The end is near, folks. It’s been an agonizing, gut-wrenching, emotion-filled journey on The CW’s post-apocalyptic powerhouse The 100, and the final episode of Season 3 is upon us. I don’t know about you but, there aren’t enough tranquilizers in the world to sedate me and my feels as I attempt to prepare myself to be emotionally ruined come 9 p.m. As we gear up for an epic battle between our hero Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor) and this seasons Big Bad ALIE (Erica Cerra) we’re sitting here wondering which of our beloved characters will meet their untimely fate in “Perverse Instantiation: Part Two.” Could this mean we’re finally bidding adieu to the villainous Ontari? Perhaps.
Rhiannon Fish, who plays the misguided grounder from Azgeda, opened up to me about her time spent on one of the grittiest, and unapologetic programs on cable TV. Her character has had her fair share of hardships, from being raised by a power hungry psychopath like the Ice Queen, to being groomed to destroy Lexa and her reign over the Grounders. Ontari might be hated by just about everyone, but is it really her fault for being steered in the wrong direction for her entire existence? The impressionable nightbleeder is of course responsible for some of her actions, but for the sake of delving into our conversation, let’s chalk it up to nurture vs. nature.
Fish touched upon what it was like coming into the series so late in the game, the passionate Lexa fans who were figuratively at Ontari’s doorstep with pitchforks ready to do their worst, and what’s next for the braindead faux Commander. Can she survive this season’s finale, when so much is at stake for the fate of humanity? Outlook not good, Fish Fans, outlook not good.
Let’s get crackin’… ouch, too soon?
MCKENZIE MORRELL: It’s safe to say that you make evil look fabulous! What has been your favorite thing about playing Ontari on The 100?
RHIANNON FISH: It’s hard to pick one thing specifically, but I think my favorite part was getting to play a villain. Sometimes I feel like if you were to stereotype me as something, it wouldn’t be the bad guy. I feel very grateful that I had the opportunity to play something that was totally different from anything that I’d ever expected I would get to do.
MM: We obviously didn’t get to explore too much into what shaped Ontari as a person, did the writers give you any backstory into Ice Nation and your character’s childhood when you signed on for the role?
RF: Yeah, they did. Jason [Rothenberg] was actually really good about it. He took the time to sit down with me and explained the backstory of what her relationship would have been like with the Queen. Just what a rough childhood she had, which really, I feel like it made her easier to understand. I don’t think anyone ever agreed with what she did, but because she had such a cruel upbringing and was raised for that one job to be Commander, she didn’t know anything different.
MM: That’s so true. And you came onto The 100 nearly three seasons in, and your character got a bit of backlash when she was introduced. How did you deal with that animosity towards you and your character and did it get worse after Lexa was killed and people assumed you’d take her place?
RF: I was really scared of it. However, I found people were really good at separating actors from characters. Everyone on social media has been so kind to me. I absolutely understood where they were coming from and why they hated the character so much. I looked at myself in the mirror when I was wearing the shoulder cape Lexa wore and I just cringed because I was like people are going to hate this. But storyline wise, I feel like it all made sense. She was just trying to pretend. She was a fake Commander. I think Jason nailed it when he called her that, and I can absolutely understand that people didn’t want a new Commander period, let alone someone who is as horrible as Ontari was.
MM: Do you think her choice to wear Lexa’s Commander gear had any meaning behind it? Did she look up to her, or was she doing it out of spite?
RF: Honestly, I don’t think it was either. And that’s totally open to interpretation, but for me, I think it was that she was just so young, and a little bit stupid. She was like “Lexa wore this, I have to wear this” if anyone was going to believe her. It was all about pretending to be something that she absolutely wasn’t.
MM: Do you think that if Jaha and ALIE didn’t storm upon Polis with their mind-controlling chips, that Ontari would have finally found her footing as a leader? It seems she wasn’t even given the chance to succeed.
RF: Yeah, I think it would have been really cool to explore what might have been. Particularly because I personally liked Ontari and Murphy together. I thought there was just this really interesting dynamic. There was just something between those two characters. Murphy does have a bit of a bad streak, as well. I think it would have been really cool to see what those two characters brought out of each other.
