I’ve been thinking a lot about The 100. Which is no surprise. It’s the final season, and after last Wednesday’s episode, I was left reeling. (SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from the episode “Blood Giant.”)
If I’m being honest, this season has been more than a little hard to follow. There’s been so much going on: Sheidheda, The Shepard and his disciples, the last war, civil war on Sanctum… It’s a lot to take in, and with every episode skipping around to different people, planets, and moons, keeping track of the intricacies of the plot is difficult.
Possibly the most intricate is that of Bill Cadogan (“The Shepard”) and his last war. It’s a war with some sort of…being? Disease? Alien? We’re not quite sure, but it turns your body into crystals. But looking more closely, it may not be a war at all but a test. Either way, it’s very unclear what the event is, what needs to be done, and whether it is actually good or bad. All we know is that the Flame is the key to help them start this war, and whatever they are doing is “for all mankind.”
But making this “war” so mysterious is problematic. We’re just to assume that Cadogan is the bad guy—and he very well might be. But when Bellamy has a vision quest and moves to his side, it doesn’t make much sense.
I believe that Bellamy was convinced. He saw the beings of light in the cave and was able to speak to his dead mother. But we also know how easily Bellamy is swayed. Think of his siding with Pike in season three (ugh). Without a fuller idea of the goodness behind the plan, it leads me to question his alliances, which is exactly what Clarke and the rest of the team do.
What The 100 has always done well are moral dilemmas. What made Clarke and Bellamy’s decision to kill everyone in Mount Weather so indescribably heart wrenching was they understood everything they were fighting against and what they were ultimately doing. They knew Mount Weather was full of good people, but their leader was threatening their people, so they made that choice. Similarly, when Clarke pulled everyone out of the AI afterlife of sorts, she understood what she was doing. Her people could live a life of happiness in this digital universe—heck, she walked past Jasper happy with ice cream. They’d never die. But she decided right and wrong with that knowledge and pulled them out.
But here, she doesn’t know what this war/test/whatever it is will really mean. Instead, she’d protecting Madi. Ok, I get that. But they’ve essentially made Madi into what Dawn was to season 5 of Buffy: She’s a mythical “key,” now that the Flame is gone, that can cause the last war. Clarke, in essence, became the person who will do anything to protect Madi, without considering anything else. Yes, we’ve seen her like this before, but when Bellamy’s at the other end of the gun, it suddenly makes you realize that this isn’t quite as considered as seasons past.
For those who are watching, you know what happens. Clarke kills Bellamy, and she’s still unable to get her hands on the sketchbook that caused the conflict in the first place. (Jason Rothenberg, the show’s creator, of course choose that twist for a reason.)
It was a poor ending, in my view, for Bellamy. Bellamy had already been in very little of the season (from what I read, that was a choice by Bob Morley, the actor who plays Bellamy), and without fully understanding Cadogan’s plan, it just felt wrong for the character. You could essentially put any of our well-loved characters in Bellamy’s shoes, and it still would’ve worked for the plot. Instead, we chose Bellamy, in part because he’s such a favorite of the fans and the team. It felt like a poor choice. Bellamy could have died in many ways in the final season of the show, but this didn’t seem in line with the characters, nor did the stakes feel quite high enough. If Bellamy had Madi in his grasp or had ordered the soldiers to get her, maybe. But with only the sketchbook? I’m not sure.
What this does do, though, is cause much tension in the next three episodes. The team we’ve followed all these years will never be the same. I found it interesting that they put the absolutely beautiful scene where Clarke, Murphy, and Emori comfort a crying Raven in the same episode that Clarke killed Bellamy. It’s a strong reminder of who all these people are to each other—and they never will be again. There’s no way anyone will look at Clarke the same way, and I certainly envision Echo going off the rails in murderous rage after finding out. The rest of the group, I’m sure, will break apart, and Octavia (an underutilized actor this season, by the way), I don’t know, but it can’t be good.
And while that does raise the stakes and conflict for the final three episodes, it also adds a lot to close up in the final three episodes. And I suppose Bellamy’s death felt less about Bellamy and his character’s development—or even Clarke’s—and more about adding a device to splinter the group. And that just doesn’t feel fair to someone who has been such a strong presence in the show since episode one.