A show like The 100 is only as strong as its characters, and telling Emori's story was a perfect example of that.
With Emori came a look at another life, and the fascination with where she would end up along the way only grew. No one understood the pain that Emori went through, but she didn't let her past stop her.
Emori was motivated by finding something better for herself, and the audience was just as excited to follow her on this journey. We wanted to see her get to thrive in a way that she hadn't had the chance to before.
The moment Luisa D'Oliveira appeared on the show is the moment that something shifted. Through Luisa came Emori, a fresh take on a Grounder story and an even more refreshing perspective on a character that represented development.
Except it wasn't Emori that needed to grow as a person, it was the love and the happiness and the meaning that she found developing around her. Throughout the series, Emori found herself a family, a purpose, and a happy ending that suited what she wanted.
No one deserved a bright light at the end of the tunnel like Emori did, and it was an honor getting to watch Luisa create Emori's impact on The 100 each season.
Taking some time out to answer our questions, Luisa D'Oliveira shares her thoughts on how far Emori has come, the bonds that she managed to create, and the final choice of returning to Earth.
She also touched on the relationship between Emori and Murphy, as well as the impact that Emori has on fans of The 100.
What was it like being on a show like The 100?
How do I put it into a concise paragraph? It was surreal. You're part of something so much bigger than just you and your character. The worlds and the themes and the chaos that's happening within the show, it's very humbling to contribute to something so complex.
When I first joined, it was the end of The 100 Season 2, so they had already been established.
I had enjoyed watching the show. I had already binged basically up until that point, so it was really exciting to get to be a part of it.
Then when they brought me back as well, it was really exciting, because you never know where you're going to go on The 100 when you're a character that isn't a main. And even then, you still don't know. It's such a brutal world.
It was really, truly a beautiful experience for me on a personal level and the best experience I've had in my career to date.
Looking at the full scope of Emori's story, she was a character who, throughout her time on the show, really ended up finding a purpose and a place where she felt like she belonged. What was it like for you to go on such a journey with Emori across planets and space to find that peace at the end?
It was so fun. I was so happy for her. Every time she would overcome a fear or accomplish something that she was terrified she'd fail at, heal a broken bond, or conquer her fear or trauma, I was so happy for her every time she did something like that. I was always rooting for her.
You really become so close to a character when you play them for so long, especially when they go through the kind of challenges and growth that Emori has gone through.
It's been a real joy to be on this journey with her, and it's made me think about things in my own life too.
Because when you're trying to tell a character's growth in a real way, it kind of makes you reflect on your own self and the things that you have overcome in your own life or struggled with. It's a very enlightening experience if you want it to be.
Diving into this season, Emori ended up injured and fighting for her life at the end of it all.
But it was really beautiful to see the way that she was in this room of people who would do anything, including risking their own lives, to save her. What was it like getting to film The 100 Season 7 Episode 15 and honor Emori's relationships so well?
I think that showed the epitome of her growth. The only reason she was able to be in a place where she could say, "Don't worry about me. You need to take care of other people," is because she had these people who loved her and gave her strength.
I really feel like it was the epitome of her evolution on the show, on this journey.
Shooting those scenes was very emotional because it's short, a few minutes here and there in the show. But on the day, you're shooting for hours and hours and hours. I don't want to stray too far from the emotional place you're sitting in because it can sometimes be hard to get back.
It was surreal lying there, thinking about the kinds of things that I thought Emori would be thinking about. I thought, what if this is truly her last possibly hours of life or last day on Earth, what would be going through her head and how would she be feeling? And that naturally led me to think about it in a personal way as well.
It was pretty intense on an emotional level.
But it's just so fun creatively to do that. When I found out that I was basically getting a whole episode to tell that story, I was thrilled. I was thrilled because, from an acting point of view, that's gold.
It's just such an incredible, difficult, and special thing to be able to tell that story. Painful to watch, but really incredible to do from a creative perspective.
It sometimes feels like relationships won't last until the very end of the story on The 100. But in a stunning way, Emori and Murphy did end up together at the end. What was it like going on this journey with Richard Harmon and having someone in the narrative always looking out for Emori?
It was amazing. I mean, from a work perspective, Richard is a brilliant actor and a consummate professional. He is just such an easy and wonderful person to work with, so I was extremely lucky that our stories were so tightly woven together.
It just gave us such great space to work and explore. We really enjoyed working together and telling that story.
I loved for Emori that I would say the most dominant force of her evolution was a love story because she's someone who has experienced such a severe lack of love in her life.
Not only that, I think society had always told her, you don't deserve this, you're not worthy of this. No one will love you on any level or value you on any level. In society, in a family, in a romantic relationship, as a friend.
