Remember that time Clarke and Finn laughed over a bowl of water? The 100 pilot was a simpler time.
March 19 marked the five-year anniversary of The 100 pilot, which aired in spring 2014 on The CW. Five years, guys. Can you believe it? Some might call it a long time. As we wait for The 100 season 6, I thought now would be a great time for a re-watch.
I have, of course, rewatched the pilot (and indeed the whole series) many times since that first time, and it’s always worth it, both to see the early stages of some truly great stories and to remember all those characters and storylines that just… never went anywhere. Above all, it’s always fun to see a version of the show and these characters that try so painfully hard to be ‘teen friendly,’ because if there is anything The 100 is not, it’s, well, that.
Octavia Blake, in particular, is hilariously Brooke Davis-esque to Clarke’s Peyton, the Clarke-Octavia-Finn triangle rearing its ugly head for the first and thankfully last time.
Finn Collins is a walking/parkouring disaster even before the show truly leans into the negative aspects of his character. Every moment Finn is on screen is iconic for all the worst (and best) reasons, from him somersaulting into the show and getting two poor kids killed, to twirling off a roof to save Wells, to sticking a poisonous flower in Octavia’s hair.
(Oh, how I will forever wish that The 100 had done its Lost-inspired main character death surprise with Finn rather than Wells. But I digress.)
Up on the Ark, the lens flare machine is running amok while some very talented actors do actually phenomenal work, and we meet some of the key players of the story:
…Er, and then there’s Abby, Jaha and Kane, I guess. (My god, Pilot 100 was a very different The 100.)
In all seriousness, one of the main things I love about The 100 pilot is how large and in charge Abby Griffin is from the very beginning. As she says herself, she is clearly the best shot these space assholes have at not only surviving but deserving to survive. Kane with the Evil Space Hair lurks in the shadows, bordering on cartoonish villainy, while Thelonious Jaha is allowed his well-timed hero moment that, frankly, sets up what was feels like a very different arc than the one he ended up having.
Some parts of The 100 pilot are rough. Mostly, the parts with Finn in them. But rewatching the episode five seasons later, the episode also shows, clear as day, the potential that this show always had to be everything it has become. Accidental or otherwise, there are clues to future storylines and character fates peppered into this hot, beautiful mess of an episode, and elements probably meant to be throwaway are lent retroactive significance by being references later.
To mark the five-year anniversary, I went back and watched it all one more, specifically to pay attention to memorable moments and things that stand out stronger all these years later.
I recorded all of my thoughts and stray reactions while watching, and here they are! Enjoy.
Rewatching ‘The 100’ pilot 5 years later
- I thought you’d all like to know that the Danish Netflix description calls the delinquents “100 homeless youths.”
- “I feel the sun on my face. I see trees all around me. Scent of wildflowers on a breeze.” Clarke is describing Eden here, isn’t she? Prophetic.
- What happened to Clarke’s watch????? We still don’t know!
- I’m such a sucker for lead female characters that draw. Because I draw. So I’m like, “I’m her! It’s me!” I hate it because that’s how they get you.
- It will never not be funny to me that the Ark somehow had NO idea there was any life on Earth when we know there were Grounders on at least two continents making fire and fighting wars with each other.
- ”The ground. That’s the dream. This…. Is reality.” You guys! What if it’s ALL A DRE– oh wait, we’ve been down this road before.
- Clarke is such a thinker, and yet her instinct when cornered is to kick her way out and run away. This is, amazingly, a recurring problem-solving tactic for her.
- Abby tells Clarke, “You’re being sent to the Ground. All 100 of you.” Does that mean there were only exactly 100 delinquents at any given time? Would there be any delinquents under, say, five years old? I guess that’s a question they conveniently didn’t have to answer because yikes.
- “Your instincts will tell you to take care of everyone else first,” Abby says, helpfully reading straight from Clarke’s character bio.
- There is so little chance of this plan being successful, but Abby’s capacity to believe in her own course of action has always been extraordinary.
- Clarke is so right though. Reality does suck.
- Aww I forgot this was pre-opening credits. But I always did like how the logo simulated the Ark breaking apart (and foreshadowed the ∞).
- Ah, Finn got floated. Amazingly, this is the first of several iconic acrobat moments in this episode.
- Siiiiiiigh Wells got himself arrested to follow Clarke to the ground to protect her after already protecting her from the truth! He was always the best of them <3 literally too pure for this world.
- You all know I love Jaha, but he is so unnecessarily a jerk in this video, jeez. “Your crimes have made you expendable.” Jackass.
- Ah yes, the first appearance of The 100’s most annoying recurring character, Angry Mob.
