|“||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 Sienne 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 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.
Key to the City of Light
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.
- A.L.I.E.'s Cult
- Thelonious Jaha
- Raven Reyes (chip removed by Clarke)
- Abby Griffin (chip removed by Clarke)
- David Miller
- Hannah Green† (digital copy deleted from A.L.I.E. code by Monty)
- Marcus Kane
- Jasper Jordan
- Several Boat People
- Sea Captain†
- At least two others†
- Ilian and his father† and brother†
- Most of the population of Polis
- Most of the population of Arkadia
- Clarke Griffin (briefly, with A.L.I.E. 2.0 protecting her from A.L.I.E.)
- 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)
- 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
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.