The 100 Season 3 Roundtable

The 100

With The 100 season 3 firmly in the books, it’s time to take a look back at the season. A panel of Geekiary contributors discuss the characters, the storylines, and those controversial deaths that had such an impact on the show.

Your panelists are:

JAMIE: Jamie reviews The 100 for The Geekiary as well as contributing relevant news pieces about the show and the fandom.

TARA: Tara began watching The 100 last summer because summer is when she has time to binge-watch TV shows. She raced through seasons one and two in just a few weeks and later offered to help Jamie review the show when season 3 aired.

FROGGY: Froggy started watching The 100 at the end of Season 2 because her friends kept praising the Clexa ship.

Is everybody ready? Let’s get to it!

Now that the season is over, what were you overall impressions of season 3 as a whole? What were the weak points? What were your favorite moments?

JAMIE: Overall, I was a little underwhelmed by this season. I think it suffered a lot from pacing problems and of course underdeveloped character arcs. The season 2 finale clearly set up A.L.I.E. as the main arc for season 3, yet it seemed to take ages for there to be any real movement in that storyline. Meanwhile, we had to wait through politics and the introduction of an entirely new Ark section we had no previous attachment to.

TARA: I agree about being underwhelmed. I honestly thought we’d get to see a bit more of Clarke out on her own and like Jamie said, find out more about A.L.I.E., when instead we had the whole Pike storyline shoved down our throats. Of course I’m not sure those are two plot lines they could have switched up, timeline wise, but all the same the season as a whole didn’t resonate with me the way the first two did. As for things I liked…well. I really enjoyed Raven this season once she fought against the chip.

FROGGY: I mostly feel disappointed. Season 3 had great potential and I think it’s been wasted. Everything seemed rushed, yet 3B was full of filler episodes. They should have focused solely on the Grounders, their politics and the conflict with the Ice Queen, and kept the AI storyline for Season 4. Or vice-versa but not both in the same season. Characterization was a big problem. It seems the writers forgot that on TV, characters drive the plot; the plot doesn’t drive their actions. Yet it is exactly what happened here, especially regarding Bellamy. It is almost like his character development in Season 2 has disappeared.

 

The 100 is generally lauded for its diversity. With some controversial deaths this season (Lexa and Lincoln), do you feel that it is still a good example? How do you feel the show handles its female characters, POC characters, LGBT+ characters?

JAMIE: I think a lot of the problems with Lexa’s death weren’t in-show but outside of it. Obviously, The 100 fell into some familiar tropes and it would have been nice if such an apparently progressive show had not literally done a by-the-book death of a lesbian television character. Lincoln’s death was just all around awful when you consider the context of Ricky [Whittle] leaving the show, and factor in that they gave Lincoln virtually no story leading up to it.

In other aspects, they introduced some new female characters and ended up killing at least four of them off (including a WoC), two with obvious fridging. I’m still angry about the way the writers continually torture Raven. They made small strides forward with LGBT+ representation with Niylah and Miller and Brian’s relationship, but a lot of that goodwill disappeared with Lexa’s death.

FROGGY: This season, I feel like The 100 tried to become a sort of Game of Thrones for teenagers with respect to torture porn and shocking deaths. Sadly, the LGBT+/PoC characters were the first to suffer from it.

I think everything has been said regarding Lexa’s death for the past 3 months and the use of the “Bury Your Gays” trope.  Regardless the reasons for killing her, the way the creative staff handled the fans’ reactions was unacceptable and I think that’s what made her death even worse. When your writers/actors/PAs are consoling fans, asking them not to hurt themselves and sharing suicide hotlines on Twitter and Tumblr, it means you’ve f***ed up! The fact that Rothenberg was not able to properly address the issue and called fans bullies online is very telling and does not give me much hope about the show’s LGBT+ characters in the future, especially Clarke. Having another gay couple with Miller and Brian is great but they are secondary characters and cannot in any way replace Clarke and Lexa’s relationship.

In the same way, Lincoln’s execution and the issues surrounding Ricky Whittle’s departure does not show a great understanding from the writers the impact The 100 has in real life. Ultimately, the main problem for me is the fact that the writers refuse to acknowledge that the show does not exist in a vacuum and that the characters they kill and the way they are killed have a strong impact on the viewers in the current atmosphere in society. The excuse “everyone can die” is over-used and insignificant by now.

Concerning the female characters, their characterization suffered a lot this season compared to Season 2: Clarke was barely in charge and abused by her friends for most of 3B, Raven was in constant pain, Octavia did not have much to do besides being a “smol angry ninja warrior”, Abby was MIA most of the time… I expected more.

PoC had a hard time this season. A lot died: Lincoln, Pike, Hannah, Sinclair, and a lot were tortured: Kane and most particularly Raven who tried to commit suicide under A.L.I.E.’s control. This comes back to my earlier point about the show not existing in a vacuum. The writers need to to do better and educate themselves about the tropes.