It's so devastating. A person cannot survive like that; I don't know how she did. To have romantic love and then familial love be the things that let her grow, it just felt so real. I feel like that would be the thing in life that would allow you to overcome the kind of pain and trauma that she had been through in her youth.
We had a great time doing it.
Did you expect Emori and Murphy to go from just staying alive together to then becoming this sort of power couple that was saving all the kids and humanity during The 100 Season 7?
I never really fully expect anything to happen because I feel like you just never know. Every time we get the script or when you get a breakdown of what's going to happen through the season, it's always a bit of a mystery.
But I felt like it made sense for them. I really liked it because they had always been on the periphery as far as the power and decisions went, the groups that they were in.
They were never the ones that had to make the hard decisions. They would make decisions to save themselves, but when it came to making responsible decisions for a group, they had very rarely, if ever, been tested in that capacity.
With so many people who normally inhabited those roles and took on that responsibility being way from Sanctum, it left this power vacuum that you saw all the stuff happen. All the chaos between the Children of Gabriel and the true believes and Sheidheda and Indra.
It gave John Murphy and Emori space to then see what kind of leaders they wanted to be, and would they step to the mantle, and would they be good at it, and could they make good decisions.
It was really cool to explore that because I don't think they would have as characters, ever chased that had the opportunity not presented itself.
Focusing on the final episode, Murphy and Emori shared one of the most beautiful scenes in the episode in her mindspace. It really stood out during The 100 Season 7 Episode 16, so what was it like to film that moment where Murphy is ready to die with Emori?
Thank you, I appreciate that. We really wanted that scene to be good. We cared so much because we knew it was such an important moment for them.
The combination of their relationship and their characters' growth and shooting was emotional, obviously. It was tricky, but effortless at the same time.
We just wanted to get it right, and we wanted it to feel real and not be a beautiful idea, but instead be really, really human and hard. Their relationship has always been difficult. They're two people who were never all that good at understanding their feelings and communicating and making good choices.
They always had struggled with that, with each other and with life in general.
I think that through that struggle and journey together, they've come to a place where they're much better at that.
But even now, in this final moment, there was some struggle between them, which I thought was beautiful, of Emori not wanting John to die, him not wanting to live without her.
To try and reconcile those two things, it's very difficult for them, so I liked that there was a struggle between what they wanted and what was there in front of them.
That was our last day to shoot. We shot that, and then we shot transcendence. I think that was both on the last day. It was just so emotional.
I mean, I've been playing this character now for six years. Richard's been playing Murphy for seven. B
oth of these roles have been such a huge part of our lives, so saying goodbye to them, both us saying goodbye to our characters, and then our characters basically saying goodbye to life and eventually each other. It was just a lot of goodbyes all at once.
That was special. Really special. I'm glad it translated on screen as well.
Going off of that, Emori did get to transcend with Murphy. But then she still made that choice to come back to Earth in the end. Why do you think Emori reached her final choice to live out her days as a human on Earth with everyone?
I think that Emori made that choice because she finally understood the price of leadership. She understood how much she gained from other people shouldering that burden and the cost that Clarke was paying for always choosing that at her own expense throughout the years.
It's like an extension of her understanding of that and her willingness to take on that burden now. It was also because of her Sanctum experience when she tried to reunite the Children of Gabriel with their parents; how even though she had the best intentions, it ended in total tragedy for Nelson.
It showed her your intentions aren't always what makes things work. Being a leader is really hard, and you can always mean the best, but still be crucified for a choice that maybe is what you thought was the best decision.
And that wasn't an impossible choice. Some choices can take you from a bad option to a worse option.
I think that her choice to come back -- I mean, I don't know for sure. I would imagine that her and John Murphy would sort of have had that understanding together, in whatever that moment of deciding would have looked like.
I imagine she wanted to take on her piece of responsibility finally for others.
Speaking of Emori and Nelson, they shared a truly wonderful scene and talk in Sanctum this season.
What are your thoughts were on that scene, and on the fact that Emori has gotten to this point where not only does she takes pride in who she is, but she's also able to give someone else that support?
I loved that episode. I was so happy when I found out that they had given Emori that storyline.
What gives her more purpose and more value in life than to take her trauma and tragedy and turn it into a way if helping other people who have experienced the same thing? I was so happy for her.
I loved working with Lee; he was so wonderful. They were at a different place in their struggle and trauma; it felt almost like a sponsor and someone who's trying to get into recovery. Or maybe a counselor who experienced trauma and was trying to help others now and someone who was trying to deal with their trauma.
It was just the perfect way to take tragedy and turn it into something positive.
People do that all the time in life. They make that difficult choice to bring purpose to their pain. I was so happy that that's what Emori was able to do with hers.
Emori has meant so much to the fans on many levels over the years, but especially when it came to disability representation onscreen. What has it been like for you to be able to offer that to fans?
