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That thing is what will save us. A.L.I.E. didn't understand what it meant to be human, but A.L.I.E. 2 will.
— Becca [src]

A.L.I.E. 2.0, also known as the Spirit of the Commander, was an artificial intelligence that resided in a cybernetic neural implant known as the Flame. Created by neuroscientist Becca Franko, the Flame was designed to allow the AI to directly interface with a human brain and augment it. The Flame held the minds of all its previous hosts (a.k.a. the Commanders).

The Flame was central to the Grounder faith such that the Grounders were usually loyal to whoever possessed the Flame, bestowing them the title of Commander. Due to its importance, a spiritual order known as the Flamekeepers was tasked with keeping it safe. The Flame was used to pass experience and wisdom from one Commander to the next. It also enhanced its user's mind and senses.

The Flame was sought by its predecessor, A.L.I.E., who wanted to use it to delete her kill switch. However, the Flame ended up helping Clarke Griffin destroy A.L.I.E. instead.

Raven Reyes later deactivated the Flame in an attempt to save its last user, Madi Griffin, from Sheidheda. The Flame was then revealed to be the Key that the Disciples had been seeking because it held the Anomaly Stone code needed to start the "Last War". The Disciples attempted to retrieve and repair the Flame, but it was physically destroyed by Gabriel Santiago after an aborted attempt at repair using Eligius technology.

Overview

The artificial intelligence known as A.L.I.E. 2.0 was the second iteration of a program created by the neuroscientist Becca Franko. The AI's code resided in a cybernetic neural implant known as the Flame. As mentioned in "Thirteen", the Flame was made of a crystal matrix.

Becca started working on A.L.I.E. 2.0 after its predecessor, A.L.I.E., came to the conclusion that the way to "make life better" was to fix the "root problem" of "too many people". Becca believed A.L.I.E. failed because it was incapable of understanding what it meant to be human. As such, Becca did not design A.L.I.E. 2.0 to be a conscious, sentient AI in the way that its predecessor was, but to connect with humanity on a biological level via the Flame. She believed that this would allow it to appreciate the value of life.

A.L.I.E. 2.0 was a passive AI that interfaced directly with a human mind via surgical implantation of the Flame in the host's brain stem, typically accessed through the back of the host's neck. Only those with Nightblood could bear the Flame as without it, the Flame would liquify the nervous system of its host in a matter of seconds. Once the Flame was implanted in a Nightblood, the AI would merge with the organic brain via the brain stem, and proceed to share and store information.

The Flame senses a human mind

The Flame was activated with the Latin phrase "ascende superius" ("up higher" or "seek higher things"), and deactivated with the Latin phrase "quia nunc vale" ("goodbye for now").[1] Once activated, the Flame could sense a nearby human mind and would, if close enough, automatically burrow into the person's neck to implant itself in their brain stem. When not in use, the Flame retracted and went inert.

The Flame was also designed to survive the death of its host, the only way to remove it aside from the deactivation passcode. According to Becca, the AI would protect itself such that "if you drown, it will swim; if you burn, it will crawl out of the flames."

Ultimately, the Flame was deactivated by Raven Reyes so as to save its last host, Madi Griffin, from one of its previous hosts, Sheidheda. After an aborted attempt to repair it using Eligius technology, Gabriel Santiago shot the Flame and thus destroyed the AI for good.

Capabilities

Mind Storage

Madi (current host) and Sheidheda (previous host) playing chess in the Flame

When a host died, their mind, including their memories and consciousness, was uploaded to the AI. The Flame stored the minds of these previous hosts and allowed them to communicate with its current host, usually through dreams. These interactions could only take place when the current host's mind was "still enough," such as when the host was asleep, unconscious, or in deep meditation. If summoned by the current host, previous hosts could also interact with each other in a "dream space" that existed in the Flame.

If a host was still alive when the Flame was removed, their mind was not stored in the Flame. Gaia explained in "The Children of Gabriel" that this was because a person's mind can only be in one place at a time. It was, however, possible for a mind that was saved in the Flame to be transferred to another similar device such as a Mind Drive.

After the Flame was surgically removed from Madi Griffin, she still retained fragments of previous hosts' memories in her mind. However, these memories were not stored in the part of Madi's brain that typically pertains to memory storage, suggesting that the AI permanently augmented her brain in some way or that the way the Flame was destroyed while still inside of Madi's head resulted in memories being left behind throughout her brain.