- AND OUR FAVE, CALLIE CARTWIG. I can’t wait for all of her storylines and adventu–
- Octavia’s little rocker hand movements in this episode were just Marie being Marie while they figured out who Octavia was supposed to be, weren’t they?
- Maybe when they wrote the pilot, Finn being a Spacewalker really was just intended to be exactly what it seemed like, but I don’t know. Even if we never really see it on his face, it already feels like there’s more to his story.
- Evil Space Kane with Evil Space Kane hair should not be this attractive.
- Oh, but SINCLAIR IS HERE. I don’t know if it was just the BSG of it all, but every time Sinclair was on screen, I instantly felt like everything was going to be okay. Incidentally I haven’t felt that way in years.
- Even right before death, beautiful stubborn Clarke is like “I DO hate you!” Haha I love her.
- It’s such a cool little detail to note that this is the first time in their lives they’ve lived without machine hum. (And it’s MONTY who says that!)
- So Finn is having a complete breakdown in this scene looking at the two dead kids whose deaths he was literally responsible for (the first of many). Of course then it’s totally brushed over in this next scene. There’s probably some unexplored parallel between how Finn and Octavia work very very hard in this episode to appear much cooler and unaffected than they are, but I… cba to dive into it.
- Oh look! It’s Boris.
- Awkward flashback to the 0.5 seconds when I first watched this cute little CW pilot, didn’t know anyone was related to anyone, and thought the main love triangle was going to be Clarke-Bellamy-Octavia. #yikes
- Convenient background exposition guy in this scene is convenient. “No one has a brother!” Lolllll I miss that guy.
- Bellamy followed Octavia to the ground to protect her, and Wells followed Clarke. A thankfully short-lived pattern.
- It really ended up being so symbolic in so many different ways, that Octavia was first on the ground. “First one who touches the ground loses,” indeed.
- I love Bellamy’s little extended hand to make sure his little sister has this moment all to herself. And everyone just lets it happen. Big Hair Energy.
- Octavia’s hair has gone from chestnut brown to dark brown to just pure black over the past five seasons with absolutely no explanation. I wonder now her Blodreina days are over and/or she runs out of charcoal it’ll go back to brown.
- Aaaaand with “we’re back bitches,” we’re reminded that this is The CW. But even for all that added gloss, the pilot is already going pretty hard. I remembered it glossier.
- Still waiting for that “we’re back bitches” reprise btw.
- The use of “Radioactive” here is 100x more iconic because of how it was brought back during that flashback in season 3. This show needs more flashbacks.
- Clarke, all business all the time, just how we love her. “They dropped us on the wrong damn mountain” is such an underrated line.
- What would have happened if they’d landed on the right damn mountain?
- This is just such a pretty picture.
- I love how she’s instantly able to use a map because apparently her father taught her??? Why and how and for what purpose, I have questions.
- Do we all remember that Finn was the one who made up the nickname “princess”? Do we just conveniently like to forget?
- Arg, he’s so ANNOYING. But also hilarious. Is it wrong that I find Finn infinitely more hilarious now that I know his terribly tragic death?
- Let’s be honest, everyone’s pilot hair is a disaster. Except Octavia’s, whose hair is way too nice-looking.
- Okay so Evil Space Kane is a jerk, but he does give Abby a little credit here for the wristband idea. (Btw, Abby is a Doctor, how DID she make up those wristbands? I suppose the same way she made up that tumor zapper in season 5. She’s crafty.)
- JACKSON!! That’s it that’s the observation.
- Abby’s “They’re excited to be there” all triumphant is definitely one of the highpoints of this episode.
- Also Kane’s reaction: “Excited about something that isn’t mass murder?? I don’t know her.” Basically what he said.
- JASPER!! My god a lot of these people are dead now.
- “He’s with us” lmaoooo. Murphy, already a legend. Also not dead, which is something.
- So Octavia’s ability to just be cool and flirty and totally over the top does seem super out of place in this episode, but I like to think she watched a lot of teen movies growing up and is just trying on a role now that she’s finally free to be something. Octavia was always messed up about who she wanted to be and how she wanted to fit in, so it makes sense she’s trying on ‘high school cheerleader’ for size before finding her own identity among the Grounders.
- Very nice little visual setup here with Jasper and Monty accidentally ending up on Clarke’s side.
- Clarke’s earnest “You think we care who’s in charge?” is essentially why she’s such a good leader, but also why she’s very bad at not being a leader. Because the only time she actually doesn’t care who’s in charge is when the person in charge does things exactly how she thinks they should be done.
- “Let the privileged do the hard work for a change” aww I miss the Ark class struggles tbh. Simpler times.
- AHAHAHAH FINN impresses everyone with his little peace-making pirouette, it’s so stupid and I love it with all my heart. #SpinFinnSpin.
