A Few Good Character Moments Are Not Enough

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Or, Why The 100 Has Failed To Regain My Benefit of the Doubt

I’ll start by saying I’m a long time watcher of Supergirl, a show devoted to second chances and the benefit of the doubt. If the creative team behind a piece of media proves itself to be listening to fan and media criticism and changes for the better? I’m all for welcoming it with open arms. Bryke accomplished that with Legend of Korra, so I know it can be done. I’m open to shows proving themselves to be better with hard work, commitment to thorough and consistent characterization, meaningful themes, and conscious course correcting their previous mistakes.

I see none of these on The 100, despite what more positive reviewers are currently saying.

That might be because I criticized the show for more than just Lexa’s death, though I did vociferously call them out for that, too. Several of my fellow writers over at the Fandomentalist did as well. Nevertheless, if you read my reviews from last season and my series of three retrospectives co-authored with my friend Elizabeth, you’ll see that I had issues with far more than one character’s death. In fact, it is the failure to address my other frustrations with last season that have prevented the show from earning back my neutrality.

Unequal Treatment of Women and Minorities

If it just been Lexa’s death (and if they’d handled the aftermath appropriately), I might have been more willing to give the show the benefit of the doubt. But on top of her death were the deaths of no less than 7 primary and secondary characters last season, none of whom were cishet white males. I made a chart for every character death for the whole season, and every single primary or secondary character who died was either a woman, a person of color, or an LGBT character. Some, like Lexa and Hannah Green, fell into multiple categories.

As if that weren’t enough, every single villain (Pike, Jaha, ALIE, Nia, Ontari) was either a woman or a black male. And, despite the many strong women in powerful positions in the first two seasons of the show, many were sidelined or their abilities so thoroughly questioned as to make the audience wonder why they were given control in the first place. Abby was told she cannot be a mother, medic, and chancellor all at once, so she gave up her political power in favor of an election between two men (Pike and Kane). Both men also fill multiple roles like she did but are never questioned for doing so. At this point in S4, Lexa (and Nia) have been replaced by a single male character (Roan) fulfilling both of their roles.

While Echo questions Roan’s choices and leadership, it is not done at the expense of his sexuality, as Lexa’s was. We also have yet to see any kind of negative consequences for these choices, though the threat looms over him. The more the show cries “people will hate you” and doesn’t follow through, the more it seems like the appearance of instability without substance. In other words, Roan is coming across as a more capable leader for making the exact same choices as Lexa, and the only difference is that he’s a straight male. It’s…troubling, to say the least.

Bellamy’s So-Called ‘Redemption’

Nowhere does the vastly different treatment of women stand out more than in how the narrative handles Clarke and Bellamy. It began last season with Bellamy’s massacre of the Grounder protective force Lexa sent and subsequently unearned ‘redemption’ arc. His actions were no different from those of certain villains, yet we were told he was ‘right’ for no better reason than that he’s a protagonist. This happened with other characters last season too, like Clarke when she tried to take Luna’s free will as ALIE had. She was called out for it; Bellamy was not.

This season, the narrative literally goes out of it’s way to redeem Bellamy in episodes 2 and 3. And I mean literally. Both episodes feature a rover field trip that dead end after Bellamy has been sufficiently propped up. Episode 2 features Bellamy making a decision that on the surface appears like a sound, moral choice to prioritize saving lives over sacrificing a few to save many. Only it doesn’t. By destroying the hydrogenerator, Bellamy sentences 400 people to death to save 25.

What’s more absurd is the deliberate framing of this decision as a false dichotomy between getting the hydrogenerator (now) or saving the slaves (now). But there were other feasible options—like taking the generator but leaving behind a spy to follow where Azgeda took the slaves while sending messages to Roan for him to intervene. The choice as presented prioritizes the immediate ‘redemption’ of Bellamy (he gets to hug a child! he’s a good person now!) over narrative sense. And all while ignoring the actual devastating toll of his choice. Now 400 people have to be culled from surviving in the Ark.