It's been very humbling and special. It's strange. It's just a very emotional feeling knowing that your work gives people strength.
You just hope to continue to earn its trust and do it justice because it matters to see people who look like you or represent you, whether that's physically or what's going on with them emotionally. I mean, I think that it helps us deal with our struggles.
I think that's why so much film and TV can often connect with people in such a real way because it allows us to process our suffering or our own journey. So many of us are going through similar things. It's important for us to embrace that part of ourselves, our journeys, and our struggles.
Being a part of that for many fans is very special, and I thank them for welcoming Emori and me into their lives.
Another friendship that I considered very underrated was between Emori and Bellamy. Since season five, they had this mutual understanding and this respect for one another.
But then, during season seven, they were literally in different places. Their reunion scene during The 100 Season 7 Episode 13, where Emori is one of the few people who looks past Bellamy's placement within Bardo, was a standout moment.
I was curious about how you think Emori remembered Bellamy since they didn't get a chance to talk before he died.
I think she remembers Bellamy as a person worth putting your trust in. She always was so grateful for the trust he put in her because it gave her the strength to become better.
In particular, when she took the rocket down from the Ring. I think that she's really only had people be terrible to her in her life and tell her she is incapable. Bellamy was one of the people who told her that she was worthy, and also he believed in her ability and trusted her with his life.
He's someone who had the mantle of leadership. He just had that constantly. So, for there to be moments when he would, in holding that responsibility, pass it on to her and trust that she would be able to handle it and do the right thing with it, I think changed her and helped her believe that maybe she could handle it too.
The last question about Emori's relationships is that Season 5 time-jump and the bonds from it. Emori had all this time and space to build connections with characters like Harper, Echo, Raven. Some of these friendships we got to see last for multiple seasons.
But since there was a time jump, these friendships were built off little scenes because so much of it happened off-screen. How did you approach growing those bonds for Emori on screen?
I love that you asked this question. I just took the time to imagine what each friendship would have been like.
Obviously, knowing that John Murphy and Emori were on the outs when we pick up in season five, it had to get to that point, which helped inform a lot of the journey.
I imagined that when their struggle started, she probably started leaning on Harper, Monty, Raven, and Bellamy because they knew him in ways that she didn't yet.
I don't think that Emori is someone who is all that good at sorting out feelings. I think there would be moments where she would finally realize she needed help and would sort of look to them to help explain things, both about herself and to Murphy.
I thought that Raven being so brilliant and so capable, there probably were times when Emori couldn't keep up with her, and then she would go to Monty, almost as a tutor, and say, "Okay, Raven's teaching me this thing and I'm really struggling. I can't keep up.
Can you give me a run down again? I feel like I'm not understanding it."
And he would maybe take an hour and sit down with her and sort of work it through with her so she'd understand.
I imagine that she and Echo may have been uncomfortable with each other at first because they came from such opposite parts of their society. Echo was so deep within her community's core power structure, and Emori was completely on the outs.
I don't know if Echo had prejudices, but I would imagine she would at least be aware, obviously, of where Emori would be placed in society.
But at the same time, I feel like Echo would be the only one who would understand what Emori was going through -- being someone from Earth, who's now with these other people up in space.
They didn't even know the Earth was round. They didn't even know what it was. They didn't know the stars were burning balls of gas. They didn't understand science. They knew some of the primitive stuff that they knew. Emori was familiar with technology, but she couldn't necessarily use it.
I think there's a real fish out of water feeling that they both would have had up there. Whatever their struggles or exhilaration with this new world was, they were the only other person that could understand what the other one was going through.
I thought there would have been beautiful moments with them when they would have realized, "I don't even need to say anything. I get what's going on with you, and you get what's going on with me." Over the years, it would have helped them and brought them close.
I think with Raven; I know this is a lot; I'm sorry.
Not at all! I really appreciate the thought that you're putting into all of this.
Okay. With Raven, Emori would have been so amazed and fascinated by what she's able to do. I think Emori's always been someone who has been extremely curious and very thirsty for knowledge and always wanted an opportunity to prove herself.
She's always wanted to prove to society that she deserved to have a place in it from when she could first even conceive that thought because of being not accepted by it. Her method of dealing with that was to try and be capable. I think that's what led her to survive.
To see Raven so insanely smart, capable, and brilliant and also suffering from a physical disability that really hinders her movement, but managing through the pain and whatever struggle that causes for Raven. Emori would have so much respect for her and would want to have learned from her.
I think that obviously, that was the beginning of their friendship and mutual respect for one other.
I love that there was someone there who could and would teach her and give her all the things she lacked when she was growing up. And that there was someone who would show her that she's capable and she can handle it. She's still learning and figuring it out, but she's smart. She's on her way.
