A remarkable character is one that leaves their mark, whether through their time on the show or the presence they leave behind.
Charles Pike managed to do both, leaving all fans with an opinion on his actions and what he represented during The 100 Season 3. Yet, at the same time, so much went unsaid between the scenes, leaving room for interpretation about Pike's journey as a leader of his people.
One thing remains the same, though; there would be no Charles Pike without Michael Beach.
Michael takes over the role as no one else ever could, bringing life to a character who, in many ways, is misunderstood. The drive that pushed Pike to make hard choices, the same ones that all our favorite characters have to make on The 100, is so visceral because of how much soul Michael gives to the role.
Personally, it felt like some fans missed the point of who Pike was, what he went through, and what he could have been. So much of what Pike offered to the story wasn't appreciated when the season was airing, but over time, his impact remains.
The 100 wouldn't be what it is without Pike, and in many ways, Michael continues that legacy because of how interactive he is with the fans to this day.
Pike taught many of us what it means to fight for your people. Meanwhile, Michael continues to have valuable conversations around The 100.
So it was an incredible experience for Michael to break down Pike's legacy, as he opened up about the process of connecting with Pike, the best moments of being on the show, and what it was like returning seasons later.
Michael also explored the relationships that he formed, both within the show and outside of it.
What was it like being on The 100 and playing a character like Pike?
I had the best time. I loved it. I loved the character. I loved the actors I was working with. Obviously, I didn't see Pike as evil, as everybody else turned out to find him. And honestly, one of those reasons is because we shot multiple versions. Or not versions, but I had freedom to play around with it.
The character was obviously mine, but it was also created in the editing room. Some of the softer, shall we say, qualities of Pike didn't really make it so much into the final product.
There are obviously scenes that don't always make it on screen. But there seems to have been a few Pike and Bellamy specific scenes that didn't make it. This might be a tricky question, but is there anything you wish had made it? Even just to add some context to Pike's point of view on the show?
Oh sure. Absolutely. It's not so much that entire scenes didn't make it, but more different takes of those scenes.
Like there are a lot of scenes, specifically when Pike sentences Kane to death, that scene, we shot a couple of different ways. But that scene, the way I loved it, the way I felt was the strongest, had Pike really at odds with what he was doing because he and Kane used to be best of friends. We shot a version that showed that, and that showed what it took out of Pike to do that. So those types of things.
Also, scenes with Bellamy because I think Pike really cared for Bellamy, and he wasn't just using him. I'm not belittling it because he was using him, but he was using him for what he thought was the right thing to do, to save Arkadia.
I think everybody is using everybody on that show. That's what they do. That's what we kind of do as people as well.
You and Bob Morley grew quite close on the set of Season 3. Did you channel that growing friendship and that energy between you two into your Pike and Bellamy scenes?
I don't know if I would say that. Bob and I, to this day, are close; we have lunch together often. We hit it off pretty fast, which made it easier to play because I think that was obviously an integral relationship in that season.
But I don't know if our friendship colored the relationship. I think it started with the relationship of the characters, then within that, we grew closer just as people, and we enjoyed working together.
I'm a pretty intense worker, but I love to have fun. Like I can't just be intense like that all the time on the set. So I really do love joking around and having a decent time in between scenes.
Obviously, if there are actors that don't do that in-between takes, I don't force my feelings on them. I let them be wherever they need to be, and I stay away from them needing to go through whatever process they go to.
Is there anyone you wish Pike had more scenes with or anyone you wanted to spend more time with on set?
I guess with Eliza. I think Pike should have had a little bit more with Wanheda. I think that would have been interesting.
It would be interesting to see a little bit more interaction because when you first meet Pike, he's the one praising her about how she always paid attention in class, and that she would be fine. They were in a couple of scenes together, but they don't have any solo scenes, not one that I can remember.
So that would have been great. I loved all my scenes with Ian; I loved working with Ian. I could have had more with Isaiah, but we had a couple of good scenes. I loved when I got to work with Richard later on; that was a lot of fun because I love that kid's work so much. Also, with Indra (Adina Porter), when the three of us kind of became a little team for a minute, that was always fun.
Pike evoked a lot of emotion with the audience, how did you sort through the details you were told about him and his past to connect and understand him?
That was the most important thing.