Last night’s episode went further via the conversations with Jaha. Jaha justifies the doomsday cult leader for “do[ing] whatever it takes to save his people”, implying that the same applies to his choices to join ALIE. Need I remind you that Jaha participated in the torture and deaths of hundreds of people in collusion with ALIE. Hell, he actually came up with the logical loophole that allowed ALIE to use torture as a legitimate means of ‘convincing’ people to join them. Jaha then calls Bellamy’s massacre of the Grounders a ‘mistake’ he made to protect his people. Bellamy ought to be more like Jaha and not beat himself up for his ‘mistakes’; his motives were ‘pure’ (wanting to save his people) which means he does not need redemption at all, actually.

Leaving aside the irony of telling a character they don’t need to be redeemed while the narrative is actively trying to redeem them, this entire conversation is bullshit. First of all, Bellamy was not protecting his people when he massacred 300 innocent Grounders sent to protect Skaikru. They were not an ‘army’ as Jaha claims. They were a defensive vanguard to protect them against Azgeda’s aggression. Second, even if Bellamy mistakenly believed he was acting out of a protective instinct, so what? That does not magically make his decision ethically good. People do terrible things from ‘pure’ motives all the time. Our president believes that banning Muslims will protect the US, but that doesn’t make it a morally good decision.

Jaha and Bellamy should feel bad for what they participated in. They did heinous things. Yet, the writers this season have for some reason decided to equate redemption with lack of shame or remorse. And now they’re trying to force us to do the same.

Blaming Clarke and Forced Apologies

It’s even more troubling when you juxtapose how the narrative has and continues to treat Clarke’s leadership. Blaming Clarke for her decisions has been a consistent issue with the 100. Stephen King has joked about how frequently Clarke apologizes. She cannot make a single decision without being forced by the writers to apologize for it (sometimes multiple times for the same event), and the plot will not progress until she does.

I’m not quibbling over the need to apologize per se. In most instances, her apologies make sense in context and are means of repairing her relationships. At the same time, she’s the only character subjected to the repeated need to apologize. I could count on one hand the number of times Bellamy has apologized for the Grounder massacre. And still have 4.5 fingers left over. Letting his sister punch him does not equal apologizing, especially when the half-assed ‘apology’ he does give her is mostly self-justification. The same applies to his ‘apology’ to Niylah. And he’s always offended that his not-quite apologies do not immediately redeem him.

The inequality is staggering. Bellamy sentences 400 people do death with his choice to blow up the hydrogenerator, but it’s Clarke’s fault for making the list of 100 who will survive in the Ark. Jaha actually participated in torture and murder, but Raven withholding medication from dying people is equivalent to murder. Even though the medication didn’t actually work and the child died anyway.

Thus far this season, the show has been pushing a message that equates Jaha with Clarke. They’re both ‘religious fanatics’ (she for being a flamekeeper, and he for his work with ALIE). They’re both leaders who know how to make ‘tough choices’ for ‘the good of their people’. But they aren’t the same. Not telling everyone the whole truth ≠ helping an AI find a torture loophole in it’s do-no-harm programming. Similar motives do not result in equivalent moral values on the actions stemming from those motives.

Sexism in a ‘Post-Sexist’ Society

The writers may not intend it, but there’s an underlying sexism to the treatment of male and female leaders on the show that defies Rothenberg’s claims of this being a “post sexist” society. Not only do they equate Jaha/Bellamy with Clarke/Raven, they actually minimize the latter while repeatedly and antagonistically calling out the latter. Clarke gets yelled at for making a list, but Bellamy shouldn’t not feel bad for killing people. Raven has to be emotionally punished for her choice to withhold medication, but Jaha is never confronted for his role in bringing ALIE to Arkadia and Polis.

Male leaders are justified and ‘redeemed’, female leaders are blamed, punished, and forced to apologize over and over again for the same things. Roan does not get as much criticism for his pragmatism as Raven and Clarke do for theirs. Despite Echo’s repeated refrains about people ‘losing faith’ in Roan, we have yet to see any negative consequences for his so-called difficult choices. And even so, telling someone “people might not like you if you do this” is a far cry from “you just murdered a little girl”.