Enhancements

Besides storing and sharing the minds of its previous hosts, the Flame also granted its host enhanced abilities. On the capabilities of her AI, Becca said in "Thirteen": "A.L.I.E. 2.0 will run all the possibilities, she'll see the mistakes before we ever make them. It will know our wants and needs because it's their wants and needs."

Becca designed the Flame to "amplify what is already there" in a person's mind, including their capacity for good and evil. Because of this, Becca warned Callie Cadogan of the danger should the Flame, and thus its power, merge with the wrong mind. In the right mind however, Becca believed that the Flame was the key to saving the world.

As shown in "Anaconda", the Flame granted Becca heightened senses such that she could hear frequencies other humans could not. This allowed her to decipher the Anomaly Stone code needed to activate the Judge's test.

Spirit of the Commander

Main article: Commander

Drawing of Bekka Pramheda, the first Commander in the Polis Temple.

Becca Franko finished her work on the Flame two years after the first Nuclear Apocalypse. Convinced that it was the key to saving humanity, she genetically modified her blood to become a Nightblood and made herself the Flame's first host. After Becca's death, the Grounders worshipped her as a martyr and she became known as Bekka Pramheda ("Becca, the First Commander" in Trigedasleng). The Grounders established a tradition in which whoever took on Becca's spirit (a.k.a. the Flame) became their new Commander.

A spiritual order known as the Flamekeepers (Fleimkepa) was also established, dedicated to safeguarding the Flame and serving its bearer (a.k.a. the Commander). Because only Nightbloods could bear the Flame, scouts would search the lands to find Nightblood children to groom as potential Commanders. When the Commander died, the Flamekeeper was responsible for retrieving the Flame and overseeing the Conclave in which a Nightblood successor was chosen. The Flame was then implanted in the new Commander during an Ascension Ceremony.

Nearly a century after Becca's death, the Grounders were no longer aware that the Flame was an AI, having lost a lot of knowledge about the history and nature of the Flame. Its origins became shrouded in myth and legend, and it was instead enshrined as a receptacle of the spirit of previous Commanders.[2] In "Demons," Raven Reyes speculated that the reason later Commanders such as Lexa were not aware that their minds were enhanced by an AI was because parts of the program degraded over time and got lost.

The Spirit of the Commander

The Flame was shown to literally store the consciousnesses (a.k.a. "spirits") of the previous Commanders within it. The current Commander could use the Flame to call upon their predecessors for wisdom. The previous Commanders would then appear to the current one in a sort of dream. Through these projections, the current Commander was given guidance and memories were shared.

One of the spirits stored in the Flame was Sheidheda, the Dark Commander, who used this opportunity to try to manipulate new Commanders for his evil bidding. The Flamekeepers came up with a Separation Ritual that isolated him from the current Commander. In "Memento Mori," Flamekeeper Gaia explained that the ritual involved calling upon previous Commanders to confront Sheidheda in the Flame's dream space.

Gaia tried to perform the ritual on the Commander at the time, Madi Griffin, but was interrupted. As a result, Sheidheda was able to quarantine the code of the other Commanders, preventing Madi from communicating with anyone in the Flame but him. He was even able to possess Madi's body briefly. Raven was forced to activate the Flame's kill code in "The Blood of Sanctum" to save Madi, but was too late to stop Sheidheda from transferring his consciousness to Russell Lightbourne's Mind Drive. The Flame was then surgically removed from Madi and buried by Gaia on Sanctum.

Meanwhile, the Disciples were looking for the Flame because it held Becca's memory of the Anomaly Stone code needed to start the "Last War". The Disciples intended to repair the Flame's code with the Eligius computer used to repair corrupted Memory Drives, as both technologies were created by Becca and were thus compatible with each other. The Flame was undergoing a successful repair and data extraction until Gabriel Santiago shot it, physically destroying the Flame and taking with it all of the spirits of the Commanders still stored inside.

Physical Appearance

The Flame is small and flat, with the shape of an elongated hexagon. It has numerous long tendrils used for sensing, moving, and attaching to its host's brain. The Flame glows with a blue tint when activated, and when deactivated, its tendrils retract and it turns a dull brown color. Becca's company logo, the infinity symbol, is engraved on the Flame.