When I talked to Jason about it -- the only time you see any of that is when they first introduce Pike. He talks about how they landed in the Ice Nation and how so many of his people were instantly killed, including children. That is the very thing that created this Pike that we all come to know and hate, most people anyway.
It's weird because obviously, the Grounders were the bad guys in Season 1, then they turned around and became the good guys in Season 2, and then I come along in Season 3 where everybody loves the Grounders. And so Pike is like the terrible guy in all this.
But we never saw the Ice Nation Grounders until after. The one thing I wish a little bit of, and this not because I want people to like Pike, that's not my concern. It really isn't. Whether you like him or hate him, it doesn't bother me. I don't sweat it.
I get a lot of hate online because of him; it doesn't matter. I loved playing Pike. I love that character, and whether people liked him or not will never change that. The one thing that I think could have been done more is that you could see where he came from.
Like we never saw that -- it's clear that it's a TV show, so you only know what they show you. We never got to see Pike's introduction to the ground, how that shaped his thoughts, and the way in which he decided he needed to go to save his people. I wish there was a little bit more of that.
That is very true, and I think The 100 usually shows both sides. Maybe if that had happened more with Pike and Bellamy, fans would have been able to understand more of Pike's point of view.
I mean ultimately it's just about context, right? It's not about like saying, "Oh, we like them, or we hate them." It's just about context.
For instance, it was weird because there was a chart that somebody put on Instagram about the number of people that everybody killed, and Pike was way down at the bottom. So many of the people that everybody loves were way up at the top, which you understand because you saw why they did it.
What we do is we manipulate, the storyline is manipulating. You were saying that we are showing or justifying why this person did what they did.
Now, if you don't work at justifying that or at least showing why somebody has done that, at least from their perspective, then you're leaving the audience with, "Oh, this guy's a mass murderer, and he doesn't like these people that you have made us love."
I can't tell you how many times he's been called Hitler or Donald Trump.
That is absolutely ridiculous.
And it's just crazy. But I realized very early on that the fan base of The 100 is so young. That matters.
They're teenagers or are in their early twenties, the larger fanbase. Obviously, it has a greater fanbase than that. But the large fan base of The 100 is very young people. I understand that. I take it with a grain of salt.
Still though. I am sorry because I see so much of that hate, and I feel so bad that that's a lot of what you are seeing. Because it's not true. There are so many people who really did love and understand Pike.
It honestly doesn't take anything away. I've been doing this for a long time, over 35 years. And I loved, and I had a great time on The 100.
I have friends from that time -- Bob just texted me yesterday. I talk to Ian and Richard every once in a while.
I had a great time, and that's what I take away more than anything. And I love the fact that Pike was so substantial in the show. I was shocked when they called me back for The 100 Season 6 Episode 9. I was like, "How are you going to do that?" That then became, "Wow, what a fantastic idea, and what a great way to bring back a character that has been dead for 115 years, or however long it was."
Taking it one season back, you did show up in a completely iconic and unexpected way in Octavia's mind. What was it like coming back after not being on the show for a while?
Well, for me, I had not been on that planet, and that time is irrelevant because the character doesn't know it. I talked to Jason about this, I said, "How do you want me to play this?"
Basically, he was like, "Listen, you are Pike. You are Pike, and this is Octavia's mind, but I don't want you to do anything other than what you think Pike would do. Don't worry about the future and all that stuff. Octavia has, because of her connection with you, this is who she has become. So there's no better way than for you to help her come out of this." Octavia has, because of her connection with you through you, this is who she's become. And so there's no better way than for that character to help her, you know, come out of this."
That was really the idea for that scene, so when I showed up, I just had that in mind.
And it was great to see everybody, the crew and a lot of the cast that wasn't working that day showed up on set to come see me.
I actually was shooting something else at the same time here in LA. I flew up there, but then my schedule changed because we were going to just shoot me in two days. But then my schedule changed, so I had to fly up, shoot one thing, fly back down here, and then fly back up like a day or two later and shoot the rest. So it got a little hinky, but it worked out. It was great, and I loved it.
Pike also had a very chaotic relationship with Octavia. At the very end of Pike's story, do you think he felt some guilt or remorse for the role he played in Octavia's downfall?
I think that Octavia became Blodreina after Pike's death.
