Lincoln in The 100: Storyline for This Tragic Hero

The 100 is a sci-fi drama series set in the distant future in the aftermath of a global nuclear apocalypse. Some people abandoned Earth to build a new society in a space station, thinking the planet was rendered uninhabitable due to radiation. Others found refuge underground and managed to survive. Lincoln is a descendant of the Earth-based survivors, known as the Grounders. The space people are called the Arkers.

Lincoln in The 100

First seen in Season 1 Eps. 5: Twilight’s Last Gleaming, Lincoln (portrayed by Ricky Whittle) is the Grounder who kidnaps Octavia (an Arker, because she comes from The Ark in space) and in the process saves her from a subsequent ambush that leaves three other Arkers to die. The two soon develop a romantic relationship despite the deadly conflict between their respective clans.

Lincoln in The 100 is a warrior from the Trikru Clan, a group of Grounders who inhabit the woodlands where the Arkers landed on Earth. He is unlike any other people in his clan, in the sense that he doesn’t display blind aggression and attack strangers at will. He already knows about the ambush before it happens, so he takes the liberty to keep Octavia away from danger by hiding her in a cave. Lincoln also deliberately sounds a false alarm of an incoming fog when the ambush is underway, alerting his people to retreat from the attack.  


Much of Lincoln’s storyline in the series happens off-screen. Some viewers might not be pleased with it, but such an approach allows the character to reach every milestone of development without any deep exploration into his motives, tendencies, or the influences that affect his decisions. Although it is not ideal by any means, the quick progression is practical, especially for a secondary character.

Lincoln in The 100

That said, there is a little bit of a background for his relative lack of aggression toward the Arkers. As a child, he encountered a small exodus ship from The Ark. He found a severely injured man inside but at the time Lincoln was unable to speak English, so they didn’t communicate well. Lincoln continued taking care of the injured man, bringing him food and water for three days before telling his father about it. Displeased, the father made him kill the Arker. It remains unclear if the Arker had shared information of any sort with Lincoln before the former died. In any case, Lincoln didn’t show aggression toward the Arker until he was forced to do so.

Lincoln still maintains the same inclination to engage in a peaceful encounter with the Arkers, as shown during the ambush incident. Unlike most Grounders, who will not think twice before inciting a bloody conflict with the Arkers or other strangers, Lincoln is often able to show restraint and find a way to bridge differences. At the very least, he is willing to take the thoughtful route first before all else.

Tortured Soul

After rescuing Octavia Blake from his own people, the next major storyline in Lincoln’s character development happens when he is captured and tortured by the Arkers for kidnapping Octavia and stabbing Finn with a poisoned blade. Lincoln finally informs the Arkers of the antidote. Octavia then sets him free. It might not be much of a major plot point in the entire series, but an important highlight in Lincoln’s characterization. Despite the torture, he refuses to hold grudges against the Arkers. In fact, he has saved The 100 multiple times not only from the Grounders but also the Reapers – aggressive drug-addicted soldiers created by the Mountain Men. In the episode, We Are Grounders (Part 1) Lincoln even goes as far as killing a Reaper and putting himself as a decoy so that Clarke and Finn can escape.

From the moment Lincoln bumped into Octavia in Twilight’s Last Gleaming, his path has since taken a gradual turn from bad to worse. His goodwill toward the Arkers doesn’t come across as a noble intention among the Grounders. Most members of the clan now consider him a traitor, a crime punishable by death. For sure his benevolent acts are not bringing any promise of reward. Things take a drastic change for Lincoln when he is ambushed and captured by the Mountain Men, who later subject him to an experiment and transform him into a Reaper, although he recovers with some help from the Arkers. Lincoln stays in Arkadia/Camp Jaha with the Arkers after the fall of the Mountain Men.

As things start to look better, he has to deal with Charles Pike—the new Chancellor of Arkadia. Pike fails to appreciate everything Lincoln has done on behalf of the Arkers and still considers him a Grounder, thereby an enemy. Pike locks him up and shoots him in the head.

From day one of his appearance in the series to his demise, Lincoln undergoes only a short character development. His storyline is dense, impactful, and mostly sad. He never really fits into a place simply because no one allows him to. The Trikru Clan considers him a traitor, and the Arkers still see Lincoln as one of the Grounders. His fate leads him to become an unsung tragic hero.

Do you root for Lincoln? Do you think his death makes him a martyr or a waste of potential for the series? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

Other things you might want to know.

What is the premise of The 100?

Events of The 100 start in the year 2149. About 97 years ago, a nuclear disaster of a global scale destroyed much of the Planet Earth, rendering nearly the entire surface area uninhabitable. At least 400 people survived the apocalypse by staying in a space station. Survivors and their descendants, subsequently known as the Arkers, see Earth as a nuclear exclusion zone until a group of 100 teenagers from a juvenile detention center in space are sent back to see if the planet has recovered from the radiation. Unbeknownst to the space society, some people did survive the apocalypse by hiding deep underground. Conflicts between the 100 teenagers and Earth-based survivors set the storyline in motion.

How to best describe Lincoln’s personality?

Despite being a secondary character without much development during his short run in the series, Lincoln doesn’t come across as unimportant and feeble. He talks little, although there are times when he finds himself involved in tricky diplomacy-focused situations. Even when he is captured and subsequently tortured for information by the leaders of the Arkers, he barely displays any emotion. In many instances, the character feels almost robotic, but in a good way. His acts are kind and effective, while his words are honest and concise.

Where to watch The 100?

The series originally aired on The CW from March 2014 to September 2020. It ran for 7 seasons with a total of 100 episodes. You can still watch it now via such streaming services as Netflix, Amazon Video, and Vudu.

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