The Evolution of Indra on CW's 'The 100'
We met Indra kom Trikru in Episode 2x02 of The 100, “Inclement Weather.” She cut an impressive figure striding out from her village’s main gate to ask a hysterical and desperate "sky girl" what she wanted. From moment one, she commanded the screen and my full attention. Here was a Black woman with natural hair, my contemporary who represented for the grounders what Kane, Abby, and Jaha represented for the Ark, adult leadership.
Indra was gloriously unimpressed with Ark tech and culture. She was intimidating, and resistant to chicanery. "You have courage, but courage isn’t justice. Only the boy can die for what the boy has done." While Trikru were the original aggressors of their conflict, a reluctant Indra did her part to support the tenuous alliance between the Grounder coalition and the Arkadians, even if it was through gritted teeth. She was prideful, paranoid, and aggressive with her enemies and loyal to a fault with her leaders.
But then something wonderful happened. She evolved. She started to see that unquestioned, faith-based loyalty had serious consequences. She allowed herself to forge friendships that extended beyond her clan. Octavia, the same “sky girl” she initially had no regard for, became a trusted Second and cherished loved one after she saw her heart. Once afraid of the “curse” associated with guns, Indra came to realize it as the falsehood it was, likely spread by the Mountain Men themselves to prevent the grounders from matching their firepower. (Then she proceeded to become an incredible shot!) She befriended Kane when he seemed to be a man of honor but bopped him across the chops when she caught him double dealing. “Don’t smile at me, Kane.”
Another brick settled into place when we met her daughter, Gaia. It stands as my favorite scene featuring Indra and one of my favorite scenes in the series. I’ve written about it before.
Indra stayed stalwart but this is the softest we’d seen her to that point. The revelation of her estranged daughter placed a new context to her relationships with Octavia and Lexa. Losing closeness with her biological daughter to an ideological battle had left an unmistakable mark on her.
Despite the running themes about parenthood (and surrogate parenthood) on this show, I never got the sense of selfish, suffocating, or irrational motherhood from Indra. She was ready to die for Gaia as any mother would when Octavia threw them in the fighting pits together with Bellamy, but up until then she was perfectly prepared to let the girl live how she wanted, giving her her space even though she’d argue her points when conflicts would arise.
In the bunker, Indra still managed to keep her distance from Gaia while keeping tabs. She scoffed at the isolationist ‘wisdom’ of the flemkepa as it was parroted from Octavia’s lips, countering it with a bold admission of her deep love for the girl. Yet, she knew that despite Gaia’s position in Octavia’s court, her headstrong, devout child never actually abandoned her true faith. Her knowledge never drove her to interfere.
She never lost her principles; her clan pride was strong all the way until the end, marked by Fio’s death in combat against King Roan of Azgeda, avatar of her clan’s greatest enemies. And when it was time to reign in the bloodthirsty, illogical tyrant that Octavia had become, Indra went against her core conditioning to partner with Bellamy and Clarke to do so, painfully aware of how she had contributed to Octavia’s Blodreina persona.
This was an incredibly vulnerable moment for Indra. Finally she had to confront Octavia, the unlikely leader she once championed who had sunken too deep into the grim intoxication of absolute power. She had to forcibly try to save her surrogate daughter, her “sky girl” from herself and save those under her charge from her.
“I’m scared of you,” she’d said, in the face of Octavia’s crimson wrath. Then the true weight of her actions and all she’d seen and endured settled into her bones as she turned from Octavia and slumped against her bedpost. Indra’s face fluttered with emotion as she told Octavia (really trying to convince herself) that Octavia would see the wisdom in her actions. And when war injured Gaia, she became her ferocious protector. Perhaps that old wound can mend.
When last we saw Indra she was weary but unbent.
She is one of the 400+ survivors of the planet Earth. I don’t know where her story goes, but I will be watching intently.
Season 6 of The 100 returns to the CW in 2019.