For six seasons on The 100, actress Marie Avgeropoulos has embodied Octavia Blake with grit and grace. In front of our eyes, she’s gone from a once defiant wild child who hid under the floorboards desperate to live a normal life, to the merciless Red Queen, founder of Wonkru, a united clan consisting of sky people and grounders. Who might I add, once strongly shared a disdain for each other.
Avgeropoulos’ character arc and journey as a whole has been a tumultuous one since the beginning. Despite losing her beloved Lincoln (Ricky Whittle), a once timid young girl has come into her own, evolving into a fierce, independent warrior who has thrived despite a never-ending estrangement from her big brother Bellamy (Bob Morley). Who in the beginning of the season proclaimed his baby sister dead! Figuratively speaking, of course.
Octavia’s trajectory has been unclear as of late, questioning her past and the dirty deeds she’s done to survive, struggling to find her place in the world– if there even is one. But this seasons uncertainties are about to become crystal clear, or so we hope. Instead of rallying the usual suspects on the new moon, and figuring out how to live with (or destroy) its current inhabitants, the youngest Blake has been banished to the forest with former enemy Diyoza to live… or die. Talk about irony.
Since destroying Earth, and finding themselves both kicked out of Sanctum in the new world, Diyoza and Octavia’s contempt for each other has been slowly dissipating as they attempt to survive. Together. Avgeropoulos spoke about Octavia’s upcoming battle for redemption, her feelings towards Bellamy, and shared a hilarious story while working with her once on-screen foe Ivana Milicevic.
MCKENZIE MORRELL | There have been many variations of Octavia throughout the six seasons of The 100, whether it’s the girl under the floorboard, Indra’s second, Blodreina, so on. Which version of her would you say has been the most challenging and intriguing to play?
MARIE AVGEROPOULOS | It’s such a pleasure to play Octavia because she’s constantly changing into so many different characters all under the same skin.The most challenging and enjoyable character that I’ve played so far would be Blodreina. Jason Rothenberg, the creator of the show, who has done such a wonderful job creating all these great characters, he came up to me and he told me that, “Okay, Marie, this is going to be your biggest piece of the chew yet. Next season we have something really interesting for you to play.” And when I started reading the synopsis, I was pretty shocked. The fans are going to love me or they’re going to hate me. But that’s okay, as long as I make them feel something. Plus playing the character, I had to cut all my hair off to make the physical transformation and Octavia was facing some really dark decisions to ensure that the people in the bunker survived for those six years. The immoral decisions she had to make during the dark year are some sins that she’s still definitely wearing this season. You’ll just have to see whether or not she’s able to forgive herself and continue on her path to redemption.
MM | Do you think that Octavia’s death wish that we recently saw throughout the first part of the season was a result of those tough decisions she had to make as a leader?
MA | Yes. Pretty sad to see the state that Octavia was in at the beginning of season six, of what people have seen so far. She definitely has PTSD from what she went through in the bunker. She has zero self love. I think she’s even had some suicidal tendencies, to say the least. And it’s pretty sad to watch her go through these emotions, but she has to drag herself through the mud in order to come out the other side. There is particularly one of my favorite episodes this season where you’re literally going to see Octavia face her demons. That’s as much as I can tease about that, but she will face her own worst enemy. That’s all I can say…
MM | She’s definitely gone through some traumatic things, to say the least. How do you think her story would have played out if Lincoln [Ricky Whittle] had been in the bunker to help her make those decisions and kind of carry that burden?
MA | That’s a really interesting question. Nobody’s ever asked me that one before. I think Lincoln softened Octavia in a way that she hasn’t been able to return since. I think that moment when she watched him be murdered in front of her own eyes, you could see her heart break and you could see in that same moment, her lust for revenge and blood and she had no other way to remedy herself. It’s not like she can go speak to her therapist like we do in the current day. To go talk to a grief counselor or whatnot. But to answer your question, yes, I do think things would have changed for her had Lincoln been under the bunker to help guide her and stay on a more ethical path instead of such an immoral one.
MM | I definitely agree with that. There’s been many turning points this season, but a big one was obviously when Bellamy closed those doors on Octavia, basically leaving her on this new terrain to ultimately die. What was going through her mind, do you think, when her big brother finally shut her out? Is there anyway back from that?
MA | I don’t think Octavia’s reaction to that was enormous. I think she sort of saw that coming. However, it did break her heart, but I don’t think she wanted to show him that. Of course it’s the ultimate sense of abandonment, which is one of the things Octavia absolutely hates the most and it’s one of her trigger points. But right now, she’s got bigger fish to fry, because she has to deal with surviving on this new planet with this new group of people and ultimately, her partner in crime, her ally used to be her biggest enemy, Diyoza. Octavia spent all of season five being incredibly bloodthirsty for her and her army, so it’s really interesting, this season, to see the dynamic between these two and how they become allies.
MM | Right, the tables have turned. I’m really enjoying that dynamic between Diyoza and Octavia. Now that Diyoza has shed light on the fact that Octavia does want to live, will we see a change in her priorities and how she’s going about things as she’s trying to navigate this new world?
