Life on Mars?
To quote the David Bowie song: “Is there life on Mars?”
As some of you are aware, I am an avid theorist when it comes to The 100. If you’ve followed me on Tumblr you’ve know it for years, and I’m slowly bringing some of those theories over to Twitter as well. I enjoy sitting down and trying to puzzle out exactly how The 100 will make all of it’s various moving pieces (and there are myriad) fit into the big reveal at the end of each season. One of the big questions that everyone seems to have this season is what exactly newcomer Shannon Kook’s character will bring to the table. I’ve thought about it a lot, and I’m beginning to think that this is a three season long plot thread that is finally going to be brought to the forefront. Keep reading to find out what pieces I’m trying to fit into my puzzle!
We first learned that Kook was going to be joining the cast in January of this year and were quickly made aware that he’d only be appearing in one episode, the finale, but that he was expected to have a pivotal role in the season and in Season 6 (which at the time was not a sure thing but has since been confirmed by the CW). Naturally, that set off alarms in the fandom. How could his character have a pivotal role if we don’t even get to meet him until the finale? Already we’ve been given what I believe to be hints about a major twist in the game. Let’s line them up:
The first hint that I think relates to Kook’s mystery character made its first appearance in Season 3: Nightblood.
We’re first introduced to Nightblood as a mysterious mutation amongst the Grounders in the Season 3 episode “Watch the Throne.” It’s rare and those who are in possession of it are revered. Only they can become the Commander according to the mythos the Grounders have created over the past 100 years. It seems likely, at this point, that it’s simply another effect of the radiation. It’s not until “Thirteen” that we are given the truth:
Nightblood is a serum created by Becca, a young scientist and the first commander, that, when injected into the bloodstream, essentially eliminates all red blood cells and becomes the predominant source of blood in the body. We are made aware that it creates what amounts to an immunity to high amounts of radiation, enabling those who have it to also host A.L.I.E. 2.0 (or the Flame), a cybernetic implant that allows the human brain to interface directly with a computer and enhance it, creating the “Commander” position. The thread appears to be dropped for a bit, but for those paying careful attention to the Season 4 premiere, “Echoes,” we see our first mention of the Eligius Corporation in an article titled “Contact Lost With Asteroid Mining Penal Colony,” run in the West Coast Herald (a fictional newspaper).
In “The Tinder Box,” we are told that Becca’s original purpose for creating Nightblood was actually to protect against solar radiation on long space journeys. That same season we are introduced to people who might have had a use for this specific formula when the Eligius Prison Transport lands in Clarke’s little slice of heaven on Earth in “Praimfaya”:
During the hiatus there was a lot of speculation about everyone aboard this particular Eligius ship being Nightbloods because of the small bit of information we were given in earlier episodes. Now that we’re in Season 5, I can finally get into where Kook’s character might come into play (along with a bit of Bill Cadogan as well).
We know, thanks to Cadogan’s symbol on one of Becca’s microscopes in Season 4, that Becca and Cadogan (the founder of the Second Dawn doomsday cult and builder of the bunker that saved 1200 people in the Season 4 finale) have a connection.
What if Becca was a part of Cadogan’s cult? This would explain her connection to him, as well as her knowledge of where to find the Bunker when she returns to Earth in Season 3 (she lands almost directly on top of it — something we know thanks to the location of the Polaris dropship in Polis). Although Cadogan seems anti-tech, what if that was just a ploy? Many cult leaders don’t actually believe what they sell and prey upon those with actual fears. We know that the Second Dawn operated almost like a pyramid scheme, with people paying upwards of $10,000,000 (USD) to gain entrance to the 12th Seal:
If Cadogan truly believed the world was ending in a nuclear apocalypse, why would he need to collect millions of dollars? It could be said this was intended to build the bunker, but I can’t help but wonder if it was perhaps used to fund something else. Maybe even…a space voyage?
In “Sleeping Giants” (5x03) we learn that although Eligius IV has no Nightblood members, Eligius III does, because their ship was sent to a binary (two) star system, meaning they would be exposed to more radiation than the other mining ships. All other information about this particular ship is classified and contact with the ship was lost decades ago. This means that Becca’s Nightblood formula was initially created for this ship.
All of this background leads me to this: What if Cadogan had a hand in financing Eligius III and that’s why this mission is classified? What if they weren’t on a mining expedition but an expedition to find another habitable planet (presuming that even if Cadogan wasn’t anti-tech he did believe an apocalypse was nigh)? We know that The 100 has a habit of starting with twelves and introducing a thirteenth. They’ve done this with the Ark stations (the 13th station was Becca’s and was blown from the sky) and the Grounders (Initially twelve clans, the addition of Skaikru made it thirteen). What if Cadogan’s Twelve Seals are all financing a Thirteenth?
At a convention before the season began airing, Bob Morley (Bellamy Blake) mentioned that Jason Rothenberg (creator and showrunner) suggested he read the novel The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell to prep for Season 6. It’s a sci-fi novel that sends an expeditionary crew out to figure out if there’s life beyond the planet when they receive a radio transmission broadcasting music. There they find life and manage to co-exist peacefully before some rather unfortunate things happen.
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How does all of this relate to Kook’s mystery character? I propose that Kook is one of the members of Eligius III, which is (possibly) connected to Cadogan. In The Sparrow only one person returns from the expedition and he is completely changed. His belief in God has turned into bitterness and all his friends have died. I think that Kook’s character will be similar. Perhaps whatever they found on that habitable planet wasn’t very nice to them, and now Kook’s character is back and his faith in Cadogan is sorely tested because of it. This would also explain why no one has been able to get in touch with Eligius III: if all but one person is dead (and Kook’s character has put himself into cryo-sleep before heading back home to Earth) there would be no way to contact them.
Obviously, this is nothing more than speculation fueled by very small, extremely minor character dialogue and Easter eggs littered across the show, but if The 100 writers manage to connect all of these small moving parts across three seasons, I will be nothing short of amazed. However it goes, I can’t wait to meet this new mysterious character in the Season 5 finale. I’m sure Shannon Kook is going to be an amazing addition to the cast!
The 100 airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.