What do you expect from a show about teenagers who were dropped from space onto a radiation-soaked Earth?

By Alamin Yohannes
May 19, 2020 at 08:00 PM EDT
Diyah Pera/The CW (3)

From the moment it debuted in March 2014, The CW's The 100 has constantly put its characters in unimaginable positions. Survival has meant sacrifice, doing unthinkable things, and making heartbreaking choices. Ahead of its seventh and final season premiere, here’s a look back at the most gut-wrenching, twisted moments of the drama’s first six seasons.

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1. Dropping the 100 to Earth

One hundred teenagers (plus Bellamy (Bob Morley), making the actual count 101) were dropped from dying space station The Ark down to a potentially unlivable Earth to see if people could survive on the ground. The people in charge sent their juvenile delinquent minors to an uncertain fate to conserve air on board the space station. It’s an awful act that is presented as necessary; the human race needed to survive.

Throughout the series Jaha (Isaiah Washington), Abby Griffin (Paige Turco), and other characters tried to justify this move, but flashbacks in the season 3 episode “Join or Die” showed the lack of concern the adults had for the teens. Viewers learned that season 3 enemy Charles Pike (Michael Beach) was tasked with teaching the teens a crash course in Earth survival skills before they were sent to the ground. Whether you believe it was necessary or not, the Council cruelly set up these kids for failure. Unaware they were being sent to Earth, these teens didn’t take Pike’s lessons seriously  —  they were in jail in space, after all. Simply put, the Council cared more about keeping their secrets than the fate of those kids.

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2. Young Charlotte murdering Wells

Charlotte (Izabela Vidovic) was one of the youngest members of the group sent to the ground, and she provided the first glimpse into the effect of being raised on the Ark. When horrifying nightmares of her life in space caused night terrors, it was Chancellor Jaha’s face that haunted her. On the ground, Jaha's son Wells (Eli Goree) was a reminder of his father, so to calm Charlotte's dreams, she slit his throat. His death, right on the heels of Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor) mending things with her former best friend, was the lead heroine's first big loss and it made it painfully clear early on — just three episodes into the series — that The 100 wasn't afraid to be ruthless.

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3. The Culling on the Ark

The Council’s lack of confidence in the 101 teens was made clear when they decided to cull the population in space in season 1. When they couldn’t contact the kids on the ground, Marcus Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) and his allies decided population reduction was necessary on the Ark. When the citizens of the Ark volunteered to die in order to keep their loved ones safe, the Council began to see how their secretive nature was hurting them, not helping. They didn’t have faith in the kids on the ground, which turned out to be a mistake because shortly after The Culling, they got a signal from Earth. They could survive on the planet after all. But it was too late for the victims of The Culling.

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4. The mercy-killing of Finn

With Finn Collins' (Thomas McDonell) death, The 100 took its storytelling to a whole new level of twisted. In his search for Clarke at the start of season 2, Finn commit atrocities against the Grounders and they demanded vengeance. The sentence would have been prolonged, agonizing torture and Skaikru — a.k.a. the Sky People — needed an alliance with the Grounders to beat the Mountain Men. But Clarke was not about to let the man she loved go through that ordeal. To make it as painless as possible, Clarke stabbed Finn while hugging him goodbye in the full view of all of their people — who thought Clarke went there to save him — and her new Grounder allies.

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5. Experimenting on the 47

All the people living in Mount Weather wanted was just to walk around outside, but they couldn’t survive in the Earth's atmosphere, unlike the Grounders and those who lived in space who could metabolize the radiation on Earth. When they “saved” Clarke and some of the 101 (47 of them to be exact), they finally saw a path out of their underground bunker. Unfortunately, that included experimenting on the group of teens from the Ark, first using their blood, then killing them to harvest their bone marrow. Cruel experiments and torture would be present throughout The 100, but there’s nothing like the first time.

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6. Pulling the lever in Mount Weather

The Mountain Men’s desperation put Clarke’s people in grave danger, so an even darker solution was chosen to survive instead. Cage Wallace (Johnny Whitworth) kidnapped Clarke’s mom and other members of Skaikru, intending to kill them for their bone marrow. Threatening to irradiate Mount Weather didn’t stop Cage, so Clarke and Bellamy actually did it. Pulling that lever killed Cage, but also everyone else living in the bunker, including Jasper Jordan’s (Devon Bostick) girlfriend Maya (Eve Harlow), all the Mount Weather inhabitants who had tried to help them, and even the innocent children.