It’s awful, and also entirely consistent with what we saw last season in the treatment of Clarke, Raven, Abby, and Lexa versus Bellamy’s unearned ‘redemption’ and Pike’s hail Mary redemption/justification near the end. All this establishes a pattern of differential treatment between male and female leaders over the arcs of S3 and 4. Therefore, even if there are individual instances that break it (like Octavia beating Bellamy), they act as the exceptions that prove the rule.

“Moral Ambiguity”

The way in which the narrative treats Clark/Raven and Bellamy/Jaha defies the idea that The 100 is somehow a meaningful exploration of the travails of leadership. Justifying awful decisions and overly criticizing complex but pragmatic ones does not equal grey morality. It’s the equivalent of the logic that  “calling someone a nazi is as bad as being a nazi”.

Clarke and Raven are pragmatic in the face of overwhelmingly difficult circumstances, not malicious or nihilistic. Asking folks to submit to long hours and rationing without all the information cannot be easy for Raven. Nor is arguing in favor of withholding meds from dying people. At the same time, they’re rational and logical, if morally ambiguous, decisions that someone has to make. We can clearly see that just by the narrative context. The audience can also clearly see that murdering people and sanctioning torture is wrong.

Yet, instead of allowing the audience to come to it’s own decision about the complexity, we’re being told what to think. And it’s the opposite of what the narrative context implies. Telling us a choice is morally grey doesn’t make it so. Neither does telling us it’s justified make it acceptable, nor telling us it’s awful make it the same as an actually morally wrong one. I said it in my review earlier today, and I’ll say it again: this isn’t morally ambiguous, it’s morally backward.

Maybe it’s unintentional, a consequence of muddied storytelling, inconsistent attention to narrative themes, and a desperate need to ‘redeem’ Bellamy. But is that really better? It just proves they’re not thinking things through while at the same time claiming to be morally nuanced and complicated. I admit I’m a themes and characterization gal at heart, but I don’t need super deep themes to enjoy a dystopian sci-fi drama. I enjoyed the hell out of Jupiter Ascending ffs. But, if a show claims to be a morally complex exploration of a meaningful theme, I’m sure as hell not going to give it a pass when the themes are not only weak, but self-contradictory.

Plot Convenience and Repetition

Bellamy’s forced propping up might be my biggest gripe with the characters, but not my only one. The show has a major issue with plot convenient telepathy this season. Characters  know things, and act on them to advance the plot, when they have zero legitimate reason to know it. Roan (and the rest of Polis) know Octavia killed Ambassador Rafael despite her specifically making it look like natural causes. Octavia immediately recognizes the exact person who has stolen the flame despite having zero description and living in a city with thousands of people in it. Ilian knows the flame was stolen and that Octavia is chasing the girl who has it.

And that was just last night. There are other instances, like Azgeda knowing that Abby/Clarke had broken in to rescue Roan or Echo knowing Ambassador Rafael’s heart had stopped (and yet Ilian immediately knew Octavia killed him…). Or when Abby knew Clarke loved Lexa. It’s as bad as ALIE’s magical telepathy last season. The only reason characters know things is because they read the script and knew the plot had to happen.

Ilian’s manpain arc and Raven’s punishment for not giving out useless meds upset me because I’m tired of fridged women and children. Don’t get me wrong, the scene where Luna gives Adria last rites was beautiful and moving. But does it justify killing a young girl on screen just to make Raven cry and feel bad for making a logical decision that she was actually proved correct about by the narrative? And did we really need to watch Ilian kill his brother and almost kill himself while his crucified mother watched only to die in his arms later?

This season is full of other contrived plot tensions as well, like Bellamy’s falsely dichotomous decision about the hydrogenerator and his dead end ‘redemption’ field trips. Ilian’s manpain only serves to create additional tension in Polis that could have been accomplished without introducing an entirely new clan to hate Skaikru and the emotional and physical torture of a woman that ends in her death.