MM: In terms of learning Trigedasleng, was it difficult learning to speak the grounders language? How did you prep for your scenes?
RF: It was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done. They were wonderful with the way they handled it, of course they’ve been doing it for three seasons now. They’ll send you the audio of it via email and you can listen to it over and over again. But there’s just something about it that I personally found when I got on set it was the first thing I would forget because it was just so different from anything I’ve ever done before. But I think it’s super cool, it creates a really great element to the show.
MM: Oh, I totally agree. I chatted with the creator of the language, David J. Peterson, and I was just so intrigued by the whole thing. I can’t speak it but ya know…
RF: He has the coolest job ever, I know he created the language for Game of Thrones, and I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones, so to just imagine someone sitting there and creating something that sounds completely different than anything else. It just blows my mind that people are literally creating a language.
MM: I know right? And people take it and adapt it and learn to speak it. It’s crazy awesome!
MM: If Ontari could swap places with either Murphy, Clarke or Jaha, who do you think she’d pick?
RF: Oh my gosh, that’s such a good question! I think probably Clarke. I think that she really runs the show. And even when everything has gone to shit, so to speak, she seems to have a plan or an idea or something that will make things, usually, work out in her favor. I think if I had to pick someone’s character to sort of takeover, it would definitely be hers.
MM: Good choice! But, she has gotten herself into quite the predicament as of late though.
RF: Oh my gosh, I know! But we have to know, and I’m not just talking about this show in particular, but she’s the hero, she has to, but again, it is The 100 so you just never know what’s going to happen.
MM: I’ve just been telling everyone in my reviews, everyone on Twitter, friends and family that Clarke is going to die. That it’s okay, she’s the lead, she’ll be back! [Laughs] Or that everybody dies. Let’s just throw it out there.
RF: If it’s going to happen on any show, it’s going to be The 100. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised [laughs] if they just wiped out everyone in one go. The shock value on this show is just insane.
MM: I know, it’s crazy! I love it. I cannot wait! The cast seems like they have a good time on set, did you know any of them prior to working on the show? How was it coming into an already established series like this one?
RF: I was very nervous about it but fortunately I had absolutely no reason to be. Everyone was so kind. Bob [Morley] and Eliza [Taylor] are obviously Australian, and they were on the same shows that I did back in Australia. So it was sort of like we have a lot of mutual friends and definitely knew of each other, however I don’t think we had ever met face to face until working on The 100. Both of them, as well as everyone else, are just such lovely people. I think what’s so great about this cast is that they truly believe in this show. They really come across like they want to be there and they love what they do, and that is just such an infectious energy to be around.
MM: I can only imagine! This show has also gone to its sci fi roots, more recently with this season, would you say you’re a fan of sci fi in general? What genre shows are you usually drawn to?
RF: I had never watched sci fi before. But I think that The 100 does a great job of it, because you don’t even know that it is. They blend it all together so seamlessly, whereas for me, my favorite show of all-time is Grey’s Anatomy. I also love The CW shows like The Originals and The Vampire Diaries. The 100 is different from things that I would generally watch, but I think they’ve just done a great job at incorporating everyone. I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t find at least something in the show that they could enjoy.
MM: Are you all caught up on Grey’s Anatomy?
RF: No! I haven’t seen last season. It’s a lot, do you watch Grey’s?
MM: I do!
RF: You have to know that when you sit down, similar to The 100, you know that you’re just going to get screwed over emotionally at some point. When people were so devastated to deaths on The 100, I could only relate with Grey’s Anatomy, when Derek Shepherd died. Truly in my day to day life, I felt sad. That show just destroys you emotionally. I’m not up to date but I’m going to sit down and watch it all in one go, I think.
MM: You definitely should. I just can’t believe how many bad things happen to these doctors.
