THE 100 Season 2 Finale: Showrunner Jason Rothenberg Dissects That Cliffhanger, Teases Season 3

     March 11, 2015

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Season 2 of The CW drama series The 100 answered a lot of questions, about both the world and the characters, but it also raised a whole set of new ones. Characters were pushed to make drastic and tragic decisions, while others were faced with all new possibilities.

During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, showrunner Jason Rothenberg talked about that cliff-hanger ending and whether he wrote it before he knew the show would be getting another season, how soon the story might pick up in Season 3, finally getting a glimpse into how the world ended, the surprising result of the search for the City of Light, where Jaha (Isaiah Washington) will go next, what all of this means for Clarke (Eliza Taylor), and whether there can really be any good guys in a world where you’re always fighting to survive. Be aware that there are major spoilers.

the-100-season-2-finale-interview-rothenbergCollider: This season ends on a cliffhanger. Did you write that knowing about the Season 3 pick-up, or would the season have ended this way, even if you hadn’t had that pick-up yet?

JASON ROTHENBERG: The truth is that A.I. ending was the ending in my mind from about Episode 3, onward. That’s when I came up with that story, and it didn’t change. I wasn’t worried about a pick-up. I was getting nothing but positive indications from Mark Pedowitz, and everybody at The CW, all along. I did have one funny conversation with our executive at Warner Bros., where I said, “What do you think? Should I be writing a series finale or a season finale?” And she just said, “Write the best story,” so that’s what I did. It didn’t change, at all, once we got the pick-up.

What can you say about Season 3 and where things will pick up? Will it pick up right where the finale left off, or will some time have passed?

ROTHENBERG:   It’s too soon for me to answer that question. Unlike last season, which felt like we needed to pick right up where we left off, this feels like we don’t need to do that. But, you never know. What I can say is that, when we go to the epilogue story, with the Jaha/Murphy conclusion at the end of Episode 16, I am definitely setting up, big time, the story that we will be telling in Season 3. Much the way that Clarke finding herself in the white room at Mount Weather, at the end of Season 1 said, “These guys know where they’re going next season. It’s going to be intense. Here we go,” I think the A.I. reveal and beginning to answer the question of how the world ended, which hasn’t ever really been addressed in our show is setting up what we’re going to be doing next year. The question is how that’s going to play out, which obviously I can’t reveal.    

the-100-season-2-imageI don’t think anybody remotely expected this search that Jaha has been on to have ended up the way it did.

ROTHENBERG: No. He’s been looking for his calling. He thinks he’s got some higher purpose, looking for the City of Light, which turns out not to be a city but a person of light. She’s made of light. How is Jaha going to respond to that? He’s almost got this messianic thing and he’s looking for God, and he finds this God-like entity. What does that do to him, going forward? Is he going to join up with this entity, when she says, “We’ve got work to do,” is that a bad thing or is that a good thing? Those are all questions we’ll get to next year. Hopefully, people will connect the dots to the guy on the video as being the guy who created that entity, and that intelligence that results. These are all dots left for people to talk about and try to connect, and we’ll fill in the picture. That ending was really to just ask some questions. We obviously answered a lot of questions with this episode. We wrapped up the Mount Weather story pretty definitively, and we are turning the page to the next chapter with that ending. So, we answer some questions, and then we ask other bigger, stranger questions that people didn’t even know they were wondering about.

Did you ever hesitate, at all, in the decision to have Clarke end the lives of almost everyone at Mount Weather? Did you ever think about not having her do that, or what that necessary for her ultimate journey?

the-100-group-imageROTHENBERG: First of all, everybody in Mount Weather is dead, except for Emerson. Emerson is the lone survivor of Mount Weather. But the answer is, of course, I acknowledged the difficulty and darkness of that choice, but ultimately, I embraced it. There were certainly voices in the room that were concerned about having our protagonist and hero killing innocent women and children and people who’d been helping them. But, I was pretty adamant and fixed on the fact that that’s the line I wanted Clarke to have to cross. How far will she go to save her people? There certainly could have been other ways out where we half-assed it and found a way to save the kids and to save Maya. Maya and Jasper had a very telling exchanged at the end, right before she dies, where Maya says, “None of us are innocent,” and that’s the truth. The original sin in Mount Weather was what they’d been doing to the Grounders. Without that, there would be no Mount Weather. They would have died a long time ago. Really, none of those people should be alive. And so, this was a way to, I suppose, wash away that original sin.

How will Lexa’s betrayal of Clarke carry over to next season?

the-100-eliza-taylor-clarke-imageROTHENBERG: Lexa’s betrayal of Clarke, at the 11th hour, is going to have huge ramifications in Season 3. Of course, it didn’t play out the way she thought it would. Clarke didn’t get killed. The legend of Clarke of the Sky People will grow. She did it, single-handedly. Everywhere she goes, people will probably know her name.

There’s been a lot of talk of good guys and bad guys on the show, especially in the last couple of episodes. Can there really be any good guys when everyone has their own vision for survival and leadership, and it really is war to survive?

ROTHENBERG: No, I think ultimately there are not good guys. War sucks. War is hell. You can go in trying to do it the right way, but ultimately the right way is to not fight that war, at all. In this series, and in this episode, Clarke realizes that, in order to get the job done, she’s going to have to become the bad guy. That, to me anyway, was the plan all along. The theme of the season is, if your goal is just, can you go too far in achieving that goal? Is there a point at which the good guy becomes the bad guy? That is the story that we were telling this season. Clarke does the thing that has to be done to save her people and accomplish the mission that she was so determined to accomplish, but ultimately it breaks her. She’s done. She can’t be there. She can’t see them anymore. She’s gotta leave. And where that leaves her in Season 3 is a very interesting place. You’ll have to find out. But ultimately, that was what the whole season had been leading to.

The 100 will return to The CW for Season 3.

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