this is a meta i’ve been meaning to do for awhile because a) this is pretty exciting & b) who doesn’t like to delve into complex nuances of books / movies / tv shows? this meta focuses on religious themes, symbolism & motifs as seen in the 100, seasons one through five. to preface, the 100 is a story about a hundred children sent to earth to survive ( now there’s ten or so remaining ), but there’s a deeper & more compelling story told underneath that, one that closely mirrors christianity, judaism, & buddhism parables in today’s world. this meta will cover most, if not all, points of interest in relation to theology / orthodoxy in the 100, season-by-season.
SEASON ONE : the ark parallels the story of noah’s ark. mankind feared the imminent flood ( or in which case, the first praimfaya ), a universal event that would wipe out all living creatures on earth, & the chosen survivors would board the ark; but the ark was dying. so noah sent out a hundred doves to fly around the world to see if there was land. the doves are the hundred sent down to earth to see if it was habitable on the exodus ship. anyways, backtracking a bit. we know the ark has twelve stations ( agro, alpha, arrow, factory, farm, hydra, mecha, et cœtera ) that is made up of twelve countries ( brazil, china, uganda, france, united states, japan, et cœtera ) merging their respective single ships together to create one big colony. the ark itself is ‘noah’s ark’, but the twelve station separately are to be the torah’s twelve tribes of israel.
SEASON TWO : dante alighieri’s inferno, anyone? in this season there are three key religious references made ( among others ) & that is: mt weather, jaha’s journey, & lexa / the coalition. let’s start with the first. mt weather is supposed to echo mt. sinai, the mountain at which the ten commandments were given to moses by god. the ten commandments make up jewish law relating to ethics & worship ( summarised, the commandments instruct the people to worship only god, keep sabbath, prohibitions against idolatry, adultery, dishonesty, murder, et cœtera ). so season two largely focuses on clarke going up mt. sinai / mt. weather to get ‘higher law’ only to come back & discover her people have … well, made a mess of things; but she now has higher law regardless. dante ( as his name describes ), is both the inferno & higher order. he’s far from being a cage wallace or from good, but he does share valuable knowledge & information with the main cast that pertains to good v. evil, safety over sentimentality, my people & your people. the base of mt. weather is inside a mountain thus the cast has to, quite literally, descend into the belly of the beast to save their friends, free the innocents, & dante from the inferno. that was not to be. clarke irradiated the mountain & abandoned the commandments to her people.
the second part of this is jaha’s journey. i think it’s obvious to most, but he went on a ‘pilgrimage’ of sort to find the holy land aka the city of light. in this sense, jaha has become moses. he sought salvation for him & people, but unknowingly, unleashed the catalyst of disaster that would be season three: the false messiah & the true messiah ( more touched on that in the season three bullet below ).
the last part of season two, lexa & the coalition. lexa is a religious symbol; to be a commander is to be a spiritual leader of the grounders. even before lexa united the twelve clans into one, the role of the commander has always been religious ( which is why there is such a widespread backlash against clarke taking the flame or octavia becoming the new commander ) & will continue to be, flame or no flame. lexa represents free will, the choice to overcome ‘forced good’ as seen in the book of mormon. the book described two groups symbolically going back & forth in warfare, or which in case, back & forth between jus drein jus daun & jus nou drein jus daun ( blood must have blood. blood must not have blood ). eventually, people do cave into the latter.
- lexa also represents the buddhist beliefs of reincarnation ( kongeda traditions echo a lot of buddhism whereas skaikru echoes christianity / judaism ). her forehead gear / bindi / whatever you want to call it is the wheel of dharma. the twelve spokes of the dharmachakra wheel are the twelve links of dependent origination which make up a single person ( i.e. the first spoke is called avidya / ignorance; the second spoke is called samskara / impulse, & so on ), but the wheel as a whole is saṃsāra, the wheel of life, karma & reincarnation. when you finish or ‘break’ the wheel, you are freed from saṃsāra, the painful cycle of rebirth & can achieve nirvana.