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7. Monty shooting his mom to save Octavia

Artificial intelligence A.L.I.E. (Erica Cerra) used its influence to get people to do horrible things, including ordering Monty’s mother to kill Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos). It took a bullet, fired by Monty (Christopher Larkin) himself, to stop her and save his friend. When the group saved Raven (Lindsey Morgan) from the AI’s influence shortly after, Monty was wrecked because his mother could have also been saved. It set the tone for the rest of the A.L.I.E. arc in season 3, but poor Monty lost his last living relative essentially for nothing, by his own hand.

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8. Emori condemning an innocent Grounder to death 

All that remained of humanity was desperate to live when word of the impending Praimfaya spread. People were scrambling, killing, and pushing the limits of what they’d do in order to survive a second nuclear apocalypse during season 4. One option was turning people into Nightbloods, and when a potential treatment was developed someone needed to be a test subject. Thinking she was at the bottom of the totem pole when it came to the group of potential test dummies, Emori (Luisa d'Oliveira) claimed that a random Grounder was a man who tortured her in the past, all so her new friends would test him instead of her. We’ll never know if they would have chosen her because she threw him to the wolves before anyone even thought to do it to her.

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9. Luna entering the Final Conclave to keep everyone else from winning the bunker

“I fight for no one. I fight for death.” Those were the words Luna (Nadia Hilker) yelled as she entered the Final Conclave in Polis. When viewers first met Luna, she had given up her warrior ways and was living peacefully with her people on a barge in the water. Watching what Skaikru was willing to do to one another to survive Praimfaya sent her over the edge. They'd pushed her too far, so she entered the battle for ownership of the bunker that was humanity's last hope and intended to keep everyone else out if she won.

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10. Jaha causing Octavia to become the Red Queen

Octavia becoming the Red Queen wouldn’t surprise anyone watching the darkness grow inside the young warrior, but it was Jaha’s part in her journey that stands out as cruel. As the Chancellor who sent the 101 to the ground, he spent a lot of time justifying his decisions over the seasons. Octavia, in particular, was scarred by many of those choices. Their one-child rule meant she had to grow up under the floorboards in their home pod on the Ark. When she was discovered, she was put in a cell and her mother was thrown out into space for the crime of having more than one child. Being dropped to Earth was her first taste of freedom, and the world they found was ruthless on its best days. When Jaha used his justification for his choices to get Octavia to take brutal measures to ensure everyone’s safety in the bunker, he twisted her young mind and began the blood-drenched reign of the Red Queen. He also convinced her of this while he was dying, so he wouldn’t have to deal with the many consequences and horrors that followed.

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11. Using the fighting pits to solve their food shortage

In the bunker, Octavia used fights to the death to keep people in line, but no one could have guessed that those deaths would be useful for their survival. The 100 turned up the dial on the ick factor when Abby suggested they start eating the people who die in the fighting pits when their food supply started to run out. She went as far as convincing Octavia to make cannibalism a law under penalty of death because if people refused and died malnourished, then there wouldn’t be enough meat on their bones for everyone else to survive.

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12. Abby putting Marcus in a new body without his consent

While Clarke’s friends were horrified to hear about the Primes’ body-snatching methods in season 6, a desperate Abby made a deal with them. In exchange for teaching them how to turn people into Nightbloods, giving the Primes the ability to make anyone a host, they would bring a gravely-injured Marcus back in a new body. After mending fences because of her forcing cannibalism on everyone in the bunker, she made yet another choice for him. He loved Abby and she was desperate to convince him to accept his new body, but he couldn't. It was against his nature to take over a man’s life, especially given how awful he felt about his past choices, and she knew that, but she still made that unforgivable choice. In the end, he decided to die floating in space and take what Abby made for the Primes with him.

The 100's final season premieres Wednesday, May 20 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

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The 100

After a nuclear apocalypse, a group of people who have been living in space return to Earth—and quickly learn they’re not alone.
  • TV Show
  • 6
  • The CW