It is not always easy to bring joy to a show that thrives on the human condition's unexpected despair.
Lola Flanery made that happen when she joined the show as Madi, instantly finding her own place within The 100 world. She was a child that Clarke (and eventually everyone else) would stop at nothing to protect.
But from her very first scene, the audience could see that Madi was not looking to be protected when she could protect herself without even knowing it. Over time she tried her best to find her own voice, even when the narrative didn't want her to until she reached her final journey during The 100 Season 7.
Madi had just about anything and everything possible come her way, from anxiety to Sheidheda to Cadogan, and in the end, she still found a way to get the ending that she wanted for herself.
None of these memorable shifts in Madi's character growth would be possible without Lola's presence and talent. She really made the audience care about a character and hope for more for her down the line.
Even though no one could have predicted that Madi would transcend and stay with her friends in alien heaven, by the end, all you wanted was to have Madi finally choose for herself what her future would look like, instead of having it be told to her.
Taking some time out to answer our questions, Lola Flanery shares her thoughts on Madi's journey throughout the series. She also talked about the challenges that came with Madi's adventure and where it all ended up.
Lola also shared her thoughts on all things Picasso.
What was it like being on a show like The 100?
The whole plot is so apocalyptic and spooky. So that was pretty new for me; it was super cool to have all these new, huge battle scenes. I hadn't gotten a chance to do much of that in my acting career.
But it was also super lovely because, off-camera, everyone was such a close family, and it was so nice to have. And for something as crazy as the plot of The 100, it's nice to have a lovely family to be back with.
What is your favorite memory of being on The 100?
That's a tough one. I mean, one of my favorite memories is one day we were filming up in a huge forest, and it was probably a two or three-hour drive away from where we lived, and there was no service.
So we were just up in the middle of nowhere, doing nothing, and in between takes, we had solid 30 minutes, and we just spent that 30 minutes talking about teenage problems. They kept giving me advice and role-playing different, weird situations and helping me with life stuff and growing up.
And it was great because I realized, "Wow, this is a really nice family." That's probably one of my favorite memories.
What were the most challenging parts of playing Madi over the seasons?
I got to say, the most challenging part would definitely be the Sheidheda scenes. Where Madi had to become Sheidheda, that was a big challenge for me. I would say that.
In Season 7, Madi got the chance to really find a more healthy and happy future for herself in Sanctum with new friendships and Picasso. What was it like for you to get to explore that with Madi for at least the first half of the season?
Yeah, it was happy for the first half, and then it took a bit of a turn later.
It was surreal because I had my genuine friends there and Picasso, scenes with Picasso are always the best. So it just felt normal because there were friends there with Madi, and then there was Clarke. It was just all happy stuff; it was pretty easy.
While Madi had some really happy scenes, she also had to deal with some frightening moments with Sheidheda. What was it like for you to film those kinds of scenes with JR Bourne?
Well, JR Bourne, he's one of the loveliest humans in the world, so it was pretty easy because he'll switch during the take between being this scary demon and I'll be like, "My gosh, I'm actually really scared." And then as soon as they yell cut, he would be like, "I'm so sorry, are you okay? Are you sure you're okay?"
So he made it super easy; he always made sure that everything was going great. But it was super cool to see him switch to this scary demon. It was quite a challenge, but it was a fun challenge.
One really interesting sequence between Sheidheda and Madi was in the bunker when she couldn't see him attacking her. It looked like it was really fun to set that up behind the scenes, and I was wondering what it was like to film that?
Well, that certainly was a lot of fun. It was my first time having the stunt harnesses on me; I kept giggling the entire time. There were many takes where we had to stop because I couldn't stop laughing at just floating around. It was pretty hard balancing there, but the scenes were really cool.
So that would also have to be one of my favorite memories.
Madi's existence on The 100 was always tied to her relationship with Clarke. The two had a long journey on the show and the last season together. What was your favorite part of sharing all of these scenes with Eliza?
Probably looking back on it, my favorite part about getting to film with her would be growing up around her and having her be this genuine mother figure for me. Because she would always help me with things and talk to me about everything, and we developed a mother-daughter relationship in that way.
So I guess seeing the change in us from the beginning to the end, it was a super nice thing to see, so probably that and the funny jokes we'd have on set in between takes.
Madi has gone through a real evolution over the years, and she really found a voice for herself in Season 7. She becomes more independent and stood up for what she wanted her life to look like. What was it like getting to explore Madi grow up like that?
I feel like that also was in a way natural as I had also grown up because I started the show when I was around the age of 12. I got to grow up with Madi, so it was cool getting to begin with a more childlike role, and you grow into a more mature person. She taught me a bunch of things too. But it was nice; I felt like it was a good sigh of relief for Madi, letting go of all the tension she had, so that was a pretty fun scene to play with.
Madi's relationship with Bellamy was really wonderful over the seasons. Unfortunately, they didn't get to spend any time together during Season 7, but I was curious how you think Madi remembers Bellamy?
In a way, yeah. I feel Madi probably didn't get to grasp what had happened in Bellamy's change in the season. So Madi definitely remembers him as that almost father figure to her.