SEASON THREE : here is where it gets deeper & scarier. the city of light was the catalyst for the destruction of beliefs, higher order, & the individual characters’ moral ground. we actively see the main cast starting to fall into their roles that echo biblical ones, most notably, clarke. for the latter half of season three, she is challenged via mormon beliefs of ‘forced good’ & ‘free will’ through the means of a.l.i.e. & bekka pramheda.
to explain, forced good ( or in which case, a.l.i.e. 1.0 ) is the mormonist’s original concept of satan. lucifer wanted everyone to be ‘good’; he wanted to make himself god & mankind / the angels obedient, perfect beings without free agency. the world would be unblemished & all infamy was eradicated to the point of extinction. we would be slaves to inner goodness. evil wouldn’t exist because we be living by virtuous, unchanging morals that would be kin to robotic menials. so god said no to good & banished lucifer from heaven to become satan; however, satan in the bible is completely different to what media makes him out to be ( he’s not a literal devil with horns who sits in hellfire & condemns all to eternal suffering because they sinned ), satan in the bible is meant to test mankind, both the bad & good through physical experiences.
so how does this relate to a.l.i.e. 1.0 & 2.0? a.l.i.e. 1.0 or ‘the woman in the red dress’ offers a pain-free, heavenly existence for the abandonment of a person’s free will. the city of light, despite it’s peaceful, white-world façade, was … too perfect. we can see the temptation to accept it. we can see that these characters are tired, worn down, & broken from the real-world violence & murder. it’s supposed to be tempting. people are supposed to want it because it’s forever free of villainy & pain ( ‘there is no pain or suffering in the city of light’ ). raven is able to walk again; jasper is free of ptsd; emori is the best version of herself; jaha doesn’t remember his pain, et cœtera. it is tempting. if someone offered you a way out of this terrible life & world at the cost of practically nothing, you’d take it. now, a.l.i.e. 2.0 / bekka pramheda or should i say―lexa / the flame, offered a harder life in the free world of pain & suffering for the trade of personal growth, evolution, & learning from personal experiences. who wants pain? who wants to live in a never-ending cycle of grief in a free world when there was an easy way to eliminate that? the concept of ‘forced good’ & ‘free will’ is the same as the abrahamic good vs. evil.
‘forced good’ & ‘free will’ also alludes to the christian messiahs. condensed, the false messiah ( a.l.i.e. 1.0 ) tries to deceive people into believing that they’re the true messiah by promising a false heaven, or the city of light, which is why she looks exactly like bekka pramheda. but, the false messiah’s deception brings out the the true messiah. in the bible, it is said that at the end of times that humans are given the choice of joining either side ( which a.l.i.e.? ) & the sum of our lifetimes affect which choice we make. the end of times is praimfaya in six months & clarke’s forced to choose between a softer good & a painful reality. clarke, the representative of humanity, makes the seemingly right decision by choosing 2.0 / bekka pramheda / lexa ( i say ‘seemingly’ because who knows? maybe it was the wrong choice & the life would be fairer to them if she chose differently ) because she realises that pain is part of life; it is what makes walking mankind inherently human. life isn’t perfect or absolute, & clarke quite literally quotes, ‘as human beings we have free will!’
some other season three religious parallels:
- the father, son, & holy spirit through bekka pramheda / lexa: she creates the flame in space, she descends to earth to become the commander while the flame is in her, & when she dies she leaves behind the spirit of the commander.
- the golgotha-like scenes in polis with rivers of blood on the streets & people nailed to crosses. jaha was spreading ‘god’s will’ by pursuing people to join via the chip. the people on the crosses were martyred & left to die because the refused to take the chip à la ‘convert’ to a.l.i.e. 1.0′s faith.
- the chip was a communion ‘wafer’.
- marcus kane was jesus. he grew his hair out in season three & preached about equality ( remember him in polis? he loved lexa’s kind & fair polis ) between the sky people & the grounders. he refused to accept the chip because it was wrong & as punishment, jaha hammered him to cross for all of his disciples to see. we didn’t get the crown of thorns on his head, but it still echoed jesus’ mission into foreign lands to spread peace.
