[This interview contains MAJOR spoilers from The 100 Season 7, Episode 2, “The Garden.” Please don’t continue if you haven’t seen it yet!]
We’ve seen many iterations of Octavia Blake since her introduction back in Season 1 of the post apocalyptic series The 100. From the girl under the floor destined to be the first to step foot on the ground after 97 years, to the sky girl turned Grounder, Octavia’s story is one that constantly kept the audience on our toes. We’ve seen Skairipa slice through flesh, and Blodreina command cannibalism to save humanity (or so she thought). She’s been beaten, bruised, kicked off a cliff (thanks Echo), and throughout it all, Marie Avgeropoulos executes the many layers of the youngest Blake effortlessly. As we gear up to say goodbye to many of our beloved characters on The 100, we can’t help but reflect on Octavia’s monumental journey while finally finding out where the heck she’s been since we last saw her in Season 6.
Luckily, “The Garden,” this week’s installment of The CW’s hit series, is Octavia-centric. It fills in some of the missing pieces of where she’s been over the course of a decade, although for the rest of our heroes on Sanctum, it’s only been a blink of an eye. Through flashbacks, we see a softer side of O, but one still devoted, and determined to get back to her brother Bellamy (Bob Morley) in hopes of setting the record straight following their many, many, many misunderstandings throughout the years.
While Octavia’s fate is unknown with 14 undoubtedly grueling episodes ahead of us, Avgeropoulos tells FANDOMIZE that she’s ‘very happy with Octavia’s conclusion.’ What that means, remains to be seen. Avgeropoulos discussed stepping out of a fictional apocalypse to a real life scenario post COVID-19, and even dished about the banana recipe that continues to mock her from her kitchen.
Octavia’s [in flash]back[s], b*tches!
MCKENZIE MORRELL: Before we get into the nitty gritty of what’s going on with Octavia this season, how are you feeling now that this chapter of your life has come to an end? You’ve been here since the beginning, it has to be weird saying goodbye to Octavia.
MARIE AVGEROPOULOS: Being one of the OGs of The 100, playing Octavia since the pilot episode – 100 episodes ago – I don’t think it’s even hit me yet. It’s bittersweet that it’s ended for sure, but it was a very abrupt ending because we actually finished filming the last episode of The 100 the day before the lockdown. They made us work on Saturday and canceled our wrap party so we didn’t even get to thank our fellow castmates and crew and everyone involved for creating such a wonderful journey over the years and give each other closure or even a hug. So it felt a little too real for me participating in what we call a “fake post-apocalyptic television show” walking directly into a real life one the next day. I felt like I was being Punk’d. It’s too ironic.
MM: That would have been a plot twist!
MA: Yeah, I’m happy we finished at least and we got to complete the show unlike many others that just had to abruptly stop. And I’m happy everyone gets to see season 7, it’ll be great.
MM: The fans are definitely in for some shocks this season. I know it must’ve been difficult to wrap so suddenly and at least you guys were able to complete the season because there’s a lot of shows that are in limbo.
MA: Yeah, absolutely. And especially now more than ever a post-apocalyptic TV show will speak to a lot of people who maybe weren’t into the genre before, but now that everyone’s experiencing it firsthand they’ll be excited to watch something new. I know everyone’s running out of things to binge watch.
MM: Yes, they are, they’re slowly going through their lists so they can start from the beginning now. As we briefly look back on Octavia’s journey, throughout the seven seasons, what will you miss the most about playing this character? Has she taught you anything throughout all the years of playing her?
MA: There’s a lot of things I’m going to miss about playing Octavia Blake. Her and I grew up together. I played her for 7 years, from my 20’s into my 30’s now and I feel like we taught each other things. I always appreciate how she looks fear in the face with sheer bravery whether or not she’s faking it, trying to convince others that her leadership qualities are authentic or not, she’s always somehow pulled it off for the good of others, even if those choices didn’t seem that authentic at the time. I appreciate the fact that Octavia thinks long game and doesn’t play a short game, to know what choices benefit her in the long run even if they seem difficult and others don’t approve of it at the time that she made them.
MM: I totally agree. When we see Octavia in episode 2, she emerges from the anomaly underwater. If you were going through a portal to another destination, what’s the last place you’d wanna end up, whether it’s a location or a terrain?
MA: The best place I’d want to end up or the worst place?
MM: You can give me both, the best or the worst, whatever you want.
MA: Alright, well right now I think it’s important for everyone to stay positive, so the best place I would like to end up would totally be in Stevie Nicks’s living room so we can jam out together and throw on some black lace trench coats and have a glass of wine and collaborate music together. That’s one of the things I’m missing the most right now during this, is my drumset. The worst place I would wanna end up is the laundry room because I feel like that’s the only place I’m ending up nowadays. Or the kitchen.
