The 100 is based on a book series of the same name by author Kass Morgan, though similarities between the two are few and far between. Aside from character names and basic plot structure, The 100 is vastly different from its source material. Morgan explores one thing in her books that is severely lacking on the television series: the relationship between Skaicru and the local, radioactive wildlife.
It’s safe to say there was no meat served on the Ark. Morgan’s books talk about protein packs, which honestly make me think of those nasty bug-packets in Snowpiercer, but The 100 doesn’t talk about food on the Ark much at all. There’s a flashback in season one that shows Clarke and Wells eating popcorn, but that doesn’t seem to be the norm. The Griffin and Jaha families are wealthy, for one, and they probably have more access to rations than the poor. Popcorn is a luxury they can afford.
At the tail end of season four, when Clarke and her friends are laying out a plan for survival on the Ark Ring, there’s a lot of discussion surrounding algae. Their plan is to grow algae as a food source, something Monty is apparently familiar with from growing up on farm station. Again, no mention of animal protein.
On Earth, it’s different.
In Morgan’s book series, hunting is a skill the delinquents have to learn, fast. Bellamy is best at it. He brings back the majority of the food that the delinquents eat. In the television series, there’s only some focus on the task of hunting, mostly in season one.
We also see the most wildlife in season one. There’s the infamous two-headed deer in the pilot, the watersnake thing that attacks Octavia a scene or two later, and the glowing butterflies in S01E02. There’s also the wild boar that Bellamy and his friends hunt, in a scene reminiscent of Lord of the Flies.
Given that the delinquents are faced, for the first time, with the task of finding and preparing their own food, it seems like there should be more focus on this aspect of their life on Earth. We see the wild effects of the hallucinogenic berries they eat in season one. We see the anger and devastation when their dried meat stores are burned up by Murphy. But how did they even get that much meat? Does radioactive, two-headed deer have any real protein to it? Is food poisoning a concern?
What else are they hunting, since there seems to be very little wildlife around?
Although Skaicru is immune to the remaining radiation on Earth because they grew up in space, presumably there’s still a possibility of radiation poisoning from the food they eat. Much like the food sources in Fallout 4, hunting and gathering is probably harder when everything is wacky with nuclear poison.
There’s a fearlessness present in the way the delinquents hunt, which is admirable, but also cause for concern. Their assumption that they’re the only people alive on Earth gets them into life or death situations when they encounter the grounders. Their carelessness gets many of them killed. It seems like a missed opportunity that the writers never fully explored the possible effects of their food sources making them sick.
Besides which, what about the wildlife that’s actually combative?
In season two, we encounter the gorilla that Finn made cracks about in season one. Her name, according to Commander Lexa, is Pauna. Her habitat is the remnants of the DC zoo. We assume she is a mutated descendent of captive gorillas who somehow survived the apocalypse. There is carnage surrounding Pauna in her habitat and she tries hard to kill Clarke and Lexa after killing another grounder. Pauna’s mythos precedes her appearance. Not only does Finn suggest there’s a big, wild gorilla running around the woods, but the grounders have a name for her. They clearly try to avoid her habitat. Even Lexa assumes that they will lose when they fight her.
Pauna’s existence poses a lot of questions. Are there other mutated zoo descendents? Where are they? Why is this gorilla the only member of her species to survive?
In season three, Clarke hunts a panther, which presumably also came from the zoo at some point. But it seems remiss to not explore all of the possibilities of what threats wildlife would pose to Skaicru.
The 100 takes place in the DC area. Before the bombs, DC probably looked like it does today: a metropolitan area populated mostly by humans. Now that it’s covered in trees as the Earth heals from radiation, wildlife is still scarce but obviously present. It looks nothing like the images of wildlife that Skaicru likely saw in the vids and books on the Ark.
I want to know more. What are the wolves like? Are there bears, other big cats, or small mammals? What happened to the domesticated cats and dogs people kept as pets before the war? Do Skaicru have a hard time preparing meat for food? How do they know how to dismantle a carcass? Do they burn everything so they don’t risk undercooking it? Do they try to eat things raw?
Why did the writers opt for a second death wave when they could have militarized the local wildlife? How would Skaicru — and the grounders! — band together in the face of repeated animal attacks?
It’s probably safe to assume that the writers haven’t dived into wildlife as a plot point because of budget constraints on The 100. However, the brief glimpses just make me, as a fan, want to know more about this aspect of life on the ground.
Now that the show has time jumped and six years have passed, I’m especially curious. What did Clarke eat for all that time? Did anything survive the second death wave? The animals were dying at the end of season four, so what was her food source? And how did it affect her?
These questions are burning. If you have theories, throw them in the comments! World building in The 100 is especially limited when it comes to wildlife.