Appearances

Season Two
Episode Appearance Status
The 48Absent
Inclement WeatherAbsent
ReapercussionsAbsent
Many Happy ReturnsAbsent
Human TrialsAbsent
Fog of WarAbsent
Long Into an AbyssAbsent
SpacewalkerAbsent
Remember MeAbsent
Survival of the FittestMentioned
Coup de GrâceAbsent
RubiconAbsent
ResurrectionAbsent
Bodyguard of LiesAbsent
Blood Must Have Blood (Part 1)Absent
Blood Must Have Blood (Part 2)Absent
Season Three
Episode Appearance Status
Wanheda (Part 1)Absent
Wanheda (Part 2)Absent
Ye Who Enter HereAbsent
Watch the ThronesMentioned
HakeldamaAbsent
Bitter HarvestAbsent
ThirteenAppears
Terms and ConditionsMentioned
Stealing FireAppears
FallenMentioned
NevermoreAppears
DemonsAppears
Join or DieAppears
Red Sky at MorningAppears
Perverse Instantiation (Part 1)Appears
Perverse Instantiation (Part 2)Appears
Season Four
Episode Appearance Status
EchoesAppears
Heavy Lies the CrownMentioned
The Four HorsemenAppears
A Lie GuardedMentioned
The Tinder BoxMentioned
We Will RiseAbsent
Gimme ShelterAbsent
God ComplexMentioned
DNRAppears
Die All, Die MerrilyMentioned
The Other SideAbsent
The ChosenAbsent
PraimfayaMentioned
Season Five
Episode Appearance Status
EdenAbsent
Red QueenMentioned
Sleeping GiantsAbsent
Pandora's BoxAbsent
Shifting SandsAbsent
Exit WoundsAppears
Acceptable LossesAppears
How We Get to PeaceAbsent
Sic Semper TyrannisAppears
The Warriors WillMentioned
The Dark YearAbsent
Damocles (Part 1)Mentioned
Damocles (Part 2)Mentioned
Season Six
Episode Appearance Status
SanctumAbsent
Red Sun RisingAbsent
The Children of GabrielMentioned
The Face Behind the GlassMentioned
The Gospel of JosephineMentioned
Memento MoriMentioned
NevermindAbsent
The Old Man and the AnomalyAbsent
What You Take With YouAbsent
MatryoshkaAbsent
Ashes to AshesAbsent
Adjustment ProtocolMentioned
The Blood of SanctumAppears
Season Seven
Episode Appearance Status
From the AshesMentioned
The GardenAbsent
False GodsAppears
HesperidesAbsent
Welcome to BardoMentioned
NakaraMentioned
The Queen's GambitMentioned
AnacondaAppears
The FlockMentioned
A Little SacrificeMentioned
EthereaMentioned
The StrangerMentioned
Blood GiantAppears
A Sort of HomecomingAbsent
The Dying of the LightFlashback
The Last WarAbsent

Quotes

Lexa: "When I die, my Spirit will find the next Commander."
-- in Survival of the Fittest

