The 100

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The 100. TV Series, 2014 f. Jason Rothenberg, creator. USA: Bonanza Productions et al. (production) The CW Television Network (US television); for detailed information on production and distribution, see IMDb.[1] Episode running time 43 minutes. Based on the novel series The 100 by Kass Morgan (2013-16).[2] TV show (and novel) discussed in Wikipedia[3] and fan-managed websites.[4]


Introduction to episodes by the lead character: "Clarke: [v.o] I was born in space. I've never felt the sun on my face or breathed real air or floated in the water. None of us have. For three generations, The Ark has kept what's left of the human race alive, but now our home is dying, and we are the last hope of mankind. One hundred prisoners sent on a desperate mission to the Ground. Each of us is here because we broke the Law. On the Ground, there is no Law. All we have to do is survive. But we will be tested: by the Earth, by the secrets it hides, and most of all, by each other."[5]

Particularly significant here, is the contrasting images cutting between The Ark as a jerry-built, high-tech but somewhat "aging-Industrial" (Erlich's phrase), low-orbit space-habitat, and the mostly contrasting Romantic Ground (Erlich's capital on "Romantic," as in "related to Medieval Romance").

The method of execution on The Ark is "Floatation" — putting someone into space without a spacesuit [6] — making very clear the Sky People's utter dependence there on the (failing) artificial (including "mechanized") environment of the significantly named "The Ark." In good Romance tradition, the Ground is "Nature naturing" in occasional great beauty and great danger. The juvenile delinquents sent to Ground initially have no technology more complex than a pistol and what they can salvage from their lander — and wrist bands that send up to The Ark their vital-sign readers; whether or not to remove the wrist bands in a quick but painful operation is one of the first conflicts among these new Grounders. The resident Grounders were "born on Earth rather than in space or Mount Weather" and are descendants of humans who survived the Nuclear Apocalypse 97 years ago"[7]; the resident humans use low-tech but effective tools/weapons. A third environment and its people are alluded to in the first two seasons and finally seen: "Mount Weather is a United States military underground bunker and missile silo launch facility located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the eastern United States of America on Earth. It was constructed to house senior US officials in the event of a nuclear war." Here we see a second high-technology area and culture: "The Mount Weather facility is functionally intact with 21st century technology, such as electrical power, gas-grenades, gas-masks, laser-sighted assault rifles, and a hospital […]"; it also has "its own agricultural products and has its own underground water reservoir."[8]

The series is character- and plot-driven, but the different environments, in good SF fashion, provide the literally interactive contexts of the characters' struggles and development.

In Season 1, #10, "I Am Become Death," warfare begins between the remaining 100 from the Ark and the Grounders, with the 100 kids with guns and other medium-high tech and the Grounders using bows and arrows and that level of technology — and sophisticated biological warfare. For the motif of such contrasts, see AVATAR and Usula K. Le Guin's long story/short novel, The Word for World Is Forest (1972).[9][10][11]Note that the space-kids' technology includes making a "bomb" (direct quote) to blow up a bridge, with explicit allusions in the dialog to deterrence, the appearance of strength, and Cold War and following theories about making and stockpiling nuclear weapons. The exploded bomb produces a mushroom cloud, and we get the quotation from J. Robert Oppenheimer, recalling the line from the Bhagavad Gita, "'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.'"[12]

The 13th and last episode of Season 1, "We Are Grounders — Part II,"[13] juxtaposes the literally disintegrating high tech of the Ark in a desperate exodus to the ground with the battle on the ground between the remaining 100 with guns and explosives and finally firing the rockets on the lander, incinerating the attacking Grounders. In a coda, and teaser for Season 2, we see that the Mecha Station part of the Ark has landed safely, and we see from the point of view of Abby and then Kane a beautiful natural world of western North America, itself juxtaposed to the surviving 100 and one Grounder prisoner gassed by "Mountain Men," whom we see indistinctly through the knockout gas: wearing full-face gas masks and carrying advanced long guns — cutting to Clarke (and Monty) in a white, clean, antiseptic indoor space with indoor plumbing and electric light, and locked doors and a sign reading "Mount Weather Quarantine Ward."

Discussed briefly by Tania Darlington in SFRA Review #314 (Winter 2015 [sic]): pp. 41-42.[14]

RDE, Initial Compiler, 22/VI/17, 6July17, 15July17, 10Aug21