The Rise and Fall of Blodreina: Octavia’s Redemption as told through her Costumes

As we wait in high anticipation for  The 100’s series finale on Sept. 30, 2020, let’s take a look at the rise and fall of Blodreina and Octavia’s redemption through the 7 Seasons of the character’s costumes. The several costume designers who have worked on the series throughout the years, worked flawlessly to cohesively blend and build upon the previous designer’s work. 

Filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia,  The 100, is an Action – Drama Dystopian Post-apocalyptic series based almost  100 years in the future that initially follows a group of one-hundred juvenile detainees as they are sent to Earth from the space station, The Ark, to test if the planet is inhabitable after a nuclear apocalypse.  

A lot of the meticulous and intricate detailing and distressing on the costumes may be missed at first glance when the viewers are entranced in the storyline, fast action-packed sequences and occasional dark grime lighting. Even if the specific details on the costumes may initially be missed when they first appear on the screen, they still evoke subconscious emotions that give information about the character and their transformations. 

Costume Designer, Katia Stano, and her team’s work were outstanding in Seasons  1 and 2. They set the tone and laid the foundation of Octavia Blake and captured her internal strength to endure. With the show’s 100 year jump into the future, Stano’s decision not to design futuristic clothing but instead create garments that were similar to those worn prior to the apocalypse helped the narrative and storyline. 

Octavia Blake, played by Marie Avgeropoulos, was one such delinquent juvenile to descend the Ark to Earth. Her crime, being born. When we first see Octavia as she exits the ship, she is no longer the girl who was hidden under the floorboard and confined to her family’s one-room cabin for 17 years trying to escape detection against the strict one-child rule. Instead,  she becomes the first human from space to step foot on Earth after 100 years. 

Octavia graces the screen, dressed in a pair of patched up-fitted coveralls, akin to the one her mother wears in flashbacks, a distressed vest, generic automobile belt, and purple colored tank top showing the viewer a curious, strong, and spirited teen who is getting her first taste of freedom after being confined most of her life. She has come a long way from the scared little girl as represented in a flashback wearing a light-colored jumper with the silhouette and styling evoking innocence and naivety. 

Her journey continues through triumphs, turmoil, love, loss, impossible choices and the constant fight to survive while trying to save others. The show depicts time and time again that right and wrong is not always black and white, morality is shades of various greys and even people with the strongest convictions can be swayed when faced with constant changing circumstances and the company they keep. 

Octavia finds her footing, she makes new friendships, falls in love, and constantly stands up for what she believes is right. Her character makes it very clear in the first episodes regarding her brother’s protective nature, she doesn’t want to be rescued, doesn’t need saving but constantly places herself in the position to help others even to the determent of her emotional well being. 

As her confidence grows and she is immersed in the culture of the grounders (those survived on Earth), and her connection to Trikru intensifies, we see the evolution through her clothing. 

This evolution shows how integral the costume designer’s job is. At a basic level, Octavia Blake is constantly dressed in black pants, a tank top, and a black vest and/or jacket. However, it is the costume designer’s choices of embellishments, trim, distressing, mending, texture, fabric, and accessories that give insight to where the character is in her journey before any word from the script is spoken. It is a prime example that the creativity of a costume designer is integral to a story and how even if they can be described as the same garment in the most simplistic form, they are vastly different.  

 In lieu of a training montage, we see the evolution of Octavia’s journey from a feisty girl to becoming Indra’s right hand and we know her fighting skills have improved because the costumes make it very clear to the viewers that she has become and will continue to be a focused formidable warrior. Only when she sheds her jacket, ultimately taking off her armor, do viewers note that her vulnerability is sincere.

Throughout Season 2 (Costume Designer Katia Stano), we see Octavia’s attire change as her basic bomber jacket is replaced by leather jackets adorned with detailed netting on epaulets, braiding, zippers, strategic mending with different textures and aging methods applied.

Season 3 Episode 13

Season 4 Episodes , 3 and 4

Season 3, Episode 11 we see Octavia still reeling from the death of Lincoln but focused on helping as “a warrior doesn’t mourn the dead until the war is over.” In this episode, we see where Octavia receives her change of clothing as she makes a trade for it in Niylah’s outpost (the only time it is noted in the script where the clothes have come from). That wardrobe trade was designed by Allisa Swanson and we see a transformation into black pants with leather chaps, the 1980s inspired beat-up leather jacket with ribbing, asymmetrical lapel, chains attached on the upper left shoulder and a strap with bullet casings.

Various Glove details throughout the seasons

In Season 4, we are introduced to a new article of clothing designed by Swanson, the Assassin cloak. We first see this cloak in Episode 2 Heavy Lies the Crown where it has a Vigilante vibe as she is the Security detail for Skaikru ambassador, Kane. The Cloak appears again in Episode 7, Gimme Shelter, and assists when the black (acid) rain begins to fall allowing her to help Ilian find shelter in a cave.

