Clarke in The 100
Has Bellamy's death retroactively changed the meaning of his relationship with Clarke? (Image via Google Images)
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Clarke in The 100

Bellamy’s death shocked fans. Was it a compelling twist, or did it jeopardize everything that the show was about?

To every person that I advised to watch the catastrophe that is “The 100,” I would like to first and foremost apologize. If I had known it would turn into an on-fire garbage can, then I never would’ve looked twice at it.

Nevertheless, I did and here we are, so let’s get into it.

The 100” is a post-apocalyptic CW drama that focuses on the life of Clarke Griffin, a strong bisexual girl who leads a group of a hundred juvenile prisoners in an effort to survive on Earth. Throughout the show, she learns to deal with the responsibilities that come with ensuring the survival of the human race. For the past six seasons, she’s handled this burden alongside Bellamy Blake, her original rival and eventual co-leader.

The show has changed and morphed over time but has successfully kept the central tone of the series throughout most of its run.

Survival is hard, but as long as our characters are still breathing, there’s hope for the future.

However, the same cannot be said about the final season of “The 100,” which has essentially transformed itself into the epitome of a sci-fi acid trip, with a limping recognition of the stories and characters seen in the previous seasons. Perhaps this direction has worked for general viewers, but for noncausal fans, it completely abandoned so many aspects that made the show so memorable.

The fact that the season barely included Bellamy because his actor, Bob Morley, had supposedly taken time off, made the season feel more hollow.

Not to say that the show didn’t have its flaws before this season. Deaths like Lexa’s and Lincoln’s drastically affected the show, both on and off screen. The loss of LGBTQ+ character Lexa made “The 100” and its executive producer, Jason Rothenberg, an accomplice to the bury-your-gays trope, and the show faced massive backlash for the mistake. And Lincoln’s end was met with criticism because of the triggering imagery of a peaceful Black man executed by a shot in the head.

Along with that, this show has had a multitude of inconsistencies and writing mistakes, but the main characters were always what kept me hoping for a satisfying conclusion for our heroes.

This hope became for naught in Episode 13 this season: Bellamy, now a member of a cult that believes in “transcendence,” finds a sketchbook with drawings from Madi, Clarke’s surrogate daughter, which is somehow the key to winning the last war. Bellamy refuses to hand over the sketchbook, and Clarke shoots and kills him.

As confusing as the situation is, it all amounts to Clarke shooting him to save Madi. We still have no idea what the final war or test is at this point, and Bellamy promises to protect Madi, so is that a good enough reason for Clarke to kill him with no hesitation?

It doesn’t help that the situation is a repeat of their past betrayals. Clarke has sacrificed Bellamy for the sake of Madi’s safety before, as well as pointed a gun at him to stop him from saving Octavia Blake, his sister. Still, each incident is always followed by unbearable guilt and immediate forgiveness. The betrayals are the outliers to a relationship that had always been rooted in trust, even at its worst.

Clarke feels like a poor imitation of herself for most of Season 7. As the lead, she is usually at the forefront of conflict and moves the story forward — typically with Bellamy and Octavia. However, this season has made her into caricature, only obsessed with “saving her friends” while being pulled into storylines in which she played only an ancillary role. At least, up until this point.

Having Clarke be the one to end Bellamy’s life feels vindictively pointed to the fanbase that has always seen their development as the best part of the show. Rothenberg has said in the past that, “[The show] has always been the story of — on some level — Clarke and her relationship to Bellamy.”

We have watched Clarke and Bellamy grow from adversaries, to co-leaders, to friends, to family that would risk everything for each other. We’ve watched their relationship deepen as they learned to respect and rely on the other. It’s seen in Clarke calling Bellamy for 2,199 days during the 6-year time jump and Bellamy resuscitating Clarke because we couldn’t lose her. It is — along with Bellamy and Octavia — the show’s most complex relationship.

Whether you believed their feelings had a romantic element to it or not is irrelevant (even though they did). They were the head and the heart. They were two halves of a whole and without one, the other can’t survive.

The ugly truth is that Clarke died alongside Bellamy when she pulled that trigger. Only the most cynical would buy that Clarke would be capable of such a deed without sacrificing the rest of her humanity.

Perhaps that doesn’t matter, as “The 100” has dropped any pretense that the narrative cares for the significance that Bellamy had.

Dynamics like Bellamy and Octavia’s will remain unresolved and broken, as she readily accepts the murder of her brother with little explanation. The rest of his friends continue to forget the inspiration and guidance that Bellamy offered them and pretend that their unit is as whole as ever.

Remaining characters now act as mouthpieces put in place to spew disjointed and unearned insults for a man that had been their leader, their father figure, and the heart of what held the group together.

Lines like “Bellamy died a long time ago” show blatant disregard to the fact that Bellamy was still inherently good, even in his last moments. He was still someone who wanted to save his friends, even if we didn’t understand from what or how.

This show has dealt with an assortment of character failings. We’ve seen mass murder, cannibalism and executions. Bellamy has even participated in some of these transgressions. Yet, somehow believing in transcendence for all mankind was what made him irredeemable?

He had only “betrayed” them for what? Two days?

It’s not enough that he will never the get the chance to “redeem” himself now; the show is set on convincing the audience that Bellamy deserved this end and that Clarke should be absolved of murdering her closest friend because “he gave her no other choice.”

The act and aftermath of his death only makes the absence of the actor throughout most of the season more glaring.

Now, the only ones that seem to still mourn for the injustice that was Bellamy’s unwarranted death are the viewers.

In another circumstance, his end could’ve been understood. However, with a death like this, I think that the loss of Bellamy now represents something that is far grimmer.

If someone like Bellamy — someone who painstakingly worked to better himself for his past mistakes — wasn’t worth the effort to try and save, then who is?

We are forced to come to the conclusion that “The 100” is only a shell of what it used to be. The ends justifying the means can only be an excuse for so long. If that’s the overall message, then humanity isn’t worth saving. How sad and unexpected to decide that our heroes can no longer be considered the true heroes at all.

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