The 100 is one of those shows that sometimes moves through plot faster than the brain can process it. This feels especially true for the show following a six-year time jump, where it can be hard to remember who is where and why.
One of the biggest surprises of the time jump was that Clarke managed to survive the most recent apocalypse. We obviously knew this was true heading into the post-Season 4 hiatus, but let’s recap how it happened for those who have trouble remembering the ins and outs, and break down why Clarke’s Nightblood may be a plot-changer moving forward into Season 5…
How did Clarke survive Praimfaya?
Praimfaya is the name for the second nuclear apocalypse that befalls Earth at the end of Season 4. It was caused by failing nuclear power plants around the world. The only survivors (that we know of) are the people who went underground into the Bunker, the people who went to space in the Ring, and Clarke and Madi.
So, how did Clarke survive Praimfaya? Good question. This girl has more lives than a Nightblood cat. (Is that a thing? Because it should be.) In the world of The 100, “Nightblood” is the term for Grounders who have a specific hereditary condition that makes their blood very dark. Nightblood originated with Becca, the scientist who created A.L.I.E. She also created a serum, called Nightblood serum, first developed for the Eligius Mining Company to protect against solar radiation for long duration space missions.
The Nightblood serum turned Becca’s blood dark and genetically modified her body to be able to better metabolize radiation. This is why her descendants have been able to survive on a post-nuclear Earth. In Season 3, Clarke undergoes a blood transfusion with Nightblood Ontari in order to be able to temporarily use the Flame. In Season 4, Clarke injects herself with more Nightblood, i.e. Luna’s blood marrow, as part of Abby’s research into alternate survival plans for Praimfaya.
Apparently, this made her a proper Nightblood, giving Clarke the ability to survive the radiation that Praimfaya unleases on the planet. Madi, too, is a Nightblood, which also gives her immunity to the radiation.
Why does Clarke’s Nightblood matter?
What does Clarke’s Nightblood status mean for the future of The 100? Well, it could complicated Octavia’s role as the leader of Wonkru.
In the most recent episode of The 100, “Red Queen,” we saw the Grounders in the bunker struggle with Octavia’s status as their leader given that, unlike all of their previous leaders, she is not a Nightblood. Presumably, at some point, the people in the bunker will get out of the bunker. At that point, Clarke could have a real claim to leadership that the Grounders would recognize… if she wanted to challenge Octavia’s rule.
What can we say? It’s handy being a Nightblood in the world of The 100.