10:35 am EST, January 26, 2016

Amazing ‘The 100’ fan theory: Is the City of Light a virtual reality?

In The 100 season 3, the search for the City of Light continues. But does it even exist in real life?

If you want more The 100 discussion, check out our podcast discussion of the season 3 premiere, “Wanheda, Part 1.”


We were blown away by last week’s The 100 season 3 premiere. Some of our heroes are enjoying a bit of much-needed peace, while others are less fortunate.

Most fans’ attention is on Clarke, who has been marked as “Wanheda” and is therefore wanted dead by all the Grounders.

But let’s not forget about Jaha and Murphy, whose search for the City of Light has finally (sort of) paid off.

During the three months that have passed between the season 2 finale and the season 3 premiere, Jaha — former Ark chancellor and current crazed fanatic — has been holding Murphy prisoner in the bunker while himself spending some quality time with the A.I. who calls herself A.L.I.E.

Related: The 100 season 3 premiere review: Taking the Fury Road to Ice Nation


When Murphy is finally set free, it’s to find Jaha visiting his mind palace allegedly able to access the City of Light while in some sort of trance. We also learn that he and A.L.I.E. have converted a nuclear warhead into a power source — whatever they need that much power for, however, is anyone’s guess.

Jaha, who is able to see A.L.I.E. even after they leave the mansion, also gives Murphy a little blue pill (or chip) that will let Murphy go to the same place.

It might be easy to assume Jaha is just crazy, and that some kind of drug is allowing him to think he’s in the City of Light. But Hypable reader Steven Miller shared with us a far more interesting, and plausible, theory:


I suspect that the City of Light that Jaha is talking about is a virtual world, and that ALIE has somehow developed tech that allows her to connect someone’s brain directly to the computers she has running the virtual world program. I guess you swallow something and it travels through the bloodstream until it hits the brain, and attaches to it. And that’s how Jaha is still seeing ALIE, even now that they’ve left her mansion. ALIE is able to use the implant in Jaha’s brain to make him see, hear, and feel whatever she wants him to.

So I guess if a bunch of people had these implants, they could use their connection to ALIE to live together in a virtual world. Sort of like an MMO server that’s connected directly to your brain and controls all of your senses.

Which seems pretty creepy when you realize it would be completely controlled by an artificial intelligence who has wiped out most of the human race once already.

We’re totally on board with this brilliant theory. Introducing a technologically advanced alternative to the “primitive” life the Ark survivors and Grounders are living would add a whole new dimension (heh) to The 100, and open up the possibility for a lot of new conflicts and moral dilemmas.

Related: The 100 season 3: Will we ever be able to forgive Lexa?

In the City of Light, people would be able to escape the brutal realities of the ground. It’d be a virtual paradise for some, and a prison sentence for others — and anyone who entered the trance would leave their physical selves vulnerable and defenseless in the real world. Someone who was physically impaired (like Raven) or who needed a mental escape (like Jasper) might be specifically interested in this new ‘reality’ offered by A.L.I.E.

It would be like Ready Player One meets The Matrix — definitely a game-changer for the already unpredictable series!

If this theory is true, the show might also tackle the very timely moral debate surrounding virtual reality (and the merits of A.I. intelligence and awareness). We could see the characters in the ‘modern world,’ living in a virtual ‘city’ and having to choose between fantasy and grim reality. In this City of Light, we could even imagine that some characters could exist despite having died in real life.

(…Unless the ground is the virtual reality! But we wouldn’t go that far with our crazy theorizing — or would we?)

Do you think the City of Light is a virtual space you can access via tech implants?

The 100 returns Thursday at 9/8c on The CW.

Please refrain from discussing any of the leaked The 100 season 3 spoiler material in the comments.

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