The actress was coy about Harper's chances of survival for the rest of the season
Credit: Erin Palm/Ethereal Photography

What’s a midseason finale on The CW without a major cliffhanger?

When we left The 100 back in December, Clarke (Eliza Taylor) had executed Finn, her former lover, out of mercy before the grounders could torture him for killing 18 innocent people. Later, Clarke narrowly escaped a similar fate herself thanks to Lexa’s (Alycia Debnam Carey) own sense of mercy. Furthermore, Harper (Chelsey Reist) was still missing following her kidnapping by Dr. Tsing (Rekha Sharma), whom we left screaming and strapped to a gurney as the good doctor extracted bone marrow from her hip.

The 100 came back from the winter break Wednesday in an explosive premiere in which Gustus nearly engineered a bloody end to the truce between the Grounders and the Sky People, and Clarke, still grieving over the loss of Finn, ultimately decided that love is weakness.

Finally, it was discovered that Harper is indeed still alive, though she may not be long for this world. As her comrades – including Maya – searched for her, Monty was nearly strangled to death before waking up in a cage next to none other than a barely alive Harper, who had counted all of the remaining empty cages: 47. Just enough for the rest of Mount Weather.

In an exclusive interview, Reist, 28, tells PEOPLE all about what’s next for Harper, the kissing scene with Jasper that hit the cutting room floor and how much the set is shipping Bellarke. (A lot.)

What can you tell me about what’s coming up for Harper?
She’s definitely left in a pretty brutal situation, and I can say it’s just going to get worse. She’s been pretty violated in so many ways, but it’s going to help foster and cement for her her resolve to be a survivor. She’s definitely a fighter and she’s willing to do what it takes to defeat the Mountain Men, and there will be a resolve to her pain, but people will die. Stakes are at the highest right now. All groups – Harper, and all the people within Mount Weather and the Mount Weatherites and even elsewhere in the storyline, everyone is fighting for their survival.

There will be death in The 100. The writers definitely do not shy away from what once might have seemed unimaginable. For now, she’s alive and kicking and she will get a chance at redemption. Whether or not it will be successful, we’ll have to see.

We’ll see various people try to rally together to defend their own group, and we’ll see her play an integral role in that rebellion.

What can you tell me about Harper’s relationships moving forward in the latter half of the season?

When we first met Harper in season 1, she was very interested in Jasper, but he is having his own budding romance. I can share with you now that it hasn’t made the cut, but we did explore a relationship between Harper and Jasper. In the season 1 finale, Harper and Jasper kissed! We filmed a whole scene – we were in a bunker, we were shooting, the enemy was coming, and it was a life-or-death scenario. Harper knew that death could be knocking on her door, so she took a chance and she just said, “If we’re going out, we’re going out with a bang,” and she just pushed him over and kissed him passionately.

I was really excited to see how the fans would react to that because I know that [Bostick] has a lot of ladies who follow him, but they decided to cut it. I’m not quite sure why, but they will be developing a romance for him coming up, for sure.

I was really excited [about the kissing scene], because Harper was kind of dissed by Jasper at the start. She was hitting on him and he called her “low hanging fruit,” which is what I was known by for a few episodes.

Harper is kind of a lone wolf. She’s just fighting to survive, at the moment. There may be some [romantic] interest for her in the future, if she survives.

But, you know, I really dig The CW because they let the women take a lot of risks, too. It’s the women carrying the guns and the women building bombs and the women kissing the men, which I think is a nice, strong twist on the traditional fairytale. I was sorry to see it go.

What was it like filming your torture scene?
I really love filming torture scenes – the darker, the better for me. I really like making people squirm and I like knowing that on the other side of that camera and, eventually, on the other side of the television, they’re covering their eyes and being squeamish. I just have so much fun with that.

So, I go into these torture scenes knowing I enjoy them, but eventually it comes down to the point where the camera’s rolling and you really have to make a connection and find a correlation between the character’s pain and when you’ve personally felt pain in your life, and that kind of stays with you. It’s hard to shake.

I found that scene very taxing because I’m purposely putting myself in a state of a sad memory, trying to remember when I had felt that betrayed and violated and sad, and being vulnerable enough to share it with the camera. And, of course, you only see it for five seconds on screen, but you’re doing it for 15-hour days, several takes, several camera lenses hours and hours of screaming and crying, and you just leave upset and your face is all puffy but you just have to put the music you love on the way home and shake it off!

Let’s talk about Bellamy and Clarke.

As a cast, we all see the fans shipping Bellarke on Twitter! We dig it! We want it, too. We never know what’s going to happen, but we always tease [Taylor] and [Morley] on set. We’re big fans.

They do have a relationship of sorts because they’re both natural leaders, and Bellamy started off as a leader and now Clarke’s really taken the forefront there. They do support each other because, I think, that they are the only two that really understand the sacrifice it takes to leave the group. Bellamy does understand [why Clarke had to kill Finn]. He’s been there before. But whether or not he would have done the same, you know, I think it will toy with his mind a bit. The whole premise of the show is, “How far would you go to save those you love?” And Clarke is trying to show that maybe she’d go a bit further than Bellamy, and, yeah, it might put a little distance between them.

The 100 airs on Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on The CW.