- floudonkru & luna’s mantra of ‘from water we are born, to water we return’ echoes the catholic ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’ line.
SEASON FOUR : this season was so ugly i wasn’t sure where to start because seasons one-three actively placed the main cast in religious roles where season four had them ‘break’ the roles or actively challenge it ( or, in parsons’ eloquent terminology, fuq everyone over ). let’s start with the most obvious: the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
the four riders are described in the last book of the new testament ( the 100 season two & three told the story of rejecting the old testament in favour of the new testament, too ) the lamb of god opens the first four of the seven seals, ‘then I saw when the lamb broke one of the seven seals, & I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “come.” I looked, & behold, a white horse, & he who sat on it had a bow; & a crown was given to him, & he went out conquering & to conquer.’. the white, red, black, & pale riders. pestilence, war / conquest, famine, & death. they are the harbingers of the last judgement set upon the world to bring eschaton, the end of days. obviously, eschaton is praimfaya itself, come to render judgement on mankind for clarke’s decision in the city of light ( if this is free will, then you will live with the doom of the living ). luna kom floudonkru was the first horseman. she brought pestilence with her. see: the rig was dying, she was terminarch, the last of her people, & only lived by nightblood when her clan died. roan kom azgedakru was the second horseman. in the tinder box he brought war where kane & skaikru wanted peace in polis to save everyone. because he abandoned polis people were massacred & infamy was spread throughout the clans because there was no commander left to rule. the ‘messiah’ was killed in the city of light. the third horseman was the black rain bringing terror & death everywhere it went & leaving people to perish. then the last horseman was none other wanheda, the commander of death. she, who accepted death into her bones & sealed her people in the bunker & sent her friends into the sky as she became master of oblivion. the ambassador of humanity, the carrier of free will became death itself in the end; the pale horseman. ‘doomsday is here; die all, die merrily’.
speaking of clarke, let’s look into ‘the god complex’ in relation to nightblood. luna made it very clear that nightblood is looked up as royalty. if you have nightblood, you have a chance to become heda & to represent a flame faith. so by association, having nightblood is religious in a sense. it’s like being chosen by ‘god’ to be the next moses or jesus & clarke ignored that. times were dire, sure. praimfaya was coming, but she made herself into a nightblood. luna was ‘chosen’; clarke cheated into spiritualism thus she self-made herself into having a ‘god complex’. everything is a repercussion of her free will.
anyways, going back to the first paragraph of this bullet about how the characters worked against their preordained roles; the one most worth mentioning is octavia. she’s not octavia anymore; she took lexa’s red sash & symbolic wheel of dharma & proclaimed herself heda―a spiritual & religious role reserved only for the flame. why was this wrong? it’s part of ethnic cleansing, the eradication of cultures, religions, & peoples. she took something that the grounders have worshipped for years & said ‘i am’ where she should’ve been a whole different leader. lexa was heda of the kongeda whose faith was to the flame. octavia should’ve been her own leader, the leader of wonkru―not heda, a leader. the same thing with clarke. she almost became ‘heda’ at expense of an entire faith ( thankfully roan stopped her ). say what you will, but octavia will meet resistance in the bunker not because she’s the leader of wonkru, but because she took something that wasn’t hers & made it hers. ontari was cruel & malevolent, but she had more right to that than octavia.
SEASON FIVE : yes, we already have a glimpse into it. the first episode is titled ‘eden’. the green is eden. the wheel of dharma has spun again thus beginning a new cycle of rebirth. clarke is no longer the emissary of humanity, heralder of free will, or the pale horseman; her story begins as adam & it is her who will tell the eves to not eat the fruit from the tree lest pandora’s box is opened & the evils come again. clarke griffin, once eve is now adam & the story has been rewritten to where she is on the other side of the looking glass now. she is the grounder & eligius corporation has come to repeat the biblical legend of the 100.