Warn-kru: The following article spoils the events of The 100’s fifth season finale. Proceed with caution.
It was the ending no one saw coming — least of all Monty and Harper.
After narrowly defeating McCreary and escaping into space just in time to avoid being blown up along with the rest of the valley, Tuesday’s season finale of The 100 put Clarke & Co. into cryosleep, from which she and Bellamy awoke 125 years later (!) to meet Monty and Harper’s son Jordan (!!) and to discover a new planet (!!!). If you can’t tell from my liberal use of exclamation points, I’m still in shock.
Fortunately, I channeled some of that shock into a Q&A with showrunner Jason Rothenberg, who explained the process of putting together that emotional ending:
TVLINE | Let’s start at the very last shot: “End of Book One”? Explain yourself.
As the season was unfolding, we didn’t know that we were going to get another season, which is a difficult position to be in. I assumed we would, but we hadn’t gotten an official order. So I had to write an ending that would be both satisfying as a series finale and would tee up the next adventure. That was my target, which I feel like we hit. Had that been the end of everything, it would have been a bummer not to explore what’s down [on that new planet], but it would have been emotionally satisfying the way Monty’s life passes before our eyes and Bellamy and Clarke weep during his final speech. Thematically, Monty’s speech summed up a lot of what we’ve been talking about for five seasons. As we move into this new world, I really wanted it to be a new book. The first volume is closed and now we get to tell an entirely new adventure with the people we’ve come to love. It’s going to be crazy and amazing and beautiful and very, very different.
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TVLINE | You mentioned Monty’s speech, which absolutely wrecked me. And kudos to your hair and makeup team; I’ve seen less believable old men.
[Laughs] That was definitely something I was worried about, the old man makeup.
TVLINE | How did Christopher Larkin and Chelsey Reist react to finding out that this was their last episode?
It’s always a hard conversation to have. When I called Chelsey about it, she was in her car on the way to work, and she had to pull over because she got upset. But when I pitched her what it was, she immediately embraced it, loved it and saw how beautiful it was and what a satisfying emotional ending it would be for her character and the Monty-Harper relationship. I start from the point of those characters and what they wanted all season. Monty wanted to get back to space. He was happy in space. He did not want the war. So he found a way to live an entire happy, long life with the woman he loves, and to create a family. It felt like something we hadn’t done before, and I knew it was going to be emotionally devastating. I actually wrote the final act of the finale before the rest of the episode. It came out all in one creative burst. On the day we shot it, it was the most emotional anyone has ever been on set. Dean White, who did a fantastic job directing, knew that as soon as Chris [Larkin] started reading his lines, everyone would just burst into tears. So we had our first AD, Ian Samoil, read Monty’s part — and people were still crying. The camera guys were crying, I was crying, Dean was crying. It was crazy! You see it on camera where Bob and Eliza are just … the tears are pouring. I actually had to edit it down, because there was too much crying. I needed to pace it.
TVLINE | As was I. And I’m so thrilled we finally got to meet Shannon Kook’s character! As the son of the people who saved everybody, how important will Jordan be to the survivors in Season 6?
He’ll be very important. And his story is very fascinating. He’s a blank slate. He’s never been off that ship. He’s never known anyone but his mother and father. Everything he experiences is going to be for the first time — he’s never tasted anything other than algae before! It’s going to be a fascinating journey to see if he can keep that innocence and wide-eyed excitement that he’ll enter the season with, surrounded by all these people who are drenched in blood. As for how the other characters are going to feel about him: Murphy will be the uncle who tries to corrupt him, Bellamy and Clarke are the protective aunts and uncles who won’t let him get into danger. Everyone will have a different reaction to the child of Monty and Harper.
TVLINE | Switching gears a bit, many fans were worried that Octavia was becoming irredeemable. Do you think her actions this week (and last) helped, or does she still have a lot of work to do?
She definitely reached a breaking point and had a realization that it was her fault, for lack of a better word. She was willing, in last week’s episode, to try and make good by letting Bellamy, Indra and Gaia escape. Had she been killed saving them, that would have been a redeeming death for her. But she didn’t get that. We see that scene between Bellamy and Octavia at the end of the finale, where he’s putting her into cryosleep, and she’s looking for some sort of emotional connection with her brother, but he doesn’t really give it to her. She’s broken, and when she wakes up 125 years later, she’ll be in the same place where she went to sleep. It’s not like the six-year time jump of last season. She’ll be bringing everything into the new world with her. Her character in Season 6 is going to have to grapple with what she’s done and who she’s become and how everyone looks at her. It’s going to be a fascinating arc; it would have been too easy ending this season by killing her off. I do look forward to some sort of reconciliation in the future between the Blakes.
TVLINE | Even though nearly everyone survived, some of the injured characters are played by actors who are involved with other projects. What can you say about the fates of Kane and Gaia, specifically?
Everybody who went into cryo will come out of cryo. So all the characters who are with us at the end of Season 5 will be with us at the beginning of Season 6. Actors have deals that make things tricky, but we’ll do our best to work around [schedules] as much as we can. It’s a show where characters don’t necessarily get jobs in Cleveland and move away — especially in a world where there is no Cleveland anymore. The business side of it is always tricky, but creatively, I love Gaia and I think there’s a lot still there to explore. And what can you say about Henry Ian Cusick? He’s a legend, he’s amazing. He was great all season, and for the last five seasons. It’s been an honor to have him on the season. And he, too, will continue to play a role in Season 6.
TVLINE | Lastly, I have to ask: What was the significance of Clarke and Bellamy being the first to wake up.
It was Monty’s plan to wake the two of them. When the two of them are on the same page, things go well. They are the leaders of this show and of the remaining people in the human race — until we find out what may or may not be on the ground of this new planet. [Monty] wanted to wake them and talk to them first and let them decide who to wake next and how to break the news. So that’s where that came from.
Your thoughts on The 100 finale’s major twists? Harper and Monty’s deaths? The arrival of their son? Grade the finale below, then drop a comment with whatever’s on your mind.