MM: Right? Don’t you feel like you do so much more laundry now that you’re in quarantine and not going anywhere than you did before?
MA: I don’t know how that’s even possible because I feel like I just switch from my daytime pajamas into my nighttime pajamas. I don’t know what’s going on.
MM: I know, it’s weird. How happy were you to find out that decrepit old lady arm was gone after Octavia went through the anomaly?
MA: Yes, there’s a funny backstory about season 6 Octavia’s decrepit arm. To avoid me having to sit in hair and makeup for a thousand hours for our very talented Cory Roberts – she was the head of our makeup department in season 6 – to age my arm and my hand and add length to my fingers, et cetera, we actually found, in the prop room, an old arm that Octavia had when she had the worms crawling out of her arm in the prior season. So I’m like, “Why don’t we just make a cloak and I’ll hang onto the third arm for the next 10 episodes straight?” Well, that thing weighed about a thousand pounds on top of all the heavy wardrobe I had to wear and with the Bob Marley wig. So I quickly regretted that decision. I’m like, “Wow, okay, maybe sitting in the makeup chair for three extra hours in the morning wouldn’t have been such a bad idea.” But to answer your question, yes, I was happy to tell the arm to rest in peace and have a working one again. Thank you, anomaly.
MM: Comes in handy for something! In flashbacks we see Octavia delivering Diyoza’s [Ivana Milicevic] baby and using techniques to soothe Hope that Bellamy used on her. At what point do you think Octavia finally realized that, “Hey, I understand where he came from all these years ago and why he did the things he did.”
MA: I think for any woman, and Diyoza and Octavia become this weird – how ironic – this self isolating family. And I think children change the game for people pretty quickly. And the moment that baby melted Octavia’s heart and she had no idea how to parent and no idea how to give birth but they both had to figure it out. It was such a fun scene to shoot, by the way, with Ivana [Milicevic]. It was really heartwarming and tender, the fact that it came full circle that her motherly instincts kicked in based on what Bellamy used to soothe her as a kid. I thought that was a really nice homage to how Octavia has matured and we see a very nurturing side of Octavia this season that we haven’t seen in seasons prior.
MM: There’s a moment in the episode where Hope [Shelby Flannery] says, “My mother, my responsibility,” and it seems there’s a bit of a parallel between Bellamy and Octavia and Hope and Diyoza. Did you enjoy this role reversal and Octavia being able to teach Hope what she learned from her brother?
MA: Yeah, I really enjoyed this season for a lot of reasons, especially because I had the opportunity to work with so many different versions of Hope, meaning different ages. These really talented kids that came onboard the show. I had the opportunity to work with an infant for the very first time, which was terrifying. I was like, “I really don’t want to drop someone else’s baby!” Because it was covered in jam and KY Jelly and slippery to make it look as authentic as possible, which also I think for me might’ve been the best birth control ever. That was terrifying. Then all the way through to the older versions of Hope. It was also another fabulous parallel to watch Octavia hide Hope in the floor the same way Bellamy did as well. She took a lot of these protective tactics that he used and maneuvered it into the dangerous situations to protect Hope.
MM: Yeah, that was a very important moment when she hides her when they’re coming for them. And obviously there’s some more lighthearted moments, young Hope names the planet Skyring. If Octavia were to have named the planet, what do you think she would’ve gone with?
MA: If she would’ve called it something else?
MM: Yes, if she were to, like, name it something proper.
MA: She would’ve called it Step Mommy Needs A Time Out.
MM: [Laughs] Definitely a few moments where young Hope is attacking Octavia and in her eyes you look like, “Hmm she needs a spanking!”
MA: Yeah, Hope is rebellious just like Octavia is and was, so I think they have that in common.
MM: Of course. And throughout the years, you know, obviously they’ve built this family together – Hope, Diyoza, and Octavia – but still, despite that, she’s fighting for a decade in this alternative time to find her way back to her brother and to reconcile. Was that a difficult decision to make on her part, leaving one family for another?
MA: I think Octavia appreciated having her own blood around her even though she always sort of took it for granted. I think on time on Skyring, she had to – in isolation – come to a realization in her own time, even if it took a decade or not for her to do that, better late than never, and Octavia ultimately did realize she needed her own blood around her. Diyoza had Hope and Octavia, I think, at some points she still felt alone and that she hadn’t patched things up with her older brother and wanted to put the sibling rivalry, ultimately, to bed. But then, of course, in true The 100 fashion, they’re on different planets. So that’s an ultimate challenge. That is the ultimate challenge – how are you going to get to your own brother on another planet? And that will be explored in season 7.