TARA: I honestly don’t think I can say any more than you guys already have! (And that’s a good thing.) Lexa’s death was frustrating; the manner of it even more so. Same with Lincoln, though I know Ricky Whittle wasn’t having a very good time working on The 100 and I’m far more excited to see him in American Gods anyway.

 

We met some new characters from all over this season (Pike, Hannah, Brian, Gina, Roan, Ontari, Luna). What were your impressions of them? Which ones, if any, were underutilized?

TARA: Well, we certainly had a lot of women who were added to the show only to be killed off to further men’s plotlines (notably Gina and Hannah). I’m withholding judgment about Luna for now because I have to imagine that the show will bring her back, but Ontari was definitely underutilized – probably more so than the rest of them considering that other than Luna she was the last nightblood and didn’t even last a whole season (not to mention basically immediately giving in to the A.L.I.E. chip). I really loved Roan – he was one of those maddening characters who was probably the best new one this season, in my opinion, but he’s gone too…though at least Pike is as well, I guess, even if I do kind of wish Octavia hadn’t murdered him. I just think not doing so would have been better character development for her.

JAMIE: Predictably, I think the women were mostly underutilized. Gina basically only existed so that she could die and further Bellamy’s arc. I feel that there was very little development in Hannah and Monty’s relationship, and so when he had to shoot her to save Raven I didn’t react the way I think I was supposed to. Ontari was set up as this major badass, and she could have been an amazing adversary, but then the City of Light showed up and I think she caved too easily. And now she’s dead. And Luna was heralded as a savior and practically mythologized only for her to only be in two episodes and tell Clarke to f-off. She could still come back, though, and I hope she does.

FROGGY: I found most of these new characters very one-dimensional which made it difficult for me to care about them. Pike and Ontari were despicable characters and one scene explaining their “tragic” past was hardly enough to make them interesting. Having Ontari rape Murphy certainly did not help either. As Jamie said, Luna had been hyped for quite a while so I expected to see more of her than those 2 episodes with no useful outcome. Gina got fridged because Bellamy’s manpain was more important. The only character I enjoyed was Roan, also thanks to Zach McGowan’s portrayal, yet once he became King, he was underutilized. Killing him was a mistake in my opinion as he could have been a great ally to Clarke in the future.

 

Between the Chancellor election in Arkadia and the conclave in Polis, season 3 centered a lot around politics. Which storyline did you prefer? Which do you feel was executed better?

JAMIE: More of my faves were in Arkadia, but I really had a lot of issues with that storyline. It relied too heavily on characters who were new to us and thereby I had no emotional connection with. The way TPTB kept trying to justify the storyline choices on social media instead of through the show itself didn’t help. Also, a lot of it was a retread of season 1 — the Grounders are the enemy, let’s kill them all — and not that interesting.

The situation in Polis was actually pretty interesting until they killed Lexa. I’d been hoping for more of a look at Grounder culture since the beginning and everything surrounding the treaty and the Ice Nation were fantastic.

FROGGY: The Grounders politics were a lot more interesting to me. Everything that happened in Arkadia was expedited or off-screen, unfortunately. I felt like the audience had to accept that all Arkers were now supporting Pike whereas in Season 2, everyone understood that an alliance with the Grounders was the safest way to peace and survival. This change of mindset came out of nowhere.

I have to admit that the Polis storyline got a bit boring once Lexa died. This comes back to the fact that Ontari was a poorly written character compared to Lexa. The writers could have done so much more with the 12 clans and their history. Lexa’s quest for peace was a lot more compelling than Ontari’s thirst for war.

TARA: I have to agree with Froggy – the Grounder politics take the cake in this situation. Mostly because of what Jamie said – the politics in Arkadia could have been great; instead they focused too much on new characters, including Pike, a character whom Collider said may have been the most hated in the show this season – possibly even on television as a whole!

 

The overarching storyline for the season was A.L.I.E. and the City of Light. What did you think of this plot? What did you think of A.L.I.E. as a villain?

JAMIE: A villain that knows everything and controls everything is actually kind of boring? She basically always won every time, and it’s exhausting. It took too long for us to learn her motivations, and to really understand the whole point, that by the time we got there, I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted it to be over.

TARA: Once again you’ve taken the words right out of my mouth, Jamie! A.L.I.E. was too “perfect” of a villain and seeing her win every single time got old really, really fast. To this day I still don’t really care about her eventually-revealed-motivations, and mostly I’m just glad that they got rid of her in the end because I’m not sure I could have taken one more episode of the whole City of Light plot.

FROGGY: I love Sci-Fi so I really wanted to like this storyline. Knowing that Jason Rothenberg, the showrunner, killed Lexa in order to further A.L.I.E. left a bad taste in my mouth. All I could think was, “Lexa died for that?”. Especially after learning that she did not need to die for us to learn more about A.L.I.E.’s backstory.

Despite that, I enjoyed Erica Serra’s portrayal of A.L.I.E. and especially Becca. This was the only positive point of that story.

 

Of our returning favorites, whose storyline did you like the most? Whose did you like the least?

