100 took a moment tonight to take us all the way back to the beginning of the end, when nuclear missiles destroyed the earth with help from an AI called A.L.I.E. We already knew what had happened, but we didn't know what happened immediately after.
According to tonight's episode, which also serves as a backdoor pilot to a prequel series we now very much want, Bill Cadogan (John Pyper-Ferguson) and his Second Dawn cult were fully prepared for the apocalypse and knew it was coming. He was able to get all of the highest levels of Second Dawn (there are 12) and his family, who had previously left the cult, into his bunker—the same bunker that was found empty in season four of The 100.
His daughter Callie (Iola Evans), who had just gotten back from a very familiar-looking protest against injustice, wasn't on board with the plan to just abandon the rest of the planet.
Then Becca showed up with her nightblood serum, which would allow humans to go outside into the radiation, and with A.L.I.E. 2, the AI she had developed to combat the first A.L.I.E. and to preserve humanity.
Cadogan desperately wanted the code only Becca possessed and had her burned at the stake after the AI had been removed, but Callie and a few others got away with the serum and the AI. They escaped the bunker, off to become the Grounders, while Callie's mom was forced out of the bunker with no serum and very little time to catch up with her daughter.
Meanwhile, Cadogan took the rest of his followers and led them into the anomaly, leaving the bunker empty behind them.
Back in Bardo, Cadogan begged Clarke to tell him if his daughter was in the flame that he believed she has, while Clarke, with a gun to Cadogan's head, asked for her friends. Three disciples then walked in and took off their helmets, revealing themselves to be Octavia, Diyoza, and Echo...which is new.
We'll get to that last moment in a minute, but first let's talk about this potential prequel. We asked creator Jason Rothenberg to preview just what the series might look like, if it gets picked up.
"Callie and her sort of proto-nightbloods, the first nightbloods, have a cure. They're going to look for sick people to save wherever they can find them. They're going t o find that lots of people don't have as good intentions as they do, so there's going to be a struggle," he says.
Grace, Callie's mother, out in the wilderness alone without a cure will definitely be "an early story" that the show would tell.
"I also have a secret plan to get us back to space because concurrent with this story on the ground and the first Grounders, we know that the Ark is forming, just post-Unity Day when Becca left space, and I would love to be able to get up to space and meet the ancestors of our protagonists from the original show," Rothenberg says, adding that there could be some familiar faces up there who, "if Richard Harmon has his way and [Sachin Sahel] has his way, look exactly like their great great grandchildren."
But the primary story would be on survival story on the ground, Rothenberg says. There will also be flashbacks!
"My vision for this is that we will flash back almost in every episode to pre-apocalypse times, because all these characters are from before the bombs, are from essentially our time, so I'd love to be able to tell stories of who they were pre- and who they've become in this sort of survival environment that they've been forced into, and to shoot in restaurants and bars and houses and coffee shops if, God willing, we can get back to that world," he says. "It would be great to be able to do that as a change of pace."
Rothenberg also noted that the fact that Callie and her mother are Black will inform some of the storytelling going forward, and that the writers designed Callie and her brother, Reese (Adain Bradley) to be just about as different from Bellamy and Octavia Blake as possible.
You're not alone if you watched this episode feeling just a little uncomfortable at how relevant it feels to present day, with bunkers and apocalypse vibes, as well as the protests that were going on as the missiles hit. It felt current in a way that The 100 has rarely been able to before.
"One of the things that differentiates this show from the original is that they're all current on some level. They all come from before the apocalypse," Rothenberg explains. "They all come from our time. So, you know, all the things that we don't really delve into with The 100 because 100 years later after being in this intense survival situation, both on the ground and on the ark for their whole lives, you know, lots of things didn't matter to them that people are still fighting over in our world today. But these characters come from a time where people were fighting for equal rights and gay rights and civil rights, so I think it would be totally different for us to explore those ideas in a way that we didn't get to do when the original show, because it is so much more current."
As for what is currently happening on the original show, we're about to learn what exactly happened with Octavia, Diyoza, and Echo apparently having become disciples.
"The question is, is it real or not? Obviously Clarke has the flame, or rather she's letting them believe she has the flame as a leverage point, so she can get to the bottom of it, and that's where we're going as the next episodes begin to unfold. It is a good takeaway from the episode for sure."
And for those fans still questioning whether Bellamy is really dead, Rothenberg couldn't comment, but what's important is that to all of the show's characters, he is dead, and they are going to continue reacting as if he is dead, which, if you ask us, is bad news for anyone in Clarke or Echo's way.
The 100 airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.