The writers clearly want me to care, but very few of the arcs this season resonate. And small wonder, since we’ve seen almost all of them before. Episode 1 of this season was basically a soft reset to 3.06 or thereabouts. We have a clan that hates Skaikru, a 13 clan coalition, political drama against the backdrop of a global threat, Clarke making decisions and getting blamed, Bellamy being incompetent but never blamed for it, Jaha on a salvation quest, the idea that ‘hard decisions are hard’, Murphy being a rogue with a heart of gold, and on and on it goes. Almost every plot device thus far is recycled from previous seasons. No wonder I’m bored. I’ve seen this all before, and seen it done with more depth and consistency.

The Silver Linings

It isn’t as if it’s all bad. I appreciate that they tried to address Murphy’s rape. Unfortunately, it got a bit muddled because of Emori’s reactions. All they had to do was have Emori apologize once Murphy explained the situation and sympathize with him. Instead she shut down and stared resentfully at him as if she didn’t believe him. So, props for addressing it, but it didn’t quite get there. With minimal effort it could have gotten it to 100%, but at least they tried? It’s more than I expected.

And there are some genuinely good character moments. Gaia is interesting and the Indra/Gaia/Octavia interaction compelling. The lore surrounding the Flame religion and Luna being immune to radiation (or, at least, able to recover) are fascinating. I wish we got more. I love Raven being pragmatic, if they would just cut out her being attacked for it. And it’s nice to see Clarke finally being able to feel again after her shock and flat affect in 3B. I always like it when Murphy is decent; he’s been a surprisingly likable character in the past couple of seasons.

Even some of Bellamy’s moments are good, like the ‘see you in hell’ comment, him saying Clarke keeps him grounded rather than the other way around, and writing down Clarke’s name. But, as with the handling of Murphy’s rape, they’re muddled by larger character inconsistencies and his forced, unearned redemption arc.

When push comes to shove, though, even the concatenation of good snippets of characterization cannot make up for the weight of mischaracterization, poor worldbuilding, contrived plot devices that both rehash old plots and are not as good, and mishandled themes that try to be deeper than they are. The less motivated things are overall the less it matters if some of the character moments are good.

And So, I Persist In My Saltiness

The show really wants us to forget the awful things that happened last year, but is pretending they didn’t happen really the best way to do it? Either find a way to acknowledge them or give us something markedly better to prove you’re paying attention and understand the criticisms of the show. I get the feeling that Rothenberg views himself as Bellamy and wants everyone to admit that he made some ‘mistakes’ trying to protect his people tell his story. We just need to accept him and move on. In other words, the show feels like its justifying it’s past decisions, not making up for them.

So, in the end, even setting aside the death of prominent minority characters last season, what has this season done to show it is listening to criticisms? Aside from addressing Murphy’s rape, very little seems actually improved. It still has issues with it’s treatment of women and minorities. It still struggles with an unintentionally sexist handling of men and women in power, especially when it comes to Clarke and Bellamy. As with 3B, it still does not know how to consistently frame moral ambiguity, to the point that it actually contradicts itself. And yet it still tells us it is nuanced.

Until it can give me a female leader whose decisions are not repeatedly questioned and blamed disproportionately to males and a truly morally grey decision that is not blatantly labeled with a moral value opposite the context, I cannot say there has been progress. Everything that happened last year has erased any benefit of the doubt the show got from me. It’s going to take more than inconsistent themes and characterizations to win me over to neutral. Redemption is earned by making different choices, not by calling yourself redeemed and pretending it never happened.

Image Courtesy of The CW
  • Quinn

    Good piece. You bring up a lot of salient points that have had me bothered, particularly when it comes to the messy characterizations and contrived plotlines. One point though: eight characters died in season three. Titus killed himself for Lexa. Your point still stand re: who lives and dies, but he was a character that died last season.

    • You are correct that Titus died last season. I had categorized him as a tertiary character, rather than primary or secondary, which is why I did not mention him in this article. Thanks for bringing him up, though. There were a LOT of deaths last season. The grand total was 23 including primary, secondary, tertiary, and what I call “tertiary at best” meaning they had less than 2 minutes of screen time.

  • Amen to all that.

    I feel like season 2 was basically a fluke of good tv that has been betrayed by 2 seasons of shit.