And then, I guess I touched on Bellamy already there. She learned how to be a leader from him up there because she saw him doing it. I don't think she ever wanted to take on that mantle herself at that point, but she saw what it looked like. I don't think she'd seen it before.
Obviously, with John Murphy, they probably had such great times and such painful times.
I think that everyone nowadays can attest to the fact with COVID and everything, that when you spend day-in and day-out in an enclosed space with the same person or group of people, it's inevitably going to bring stuff up. You have to deal with it.
That's what happened to them. I don't think they're people who were capable of dealing with it well, but they made it through.
I, personally, love that they had that time of struggle because that's real. Relationships work because you keep choosing them, not because they're perfect. You keep choosing that person, and you keep working through the struggle because you say, "This matters to me."
I think Emori and John both, even though it was hard at times, kept saying, "You matter to me. Let's find a way through." Whether they could think it through that clearly or not, that's what they did.
It's the meaning that counts.
It's the meaning. That's where they went. That's what their choices always led to. I know it was a totally unexplored time for the most part, and I think all the other actors would have their own take on the relationships. These are just mine.
What is your favorite memory of being on The 100?
I really don't have one favorite memory.
It was all the little moments.
When a scene works, when we all laughed at some hilarious joke, when someone dropped a line and we all started laughing, or when we had been in the same set for 12 hours straight and people were verging on delirium. The crew was amazing. Same people day in, day out.
The moments in the hair and makeup trailer in the early mornings when everyone's so tired, but still just being positive and having fun. The moments in the rain outside in the freezing cold.
It was just; it was all the little moments. It was just the little moments. Those will always be the things that I treasure the most.
Was there anyone maybe you wish you shared more scenes with, either this season or in general?
I loved every opportunity I had to work with Adina Porter. I mean, she's just such a brilliant actress and a wonderful person. Everyone on set admired and loved her. She's so gracious and humble. When you're working with her, it just constantly feels like you're in a masterclass because she's so good. But she'll be the last one to tell you or brag or anything. On a very personal level, I would loved to have worked more with Adina.
On a story level, especially in the last two seasons, Indra is this prominent representation of the world Emori left behind and the person she used to be because she was a general, basically, from that time where Emori would not have been accepted.
The fact that Indra is unphased by Emori's hand, I think, was such a big deal to Emori, even though they never discussed it. Indra's such a character that has such strength and can see so clearly.
I thought it would have been really nice for Emori to see how she's seen through Indra's eyes. I thought it would have been a small piece of her evolution in the way that she saw herself.
Those are the dreams for the scenes that I write in my head that never happened.
I like to imagine those too because that would have been wonderful. Emori and Indra shared some scenes this season, but yeah, it would have been great to see even more.
From the beginning, I've just thought there are so many great characters; there are so many stories to tell. It's just so impossible to do all the ones you want to. It's always been a balancing act of telling the stories that you have time for.
I think almost every episode, there's usually stuff that gets cut out because they're so ambitious, trying to fit so much in to tell all these stories. Still, there's, unfortunately, isn't the time because they only have so many minutes in an episode.
What did you learn from your time on the show?
I learned a lot of things. I learned that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts on the show. I really learned that a show is successful when everyone works extremely hard to make it work because The 100 was very ambitious.
If the cast and crew weren't giving 110% constantly and continuously making choices to stay focused, it wouldn't work. Everyone kept working even when it was extremely difficult, still had fun, and were always be positive; there's no way The 100 would have happened otherwise because it was just such a tough show.
It had a reputation in Vancouver as it was a difficult show to work on. It was a lot of nights; it was a lot of rain. It was very ambitious. There was a lot of fight scenes, a lot of characters.
I definitely learned the value of the group working together, how important that is.
I learned to think about the long game of a character's story because this is the first time I've played a role that has gone on from season to season to season for so many years.
It really challenged me to think about where they've been, where they're going, and how each shift in her led into the next logically.
I learned the value of writing because I was fortunate in that I would get, maybe at least once a season, a really great chance to tell Emori's story.
I was so grateful for those episodes and those moments because you only can work with what you're given. And with so many great characters on the show, I was just happy to get them when I did.
These are the lessons I'll be slowly jotting down over time. Like, right, don't forget that. Remember this.
We got to see Emori's mindspace in the series finale, where she had a mix of Sanctum and of her time on Earth. What would your personal mind space look like?
Oh my gosh. Wow, that's a big question. That's like asking what your heaven would look like.
I think it would probably be the house that I was raised in, but there would be a big field somehow in it as well. And the people I love would be there.
That is perfect.
For any 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, as well as 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 that he found with Octavia. John Pyper-Ferguson spoke with us as well about bringing Cadogan to life and the work behind such a surprising character.
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 was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in April 2021.