At the end of Pike's actual life, though, obviously, he knew. Again this is also editing, but he knew what he did, the impact of what he did, and what it would have on her specifically and other people.
Originally I didn't find out that Pike killed Lincoln until late, just like I found out that Pike was killed late. Originally Pike was not going to be killed; that wasn't the plan.
Once we started and once we got deep into the season, there were obviously plans to bring Pike back and for him to become a regular member of the show. That was the situation and what was happening, even up until we got the script for the last episode. In the last script, I was still alive, specifically when we were shooting the last script.
So then it was actually Bob who told me when we were in the makeup trailer. Bob said to me, "Oh man, did you read the new script?". He's the guy that actually said that and I said no and he goes, "Oh, I'm sorry. Oh shit." That's how I find out that Pike was killed.
I can't remember exactly what was said, but Jason basically said, "We realized that Pike can't live because of Octavia and all the love that the fans have for Lincoln.
So going back to your original question ...
I was curious what you think Pike felt when it came to Octavia. Like in those last moments for him, how did he view his role in the fact that this is how she ended up?
Clearly, he didn't expect it because he would never let himself be killed. Pike would never let that happen to him. I mean, he would sacrifice himself for Arkadia as a whole and maybe for an individual, if he thought that individual would save Arkadia. But I don't think that was the situation. Obviously, he saves Octavia's life moments before she ends up killing him.
I don't know if he ever thought that things could be okay with them, but I think he was trying to extend an olive branch since he was well aware of her feelings towards him because of Lincoln.
Pike had many powerful scenes, in my opinion, but probably one of the most memorable is the flashback on the Ark as he prepares everyone for their trip down to Earth. What was it like to film such a chilling sequence?
That was one of my favorite episodes for Pike. I loved it because it was backstory for the things that drive him, how important these kids are to him, and how important the people of Arkadia was to him.
He was put in a ridiculously impossible situation to get these kids ready for something that they are not being told that they have to get ready for. So they don't give a shit. He even went so far as to say, send me down with him. If we all die, then we all die, but at least once we get down there, they'll know how important it is, and then I can actually teach them.
I love that. I love the intensity of that. I love how there was no way he could get through to them. So he tries to show them that they need to stick together, they need to fight for each other and be as brutal and as passionate for each other as they can possibly be. He can't think of any way to do that, other than attack one of them, in hopes that everybody will jump in and support them.
I really enjoyed that episode.
What was your favorite part or favorite memory from The 100?
Just joking around, hanging out with Ian and Ricky, and just hanging out with everyone. It was just a great time.
I never watched the show before I started doing it, although of course I went back and I started watching it. I'm in my fifties though and no disrespect to The CW, but that's not a network that many older people watch. So I didn't.
But I think The 100 is a much older, much more gritty, and much more personal show. Every time I got a script, I was like, "Wow. Oh my God, I get to sink my teeth into this!"
For me, as an actor, that's what it is all about. In general, I had a great time personally and as an actor.
You still watch the show, so as a fan, what are some of your thoughts? Which characters are you rooting for, or what storylines are you enjoying?
I don't think I am totally caught up, not up to the beginning of The 100 Season 7.
I think I missed like half of The 100 Season 6. I did see that they killed Paige. I was like, "Oh, Paige!"
You're pretty much at the end then.
I am? Was that at the end?
Yes. They killed Abby during The 100 Season 6 Episode 12, so the last few episodes of the season. So you're almost done.
I guess I am caught up then. I did talk to Ian about what happens to him, and then I saw it, so I guess I am caught up then.
I'm still just curious, it's always curious to me, and I do know some details about what happens in Season Seven. But there's a lot I don't know, and I'll clearly watch the episodes. I still think it's a powerful show, the actors have really grown, and they've gotten stronger.
They are older now, and they have more experience. I do wonder, honestly, as young actors, especially if you've been on a show for a long time, sometimes you don't realize the quality of work that you're working on, even with all the problems that actors may have, and that's always going to happen.
But sometimes when you're on an iconic show, and I've been fortunate to be on a few, you don't recognize that the likelihood of that happening again is slim. And if it does, it's going to take a little while for that to happen. So you're going to have to do things that aren't as satisfying as a particular show that you were on and let's say like The 100.
