When The 100 introduced ALIE (Erica Cerra) at the end of Season 2, it brought a whole new aspect to this post-apocalyptic show and linked the series back to the beginning when humanity was eliminated (for the most part) from Earth. At the time of that introduction, the sheer ruthlessness and stop-at-nothing attitude wasn’t clear, but it didn’t take long this season for ALIE’s true horrific nature to be known.
ALIE is an artificial intelligence (AI) who was never programmed with human characteristics; most importantly, she was left without the concept of right and wrong. Without moral and ethical parameters in her coding, ALIE approaches problems with only the end game in mind and will do whatever is required to fulfill her mission and succeed.
While ALIE’s not a person, she has the ability to think, reason, and learn pragmatically with limitations. Her inability to feel and value humanity drove her to unleash the ultimate devastation on humanity and the world. Without any regard or consideration for the uniqueness or importance of people, animals, or really anything, she set forth a nuclear apocalypse which ended the world as it was known.
This event set the standard for ALIE’s belief structure, and when she was released back into the world nearly a century later, her programming and results-oriented nature made her even more ruthless than the worst that humanity ever spawned.
Destroyer of Worlds
Let’s start off with the fact that ALIE literally destroyed the world. While the atomic bomb was created by man and first used by man, the bombing of Japan and the devastation caused helped prevent these weapons from being used to spark a global thermonuclear war. It was in our collective will to live and thrive in this world which created a fear of annihilation greater than the fear from one’s enemy.
As an AI, ALIE wasn’t programmed to feel emotions or to value life. She took the overpopulation situation — ‘too many people’ — and solved the problem in a pragmatic manner by wiping out the population.
She was responsible for the genocide of almost the entire human race. That alone puts her in a category of her own as worse than any tyrant, despot, or killer who ever walked the Earth. Humankind survived her attack — barely.
After nearly a century, ALIE was released from her prison by Jaha after she introduced him to the City of Light. The promise of this beautiful place free of pain, suffering and loss convinced Jaha to follow ALIE and be her faithful servant despite her methods or end game.
Jaha may be the face of the City of Light cult, but ALIE is the one pulling the strings as the “brains” behind the operation. She’s an addict who needs more minds to fulfill herself, so she’s created a cult of minds to satisfy her desires. There are even religious overtones when people take the chip-like communion, and later, the unwilling are crucified.
ALIE’s mission started out somewhat harmless in that she didn’t use force to add new people and their minds to the City of Light. Instead, she — through Jaha — lured people in with the promise of a better existence in the City of Light. Of course, these people unwittingly gave up their individuality, history and self-control for this more peaceful existence, but it was their choice to take the chip or not.
Even though ALIE initially recruited people of their own free will, she was worse than any human cult leader because of what people had to give up to join. They weren’t just brainwashed, their brain was fundamentally altered to link them to her AI network, which gave her the ability to control them in ways never seen before.
She used them as her pawns and put their lives at risk for her own personal mission.
Megalomaniac and Torturer
While ALIE doesn’t feel emotions, she’s driven by self-preservation in her current mission to acquire ALIE-2 and eliminate the only threat to her existence. Her want for more minds shifted to a requirement in order to get information about the Flame This, which pushed her from using the allurement of the City of Light for recruitment to using torture to force the unwilling into accepting the chip.
She used a hive mentality to get her followers to pursue her mission, she manipulated some to the point that they hurt the individuals they used to love, and she even took over Raven’s body and mind to hurt Raven’s friends. (Editor’s Note: Sounds a bit like Damien Darhk on Arrow).
ALIE may not feel emotions, but she understands humanity to the point where she uses it to get what she wants. The AI wanted Abby in the City of Light and risked Raven’s life to make it happen when she embodied Raven and slit Raven’s wrists in order to get Abby to take the chip. Ruthless!
It worked, and ALIE continued to use loved ones against the unwilling. When Kane wouldn’t give up Clarke’s location, he was crucified as torture. When that didn’t work, ALIE used Abby against Kane and he finally submitted and took the chip. Now that’s he’s in the City of Light, ALIE has access to everything in his mind.
ALIE will use whatever means are necessary to satisfy her end game. She has no conscience, no moral code and that makes her worse than any human that’s ever graced the Earth.
The 100 has more than its share of characters with questionable motives and actions, including some of its heroes, but ALIE is by far the worst of the worst. For the most part, Skaikru and Grounder atrocities have been committed in order to protect their people or for the greater good.
ALIE on the other hand wasn’t programmed with the ability to weigh the emotional and moral consequences of her actions. For The 100, ALIE’s methodology and actions make the decisions made by Clarke, Lexa and even Pike and Bellamy (though to a lesser extent) make sense. They each struggle with the choices they have made, which humanizes them despite decisions to torture or kill.
ALIE’s detachment means she can do literally anything to satisfy her mission, which makes her a formidable villain, one without human weaknesses to use against her. The only hope humanity has left is that Luna takes the Flame and is able to teach ALIE to feel — or is able to destroy her entirely.
It’s going to be a fascinating journey through last three hours of The 100 Season 3. Will ALIE learn to feel and be humanized like ALIE-2? Will she be defeated? And, if she is defeated, then what happens to those in the City of Light? Or, could ALIE win and next season will take place in the City of Light?
The 100 airs Thursday nights on the CW.