MM: Right, and there’s obviously a lot we don’t know. Octavia’s gone again, Hope stabbed her. Will we eventually get a resolution besides flashbacks regarding this journey and where your character went?
MA: Yeah, well, the last time we saw Octavia in season 6 is when Octavia and Bellamy finally rekindled their relationship after he had ultimately abandoned her for dead. She was faced with having to deal with a lot of those decisions and they managed to reconnect and understand each other at a deeper level, but again, only for Octavia to disappear at the end of the season when Hope stabs her. The mystery of where she went will be uncovered this season and what the anomaly is – I can’t even say that word 10 times fast – and what’s beneath its layers.
MM: Many different layers. And as for Jason Rothenberg, he promises a very emotional conclusion for the Blake siblings. Can you add any non-spoilery insight to those teasings
MM: I know, it’s a loaded question.
MA: I can hear his voice giving me a slap on the wrist if I say this one wrong. No, I don’t think I can answer that one.
MM: Fair enough. We’ll suffer some more! You go from Blodreina to Auntie O, it’s been a very interesting shift in roles and you do it effortlessly. Was it fun/challenging to play a softer side to this kinda cutthroat woman that we’ve kinda come to know?
MA: Regarding all of the very different versions of Octavia?
MM: Yeah, especially in the flashbacks, she’s more mellow. And even after Diyoza botches her one way to get off of Skyring, she’s still calm and collected and cool.
MA: It’s always been a pleasure for me to play Octavia Blake for a million reasons but for me it was how challenging it’s been and how the writers have always kept me on my toes with making her so dramatically different every single season. It’s made it enjoyable as an actress to do it and an honor to play because I understand that what the fans love most about Octavia is she’s constantly changing. She’s always different and she’s unpredictable and so are the storylines. But this season I believe that fans are gonna see – if I could describe Octavia in three words this season it’d be nurturing, self-actualized, and elevated.
MM: And now, I received a random question on social media regarding banana bread and if you’ve mastered the recipe. Do you have any idea what they’re talking about?
MA: Have I mastered the recipe?
MA: The answer is no. So far I’ve been counting my quarantine weeks according to how many spanakopitas I have made. I’ve got that down to a complete science, I could probably open a Greek restaurant after this is all over. Banana bread, not so much. I’ve tried it twice and every time I’ve made it, it ends up looking like a ditch and it’s falling down in the middle and my ego just can’t take it anymore. So I’m sticking to cooking and baking can beat it for now.
MM: People want to know if you were able to take any souvenirs from set as you wrapped. Apparently Tasya [Teles] disclosed during HomeCon that she’s the queen of stealing things from set, so people want to know if you were able to take anything to kind of commemorate this journey.
MA: Oh really? No, it was so abrupt, the ending, I didn’t even have time to make sure I got Octavia’s sword. I asked for it, but I still haven’t heard anything since.
MM: We’re gonna put good vibes out!
MA: Maybe the fans can bug people online to send it over.
MM: Oh I’m sure they can and they will. And now what genre do you want to take on next? What’s the ideal project for you as you close this chapter?
MA: I would like to do more voiceover work. I had the honor to play a role in Wonder Woman, I got the opportunity to play Silver Swan opposite Rosario Dawson. That was really exciting to me. And especially due to social distancing when the world slowly opens again, I think voiceover work will be more likely since you can record things in your pajamas by yourself versus mass groups of people. And on a happier note, mama didn’t pay for new braces for nothing when I was in high school as a metal mouth. So it’d be nice to do a comedy at least where I could smile. I think Octavia smiled once in 100 episodes.
MM: This is true. Maybe once, half of a smile. And now as we come to the end of the conversation, why should the fans tune in for the final ride of The 100?
MA: The final ride of The 100 is going to give the entire 100 episodes some closure. I’m very happy with Octavia’s conclusion and she will be expressing some emotions that I don’t think she has in a very, very long time. It’s not typical for the storyline you would think of for her ending.
MM: Well that is something that we definitely look forward to, we have watched you over seven years and we’re excited to see where this goes. Marie, I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and hopefully one day you will master that banana bread.
MA: Yeah, thanks! I’ll send a picture of it online as soon as it’s working out and I’m not ashamed by its results.
MM: Definitely show us once you conquer it!
MA: If only you can find flour on the shelves nowadays.
MM: It’s cutthroat out there, it’s very hard!
MA: Yup, flour and hair dye, can’t find it.
MM: Nope! Thanks again, I cannot wait to see what’s next for you.
MA: Thanks so much for tuning in all these years and stay safe and healthy and most importantly, stay sane.
MM: Thank you so much, I will, I’ll do my best. You too!
The 100 airs Wednesdays on the CW.