JAMIE: Bellamy, by far, had my least favorite storyline. It involved complete character regression, which would have been understandable if the explosion in Mount Weather had killed, say, Octavia. The fact that it killed his girlfriend we had only seen for maybe 10 minutes did not feel like enough of a justification for his behavior, but that’s poor writing more so than Bob [Morley] as an actor.

If I had to pick a favorite, I would probably go with Octavia. Marie [Avgeropoulos] really got to flex her acting muscles all season. Her initial reaction to Lincoln’s death and her subsequent breakdown, plus the nuanced way she handled Octavia and Bellamy’s deteriorating relationship. She just really had a lot of great scenes this season; I’m only sorry that Lincoln had to die for this to happen.

For the record, I was also impressed with Lindsey [Morgan] (Raven), but I really wish they would stop hurting her so much.

TARA: I love Bellamy but man did he frustrate me this season. Sometimes that was great, but most times I kept wondering why I still liked him at all. I really hope that with the way things wrapped up, we get a better storyline for him in season four.

While I agree that I wish they would stop hurting Raven so much, gosh she was awesome this season. I hated that she gave in to the chip not once but twice, but the fact that she fought against it that first time and only gave in when she was brutally tortured the second time made me feel…well, if not “better” about it, at least not quite so frustrated as I was with some of Bellamy’s development – or lack of it.

To step outside of storylines, though, I just love Monty in general. Please don’t ruin him for me, The 100

FROGGY: In general, I thought most the Arkers’ characterization was off in Season 3. Bellamy ended up with the worst storyline. It was like all his character development during Season 2 never existed. The fact that Rothenberg had to explain Bellamy’s actions online speaks a lot about the lack of understanding from the audience. It was badly handled. Jasper’s manpain and resentment towards Clarke after she killed his girlfriend of 5 days was over the top. I am not negating the very real aspect of PTSD but the fact that Jasper and Bellamy are allowed to act out following a traumatizing event but the women have to suck it up is annoying me greatly. At no point was Clarke allowed to mourn Lexa, Octavia got brief moments of emotions before she was back in Ninja mode, Raven never let go and show her pain to others. I am all for “strong female characters” but strong is not the only thing they should be.

I am also very disappointed about the way the Arkers treated Clarke. I am not sure what message the writers are trying to send by having their lead character being constantly blamed for everyone’s mistake but it is not a good one.

I am not certain which storyline I enjoyed the most because I thought everyone was a bit OOC this season. I’d like to say Lexa but with such an ending…That being said, I liked that Octavia went through her revenge for Lincoln’s death and Clarke’s Slytherin moment when she tried to kill the Ice Queen. Those moments were on par with what I expect from them.

 

So apparently they’re all gonna die in about six months. What do you predict will happen in season 4? What recurring characters do you expect to return? And, perhaps most importantly, will you be tuning in?

JAMIE: In season 4 I expect Clarke to shoulder the weight of everything herself and to be forced with some difficult ethical decision, the ramifications of which will haunt her for the rest of ever. I’m still not sure if Roan was killed or just badly injured, but I liked him so I hope he comes back. In another “everyone is threatened not just the Sky People” plotline, they’ll need all the Grounders. Hopefully we get to meet some more of the clans.

I’m still on the fence about returning for season 4. The latter half of season 3 made up for some of what happened in earlier episodes, but I just wasn’t all that thrilled with some of the writing and pacing decisions this season. I think it all depends on what I hear about the new season and if it sounds interesting enough. I do love these characters, but at times I hate how they’re being treated.

FROGGY: Lindsey Morgan revealed that Season 4 will focus on the remaining core of the delinquents so it looks like it’s going to be “Skaikru saves the day again” – most likely by pulling a lever. It makes me a bit worried about the Grounders. They are one of my favorite parts of the show and I would like to see more of their world and the clans.

What I would like to see is 1. Clarke breaking down, she needs it after everything that’s happened – the poor girl has not had time to process yet – 2. Everyone needs to give Clarke a break. I also want Bellamy face the consequences of his actions in Season 3. While I do not want a redemption arc for him because he is way past it for me, walking around with sad puppy eyes is not enough. He and others need to acknowledge how bad his actions were.

Seeing so many characters being killed, tortured or traumatized for nothing in Season 3 left me sad and empty so I am still wondering if I will be back for more. I am still a big fan of Clarke, Raven and Octavia so at the end of the day, I will most likely continue watching. But the show is hanging on a thin thread. One misstep and I’m out.

TARA: I was under the impression that Roan is definitely dead, but if someone has any evidence otherwise, please send it my way!

As for the whole “everyone’s dying in six months”…yeah, sometimes the constant threats these characters endure gets to be a bit much, and I think this is definitely one of those times. Mostly because this seems like some insanely impossible thing to fix, if in fact it’s actually true (and I suppose we have to believe it is, at least for now). For my part, I’ll certainly start watching The 100 next season, but how they handle this whole six months thing will probably play a big part in whether or not I stick it out until the very end.

Author: Jamie

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from THE Ohio State University. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, and conventions in the NYC area.

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