The 100's "Big Bad" Is Straight Out of the Buffyverse

Thursday, 05 May 2016 - 4:52PM
The 100
Thursday, 05 May 2016 - 4:52PM
The 100's "Big Bad" Is Straight Out of the Buffyverse
In the third season of The 100, we thought that we were getting a simple, brutish Big Bad in the form of xenophobic leader Pike, but instead, we got a fascinating villain in the form of A.L.I.E., an artificial intelligence who is genuinely trying to "save" humanity, first by decimating our population and then taking away our free will and turning us into pod people. Now, don't get me wrong, The 100 is an incredibly original show, but it also has plenty of homages to genre classics, and in many ways, this season's "Big Bad" (a term coined by Buffy, by the way) is basically Jasmine from the fourth season of Angel.

Jasmine

Angel was a fantasy show rather than sci-fi, so Jasmine's origins were a little different. She was a goddess from a Hell dimension called the "Devourer," and her aim was benevolent enough: to make the world a blissful, happy utopia. Everyone who laid eyes on Jasmine immediately became an obedient worshipper, and did nothing but praise her and make the world a nicer place to live in. Similarly, A.L.I.E.'s chips turn all of Arkadia and Polis into automatons, but happy ones. 

In both cases, an argument could be made that this is world peace, but there's a catch (or rather, two catches). First, this "utopia" has eliminated free will, which both Angel and The 100 argue is valuable in itself, and second, both utopias require a certain measure of sacrifice. In Angel, Jasmine needs to devour the life force of a few dozen people per day (compared to the number of people who are usually killed daily), and in The 100, A.L.I.E. is in the process of killing the 3% of the population who reject the consumption of the chip, in order to create a world where--supposedly--there will be no pain or death, period.

And in both shows, the protagonists get into a literal "us against the world" scenario, since everyone else has not only been taken over by Jasmine/A.L.I.E., but the villainess in question can see everything they're seeing and hear everything they're hearing, so there's no escape. 

But if the fourth season of Angel is any indication, we know how this will end. The protagonists will prevail, possibly following an impassioned speech about the value of choice:

Opening quote
JASMINE: There are no absolutes. No right and wrong... There are only choices. I offered paradise. You chose this!
 
ANGEL: Because I could. Because that's what you took away from us. Choice.
 
JASMINE: And look what free will has gotten you.
 
ANGEL: Hey, I didn't say we were smart. I said it's our right. It's what makes us human.
Closing quote

However, it won't be an unqualified win. Just as Angel was congratulated by his enemies for "ending world peace," the characters of The 100 will be left to wonder if there was a chance that A.L.I.E. actions were justified. I personally don't believe that sacrificing free will or awareness is a fair trade for utopia, but there's definitely an argument to be made.

Opening quote
ANGEL: Thousands of people are dead because of what you've done.
 
JASMINE: And how many will die because of you? I could've stopped it, Angel. All of it. War, disease, poverty. How many precious, beautiful lives would've been saved in a handful of years? Yes, I murdered thousands. To save billions.

This world is doomed to drown in its own blood now.
Closing quote
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi TV Shows
The 100

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