    • Season 2 is standing out more and more in terms of how good it was compared to every other season. S1 wasn’t absolutely awful, but it wasn’t great either. S3 started off fine and was on a trajectory to be good, but then that went downhill faster than a high speed train and S4 hasn’t improved on most of the things I found so frustrating on S3. I have no idea how they pulled off S2 after all this.

    • Olivia

      I read somewhere that supposedly for season 3 Jason was given total freedom to do whatever he wanted which evidently was to make a Kidz Bop Game of Thrones. I feel like season 2 was good probably because it was at that point where the show found its footing (which it quickly lost in season 3) and because of other people restraining Jason/contributing good ideas (ex. Lexa and Clexa were both creations of Kim Shumway).

      • Agreed. I don’t think Rothenberg has a tight a handle on the reigns in S2 as he did in S3 (and now), which is why I think it was far better than any other season.

  • ana d

    I’m still reading but I had to stop to say: even Octavia as exception is kind of framed as bad. she done that, and then killed pike, and now she is “the assassin”, they treat it like her “dark phase”. she’s not doing the right thing, saving her people, etc, they show this as her losing control and then doing “wrong things”

    • You are exactly right, Ana D! Great point. They’re not framing her as ‘protecting her people’ at all, though she basically is single-handedly maintaining a favorable political environment in Polis for Skaikru. Like Clarke did last season…though maybe that’s why it’s ‘bad’. Clarke staying in Polis was a betrayal of her people (according to Bellamy), so small wonder that Octavia being in Polis as an assassin is “dark” and evil. *Sigh*

      • XenaBR

        sometimes i miss lexa just for the way she understood clarke and never blamed her.

        • SAME. It was so good for Clarke to have someone who never blamed her, and actually told her to not apologize for something she had to to.

          • XenaBR

            even if Clarke were “wrong”, Lexa helped her to see which way was better to follow (Emerson for example)

          • Exactly. Lexa confronted Clarke rationally without blaming her or forcing her to apologize. They made each other better through dialogue rather than undermining and blaming each other.

  • Tony Isenorev

    I was thinking : “Maybe I should watch this season…” then I read this… And… well… nope ! Thank you ! 😉

  • Alexa Griffin

    Thank You, this was a really good piece. The problem it’s more than just Lexa. I thought I was the only one who thought “How the hell Abby knew Clarke loved Lexa?” Why they can redeem Bellamy for killing 300 grounders on their sleep but they hate Lexa to the core for what happened on Mt. Weather?

    I know there are more problems than just those that bother me. And I’m glad someone actually caught all of them.

    Thanks for this.

    • Tony Isenorev

      Can Bellamy die please ? I mean… Please ??? I would like a stupid death… You know like… a stupid accident… Just like someone else… It would be nice. Thank you 😉

    • You’re very welcome! With so much focus on Lexa (and understandably so, it was a horrible writing choice and really hurtful to so many people), I think parts of media and fandom have ignored the other issues with the show. Now that the whole “Lexa thing” has “blown over” they have gone right back to business as usual without thinking about the other problems, which the show hasn’t fixed yet!

      I’m all for keeping the show accountable for Lexa still, because that was effed up. And I want to highlight that it wasn’t just that.

  • Cailean

    Bravo! Good article.

    The show is utter nonsense at this point. The already very shaky sci-fi elements are now Fantasy LALA-Land (what lever will be pulled next?) and the story is thus not the least bit plausible and to me there’s nothing left (characters, dynamics, relations) to watch the show for.
    Especially when I re-call the appalling use of harmful tropes against minorities in S3. Nope, not even EJT’s good earth cleavage will do the trick… just tune out.

    Watch ‘the Expanse’ or re-watch BSG even their last season is better than this !

    The 100 — a story of it could have been a good show, but they chose the worst outcome possible by ignoring all the interesting conflicts and relations and downplaying the truly evil acts and characters in favor of cheap torture porn.

    • Tony Isenorev

      YES ! To all of this, a big YES !!!

    • AMEN. PREACH. It could have been good. It could even have been GREAT in the right hands.