- Jasper thinks Finn is cool and immediately tries to be like him. It’s funny but also sad, because… well.
- Bellamy is such an overprotective ass in this episode. By all rights we should hate him, and yet there is JUST ENOUGH depth there that we don’t. Bob Morley really sells it.
- Meanwhile Octavia is literally acting like she’s on spring break. “I want to do something crazy, just because I can.” I have to headcanon that she got all of these clichés out of a movie, because she’s the only one who acts and talks like this (and she never does so after this episode), and it is high-key world-breaking.
- “I can’t say what it is just yet,” Bellamy says to Octavia, for absolutely no valid reason other than he knows a dramatic reveal of his crime isn’t scripted for another few scenes.
- I remember being so confused by Finn’s line, “Kid’s got one leg,” because, okay, I hadn’t suuuper been paying attention up until this point and I actually thought Wells literally only had one leg.
- So Finn really is immediately like yolo, screw the Ark when he gets on the ground huh? This really IS pre-Raven Reyes. (Though in the show’s defense, he makes no further moves to take off the wristband after that, clearly something is ‘abrewin.)
- “You shouldn’t have come here, Wells.” Bellamy is right :( :( :(
- Finn has three redeeming qualities in this episode: 1) he got Clarke to laugh a few times, which must be a record, 2) he brought Jasper and Monty into the main storyline and 3) the pirouette thing, obviously.
- “Finn’s mine.” “I don’t care” is the funniest exchange a) because it’s Finn and b) because it is the first of TWO barely-avoided Finn-centric love triangles this season.
- CAN OCTAVIA AND CLARKE MAYBE WALK NEXT TO EACH OTHER SOME TIME AGAIN MAYBE?
- Oh man all the little Abby and Callie friendship moments in this episode. We were robbed. (And it’s still hilarious that they never even bothered to explain who she was and where she went.)
- Look at Monty and Jasper just being cute and bantery. I miss them. And, sad detail: it was Monty’s mistake that got them both sent to the ground.
- Wow, all the men in this scene are dead now.
- THE DEER. MY BAE. Fun fact: when I first watched this episode (by accident, thinking it was the pilot of a different show), THIS was the scene that made me put down my phone and pay attention. I owe that deer a lot.
- If I was in charge of The 100 marketing the first thing I would make would be two-headed deer plushies. #doeregrets
- I hope wherever that deer is now, he has FIVE heads.
- “He’s no one. A janitor.” The DISRESPECT.
- Back then, Kane was almost certainly Octavia’s dad, right? I’m kind of glad they scrapped that cause it would have been cliché, but also kind of sad because the Dad Kane potential is so great.
- Kane and Bellamy’s characters/storylines as foils to the Griffin women in this episode are so similar though, I’d almost rather have seen THEM be related.
- This dude, man. THE WORST. He really is just there to make Kane look marginally less turned on by mass murder by comparison.
- ”The 100 have an assassin in their midst” is meant to be frightening like there aren’t a dozen other murderers in their midst??
- FIRST SON FIRST TO DYE! Who says this show isn’t funny?
- This Bellamy vs Clarke setup is already so much more than just your average teen drama power struggle. He immediately picks up on her point about the wristbands and uses it for the complete opposite goal. They think alike, just in opposite ways, which is why they make such a good team.
- They were so smart to keep Richard Harmon, my god. He elevates every scene he’s in.
- “Both named John” is such a neat little detail. Shows almost never have two people called the same normal name.
- Look at this stuff. Earth really was beautiful.
- Imagine if the Ark hadn’t died early and they’d just stayed up there as planned and then boom, Praimfaya six months later. That would have sucked.
- Octavia’s little spin is hilarious, but also maybe her biggest character-building moment in the episode. She’s been trying on the ditzy cheerleader role for size and it’s been working, but now she tries it again and nobody cares — and her face immediately goes stony. And in the next scene, she’s taking her clothes off and almost dies trying to recapture the attention she’s been craving all her life. It all tracks with her character, vapid as it seems.
- Poor Wells, man. He literally died because he was too good of a good guy. Am I ever going to let it go? No, I am not.
- “We have to warn them.” “That was what my father said.” Wow Clarke, I know he pirouettes AND invokes the same generic sentiment as your dead father, but keep it in your pants.
- This is a very talented cast, but my god have they developed as performers during their time on this show. If we just compare any of these actors’ performance to their last, every single one of them are just infinitely better. I hope they all have huge careers after this.
- On a scale of 0 to Clarke, how attracted is everyone to Octavia right now?
- “We can’t swim!” “No, but we can stand.” lmao, these comedians.
- Ah yes, early The 100 when ‘hero moments’ where the nerdy boy saves the pretty girl were still the height of action. I’m not that nostalgic for season 1, to be honest.
