The 100 is all about complicated characters being forced to make unfathomable decisions on a regular basis. The main characters all have blood on their hands, whether it be that of one person or that of thousands.
Nevertheless, those characters remained beloved (for the most part) despite their motivations during the first two seasons, especially Clarke (Eliza Taylor) and Bellamy (Bob Morley). Immediately, it was different with Michael Beach’s Pike. Never before has a character drawn such anger and hatred as his, even before he hurt or killed a single person.
The Ark’s former Earth Skills teacher landed on the ground with the rest of Farm Station in Ice Nation territory. This experience changed him and the rest of his people forever. Ice Nation even slaughtered kids!
He hates Grounders. I get it. I think we all get it.
Pike has every reason to hate the Grounders, especially Ice Nation. If that’s the case, why was he disliked from the moment he first said, “Grounder killers, one and all. Am I right?” and led his team in an “Ooh rah!” chant? It’s simple. We don’t see the Grounders as the enemy anymore. The key phrase is “anymore.”
Over the first two seasons, The 100 humanized the Grounders to the point where they are no longer narrowly defined as enemies, killers, or a threat to our protagonists, the Arkers. We like them! They have made difficult decisions, just like the Arkers, in order to protect themselves and survive.
Then, Pike showed up spouting anti-Grounder rhetoric, which didn’t make him a very likeable guy. Who is he? Why does he matter? He just doesn’t understand. Since the Azgeda Grounders were ruthless savages, he equated all Grounders to them. That seems wrong, but is it? I don’t think so.
Initially, Pike had good reason to hate the Grounders. Remember, the last thing he knew about the Grounders before landing was that the Trikru were attacking what remained of the original 100. Why would he think they were any different than the Ice Nation savages he encountered? There’s not a single reason.
Pike’s disdain and hostility towards the Grounders was well earned after the massacre of Farm Station, but once he joined Arkadia, he remained reactive and didn’t show any consideration for the big picture. Pike went from merely unlikeable to a singularly focused, narrow-minded bigot.
His views may have been initially understandable, but instead of assimilating into Arkadia, understanding the politics of this world, and learning what went into the three-months of peace, he lashed out. He was belligerent toward Abby (Paige Turco) and Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) and stirred up anti-Grounder sentiments throughout Arkadia that was unwarranted.
As much as I hate Pike (probably as much as he does the Grounders, or more), his viewpoints, steadfastness and actions feel authentic. In addition, Beach’s performance is spot on. He captures the passion, stubbornness and natural leadership ability of Pike brilliantly. People hate Pike with intensity because Beach embodies the character without any hesitation.
From a storytelling point of view, I wish we would have seen Abby and Kane fight back against his leadership before he was elected Chancellor. Given the three months of peace, I question whether a majority of Arkadia residents would have sided with Pike and his small faction of remaining Farm Stationers even with the Ice Nation attack on Mount Weather.
Since we didn’t see those conversations or events, it’s to be assumed that the desire to distance Arkadia from the Grounders and to seek vengeance after the explosion at Mount Weather superseded the desire or hope for a return to peace. Instead, Arkadia chose a leader who wanted to kill innocent people sleeping.
Pike proved in his massacre of the Trikru army that he and his people are savages just like the Ice Nation. The worst part about it, besides all the innocent deaths, is that he took Bellamy down the dark and vicious path with him.
Surprisingly, I understand Bellamy’s decision to side with Pike more than I accept Pike’s beliefs and motivations. Given Pike’s limited knowledge of the Grounder society and the 12 Clans, as said before, he should have taken pause and given more consideration to Abby and Kane’s perspective. He didn’t and 300 people were killed.
For Bellamy, he’s been scarred over and over again by the Grounders. He lived through the initial dropship Grounder attack, Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) sacrificing him at Mount Weather, and Gina’s death in the explosion he failed to stop. He’s rarely thought through his actions, and instead often makes split-second decisions which end up being bad. It didn’t help that he felt betrayed and abandoned by Clarke, either.
Is it possible for Pike to see the Grounders as anything other than a threat? At this point it seems unlikely. He is fortified in his hatred for them and determined to protect Arkadia at any cost that it would take a miracle to break through. It’s awful to say, but I almost wish Lexa sent her army to Arkadia to teach them a lesson.
Instead, Lexa took the higher ground and declared, “Blood must NOT have blood.” She’s put her own position at risk in order to hopefully end the bloodshed. Will Pike take that as a surrender and continue to attack the Grounders, including the Trikru living nearby? Or will he realize he and Arkadia were given a reprieve and tread carefully?
I fear it’s only going to get worse with Pike moving against the Trikru village next. Yes, they need land for food, but killing innocents when land is plentiful is irredeemable. There’s no mistaking them for a threat as he did the 300 person Grounder army.
Kane said it best, “The threat’s inside these walls.” Pike’s way threatens the continued existence of the Skaikru, and as long as that continues, he’s going to be the most hated person on The 100 and possibly on all of television.