MA | Yeah, she doesn’t accept Diyoza with open arms, right away, but she does understand that she’s giving her advice. They’re apples and oranges but at the end of the day Octavia and Diyoza are still fruit. They’re both these ruthless female leaders and warriors and they need to put all their crap aside and learn how to work together if they’re going to learn how to survive on this planet. Because around every corner and every turn is a new obstacle and danger that if they focus too much on their past, they won’t even be able to see the future.
MM | Where would you say Octavia would fall in terms of her new people, would she divert from the Primes or would she go towards more the Children of Gabriel? Where would you see her fitting?
MA | I can’t answer that one…
MM | That’s fair. Let’s talk about that temporal flare, and the quicksand that Octavia was in. We saw that it altered her hand in some way. We don’t really know what the effects of that are going to be. Can we expect that to play out as the season progresses of what that did to her and what it means?
MA | Yes, wearing that prosthetic arm everyday. That was fun [Laughs]. I have a funny story, actually, about when we were standing in that gooey pit. We weren’t allowed to leave the gooey pit for hours and hours because the reset and letting us out and putting us back in was such an enormous job. So I looked over at Ivana and I said, listen I gotta go to the bathroom. And she goes, me too. And I’m like okay, so are you okay with this? And she was like yup. Just the whole day we were both peeing in that pit. Cause we had no choice.
MM | [Laughs] That is dedication. It looked like little beads or something, what exactly was that? It looked like it was uncomfortable to be sitting in for long periods of time.
MA | The special effects department did such an amazing job on creating that pit, basically they’re these little gelatin balls that when they get wet, they expand. When they begin, they’re really really tiny. I’ve actually brought a couple of them home to give to my nieces to play with, cause they just love throwing them in water and watching them expand. It’s like a little science experiment.
MM | So much fun! When it comes to Octavia, she finally got the chance to be the leader, do you think now that she’s gone through that process that she could relate more to Clarke and the challenges she’s faced and the decisions she’s made in that role?
MA | I think that she can definitely relate to Clarke. I think Octavia’s already respected Clarke and the decisions she’s had to make whether or not she’s agreed with them. But currently Octavia has no idea that Clarke has turned into Josephine, so when she figures that one out, it’ll be an interesting surprise for her and how that unfolds for her and the rest of the group.
MM | It’s going to be interesting how everybody reacts as they start to learn the truth of Clarke being gone and if there is a way to get her back. To kind of switch gears, Octavia has acquired many nicknames over the years. What has been your favorite one out of them all?
MA | Besides Blodreina, who will always take the cake for me, Skairipa was always a fun one because I felt like that was really her personal point on becoming the warrior she is now.
MM | I think next to Octavia’s name everybody always just brands her as a badass, what other descriptors would you give her to encapsulate the person she has become?
MA | I love to hate that word. It’s quite generic, but yes, she is a strong female warrior and she’s such a pleasure to play. She’s always keeping me on my toes, that’s for sure.
MM | That’s amazing. None of the characters on this show have had a great track record in terms of relationships and with Lincoln’s death, which really hit her hard, that was somebody that she was very connected to. Do you hope that she can learn to be with somebody again or open herself up even to the possibility of connecting with somebody on a different level?
MA | I think that in order to love, you need to love yourself first. Octavia isn’t at that place right now, this season. This season is all about her shedding her walls, letting them down, forgiving her sins. I also like to believe in the idea that a woman doesn’t need a man or another woman, or whatever side of the field you play, to be happy. I’m really hoping Octavia can be happy with herself first and mend some of the relationship that has been so damaged, especially the one with Bellamy.
MM | That’s the biggest relationship she needs to focus on.
MA | Most important man in her life.
MM | Couldn’t have said it better myself. I do like to throw in my signature question to all of my interviews. It’s pretty unrelated to what we’ve been talking about in a sense. But if you could construct a donut based off of Octavia’s personality, what kind of donut would it be and what toppings would you put on it?
MA | I think it would be made of licorice. Primarily because it’s a bit hard to chew. Hard to swallow, and it’s a little tough. I think it would have a little tang to it, maybe some sour sweet on top, as well. She could be a little sweet, but also sour at times. And you know, it’s gotta just be made of chocolate cake on the bottom because who doesn’t love chocolate cake. Sometimes a girl needs just to take a huge bite of some chocolate to get her mind off things.
MM | Right? If you don’t like chocolate, I don’t trust you.
MA | [laughs] I might steal that one from you.
MM | You can, totally. And as we’re getting to the end of the conversation. Octavia’s journey has been heartbreaking, inspiring, it’s been a long one. Is there anything that you could tease in regards to her redemption arc this season and just the driving force of her as a person moving forward?
MA | I might have to think about that one without giving away any spoilers. The finale of where she ends up to where she is now are two completely different people. Because her hand is aged and she now has this physical challenge to deal with, she’s going to learn that it’s not just a challenge, but it’s also a sign. That’s something I can tease to the fans. There’s more than meets the eye, other than a hideous hand and it was given to her for a reason.
MM | And to finish up, I’ve been asking all of your fellow cast members to describe the remainder of the season with three emojis. What would your choices be?
MA | The scream mask, with the hands on the cheek. The one with just two eyeballs and no mouth. And then the one with the huge eyeballs that look like you just saw something really scary.