Octavia the Assassin Cloak from Costume Designer Alissa Swanson’s website

When we see Octavia at Ilian’s family’s abandoned Farm she is dressed in farmer’s clothing, struggling to adapt. While she tries to change who she is, it is realized when she kills three hostile grounders that they will not accept her, she can’t run from her past and pretend to be someone you are not. The farmer’s attire is made of natural fibers and is a stark contrast to her normal leather fighting gear.

Season 4 Episode 10

We reconnect with Octavia, as she is chosen to represent Skaikru in the battle among the clans to fight for their people to survive the upcoming Apocalypse, Praimfaya, and take possession of the bunker. Swanson’s design of the Battle Costume armor was perfection and brought the evolution of Octavia full circle. The intricate detailing of various leathers with studs, gear chain, rings, snaps, rivets, and the bolts on the gloves made it apparent that this is what she had been training for all along. Her costume depicts a warrior but still shows the character’s spirit, determination, and humanity. When Octavia wins the conclave, she proclaims that she was fighting for everyone, not just her own people giving us a glimpse of Octavia’s compassion and understanding of all the different tribes that helped shape who she has become. As the new leader, she proclaims each clan will be allowed 100 survivors bringing the story full circle from the first episode. The last costume for Octavia designed by Swanson is a post-apocalyptic yet regal ensemble with a red accent that will continue to be built upon in Season 5 by Costume Designer Franaz Khaki-Sadigh. “From the ashes, we will rise.” – Octavia speaking to the new clan Wonkru.

Costume designer, Franaz Khaki-Sadigh seamlessly transitioned the change of costume designers in Season 5. The six years ruling the people in the bunker has hardened Octavia and the choices she has made to ensure survival clearly has chipped away at her humanity.  The Red Queen, Blodreina’s costume depicts Octavia as a powerful, strong, and unyielding leader. The red leather and silver breastplate are representative of her two halves, the girl she was and the leader who makes it clear that you are Wonkru or against Wonkru. Her costume allows us to believe that the Octavia we knew is gone and that she is capable of making horrific vengeful choices for Wonkru inside the bunker and out. Kahki-Sadigh’s clean lines and style brought an iconic image to the show.  

Season 6 begins 125 years in the future as they are awakened from their pods and embark on a new planet, Alpha, to determine its survivability. Even though it is years in the future, there is still animosity for Octavia and her actions in Season 5 causing her to be exiled from the ship. Costume designer, Sheila White brings home the redemption for Octavia through her costumes in the final two seasons of the show with her ability to blend her version of the previous costumes and add new futuristic ones. We see Octavia in a more simplified version of her previous style of all black which helps relay as the character’s struggles with who she was and who she had become.

In season 6, we see Octavia as she is wearing garments meant to camouflage, like those worn by the Children of Gabriel, as she is struggling to adapt to the new planet. As she passes through the anomaly to Skyring minutes after Diyoza, months have passed and through flashbacks in Season 7, we see that she arrives just in time to assist with the birth of Hope. While we had previously viewed a domestic, farming Octavia for a minute in Season 4, White’s design of the domestic garments that were beneath the camouflaged ones, allow us to believe that Octavia has a maternal side and the Red Queen has been replaced by Auntie O, who has been helping raise Hope for the last ten years in the Temporal Anomaly.

White’s design of the Bardo suits that the Disciples wear to pass through the anomaly wormhole to other planets is filled with tech from the future but simple and streamlined in design without gadgets cluttering the costume. The first time we see Octavia taken to Bardo as a prisoner having her memory scanned she is still in the clothing she wore on arrival, the stark black we have grown accustomed to. The next time she is a Bardo prisoner, she is wearing white. The light color, indicating that perhaps she has worked on forgiving herself and is starting to believe Levitt’s words that she is a warrior but not a bad person.

Octavia and the others, undergo training and are introduced to the Disciples’ way of life. White’s design of the grey workout training uniforms with logo allows for neutrality in trying to discern if they are training for or against the Disciples.

The last three episodes of the Season remain and we anticipate Sheila White’s designs will elevate the storyline while we wait to find out if Octavia and the other’s will be able to return from the unknown location they were sent to when it was discovered their plan was a fabrication.

Watch the final episodes on the CW Wednesday at 9/8 c or Stream on CW Thursday .

Follow The 100 on Instagram @cw_the100

Follow Marie Avgeropoulos on Instagram @marieavgeropoulos

Watch Season 1 though 6 on Netflix

Costume Designers:
Season 1 and 2 : Katia Stano

Season 3, Episodes 1 and 2: Toni Rutter

Season 3 and 4: Allisa Swanson

Season 5 : Franaz Khaki-Sadigh

Season 6 and 8 : Sheila White

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