      I have heard great things about the Expanse, so maybe that will be my next sci-fi show 🙂

      • Cailean

        Exactly, it could have been truly great in the hands of people who know what they’re doing and who know what good sci-fi is all about!

        But you can’t be great if you do not address the conflicts (colonization, hi-tech vs low-tech, different moral systems, culture shock, different histories, civil war, class conflicts, religions and/or lack there-of, racism, etc) inside the story and engage with your audience through them.

        I’ve yet to see someone credible praise the loo for the outstanding ALIE story idea that was SOOOOO important in S3 that it ruined every thing good about the show. No one was watching the show for the plothole riddled AI story.

        The Expanse is by far not perfect. But definitely worth a look. If you gave the loo a chance in S1… you won’t be disappointed by the Expanse. Well the cleavage is less earthly… 😉

        • *sigh* I will miss the good earth cleavage, but it will be worth it for a decent quality sci fi show, especially if it is better than S1 of T100. If it starts out its first season better than T100, I’m very much willing to give it a shot.

          RIGHT? ALIE was such a hole riddled mess, and yet it was the reason why so much of 3A just ‘had’ to happen? Bellamy’s massacre, Lexa’s death, Pike…and yet we got…whatever that was.

          If all they wanted to use her for was to find out about the upcoming nuclear apocalypse 2.0, there are better ways to have done it.

          • Cailean

            Absolutely, the ALIE plot was a mess and every of their ‘it had to happen’-turning points were so unnecessary. I’ve read at least a dozen fanfics that had brilliant resolutions to furthering the ALIE plot without the torture porn. And even more that had just great solutions to the Commander+Flame+reincarnation plot and explaining ALIE.

            And this apocalypse 2.0 is just so…, I mean srsly, what happened to the basic laws of physics, it’s simply unbelievable even for a fantasy trash story.
            Besides that these weird plots are not why people watch a show. People get invested in to the characters their growth and meaningful interactions. And sometimes it is the world building that is super interesting and the themes that are behind that. Oh, well …. here we’re again with the “it almost could have been great”.

            I’m curious about what you think when you watch the Expanse. Is there a place that’ll keep me updated?

          • ALIE is huge wasted potential, I agree. I’ve seen fics do it really well, and even spitballed writing a fic with a friend of mine. The fic isn’t going to happen at this point, but even with our brainstorming sessions we had several different options for ways to deal with ALIE that were not what we got.

            It feels like the writers are trying to be clever with the apocalypse 2.0 and ‘100 people survive’, but it’s just…tired and forced at this point. And you’re right, so many people watch for characters and themes, which are being underwritten (or poorly written) to service the plot. *sigh* So much wasted potential here.

            Well, I could do write ups/tweet about the Expanse once I start watching. It’s a short season, which is great. I might start this week, but who knows, given my schedule. I will tweet at the very least, if not do some brief thoughts on here 🙂

  • Luna76

    The conversation between Jaha and Bellamy annoyed the heck out of me and you perfectly summed up the reasons why it was so irritating. It’s one of those case when you can tell the writing is trying to manipulate you, as a viewer, into feeling for a character fagain and it backfires precisely because it’s so transparent and riddled with revisionist history meant to gloss over past deeds.

    I suspect most people who’ve been watching this show for a while expected Bellamy’s “redemption” to be a rushed job relaying heavily on imagery, like sad-puppy-dog-eyes and stuff like the kid hugging, rather than actual depth and slow, earned progress. But the way it’s been done so far has been utterly ridiculous and the worst part is that – unless you’re part of stan-fandom and there’s just about nothing a character can do wrong in your eyes – it’s hurting both Bellamy as a character and those used to prop up him repeatedly. That the latter tend to be almost exclusively female characters only adds another layer of unfortunate to problematic storytelling to the list.

    And I found myself nodding along while reading most of your other points too. The most recent episode was a bit of an eye-opener for me because I became aware of how desperately I want to like this show – but that’s a matter of clinging to what it *could* be rather than what it actually is. The writers/creators have their moments and they certainly deserve credit for the world they’ve set up. They just waste almost all of its potential and shallow, repetitive and often cheap plots.

