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The 100 Boss Breaks Down That Premiere Death and Bellarke's Bond

Sometimes characters die because of IRL logistics

Lindsay MacDonald

Is it really an episode of The 100 if someone doesn't die a shocking and gruesome death?

Season 6 premiered to a huge time jump (125 years later and everyone still looks hot), a new planet, and a return of the high-stakes, life-or-death struggle of survival. Upon waking up, Clarke (Eliza Taylor) and Bellamy (Bob Morley) decided to take a small crew down to the planet (which actually turned out to be a moon) to explore their new home and see if any of the previous Elegius crew members had managed to survive down there.

The journey turned deadly for Shaw (Jordan Bolger), who ran straight into a radiation fence when the bugs of the planet started to swarm and attack the adventure squad. We didn't get to linger on his death too long though, because the bugs weren't the only ones starting to act strangely. Clarke quickly realized that the eclipsing dual suns in the sky set off a chemical reaction on the planet that caused psychosis, and they were all about to become violent and dangerous to themselves and each other.

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Meanwhile, back on Elegius IV, Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) was none too pleased to find out Bellamy planned to keep her on ice while they explored their new home, and she took her frustrations out on Kane (Henry Ian Cusick), whom Abby (Paige Turco) managed to save from his dire injuries. Their confrontation turned out to be too much for him though, and Kane's injuries nearly overtook him. At the last minute, Abby returned him to cryo, saving his life, but now they have no way to operate on him without killing him.

TV Guide spoke with showrunner Jason Rothenberg to break down the reason behind Shaw's tragic death, Clarke's journey of redemption, and Octavia's upcoming struggle with the demons of her past.

Lindsey Morgan and Jordan Bolger, The 100

Lindsey Morgan and Jordan Bolger, The 100

Sergei Bachlakov, Sergei Bachlakov/The CW

Poor Shaw's death came out of nowhere. How did you guys decide it was time for his character to exit?
Rothenberg: The truth is that when you're making a television show for as long as we've made it, and when you have as many cast members as we have and you're limited by the number that we can actually make series regulars, unfortunately, our casting people are so good that we keep finding these relatively new, unknown actors that have huge careers ahead of them, and unfortunately we lose them to those huge careers. Jordan Bolger got a job as a series regular on an Oprah Winfrey show called David Makes Man. He became a series regular on another show, and we had to come up with a satisfying way to write him off. Obviously not the first time we've been faced with that.

We've unfortunately lost the services of actors to other shows in the past and that's just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. And on this show, you don't get a job in Cleveland and move, you die. This is a world where you don't ride off into the sunset, and so on some level when that happens and an actor gets a job like that and we lose control of their schedule, and we can't be flexible and work around someone else's show schedule -- it's just impossible if you know how TV works, you can't do that -- on some level it weirdly gives me the creative license to continue the idea that the stakes on this show are real. It's much easier for me as a human being and a writer when one of these actors who I really like both as a character and as a person gets another job and has to leave the show. It's much easier to kill that person off. It's a lot harder when -- and sometimes it happens this way too -- when the actor doesn't want to leave and it's strictly story related. That's preferable on some level, but harder from another standpoint.

How can we expect Raven (Lindsey Morgan) to react when she does discover his death?Rothenberg: She's going to begin to think that she's a bit snake-bitten. Everybody she loves dies. Will she ever find happiness? This is a question that she's going to be grappling with herself, so of course she's going to respond to it in an emotional way.

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Everybody is still very upset with Clarke over what she did last year, but why do you think Bellamy seems to have an easier time giving her another chance?
I feel like last season they began towards the very, very end to at least kind of have a conversation about what happened: the fact that Clarke kind of left him to die in a fighting pit, the fact that he forced, essentially -- though it was sort of Madi's (Lola Flanery) choice -- he put the Flame in Madi's head, which was the thing that Clarke feared most. So they began to talk about it. They admittedly didn't really have a chance to get into it too much, but then Monty woke them both up and they experienced Monty's wish for them to do better and to move past the crap that they've done to each other and to others.

At the end of the day, these two characters mean so much to each other. They do love each other on some very important, deep level in terms of recognizing how strong and important the other is. When the two of them are on the same page and in alignment things go well. They realize that too, so they still have a lot to work out amongst themselves about what happened, and there will be some heartfelt scenes between the two of them dealing with it pretty early... so that's why I think Bellamy is more willing to forgive her, because he also realizes that he's done some crazy stuff for the child that he loved, too. So maybe it's a little easier for him to forgive. The others will get there, I think, eventually, but they're rightfully pissed at her. She betrayed them. She sold them out to McCreary, resulting in Murphy being shot. She literally turned Raven and Shaw into McCreary, who tortured them. I think everybody has their reason. Eventually, they'll realize nobody's perfect. Nobody in the show is without sin.

Marie Avgeropoulos, The 100

Marie Avgeropoulos, The 100


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Shifting attention to Kane, how much are we going to see of him this year considering he's in cryo and Henry Ian Cusick had another show to film at the same time?
Speaking of actors getting other jobs [laughs]. I do feel like we came up with a relatively cool idea in terms of how to weather that unfortunate reality with Ian: by Abby managing to put him into cryo and sort of refusing to let him die. We'll see Abby's journey this year, very different from last year, though I think not inconsistent with that of an addict. She sort of transfers her addiction from one thing to another. She goes from obviously being literally addicted -- and once you're an addict you're always an addict, of course, so that's looming there as a temptation for her -- but she will sort of transfer that obsessiveness to this need to save this man. She refuses to let him die because (a) she loves him and (b) it would be, on some level, her fault. Her addiction in the person of Vincent last season -- he was kind of the manifestation of it in some way -- he is the one who put [Kane] into that mortal danger that he's in. So she refuses to let him die and it becomes a very emotional journey for her to try to save him. And that's all I'll say about it, but we will see Ian again.

Is Octavia still clinging to this idea that everything she did was to save her people, or will she have to confront the reality of the situation eventually?
She's definitely going to have to confront what she has done. Face her demons, as we say quite often, this season. She's lost. At the end of last season in Episode 12 in that gorge, she was willing to die to save her brother and Indra (Adina Porter) and Gaia (Tati Gabrielle). She wanted to die, almost. She wanted that heroic death. It was taken from her by the arrival of Madi and Murphy and the others in the rover, and on some level, in her own mind, that should have been the end of her story. Now, we're dealing with: Who is she now? Last season, we made it clear that during the dark years, she took on everybody else's guilt over having to resort to cannibalism to survive. She made them do it, right? If they didn't eat, they were going to die. So they didn't have a choice and because they didn't have a choice they were kind of absolved of the sin of it, whereas she took all of that on for herself. That was the kind of cool complexity of that moment, and it broke her, obviously, on many levels. Now we have her surrounded by those same people who all blame her for everything. She's going to have to confront how they feel about her, how she feels about herself. She goes on a very interesting journey into the wilderness both literally and figuratively as the season unfolds, and that's one of the storylines I'm the most excited for people to see because we really don't hint at it much in the trailers. You don't see any of it, really, in the first two episodes... We went in one direction in the trailer, and we're really kind of hiding the amazing stuff that people are about to see.

The 100 airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.

(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)

PHOTOS: The 100 Season 6 Premiere Photos

Jarod Joseph, Eliza Taylor, Luisa D'Oliveira, Bob Morley, Jordan Bolger, Sachin Sahel, Tasya Teles, Richard Harmon, The 100
Sergei Bachlakov, Sergei Bachlakov/The CW