While we anticipated that The 100‘s final season would bring its share of major deaths, we honestly didn’t see this week’s tragic twist coming. And we never could have predicted that this particular character’s death would affect us so deeply.
We’re speaking, of course, about Charmaine Diyoza — the ruthless terrorist-turned-mama bear played by Ivana Milicevic. In the final moments of Wednesday’s episode, Diyoza sacrificed herself to save her daughter’s life, ultimately falling victim to the same mysterious crystallization process that wiped out the original Bardoans.
But while Diyoza’s demise may have caught you by surprise, Milicevic points out that her character has been living on borrowed time for several seasons now.
“Diyoza was going to die in Season 5, that was the plan,” Milicevic says. “She was just coming in to be a McCreary type — a really bad prisoner, a full-blown terrorist — and she was absolutely going to die at the end of Season 5.” But when Milicevic became pregnant in real life, showrunner Jason Rothenberg decided to have her character follow suit, a twist that kept Diyoza alive into the final season. As Milicevic puts it, “My son coming into this world gave me three years of awesome work on an awesome show.”
Below, Milicevic discusses Diyoza’s sacrifice, her time on The 100, and how she hopes fans will remember her ever-evolving character…
TVLINE | If you told me back in Season 5 that I would be this broken up over Diyoza’s death, I’d be surprised. This character really has evolved into someone I’m going to miss.
That’s very sweet. I wish it had more to do with me, but I was originally supposed to be 100-percent bad. When I got pregnant in real life [and it was written in], that added all these extra layers to the story. I wasn’t going to be one of those actresses where you try to hide [the pregnancy]. What was I going to do, hold a basketball or a laundry basket in front of my belly? So when the story took that turn, it naturally layered up a bit.
TVLINE | How was your experience working with Shelby Flannery, building that mother-daughter dynamic?
I was hanging out with Shelby when I first got to Vancouver, even though I was working with the younger Hopes. I wanted to form a relationship with Shelby, because that’s where the major meat of the season was going to take place for me. Diyoza living with [Octavia] when Hope was little and making this family bond was a beautiful set-up. To be ripped away from her and taken to Bardo was like a death, and when Hope came back as a full-grown woman, the pain of all those years having been lost really affected Diyoza. The last thing she wanted was for her daughter to become a warrior or a soldier. Through having Hope, she found that war and vengeance are not the ways. So for Hope to come into her life with those skills, and to be thinking about getting revenge, Diyoza just felt like such a failure.
TVLINE | Do you feel like Diyoza made up for that with this sacrifice?
Yes. She had one second, one chance. Everyone was going to die, so in that one moment, it was her Hail Mary last-ditch effort to save Hope. I’m glad everyone else got saved in the process — that was definitely wonderful — but this was all about saving Hope.
TVLINE | I once thought Diyoza didn’t have a maternal bone in her body, but she proved us all wrong.
That’s something that comes from being a real mother. Even though I consider myself to be a maternal person, she definitely was not. Having a baby changes even the gnarliest working girl — or working terrorist — into a softie. I honestly probably would have played it even softer, but Jason wouldn’t let me. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Speaking of Jason, how did you learn about Diyoza’s fate?
Jason always calls you to tell you that you’re going to die. So he called me and explained what was going to happen, and I said, “Of course! This is beautiful. This is perfect. Thank you. I’m ready to go.” I think it’s an amazingly beautiful — literally and story-wise — death for Diyoza. It was really fitting, and I was really honored to have such a good one.
TVLINE | And how do you hope fans will remember Diyoza?
She was a bad-ass pregnant lady who came around to the truth and discovered what was most important, which is love.
We’ll have more on this week’s episode tomorrow — including a full Q&A with Sheidheda himself — but for now, drop a comment with your thoughts on Diyoza’s sacrifice below.