    Realistically, the show probably jumped the shark when Clarke pulled that giant lever in last season’s finale. The fact that so many people are already joking about more lever pulling in this year’s finale just about says everything you need to know about the show at this point. I have next to no emotional connection to the radiation plot. It’s lame in its attempt to be overdramatic, inconsistent and riddled with plot holes just a few episodes in. Sad. Very sad.

    • Transparent and revisionist is a great way to describe Jaha’s conversation with Bellamy. It’s the kind of arguments I’ve seen Bellamy defenders giving in fandom circles but never expected to be worked into the plot this way. It still blows my mind that they went so far as to say Bellamy is in no need of redemption because he made a ‘mistake’ but with ‘pure’ motives. Not even Bellamy’s “I’ll see you in hell if you’re wrong” remark can erase the enormity of what Jaha did to erase any wrongdoing, both for his own actions and for Bellamy’s.

      I had the same experience of clinging to what I hoped it could be the first episode this season. I was pleasantly surprised at some aspects of it, but overall, I thought maybe the show could create something decent. There really are some gems hidden in there (like Gaia/Indra and the religious aspects of the Flame), which makes sense because there are good writers on the show. But you’re right that its potential is almost entirely wasted with the repetitiveness and shallow attention to themes and characterization.

      The nuclear apocalypse is such a cheap plot device and boring. I had a lot of hope for this show in S2, and I still enjoy the version of it in my head, but it sadly hasn’t been translated on screen.

      • Olivia

        The revisionism is what really angers me. They expect people to forgive and forget that these two characters in particular did some truly atrocious things last season by framing them as “morally grey” decisions and having Bellamy silently ponder if what he did was bad. Um, is this even a debate? These are black and white issues. It really annoys me that this show tries to push a “Maybe there are no good guys and bad guys” message when it both shows objectively terrible decisions and has protagonists that we’re supposed to sympathize with making some of these objectively terrible decisions. If we’re really supposed to buy this mentality that there are no truly wrong or right decisions (which is idiotic to begin with), then it’s even more hypocritical to hold female characters up to a higher standard and crucify them for objectively less heinous actions.

        • RH

          Tbh you could make the argument the “heroes” are the monsters they always claim the Grounders are since Grounder aggression against the Skybrats outside Nia is because the Skybrats do something first, burning down a village, shooting up peace talks, blowing up a bridge, etc. It’s not like it’s a “grey” thing either, the Skybrats get away with everything as long as it’s Grounders that die but Grounders defending themselves or in regards to S3 getting justice for what the Skybrats did to them because I mean the only reason that ALIE got into Polis was through Jana and of course the massacre that continues to be portrayed as a “good thing” is always bad, I mean Rothenberg tried to say on twitter that Lexa asking for Finn to answer for what he did was a betrayal.

          • Olivia

            That’s one of the main reasons I stopped watching, this show in general treats the grounders terribly and any injustices against them are brushed aside or framed as some sort of huge ethical dilemma. I was hoping that at one point the writers would make it a point to make the skaikru realize that they have been just as if not more “savage” than the people they look down on and generally see as less civilized. Idk if it’s going down that route this season, but I’m at a point where for me it would probably be “too little too late” after the mess that was season 3 and how hellbent the show has been on trying to make us sympathize with or easily forgive the skaikru’s actions.

          • I was hoping for the same thing, especially after S2, which had a much more nuanced portrayal of the Grounders than S1. The show seemed to be on a trajectory to be allowing Skaikru to realize it was ‘no better’ than the supposed ‘savages’ they thought the Grounders to be, especially with Lexa’s emphasis on mercy and life being about more than survival.

            I honestly don’t think they could salvage the way they’ve handled the Grounders, especially since the only characters that have died this season are all Grounders. Trishanakru’s new hatred of Skaikry only reinforces the idea that all Grounders start out hating Skaikru.

        • Exactly. If you’re going to claim to be a show that’s ‘morally grey’, double standards for male and female characters and minimizing truly horrific acts (that would be considered war crimes in many contemporary societies), is NOT the way to do it.

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