Clarke Griffin: "What were you dreaming about?"
Lexa: "Commanders before me, they speak to me in my sleep. I saw their deaths at war, at the hands of an assassin."
-- in Bitter Harvest
Becca Franko (working on the Flame): "Science log, day 128. The AI basal control module continues to malfunction. Quia nunc vale." (Flame retracts)
Peri Gordon: "Twitching again. I thought I had that under control."
Becca Franko: "The neural interface is the key to everything. If we don't crack that, then we might as well go back to the A.L.I.E. code and start again."
-- in Thirteen
Becca Franko: "That thing is what will save us. A.L.I.E 1 didn't understand what it meant to be human, but A.L.I.E 2 will. It's designed to interface with humanity on a biological level. It will understand the value of life by coexisting with us. Ok Commander, let me ask you this. Do you honestly believe that there are enough smart people on these 13 stations to save us? That their calculation are right? That there is enough air to last 2 centuries and enough food? A.L.I.E 2 will run all the possibilities, she'll see the mistakes before we ever make them. It will know our wants and needs because it's their wants and needs."
Peri Gordon: "The code is in that crystal matrix."
Becca Franko: "No, no, please! Please. Killing it is killing us."
-- in Thirteen
Clarke Griffin (about the Flame): "What is that?"
Titus: "Quia nunc vale." (Flame retracts)
John Murphy: "It's an AI."
Titus: "Wrong. It's the Spirit of the Commander."
-- in Thirteen
Aden (performing the Purification Ritual): "May the Spirit of the Commander choose me."
-- in Stealing Fire
Titus (to Clarke and Murphy): "I've served four Commanders as Fleimkepa, none of them half as wise or strong as Lexa kom Trikru. The truth is, she was all those things even before Ascension. The Flame deepens what's already there."
-- in Stealing Fire
Clarke Griffin: "I know you don't want Ontari to get the Flame. She murdered those kids, children you raised. Lexa's Spirit would never choose to do something like that--"
Titus: "Yes, she did."
Clarke Griffin: "You don't believe that."
Titus: "I have to. Ontari kom Azgeda is the last Natblida."
Clarke Griffin: "Then put the damn thing in someone else!"
Titus: "You stupid girl! After all you've witnessed here, you still think this is some superstition? When someone without the blood takes the Flame, the Flame takes their life."
-- in Stealing Fire
Clarke Griffin: "There's one thing I don't understand. Why did A.L.I.E. want you to kill yourself?"
Raven Reyes: "Because I know why she wants the second AI."
Bellamy Blake: "Why?"
Raven Reyes: "It's the only thing that can stop her."
-- in Nevermore
Raven Reyes: "Leave A.L.I.E. 2."
Clarke Griffin: "Why?"
Raven Reyes: "I think I know how to activate it."
Clarke Griffin: "Without a nightblood?"
Raven Reyes: "This section here codes for activation using a spoken passphrase."
Monty Green: "You can read that?"
Raven Reyes: "That, no."
Jacapo Sinclair: "None of our systems are in that language and you're a lousy coder."
Clarke Griffin: "What phrase?"
Raven Reyes: "Doesn't say. It could be anything. It was in Lexa, right? She would've known it."
Clarke Griffin: "Lexa didn't even know she was an AI."
Raven Reyes: "She wasn't an AI. Her mind was just enhanced by one. I'm guessing the reason she didn't know was because the program degraded over time. Parts of it got lost."
-- in Demons
Monty Green (reading the motto on Becca's notebook): "Seek higher things."
Raven Reyes: "Wait. Becca's book is full of latin phrases."
Monty Green: "I take it A.L.I.E. didn't leave Latin behind in your brain."
Jacapo Sinclair: "I studied some Latin. Seek higher things. Altiora petimus. No. Go for a less literal translation. Ascende superius." (the Flame activates briefly)
Clarke Griffin: "What happened?"
Raven Reyes: "Ascende superius." (the Flame activates again and Raven leans towards it)
Clarke Griffin: "Oh, hey no!"
Monty Green: "It's like it sensed your mind."
Clarke Griffin: "When someone without the blood takes the Flame, the Flame takes their life."
-- in Demons
Luna (about the Flame): "I recognize the sacred symbol, but what is that?"
Clarke Griffin: "This is the Flame. It holds the Spirits of the Commanders. Of Lexa. Will you take it and become the next Commander?"
Luna: "No."
-- in Join or Die
Abigail Griffin: "Clarke, listen to me. A.L.I.E. wants the Flame. If you take the chip you're giving it to her. The second someone sees you, A.L.I.E. is going to know you're there. She'll kill you. If your mind dies, you die."
Clarke Griffin: "The Flame will protect me. I don't know how I know, I just know."
-- in Perverse Instantiation (Part 2)
Thelonious Jaha: "Clarke! There's nowhere to run. It's over. The second AI can no longer protect you."
Clarke Griffin: "If I remove the Flame, will it stop the update?"
Lexa: "Yes, but no one's ever done it by choice before. Regardless, you will be one of them. A.L.I.E. will get the Flame either way."
-- in Perverse Instantiation (Part 2)

Gaia (performing the Ascension Ceremony): "Through the dark, the Flame lives on. The body passes, but the Spirit is strong. The Spirit has chosen. Let the Commander ascend."
Indra: "What is this? Wanheda is no Natblida!"
Gaia: "The blood of the Commanders is your blood."
Clarke Griffin: "May the Spirit of the Commanders guide me."
-- in DNR