It's bittersweet because it takes a little while for you to look back and go, "Man, I missed that show. I miss that character, the storylines, and the meat that I got to participate in. Because it doesn't come along that often, so I have nothing but great memories of that show.
I honestly can't think of any negative thing from The 100, for me personally.
You have had such a long and varied career, how does The 100 stand out as a project?
It's pretty high because, for me, it's not about what the things I've done have done out in public. That is not determinative of how it's affected me. It's about the work I got to do and the people I got to connect with.
That's the thing that lives with me, and that stays with me long after the show is over. Because like you said, I've done a lot of things, and I've had a lot of things that I really have loved, and I've loved the characters. Some of those things, though, they live just by themselves. I don't have friends from those movies or TV shows; I have acquaintances. But we don't stay in touch, you know?
Like personally, our lives don't affect each other's. But then sometimes, every once in a while, there have been a few projects where it does, and The 100 is one of those.
For me, my relationships, the few of them that are strong, and I'm really happy to have. They are so important. Particularly with Bob and Eliza -- I mean, knowing that they were dating before the world knew, The 100 world, and how happy he is and what it means to him.
Those are the things that live with me that go beyond just the character in the show, and what makes that experience particularly special to me.
What did you learn from Pike and from your time on the show?
I don't know to be honest with you if I've learned anything. I didn't learn this on The 100, but I would say that Pike is the most hated character in the show's history.
No. I can't allow myself to believe that.
I think he is. But to me -- I'm not sure if we were completely done filming, I don't think we were when they started airing the season. We might have been pretty close to it, but it doesn't change anything in how I would play him. Because he was written the way, he was written. He went through what he went through.
Now, as I said, there were softer, more intimate, and more vulnerable moments that were not put in the show that Pike went through. And vulnerability is what people connect to a lot of the time.
So even though those moments weren't there often for the most part, except for the episode where we went back up to the Ark, it wouldn't have changed anything about how I played him. Because I still think he's grounded in what he believed, and he's still a multi-layered character regardless of the fact that he's considered the Hitler of The 100.
Well, he's one of my favorite characters. What can you share about some of your upcoming projects?
There's a lot of stuff that just aired. What I'm doing whenever all of this ends, well, I was doing a Bruce Willis film in Puerto Rico, but I never got there. It was shooting, though, and I'm supposed to continue, but we just don't know what's happening.
I was actually on set, believe it or not. I was on set with Idris Elba. I don't think I've ever said that. I was on set with him in New Mexico on March 12th, actually, and he tested for the virus on March 13th, Friday the 13th.
That's when Hollywood really started shutting down. I had flown back March the 12th back to LA after we were rehearsing. I was rehearsing with him to shoot on Monday the 16th.
When I got back to LA, that's when things started shutting down, and then that's when we heard that he had tested positive. So I had to isolate myself in my home office, but of course, I had already been with my family for three days. I did that for a little while, and everything worked out. I was fine.
I never got tested because the test was so hard to get. Then finally, they did call about it because I talked to the CDC and my private doctor from New Mexico. We were able to get a test six or seven days later, but I had no symptoms. I felt great, and I didn't want to waste the test, because so many people were trying to get them.
I thought, "Well, even if I was positive, I would do nothing different than I'm doing right now."
So I decided not to take the test from somebody that needed it. So I expect that I'll be going back to do that film because we never started filming actually. That's called, "The Harder They Fall," and that's got a great cast. Then I have my own Apple TV show that's supposed to start up in August with Octavia Spencer called "Truth Be Told." But we are just waiting to find out when the world turns back on, you know?
For The 100 fans still looking for some more nostalgia, TV Fanatic will continue a new ongoing The 100 interview series. "Looking Back on The 100" that centers on monumental cast members and characters from the show that left their mark.
We recently spoke with Eli Goree about his time on the show during The 100 Season 1 and the legacy he left behind. Keep checking TV Fanatic for more upcoming interviews with surprise cast members from seasons past.
And for any fans that are looking for possible hints to help their theories about the final season, the new title sequence is officially out and waiting to be explored.
Stick around TV Fanatic for more upcoming interviews, features, slideshows, episode previews, and reviews, and watch The 100 online if you need to catch up on the adventure.
The 100 returns on Wednesday, May 20 at 8/7c on The CW.
Yana Grebenyuk is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.