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City of Light

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There is a place for all of us. When I first landed on the earth, I met a woman who spoke of a place beyond the Dead Zone, a place where everyone is accepted — a City of Light.
Thelonious Jaha [src]


The City of Light was a shared simulation of the world, created by A.L.I.E. to harbor humanity with the aim of saving it. A.L.I.E. intended it to offer a better existence for mankind, one that is free of pain, hate, disease, and suffering. It is seemingly reached through the subconscious—through A.L.I.E. or meditation—after ingesting a chip.

Prior to War Against A.L.I.E., the City of Light was thought to be a real place, a mythical "promised land", which many Grounder outcasts have attempted to reach by crossing the desert known as the Dead Zone. Its true nature was unknown to any but a select few who were chosen to join it.

Throughout the Series

In Many Happy Returns, the City of Light is first mentioned when Sienna tells Thelonious Jaha that he is in the Dead Zone on the way to the City of Light. She and her family are searching for the City of Light after they left their home so her deformed son, Zoran, could live. They trade Jaha to other Grounders for a horse to help them travel to the City of Light.

In Long Into an Abyss, Jaha suggests taking the Sky People across the Dead Zone and to the City of Light after the Grounder Commander tells them they need to leave their territory or die.

In Survival of the Fittest, Murphy takes Jaha to the drop ship to visit his son's grave. The next morning, eleven other Sky People have arrived and Jaha invites Murphy to join them in their journey to the City of Light, a place where everyone is accepted.

In Rubicon, Abigail Griffin receives Jaha's note that he has taken twelve people in search of the City of Light and will come back for the rest of the Sky People once they find it. Meanwhile, in the Dead Zone, Jaha and Murphy and their group encounter a girl named Emori who was also allegedly headed to the City of Light. She and her brother attack the group and steal their supplies. Emori tells Murphy that the City of Light is "due north" before she knocks him out. Seven of the Sky People head back but Jaha, Murphy, and four others continue on.

In Bodyguard of Lies, Jaha and Murphy and the remaining two people from their group arrive at the end of the Dead Zone only to discover a massive solar panel field reflecting back what they thought was the City of Light. They continue on their journey across a sea, following after a drone.

In Blood Must Have Blood (Part 2), Jaha and Murphy finally reach an island across the sea. Murphy stays behind at a lighthouse while Jaha chases after another drone and arrives at a mansion. Within the mansion, he meets A.L.I.E., who tells him he has work to do on the nuclear warhead he came down to earth in.

In Wanheda (Part 1), in A.L.I.E.'s mansion, Murphy wakes up clean and shaved and finds glass of water and an apple on the table in front of him. He drinks the water and spots Jaha kneeling down in the center of another room. He calls out to him but Jaha doesn't respond. A.L.I.E. pops up behind him and tells him that Jaha is in the City of Light. Murphy tells A.L.I.E. he knows what she is and throws the apple through her. Jaha awakens from his meditative state and tells Murphy to let him explain. He says that the outside world means nothing in comparison to the City of Light. Murphy tells Jaha that A.L.I.E. is the one who launched the bombs to end the world and Jaha says that she saved it.

Later, Murphy is on the shore of the island when a boat horn is heard in the distance. Jaha and Gideon arrive and Jaha apologizes to Murphy for keeping him in the bunker, but he claims they needed the time to convert the nuclear warhead into a power source so A.L.I.E. could complete the work she started with her creator. Jaha tells Murphy he needs him and wants to prove what they can do. Murphy tells him he is crazy as Jaha holds out his palm to give Murphy a device used to "experience" the City of Light for himself. He says there is no pain, hate, or envy. Murphy refuses and tells him that without pain, hate, or envy, he has nothing left. Jaha puts the device in Murphy's pocket and tells him to decide later. The boat arrives and it is Emori driving it. Gideon gets on the boat and Murphy asks Emori who she stole the boat from. A.L.I.E. pops up and tells Jaha she told him Murphy would come around.

In Wanheda (Part 2), Jaha and A.L.I.E. are wandering around the empty City of Light. A.L.I.E. reiterates how there will be no more suffering in the City of Light and Jaha volunteers to fill the place, starting with the Sky People. Murphy's voice breaks through Jaha's mind journey to the City of Light and he opens his eyes, seated at the front of the boat that has arrived on-shore. Emori tries to unload the case containing A.L.I.E. and Gideon grabs it from her, taking it with him off the boat. Emori tells them they're going around the Dead Zone this time as they start walking.

Emori's brother, Otan, asks Jaha if he has really been to the City of Light. Jaha takes Otan off on a walk while Gideon sits and thinks his way into the City of Light. Emori decides to go after the case while Gideon is sitting there in oblivion while he visits the City of Light. She tells Murphy they have other buyers and as she is about to take it, Gideon catches her and holds her by the throat. Murphy tries to get Gideon to put Emori down but no matter what he does, Gideon is unmoved, saying, "there is no pain in the City of Light." Emori stabs him in the neck, killing him. She grabs the case and takes off back to the boat. Murphy follows after.

