A lot of villains on The 100 were quite obvious but others were more low-key. Here are 10 of the best examples.
The 100 is a series that tries to portray every one of its characters with nuance, meaning that even the villains tend to have some understandable motivation or underlying humanity — though it’s not typically enough to redeem them. The show certainly has its share of major villains both lame and cool, most of whom are obviously meant to fill that role from their first onscreen appearance.
Of course, with a show that doesn’t paint its characters with broad strokes, there are also plenty of people who could be considered “low-key villains.” These characters don’t necessarily fit that role in a traditional sense, but their actions don’t allow them to claim the status of “good guy” or “hero” either.
The Sky People: A Different Perspective
When the people from the Ark decide to see if Earth is livable, viewers have a thorough understanding of why they’re doing so. With their oxygen supply dwindling and the extinction of their people imminent, it makes sense they’d send a ship to Earth in a last-ditch effort to survive.
However, looking at this chain of events from the Grounders point of view, it’s easy to see a narrative where Skaikru is the villain. As Anya points out early on, Clarke’s people make no effort to determine whether anyone is living on Earth before crashing a ship into their home, nor do they hesitate much before starting a war with the people they’ve disrupted.
Clarke Griffin: The Hero Or The Villain?
The 100’s main character faces a similar predicament to her people. Whether she’s a villain or a hero largely depends on perspective. Clarke Griffin has undoubtedly done a lot of good for her friends and comrades over the course of The 100, but that often comes at a cost to those outside of her tribe. From killing everyone inside of Mount Weather to taking control over who lives and who dies leading up to Praimfaya, Clarke has made a lot of terrible choices.
By the time Season 7 rolls around, the show makes a greater push to underscore Clarke’s more negative tendencies, though it still isn’t clear if she’s supposed to be a tragic hero or low-key villain.
Bellamy Blake: Toeing The Line
Bellamy Blake toes the line between hero and villain from the very first episode, and it’s never clear what the show wants us to take away from this character. Like Clarke, he’s well-intentioned and tries to do what’s right for his people. Also like Clarke, he’s done unspeakable things to protect his loved ones.
Add in Bellamy’s tendency to get wrapped up in groupthink and his entire personality seems to be a recipe for turbulence. Depending on what season viewers watch and what Bellamy is doing, he can certainly be considered a villain in his worst moments, even if it’s not as clear-cut as it is with characters like Dante or Pike.
Thelonious Jaha: Selfless Or Selfish?
When Thelonious Jaha is introduced in Season 1, he’s not really played up as a villain. Yes, he’s had to make hard choices to ensure the survival of his people, including floating one of his closest friends. The 100 never confronts that as thoroughly as it should, instead opting to make him relatable in his actions and have him make selfless sacrifices for his people.
However, Jaha could very well be perceived as a villain for the things worst he’s done. Not only has he ripped apart families in order to ensure the survival of the human race, but his system for doing so largely seems to be based on class — meaning those who aren’t fortunate enough to be in positions of power are the ones to get floated for crimes or locked up with the delinquents until their eighteenth birthdays. In addition to his actions on the Ark, he never makes any genuine effort to forge peace with the Grounders when he arrives on Earth — a selfish decision that suggests he only cares about his own people.
Prince Roan: Playing Both Sides
The Ice Nation’s Prince Roan makes his entrance in Season 3, and he’s one of those characters who play whichever side works to his advantage at the time. He seems to be a good person underneath — much kinder than his mother — and he never does anything horrible enough to warrant becoming a major villain of the series.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Roan hasn’t served as a low-key villain at times, especially when putting his own people above everyone else. This is something just about every character on The 100 has a tendency to do, and it leads Roan to make some questionable decisions in Season 3 and Season 4.
Echo: The Spy
Echo begins her tenure on The 100 as a victim of Mount Weather, but Season 3 sees her acting as a spy for the Ice Nation and betraying the trust Bellamy and Octavia place in her. It’s something the other characters take a long time to forgive her for, and her continued attempts to undercut Skaikru and the other clans on behalf of the Ice Nation certainly don’t help.
It’s only after her time in space that Echo begins acting as a hero, and even then, she still has moments where she reverts to her old tendencies. Thankfully, her found family challenges those impulses and helps her become a better person.
Luna: A Sharp Turn From Peace
Luna isn’t on The 100 for very long, and her character is introduced as a Natblida who fled her Conclave in favor of a more peaceful existence — the very action that resulted in Lexa becoming Commander of the 13 clans. Given her desire for peace, Luna originally comes off as a kind leader who’s incredibly protective of her people. When Skaikru brings violence to their home, however, her perspective changes into something more sinister.
In Season 4, Luna arrives at the Conclave to decide who gets the underground bunker with one goal in mind: ending humanity. After everything she’s witnessed, viewers can see how she reached this point — but it definitely turns her into a low-key villain.
Marcus Kane: Coming Full Circle
The 100’s first season builds Kane up as an antagonist to Abby, but it paints him in a similar fashion to Jaha. Although the choices he makes will have viewers shouting at their televisions, he has an underlying humanity that makes it difficult to hate him outright. That’s not to mention that, by the second or third season, he’s transformed into a more selfless and mature leader who would very much be considered a hero.
Kane continues that journey for much of the series, but Season 5 takes his character full circle, placing him back in the villain seat. Fed up with Octavia’s tyranny in and out of the bunker, he defects and joins Diyoza and the Eligius prisoners on the other side of the war. It’s one thing to betray Octavia, but his cooperation with Diyoza puts all of his people at risk — a questionable choice for a leader who claims to care about them.
Abby Griffin: Not Always One Of ‘The Good Guys’
Abby may preach to Clarke about being “the good guys,” but her own worst actions don’t always abide by that moral code. In fact, the first season reveals she was willing to see her husband floated and her daughter locked up for telling her people the truth — and that’s not the only time she makes morally questionable choices in the name of survival.
When the 13 clans are forced to contend with food shortages in the underground bunker, Abby is among the people who push Octavia to develop an “eat or die” approach to cannibalism. Once they’re back above ground, however, Abby takes little responsibility for her part in what happened, and instead makes Octavia out to be a monster.
The Judge: Not So Neutral
With viewers focused on Sheidheda and Bill Cadogan in Season 7, it’s easy to overlook the Judge’s questionable morals. A godlike figure with the power to eradicate entire species, the Judge is given huge decision-making power with little reason.
The show assumes the Judge is an omniscient and neutral character, but their immediate willingness to wipe out human beings — a species they later deemed worth saving — raises the question of whether or not the Judge should be considered a low-key villain.