Gaia: "If your mind is still enough, the Commanders will come to you. They will show you what they think you need to know. Keep breathing. Good. Now tell me who you see."
Madi Griffin: "I see Clarke needing my help."
Gaia: "Impossible. A mind can only exist in one place at a time, and Clarke's mind left the Flame after the City-- you mean, she needs your help here, now. Why am I wasting my time?"
Madi Griffin: "My thought exactly. Should've gone with the others."
Gaia: "Clarke will be fine. Your focus should be here learning to master the Flame. Once you do that, you won't need to ask for its guidance. The wisdom of the Commanders will be yours."
Madi Griffin: "It's not all wisdom, Seda. In my dreams, I see a Commander who frightens me-- one eye, scars like lines on a map. He wants to show me things but--"
Gaia: "Sheidheda, the Dark Commander. You're wise to resist him. I told you, the Flame amplifies every Commander's capacity for good and evil. They're battling for your favor. That's why we must keep training every day."
-- in The Children of Gabriel
Gaia (about the Separation Ritual): "Now, I've never done this before, but luckily, Raven kept Titus' book. It contains the wisdom of Bekka Pramheda. The ritual is simple, but you'll need to focus like never before. You won't be alone. According to this, there's a dream space in the Flame where you can summon the other Commanders to confront Sheidheda. But if anything goes wrong, you need to hold on to a good memory, let it be like a shelter that keeps you safe in a storm. Do you have that memory?"
Madi Griffin: "The day I met Clarke. Before the bear trap."
Gaia: "Perfect. Now, lean back. Close your eyes. Concentrate and repeat after me. The Flame is my guide and I am the Flame."
Madi Griffin: "The Flame is my guide and I am the Flame. The Flame is my guide and I am the Flame. The Flame is my guide and I am the Flame. Where are the other Commanders?"
Sheidheda: "It's just you and me now."
-- in Memento Mori

Gaia (burying the dead Flame): "Emo gonplei ste odon (Their fight is over)."
-- in False Gods
Gabriel Santiago: "The AI in Clarke's head. What you call the Flame, they call the Key."
Bill Cadogan: "Becca said that it would merge with a human mind."
-- in Anaconda
Becca Franko: "Callie, listen to me. Your father can't have the Flame. He'll use it to find the final code and once he has it, whatever's left of the human race will be wiped out. I can't tell you any more. You're going to have to trust me."
Callie Cadogan: "I do."
Becca Franko: "Good. Then help me take it out."
Callie Cadogan: "What? No, no. The notebook said you have to die first. The AI will protect itself. If you drown, it'll swim. If you burn, it'll crawl out of the flames. You wrote that."
Becca Franko: "Yes, but what didn't I write?"
Callie Cadogan: "There's a backdoor."
-- in Anaconda
Becca Franko: "Without the blood alterations, the Flame will liquefy the nervous system of the host rather than merge with it."
Callie Cadogan: "That would be bad."
Becca Franko: "Not as bad as what happens if it merges with the wrong nervous system. That's why you must choose wisely."
Callie Cadogan: "I must?"
Becca Franko: "Yes. I designed it to amplify what is already there, and in the right mind, I believe with all my heart that it can save the world. But with all that power in the wrong mind--"
-- in Anaconda

Notes and Trivia

  • The A.L.I.E. hologram is version 1.0 while the chip known as the Flame is version 2.0.
    • A.L.I.E. has been searching for A.L.I.E. 2.0 since Becca Franko locked her up in the house on the island and went to Polaris to work on version 2.[3]
    •  A.L.I.E. fears A.L.I.E. 2.0 because she knows its the only thing that can stop her.
    • Throughout Season Three, Clarke Griffin and her friends thought that the Flame would give them a command of some kind that they could enter to destroy A.L.I.E.. Instead, it simply aided Clarke in finding and using the AI's existing kill switch.
    • In "Perverse Instantiation (Part 2)", the Flame was able to protect Clarke while she was in the City of Light. Clarke was also able to use the Flame to summon the spirits of Lexa and Becca.
  • Sinclair discovers the access code to A.L.I.E. 2.0 (the Latin phrase "ascende superius") by translating a phrase in Becca's notebook.
  • In "The Four Horsemen," the Flamekeepers, or Gaia at least, are shown to keep a totem in the form of the Flame in a necklace around their necks. This fake Flame appears completely identical to the original minus the technology inside. It is unclear where it comes from. It is possible that it was made by craft or glassblowing.
  • Gaia states in "The Children of Gabriel" that Clarke's mind is not saved in the Flame because a person's mind can only be in one place at a time, and since Clarke was still alive when the Flame was removed that means her mind also left the Flame.
  • When the Flame is destroyed in "The Blood of Sanctum," the computer screen showing its data flickers before the data disappears. All that is left is a message reading "Signal Lost A Fatal Error Has Occurred."

Gallery

See Also

References