What is a Legacy?: A Tribute to Monty and Harper
Legacy, what is a legacy?
It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.
Well, here we are. About one week since the finale, and fandom is still reeling from The 100’s Season 5 finale that aired on August 7. A lot of major changes happened for our characters: the last remaining survivable land on Earth was destroyed. The survivors entered cryo sleep for 125 years only to wake up and discover a new planet and something even more unexpected: Monty and Harper’s son, Jordan.
We know now, thanks to Monty and Harper’s heartbreaking video messages to Bellamy and Clarke, that they chose not to go into cryo. Then, when Monty realized the Earth was never going to come back, they dedicated the rest of their lives to ensure the survival of their friends. Their send off was a best case scenario for a show like The 100, and it’s the first time I’ve been truly satisfied with the ending of a character’s journey. I didn’t want to leave it at that, so here is my official appreciation article dedicated to Monty and Harper.
Let’s begin with Harper. In my opinion, Harper (and Chelsey Reist who portrays her, for that matter) is the most underappreciated and underutilized character on the show. After allowing her to shine in Season 4, Season 5 only giving her a few lines and a few backgrounds to stand in was more than disappointing.
Harper’s strength and importance comes from the fact that she’s a regular character. She isn’t a chosen leader like Bellamy or Clarke; she isn’t given a moniker like Blodreina or Wanheda. She doesn’t have a definable skill that she’s best at, like Raven with mechanics or Abby with medicine. But she is the last of the female gunners from Season 1. She’s one of the original members of the 100. She endured multiple bone marrow extractions while trapped in Mount Weather and still fought as hard as anyone at the end of Season 2. In Season 3, she NEVER took the chip, and she acted as a spy in the same season to inform on Pike. Not to mention, she has what’s arguably the best line of the series: "We could just shock-lash Pike’s fascist ass and hand him to the Grounders."
Harper makes herself special. She chose to make herself strong, not out of duty or necessity, but because she could. She survived on her own tenacity, remaining loyal and kind through circumstances that crushed others. While others grew accustomed to violence as a vital part of existence, Harper never became cold or unfeeling about the lives of those around her. We see other characters, namely Clarke, write off casualties as something necessary to get the human race to where they need to be. In a sharp contrast, we see Harper in Season 4 being emotionally devastated by the death of a stranger after she inadvertently knocked him over in the black rain. We see Harper in a depressive spiral of sorts after this, struggling with the upcoming Praimfaya and the worry that everything they do is for nothing. Much like Jasper, we see Harper become hopeless for the first time, exhausted by the constant stress of survival and the worry that the human race will be stuck in this cycle forever.
My favorite bit of acting from Chelsey comes from this season, too: when Monty goes to their room in Arkadia, confused as to why Harper hasn’t started packing for their journey to the bunker in Polis. She answers him, quietly: “I tried.”
Anyone who's been depressed could easily understand the emotion that Chelsey conveyed in those two words. Packing is such a simple thing, but when you struggle with depression, everything is a monumental task. Getting out of bed is suddenly the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do.
Thankfully, with Monty by her side, Harper chooses yet again to survive.
Monty Green is the true gem of the whole show, and I’ll fight anyone about that. Monty is so important as a character and as a part of the show; the only one who remained uncompromised by the horror that surrounded him.
What’s great about Monty is that not only is he intelligent, he’s inherently logical, and not afraid to call it like it is. While in Mount Weather, he was the first one to suspect that those in power were hiding something in regards to the bone marrow transplants. In Season 4, he came up with the idea to seal what was left of the Ark to create a shelter that would withstand Praimfaya. When he learned that his father had been killed by grounders, he didn’t let it blind him with anger. He decided to support his mother alongside Pike in Season 3, but when he saw the toxicity of Pike’s rule, he changed sides to help the resistance. He killed his mother to protect Octavia, and again to save the human race from destruction via ALIE.
Through all of this, Monty Green never compromised his beliefs. He was a farmer in the beginning and the end, never once stopping his pursuit of peace from season to season, especially in Season 5. Sure, Monty made difficult choices. He took part in the genocide at Mount Weather, among other things, but he never became comfortable being morally grey. He refused to accept that the survival of the human race was dependent on violence and drastic measures.
We see this in Season 2, after Maya showed Monty and Jasper that they were holding grounders captive, using them for blood transfusions and bone marrow. Maya was upset but conflicted: the people of Mount Weather needed to do this to survive. Without it they would die, what were they supposed to do?
Monty answered, “Die.”
This is echoed in Season 5, during an argument about fighting for Eden when Monty says “If a war is the only way to have the last survivable land on Earth, then maybe we don't deserve it.” Everyone is so concerned with the survival of the human race that no one bothers to think about whether or not they deserve to survive. You could argue that for some characters, this distinction doesn’t matter, and it’s a tribute to Monty’s goodness that he does.
All of this results in Monty being the only character (along with Harper) that actively strives for peace. After reading Jasper’s suicide note, he’s determined to challenge Jasper’s belief that they’re caught in an endless cycle of violence and war. Monty steadfastly sticks to his algae and his hope that there is a solution to save humanity that isn’t deadly. Monty and Harper refuse to take part in more destruction, and instead dedicate their time to regrowing the hydrofarm in the bunker. Monty desperately brings up his algae and his plans for regrowing the Earth multiple times in the season, only to be laughed off in favor of more “serious” plans. He’s so dedicated to finding a way to break the cycle that he interrupts a fight in the arena to show everyone a glimpse of his progress with the hydrofarm; a glimmer of hope in the midst of the chaos. If you ever need to visualize the concept of hope, just picture Monty Green, holding up a jar of flowers in the middle of a bloody pit.
In hindsight, this season was a perfect setup for the send off they gave Monty and Harper. They simply refused to take part in the destruction of humanity, and when it seems like their last chance at survival is gone, they find a new one.
Earlier in the season, Octavia told Monty that farmers won’t save the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Monty and Harper dedicated their lives to ensuring a safe new home for their friends, leaving a final message of hope for both Clarke and Bellamy:
“I hope we do better there. I hope Jasper was wrong and we aren’t the problem. I hope your lives there will be as happy as mine has been. Be the good guys. May we meet again.”
The irony here is both Monty and Harper were left off of Clarke’s list. When determining who would ensure the survival of humanity best, Monty and Harper were left out. So it’s poetic to know that they’re the two who made a second chance possible: the cosmic Adam and Eve that Kane mentioned in the very first episode of the series.
Monty and Harper are examples that you can strive for peace amongst violence. Not only that you can, but that you should. Never resign yourself to making difficult decision after difficult decision. There are good guys, but only if we try.