At the boat, Emori pries open the case with her knife, revealing technology with the infinity symbol, which is the same logo stamped on the chip Jaha gave to Murphy. Murphy realizes the case is housing A.L.I.E. and Jaha had brought her with them. Otan shows up and demands the case from Murphy, taking Emori hostage. Jaha arrives as Emori asks what is going on. Murphy says that Otan "ate the damned chip" that Jaha gave him and threatens to drop the case into the water unless they let Emori go. Jaha starts proselytizing about the City of Light to Murphy and Murphy goes to drop the case in the water. Jaha and Otan give up and release Emori. Murphy throws the case far from them and into the water, leaving them running after it while he and Emori take off in the boat. Jaha is transported to the City of Light and tells A.L.I.E. they should go after them. Otan is there with them and his face is no longer disfigured. A.L.I.E. tells Jaha there is also no death in the City of Light as Gideon appears, also not disfigured and not dead.

Key to the City of Light

Silicon-based

The Key to the City of Light is a silicon-based device that bear an infinity sign (or what Grounders referred to as the sacred symbol). Once a person ingests it, the filaments reconstitute in the brain stem and interrupts pain receptors, inhibiting certain neural pathways from firing. It is a device that allows them to communicate with A.L.I.E. and to experience the City of Light.

However, while the device eliminates the ability to feel physical pain, it would appear that it also eliminates any memories that might link to painful ones when dealing with psychological damage; after becoming connected to the City of Light, Thelonious Jaha had to be reminded of Wells Jaha by A.L.I.E., suggesting that his use of the Key has erased the memory of his son's existence to spare him the pain of his death. This idea is confirmed when Raven Reyes realizes while being questioned by Jasper Jordan that she has lost even the good memories of Finn following his death (Jasper talked about Maya after taking the chip, but he showed no sign that he had any conscious memory of her beyond what A.L.I.E. might have told him).

Clarke was able to extract the chip from Raven using an electromagnetic charge and the equipment used to remove the Flame from the Commander, but the need for an EMP makes it impractical to use this method on a regular basis, the device only having enough power to perform one more chip extraction after being used on Raven.

Chip Maker

Chipmaker

The chip maker was a device used to create the chips known as "Keys to the City of Light". Creating more chips allowed A.L.I.E. to increase her following.

Inhabitants

Formerly:

    • Past Commanders (through Clarke having A.L.I.E. 2.0)

Quotes

Sienna: "This is the Dead Zone, on the way to the City of Light."
-- Many Happy Returns

Thelonious Jaha: "I heard of a place. A City of Light. It's across the Dead Zone."
-- Long Into an Abyss

Thelonious Jaha: "There is a place for all of us. When I first landed on the Earth, I met a woman who spoke of a place beyond the Dead Zone, a place where everyone is accepted, a City of Light."
-- Survival of the Fittest

Emori: "Everyone in the Dead Zone is looking for the City of Light. Almost no one finds it."
-- Rubicon

Thelonious Jaha: "We need a boat and a boat appears. This is our destiny. The City of Light is out there and we are gonna find it. Now, get in the boat."
-- Bodyguard of Lies

Thelonious Jaha: "How does an Island of Light sound to you, John, huh?"
-- Blood Must Have Blood (Part 2)

Thelonious Jaha (offering Murphy the opportunity to experience the City of Light): "No pain, no hate, no envy."
Murphy: "No thanks."
Thelonious Jaha: "John."
Murphy: "No. Pain, hate, envy...those are the ABC's of me. Hey, get rid of them, and there's nothing left."
-- Wanheda (Part 1)

Gideon: "There is no pain in the City of Light."
-- Wanheda (Part 2)

Jaha: "We all have pain. Some of it is physical from injuries or age. Some is mental from living with the loss of our loved ones. If you think about it, whether we fight that pain or succumb to it the result is the same. It diminishes our lives, robs us of our passions and past times and damages relationships between friends and lovers. What if I told you there's a simple way to eliminate it?"
-- Hakeldama

Gallery

Notes and Trivia

  • The City of Light was first mentioned in Many Happy Returns.
  • The Dead Zone was believed to be on the way to the City of Light. According to Emori, many grounders sought it there, but almost no one found it.
  • There were initially a few possibilities of what it could be:
  • Jaha has claimed that, once someone enters the City of Light, they become essentially immortal, as their minds will continue in the City of Light even with the deaths of their bodies. However, once Raven was released from the City of Light, she stated that this idea "depends on what you call 'alive'", raising questions about the nature of the City of Light and its ability to recreate the human mind.
  • People killed in the City of Light in "Perverse Instantiation (Part 2)" were later found dead.
  • The City of Light is actually Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

See Also

Dead Zone, A.L.I.E.

References