If you can ignore small problems like, “How the hell did the last straggling survivors of humanity, hundreds of years in the future on a ship with such limited food and resources cryostorage was necessary for several centuries until they found a new planet, somehow wake up with instant access to things like hair gel, highlights, and lip gloss?” or “Why the hell would you open the airlock of your spaceship, with everyone in it and not wearing a spacesuit, BEFORE testing the air?” The 100 is a grittily realistic depiction of humanity and its probable dystopian future.
*SPOILERS ahead for previous seasons*
Here’s a not-so-quick recap to explain why you should be watching this too-close-to-home scifi show. I’ll try not to be too specific but there will be a few spoilers.
#The100 starts with humanity’s last survivors (for the most part) on a dying “ark” in space. 100 teens are sent back to Earth, the planet still smoking from a nuclear showdown a few centuries earlier, to see if maybe they can live there now. Turns out, there are some earthside survivors, called “grounders,” whose warlike society is no surprise given they descended from people who, well, blew up their own damn planet. They fight with the “100,” lots of people die, hard choices are made.
Ultimately, the two groups team up to defeat the “mountain men,” the OTHER survivors, who live under the surface in a bunker. Desperate to go outside, the mountain survivors discover the 100 are better suited to radiation levels on the surface because of their time in space. Then they immediately come up with a dastardly plan to kill all the 100 for their bone marrow.
Clarke, leader of the 100, and her people fight back and ultimately flood the bunker with radioactive air, killing the mountain dwellers, as a last resort to save themselves. After that, the truce falls apart and the 100, plus the last of the ark dwellers who have joined them on Earth, fight with the grounders for another season or so.
Eventually, in the middle of fighting with the Grounders, they discover the world’s leftover nuclear reactors are melting down and the whole planet will soon be unlivable. You’d think THAT would stop the fighting but…um, nope.
Oh, but there’s another underground bunker everyone forgot about for like, 200 years or more, and it can house…some of the people for the next five years of radioactive hell on Earth. But obvs, not everyone. More hard choices and people fighting to the death gladiator style.
Clarke’s mother Abby attempts to develop a way to make everyone immune to radiation like a tiny minority of grounders, who have black blood. There’s some history told in flashbacks, where we learn the creator of the AI who destroyed the world to save it — remember, the thing was programmed by humans, so critical thinking isn’t its best event— returned to Earth to try to “fix” things with radiation immunity.
Over time, the grounders lost their tech and turned to mysticism and superstition, and now they have no idea how genetics can explain the black blood. Enter Abby, who invents a cure, which of course they have to test on someone…so they use a prisoner, who dies, and everyone is wracked with guilt. Abby thinks she can fix the cure, and Clarke insists on being the next test subject, injecting herself.
Abby then refuses to test the cure, and instead destroys the radiation chamber so no one knows if the latest generation cure works. Five of Clarke’s friends go back to the ark to live on algae while the “lottery winners” hide out in the underground bunker. There’s another five years of hell, with more gladiator fights to the death and, uh, cannibalism when the bunker gang can’t produce enough protein from the algae farm.
After five years pass, they dig themselves out and discover there is somehow ONLY ONE living valley on the entire Earth that can sustain life. (This is another thing where you just have to suspend your disbelief.) But wait, a prison ship on a centuries-long mission has JUST RETURNED TO EARTH, and they want the valley. More fighting, both between the grounders and the 100, and with the prison ship.
Ultimately, the prison people decided if they can’t have the valley, no one can, and some of them nuke it. Yep, last livable place on Earth. Sound like a realistic picture of humanity? Yes, yes it does. So the survivors put themselves in cryostorage on the prison ship, wake up hundreds of years in the future, and that’s where the current season takes place.
The reason I’ve recapped this whole storyline is to point out that yeah, this show would not win any awards for scientific accuracy, and at times descends into bad plot devices (worms from space), BUT in terms of a realistic depiction of humanity and the horrendous things humans will do to each other and themselves, I give it props.
Every time the humans have a chance to survive and rebuild their society, they instead kill each other over stupid shit, until they destroy whatever resources are left. It is violent, graphic, and absolutely a realistic future for the human species. I recommend everyone watch it in the vain hope a few of us might actually fucking learn something. But probably not because, well… <gestures at all of history>
Seriously, you should be watching The 100. If nothing else, it’ll help you plan for a craptastic future.