RF: I know, oh my God! I just really feel for Meredith and I just want things to go well for her. I had to tell Isaiah [Washington] when I met him, I was just like ‘you don’t know how big of a deal this is for me, to be standing here with Dr. Preston Burke.’ [Laughs] I just love Grey’s Anatomy.
MM: He’s awesome! I had a conversation with him, and obviously talked about Shonda Rhimes and he was saying how he wants The 100 to explode like Grey’s did and he’s really proud of The 100.
RF: He is, absolutely. And so he should be. It’s just such an incredible show. I’m so excited to see where they go with season 4. And the cool thing about it because it’s post-apocalyptic, they can literally do anything and I think that makes the show very exciting.
MM: It definitely does. It’s one of my faves. Now, Ontari took the chip, why do you think she did that? Was it because she felt like she couldn’t become the leader she was supposed to be?
RF: I think on some level she thought it was going to help her be a more convincing leader. I think that she was just so blinded by Jaha standing there offering her the world, and mentally she was quite weak, and young, and so she just blindly followed this person that told her that he had the answer the she needed.
MM: Have you seen Isaiah on Twitter passing out chips to everyone?
RF: He is hilarious on Twitter, he is the funniest person. The pictures that he sends out, it’s just classic. It’s so funny.
MM: It is hilarious, I can’t take it [laughs]! So, normally on The 100 characters meet their untimely fate and are just… dead [laughs]. But your character ended up brain dead and just might be used to save the day in the end after all. Without giving anything away, did it come as a shock when you heard what was in store for Ontari?
RF: To be honest it didn’t because when I had my initial meeting with Jason he told me from start to finish what was going to happen. I won’t say what happens at the end, but yeah, I knew right from the very beginning what was going to happen in season finale for her.
MM: Oh boy! Well we can’t wait.
RF: I know, I’m so excited too. They didn’t even release the final few pages of the season to the cast members that weren’t in those pages, so it’s just the most top secret, shocking stuff, and I cannot wait to see what’s going to happen.
MM: Right? I think Eliza might have done an interview that said that two endings were filmed, so nobody really knows which one, even if the actors knew, no one knows which one they’re going with.
RF: That’s exactly right.
MM: I think that’s awesome. Maybe Clarke dies, maybe all of them die, maybe no one dies! We don’t know. Maybe we die [laughs]
RF: Exactly, and that’s so exciting that not even the cast know what’s going to happen when that episode airs. I think that adds a whole other level of anticipation to it.
MM: It definitely does. I’m going to need a whole lot of something on Thursday night.
MM: For sure, I don’t know what… but, something. Okay, so, fun stuff… I like to ask my guests a whacky question. Based on your personality in real life, what kind of donut would you be and what toppings would be on it?
RF: I’m going to say this because I really, really like it. It tastes really good, and it looks really cool too. There’s this donut at this place in LA, it’s cereal flavored, they take a whole bunch of different cereals, I don’t even know how many different types are all mixed into there and it makes this multicolored, sprinkled covered donut which I love. But look, that’s not a good example, because I don’t know if this donut is as good as my personality [laughs] but if I had to choose to be a donut, I would be this one because I think it’s really awesome.
MM: Sounds delicious! Now, I’ve always been wondering but never asked anyone… for someone who is in the limelight and has a hefty amount of followers, people active talking to you, do you guys keep your notifications on, on your phone. I feel like that would just be crazy!
RF: Yeah, absolutely not [laughs]. I think more than anything it would just be so distracting. I’m so bad, in just day to day life, that I’m on my phone way too much, and I think that if you had updates coming up on your phone all the time you’d never stop. I definitely have that option off.
MM: I figured. Pretty sure famous people do not have their notifications on! [Laughs] But I was like I need to ask someone, and see what they have to say about it.
RF: Well, there you go.
MM: We are confirmed. So now, we hope to see Ontari in the City of Light this week, but, what else can we look out for from you? Any new projects you have coming up you can tell us about?
RF: I think that the great thing about this show is that it does open doors. I think that I’m so fortunate to be a part of it, even if it turns out to only be season 3, I’m so grateful for the opportunity that it’s going to present in the future.