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THE 100’s Jason Rothenberg Talks Flashback Twist, Heartbreaking Death, and More

THE 100’s Jason Rothenberg Talks Flashback Twist, Heartbreaking Death, and More

Warning: major spoilers ahead! Do not read any further until you’ve watched Thursday’s episode of The 100, “Thirteen.” You’ve been warned …

After two and a half seasons of questions, The 100 finally gave us some answers. But in a classic case of “be careful what you wish for,” those answers were given to us by killing off one of the most beloved characters of the series.

Nerdist’s recap of the game-changing episode is coming soon, but here’s a breakdown of all the shockers from the hour in rapid-fire form: The flashbacks to the end of the world revealed A.L.I.E.’s creator Becca (Erica Cerra) brought A.L.I.E. 2 down to Earth (safely implanted in the back of her own neck) just seconds before Polaris was destroyed by the other Ark stations on Unity Day (and the destruction of her own station was actually her fault). In the present, Titus (Neil Sandilands) tried to kill Clarke (Eliza Taylor) and frame Murphy (Richard Harmon) for her death by using a gun, but his bullets went wide and shot Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey), killing her just moments after she and Clarke slept together. After Lexa died, Titus “did his job” as Flamekeeper by cutting open the back of her neck to retrieve the “spirit of the Commander,” aka A.L.I.E. 2. It was inside Lexa this whole time!

Whoa. What does this mean for The 100 going forward now that all the storylines have connected in such a crucial way? Nerdist got executive producer Jason Rothenberg to break down all those major twists and reveals and dive deep into how this reshapes the show going forward.

The 100

Nerdist: Brace yourself, I’ve got a lot of questions! Who were those people that came out to see Becca when she landed on Earth in what would later become Polis? What was in that black liquid she was injecting into her arms that helped her survive the radiation on Earth? She’s the first nightblood, right? Ah!

Jason Rothenberg: [Laughs] I think that the end of this episode, the dots are there to be connected to how the world is what it is right now in terms of who were the nightbloods and how being a nightblood [was] something that became hereditary. Who were those first people that came out to meet Becca when she steps out of the pod? On the wall of the temple in Polis, Murphy points to the people around this woman figure on the wall, and Titus said it was Becca Pramheda, the First Commander. Titus may not have called her that, Becca Pramheda, in that episode, but that’s who she will become known. She’s got the Commander’s jacket on, right? She’s taken with her the blood treatment that she’d been giving herself which turned her own blood black as the first nightblood. She’s taken all of that with her, and as she’s surrounded by these people that we know to be the first nightbloods, I think the dots are there to be connected. Certainly some of our incredibly thorough fans will not miss out on the opportunities to connect it all together.

How much do the rest of the Grounders know about the “sacred symbol” and its origins? Is it a secret only kept by the Flamekeeper and Commander?

That’s a good question. I love the idea that technology in our world today becomes mythology and spirituality in the Grounder world 100 years from now. What is a corporate logo to us – the infinity sign that Murphy told Titus is a corporate logo and he’s praying to garbage – ultimately, over 100 years, this thing has been imbued with a different meaning. Yes, the Flamekeeper is keeping the secrets. He alone knows what happens in the temple during the ascension ceremony when the next Commander is given the Flame. But I don’t even think the Commanders themselves are aware that it’s an A.I. This is a story that we will tell more of going forward. We will answer those questions. But it is a bit of a secret thing, what happens inside the temple after the conclave, after one of the nightbloods has killed the others and won the right to bear the Flame. They then go into the temple with Titus for the ascension and are given the Flame. Whether or not we see it play out that way, people will have to tune in.

The 100

Becca put the “spirit of the commander” a.k.a. A.L.I.E. 2 in her own neck before she came down to Earth. We’ve seen what A.L.I.E. 1 is like, so how does A.L.I.E. 2 compare and how will it affect Becca or any one else that it goes into?

Well, we know someone pretty well on the show who’s had it since the day we met her, and that’s Lexa of course. I think it’s safe to say that – good and bad are words we stay away from on this show, and light and dark – but if A.L.I.E. is the bad guy, and we will discover that there are wrinkles to her story and her motivations and it’s not exactly as it seems, but as Becca says to the Commander in the flashbacks, where A.L.I.E. 1 didn’t understand what it meant to be human, that’s what allowed her to essentially get to what she thought was a better world, a.k.a. wiping out most of the human race. That, to her, was a good answer. Whereas in her follow up, version two, that would never be a possibility because A.L.I.E. 2 understands what it means to be human because she’ll be human herself. She’s going to join a human consciousness. She can’t exist without us. That’s the difference between the two. Therefore I would say, both better and worse, in terms of we will discover that the person who takes the Flame, the Commander, isn’t necessarily changed by it. It just deepens what’s already there. That’s a story we’re going to be telling down the road.

Thanks to Clarke and Lexa’s pillow talk, we now know that seven nightbloods died during Lexa’s ascension. She didn’t want to talk about the eighth nightblood that was there that wasn’t tattooed on her back, though. That seems like it’s going to be an important detail down the line. When will we learn more about that?

Do we ever do anything randomly? [Laughs] So probably there seems to be something planted, and whether or not the tree bears fruit this season or next season, people will have to tune in. But there’s certainly a little mystery around that tattoo, that’s for sure.

The 100

Will Titus be punished at all for his actions that led to Lexa’s death? He didn’t mean to kill her, sure, but it is his fault!

That’s something that we will definitely see going forward. It’s the substance of the next story we tell in Polis. Titus is not going to get away with this. We never forget anything. There will be consequences and ramifications of that, the deepest and probably most significant of which are his own feelings. He now has killed his child. She’s not his literal child but he loves Lexa. He helped her ascend. He trained her from the time she was young. He knows she’s special. He loves her. For all intents and purposes, he is her father, and he killed her. That is going to haunt him. That will be an interesting story to follow, to say the least. He’s also the only Flamekeeper, so he’s needed for the ascension ritual. The ritual has to happen and he’s the only one that can do it.

My mind is still blown by how you connected all three main, separate storylines into one cohesive story in this episode. The Grounder way of life was spawned by someone from the 13th Ark station 97 years ago. A.L.I.E. 1 is in Arkadia, searching for A.L.I.E. 2 which is in Polis. All these stories are starting to head on a collision course. 

Exactly. Everything is connected. The grand, unifying moment is the moment that the A.I. crawls out of the back of Lexa’s head and we realize that all along, the second A.I. has been right there. A.L.I.E. wants the second A.I. and is not going to give up the search for it. If she were to figure out where it is, whoever has it is going to be in deep, deep trouble. If she gets her hands on it, that might not be good for the world.

The 100

Seeing as how she already ended the world once, that sounds ominous …

[Laughs] Going forward, all of these things are connected. To me, that’s the midpoint of the bigger story that we’re telling. That moment was the moment I realized, oh my god! I was looking for this thing that unified these two stories, the Grounder world and the mythology of the Grounders and the conflict between the clans, and this A.I. story. When we hit upon the notion of this technological reincarnation, that you’re able to upload consciousness and our minds into a machine and live forever, that was the moment in which I realized, that’s it! That is the theory of everything, the theory of the season, really. Now that those stories have connected, it will remain that way going forward.

Well, The 100 fans? Have you been able to pick your jaw up off the floor yet? (I haven’t.) Have you stopped crying over Lexa’s death yet? (I haven’t.) Tweet me your thoughts and reactions at @SydneyBucksbaum!

Images: The CW

The 100 airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW. 

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