The 100 Season 3: Everything We Know About Roan, Pike, and the City of Light So Far
Spoilers for season three of The 100 follow!
Last night's explosive episode of The 100 barely gave us a chance to catch our breath between all of the reveals: Monty's mother is alive! Lexa is back! Bellarke is reunited! (For a hot second, and then he gets stabbed, as often happens on this show.) But some of the most interesting reveals were related to new aspects of the show, most notably new characters Roan and Pike, and the Matrix-esque City of Light, which can apparently resurrect the dead now. Here's everything we know about the three most mysterious new elements of The 100 season 3:
We went through a roller coaster with Roan: at first, he just seemed to be a bounty hunter working for Ice Nation, a mindless mercenary who was capturing Clarke so the Queen could "take her powers." Then, we found out that he was hiding from his own people after being exiled, which indicated that he was bringing Clarke to the Ice Queen as penance for whatever transgression he committed. But as it turns out, he's working for Lexa, who promised to lift his banishment in exchange for Clarke. So he wasn't banished by the Ice Queen (who turns out to be his mother, making him a prince) from Ice Nation, but by the Commander from the 12 Clans in general? I assume we're going to find out more about why he was exiled, but for now, he's being held hostage by Lexa as leverage with the Ice Queen, who is marching against the coalition.
When it comes to his personality: he's a bad-ass. He's one of the only characters we've seen who can go toe-to-toe with Clarke, and his fighting style is fairly brutal. However, he's already shown himself to have a soft side, as he responds to Clarke's pleas with him not to kill Bellamy. Letting Clarke live wasn't an act of altruism, as he needed her, but letting Bellamy live didn't serve Roan's own interests at all, especially since he didn't even use Bellamy as a means to make Clarke behave (which was, honestly, what I was expecting him to do). According to Eliza Taylor, Roan is somewhat different from the rest of Ice Nation, and has more capacity for compassion:
"Roan's from the most brutal of all of the grounded clans," Taylor told E! Online, "yet he doesn't actually have it in him to be as ruthless as his people are, which Clarke does as well. You know, the sky crew are like brutal, and Clarke's never had that in her either, and I think that the two of them slowly realize that they actually have a lot in common in that way."
Roan was advertised by the writers as an ambiguous character with shifting loyalties, but I predict that he will become an ally to Clarke, if only judging from Taylor's comments. I'm already a fan of Zach McGowan's acting, and I hope he has a prominent role in the future, possibly as Clarke's love interest? Granted, she already has her hands full with Bellamy, Lexa, and now Niylah, but the seemed to have chemistry, and Eliza's comments seem to indicate a deeper connection between the characters. We'll have to wait and see.
Pike is a significantly less likable character, but I'm assuming that was intentional, because he's clearly being positioned as a new antagonist this season. He was an "Earth Skills" teacher on the Ark (and Clarke was his best student, naturally), but in the face of adversity, has become a charismatic and toxic leader of the survivors from Farm Station. When Farm Station fell from the sky into Ice Nation, they were immediately attacked, and the Azgeda hunters killed sixteen children, as well as Monty's father. As a result, Pike and his group have painted all Grounders with the same broad brush, and proudly proclaim themselves "Grounder killers." He's The 100's equivalent of a racist and xenophobe, insisting that all Grounders are the same, denying their personhood, and even telling them to "speak English." Think season one Kane, but even worse.
He's also generally ruthless, as he told Monty that they unequivocally "did the right thing" at Mount Weather, because it's "kill or be killed." There is, of course, an argument to be made that they did the right thing, but you have to be pretty heartless not to pause at the fact that they killed dozens of innocent children. I'm sure The 100 will make his motivations somewhat complex, dominated by fear and a desire to protect his people, most likely, but for now, he's the one we love to hate. He's also probably responsible for the field of bodies Lexa finds in the trailer:
The City of Light
In the premiere, it seemed that the City of Light might be the sci-fi equivalent of a bad acid trip. Jaha reached it by swallowing some sort of pill given to him by A.L.I.E., and when he was "there," it appeared to Murphy (and the audience), that he was just sitting and meditating. But in this episode, we find out that it is probably an actual place. We see Emori kill Gideon, and then we see him again—decidedly not dead—in the City of Light along with A.L.I.E., Jaha, and Otan. So apparently, the City of Light is some kind of spiritual plane (or possibly a virtual reality?) that has eliminated not only pain and envy, but death.
Jason Rothenberg has previously said that the whole City of Light plotline will be a B-plot until the midseason finale, and then will be front-and-center for the back half of season three. He also confirmed in an interview that the City of Light is an actual place, not just a hallucination:
"It's real," Rothenberg told TV Line. "It's a real place, and it becomes a big deal this season, but the story simmers for a little while before it boils over. We're trying to get the audience used to this new story we're telling; it has a whole new visual vocabulary, and its own language in many ways. You've only just begun to see where that world is going and what it's all about."
This is much, much harder sci-fi than we've seen from The 100 before, which makes me both excited and nervous. Artificial intelligence and virtual reality are fertile ground for nuanced philosophy and ethical quandaries, both of which The 100 does well, but it's also a breeding ground for cliches. But after that amazing second season, the writers have more than earned our trust, and I can't wait to see where this goes next.