So that nice role that we got to see in earlier seasons; there definitely is that, and she recognizes what he's done for her, that's what I believe.
Who do you wish you got to film more scenes with? Or who do you wish Madi got to spend more time with on the show?
I'd say, well, obvious answer Picasso, definitely Picasso. I would have loved to have more scenes with Tati, who plays Gaia. That would have been nice for Madi, I feel they had a good relationship over the years, so I think it would be nice to see.
What was your favorite part of filming with Picasso?
All of that. I remember when we first started working with Picasso, we had to have training sessions, so there were actually three Picassos.
One that was around for season six, and then two Picassos that were used for season seven.
The main Picasso that I got to work with, Sawyer, we had to have training sessions where we would spend just an hour of me running around with Sawyer, and teaching Sawyer tricks, so we formed a bond. I feel that would have to be my favorite part when we got just to have little puppy play dates.
That has to be the best part of a job.
It was definitely my favorite!
What did you learn from your time on the show and from playing Madi?
From playing Madi, I learned a sense of self and that, which we learn especially in season seven, how I should stand up for myself and speak about what I believe in.
Also, just from The 100 set, everyone around me taught me so many lessons. It was just a great family, and I had so many people around me to help me through my teen years, fully growing up on the show. But yeah, I learned a lot of things, and it was one of the best challenges ever.
If there was anything you could change about Madi's story or ending, what would it be?
Well, I think Madi got an ending that she would be happy with. I mean, her main thing, she knows that Clarke is happy. Then she was reunited with her friends and got her perfect forever.
And I feel like Madi found true happiness and peace, having transcended with the people she chose to surround herself with. I don't think I want to change anything for her; I think she found the right path.
You have attended a few The 100 cons already and have more coming up. What is it like for you to get to meet fans of the show in person? What is your favorite part?
That's one of my favorite things; I love going to conventions; I really missed them this year. They're some of my favorite things; they're the best experiences.
My favorite parts are the panels, where you get to sit up and answer all these cool questions.
Sachin and I have this made-up language so that if I am asked a spoiler question because I'm known to spoil a few things since I don't always know how to answer. So if he ever thinks that I'm going to spoil something, he'll cut me off in this made-up language, and I'll be like, "Okay, okay, I got it."
So that's a really nice part and just getting to meet everyone and see all these cool things that fans come up with. Like, all the costumes and the art and the pictures, everything is so cool because the fandom is super talented.
Madi got to spend time on many different planets. Earth, Sanctum, Bardo, and Earth 2.0. Which planet/set did you enjoy exploring the most?
I would say my top two favorites, definitely, the valley that Clarke and I lived in for the first five or six years because of all these cool houses and stairwells and little blankets in between. It was so stunning, and I love getting to explore that.
But probably my other favorite would have to be Sanctum, in the little town because there was a playground there. And between takes, I spent hours on the swings until I got told that I wasn't allowed to swing on the swing, then I would hide and go back for another long time. So that must've been my favorite.
Over the seasons, we got to see Clarke, Emori, and Josephine's mind space. What do you think Madi's and your mind spaces might look like?
Madi's would probably be something really important to her from her childhood. So it might have to be the house that she grew up in with that floorboard area where she had to hide when she was younger. I feel that would probably be a big aspect of it because of its importance to her.
As for me, I was going to go with the field thing, but I feel I would prefer more of a playground area so I could swing on some swings if I'm ever just hanging in my mind space. Probably something like that, big sun, sun everywhere, happy days, and some clouds too.
For any of The 100 fans looking for some nostalgia as the series concludes, TV Fanatic has a surprise interview series for you! "Looking Back On The 100" centers on monumental cast members and characters from the show that left their mark.
We spoke with Eli Goree about his time on the show and Michael Beach about the journey he had, and we even took a walk down memory lane with Christopher Larkin and Aaron Ginsburg. We even checked in with Zach McGowan about that surprise return to the show.
We also spoke with Leah Gibson about #GinaWasReal and Nadia Hilker about creating the character of Luna.
Chai Hansen also looked back at the show with us when it came to his time on it as Ilian. And Charmaine DeGraté expanded on her writing journey with the show, as well as what it was like to write for Bellamy and Octavia Blake.
Lee Majdoub also shared about Nelson's connections and his final moments on the show. Jason Diaz shared the lessons that his Levitt learned and the happy-ever-after he found with Octavia. John Pyper-Ferguson spoke with us about bringing Cadogan to life and the work behind such a surprising character.
Luisa D'Oliveira, who played Emori on The 100, looked back at her time with the show, the purpose that her character found, and the ending that Emori chose for herself. Shelby Flannery, who played Hope DIyoza on The 100, looked back at her time with the show, the lessons Hope learned, and the bonds that she could make.
Keep checking TV Fanatic for more upcoming interviews with surprise cast members from seasons past.
Share all your thoughts with us in the comments section! Stick around TV Fanatic for more final features, slideshows, and interviews of the last season, and watch The 100 online if you need to catch up on the adventure.
Yana Grebenyuk is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.