- Jasper may have won this round, but that water worm and its desert children are going to outlive all of them.
- “Note to self: Save the girl.” I think the f not.
- My poor doomed babiesssss.
- The holy trinity of farmers, doctors and engineers — the pillar of all functioning societies on The 100 and in my favorite strategy game Zeus: Master of Olympus.
- ”My people are already down here. Those people locked my people up.” And so the saga of “my people” begins.
- “Here, there are no laws. Here, we do whatever the hell we want.” Aka #threesomes?
- Bellamy is such a successful ‘bad guy’ for one simple reason: he was never a bad guy at all. That’s how you do it.
- Aw, it’s Fox. Remember Fox? RIP Fox. (Wearing one of several identical red jackets that later become a Raven Reyes exclusive.)
- Abby and Jackson’s little “they found water” hand hold is so precious.
- Kane is so gleeful that he has a chance to execute her, ugh. I’m gonna ship this so hard in a few episodes, but right now Kane is still the asshole who got Jake killed and made sure Clarke was implicated in his crimes. And he MADE JACKSON CRY. Jerkface.
- Somewhere out there, Diyoza is sleeping.
- Seriously, the fuck is this guy? Kara Cooper’s husband? Hey, WHY NOT?
- “That’s the difference between us. I choose to make sure that we deserve to stay alive.” This is just peak Abby Griffin.
- Do we think Kane put Abby in Clarke’s cell to be kind or to be cruel? Tbh probably both.
- Clarke could really decorate the hell out of an Ikea curtain, couldn’t she?
- Like the princess nickname, people like to conveniently forget that the glowing butterflies first belonged to Flarke.
- This is some Twilight shit, right here. But Clarke is smiling so I forgive it.
- Aww Octavia sleeping in between Jasper and Monty. She better bring that up to Jordan or what. was. the. point.
- It’s kind of weird and sad that we never got glowing night scenes like this again.
- Ooooh I forgot about those footprints Finn found! What WERE they? Was it Pauna? Was it that disfigured dude from season 2 we never saw again? Was it the Smoke Monster?
- What was the story between Callie and Kane anyway???? Were they married? Friends? How did she manage that thin diplomatic line of being BFFs with Abby and whatever she was with Kane while Kane and Abby hated each other?? Why wasn’t Kane killing Jake a dealbreaker for her?? Where is my Callie Cartwig prequel?
- A cosmic Adam and Eve… *thinks of Monty and Harper* *cries*
- Y’all might hate Thelonious Jaha, but he DID SAVE ABBY AT THE LAST SECOND <3 Also I guess this was the episode’s third instance of a man coming to the rescue of a woman but okay I’ll allow it.
- Exhibit A that Jaha was madly in love with Abby and a shadow version of this show exists with a Jaha-Abby-Kane-Callie love quadrangle at its center.
- Too bad they kind of lost sight of Jaha though, to be honest. He was a really good character.
- This is some A-quality Team Adults tension right here though. Good times.
- I have a podcasting microphone called Apogee soooooo… that’s all I got.
- Wait, “See you on the other side” was ALSO a Finn Collins original? This is getting embarrassing.
- This moment, when Jasper is “killed” (right after saying see you on the other side, sigh) is so incredible, I *almost* wish they hadn’t undone it in the next episode- but only almost, because I’d much rather have had Jasper than the shocking pilot death.
- Octavia what are you DOING?
- “We’re not alone”……….. Oh baby Clarke. You had no idea.
Boom, out, etc! That was a fun trip down memory lane. Honestly, between the catastrophic hair situations, the many random disappearing characters and the obvious tweaks to characterization and backstory, The 100 pilot borders on AU at this point. The show really finds its footing a few episodes in, and I don’t think anyone would rank this episode among the series’ best.
That said, the episode is clearly already aware of potential relationships and character arcs that — whether intentional or not — track all the way through the series. Octavia is already here putting on personas to protect herself, Bellamy is clearly quick-thinking and able to speak to other people’s emotions, Clarke and Abby are showing the same hard-headed stubbornness that’ll get them both into and out of so much trouble, and even Finn (my god this episode has so much damn Finn) experiences a tiny preview of the trauma that will later ruin him. You might even look to the revelation that Monty was the one who got Jasper arrested as foreshadowing, of sorts, for the guilt he would later experience.
More than anything, The 100 pilot is a great marker for how far this show has come and how much the story and world has expanded since that initial Lost-meets-BSG-meets-Lord of the Flies mashup it started as.
Now I’m more than ready for The 100 season 6, or even just the TRAILER for The 100 season 6, which should parkour off a rooftop and into our lives any day now.
So long and thanks for all the Finn!