"Maybe there are no good guys.": Characters of the 100

I thought we could have a character discussion thread, since there doesn't appear to be one. Plus, I just have to get my frustrations with the characterization of Clarke this season off my chest.

I'm really disappointed with the writing for Clarke this season. She became whatever the plot or other's character arcs needed her be, so you couldn't really get in to her headspace. In the rare instance where she was allowed to react to anything, she was only permitted to be apologetic for the umpteenth time. It's great that every other character was allowed to get everything off their chest to her (I guess), but there's nothing more frustrating than watching a bunch of people who are continually written to have no solutions of their own, continue to rag on a character, and then when met with hardship, turn to face said character expecting a solution once again. Yet, she still has to continually apologize as she set the plans in motion. Unless they're going for some depiction of the long-suffering (in silence) of a leader, it's becoming ridiculous. How many times has Clarke said something along the lines of: "Have a better idea?", only to be met with blank stares and silence? At what point will Clarke be permitted to turn to everyone else and tell them to piss off if they think they can do a better job? Which is it--Clarke's done a shit job and shouldn't carry on doing said shitty job or Clarke abandoned us, boohoo? You can't have it both ways. You particularly can't continue chewing her out for both (with Clarke having to apologize for both). This has been nothing but frustrating to behold.

Edited by Solace247.

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Or maybe Clarke shouldn't be entitled little queen that expects people to still be sympathetic to her woman pain after everyone's being through. She was a crap person, left people that trusted her and betrayed her friends by staying and literally sleeping with the enemy that destroyed her psychologically and hurt her supposed friends. They definitely forgave her shitty selfish behavior way too easily in the end, even after she continued to make disastrous horrible decisions. But since she's a lead character, everyone just gets it slide. I have no sympathy left for Clarke and her bullshit.

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On 6/2/2016 at 11:53 AM, Solace247 said:

I thought we could have a character discussion thread, since there doesn't appear to be one. Plus, I just have to get my frustrations with the characterization of Clarke this season off my chest.

I'm really disappointed with the writing for Clarke this season. She became whatever the plot or other's character arcs needed her be, so you couldn't really get in to her headspace. In the rare instance where she was allowed to react to anything, she was only permitted to be apologetic for the umpteenth time. It's great that every other character was allowed to get everything off their chest to her (I guess), but there's nothing more frustrating than watching a bunch of people who are continually written to have no solutions of their own, continue to rag on a character, and then when met with hardship, turn to face said character expecting a solution once again. Yet, she still has to continually apologize as she set the plans in motion. Unless they're going for some depiction of the long-suffering (in silence) of a leader, it's becoming ridiculous. How many times has Clarke said something along the lines of: "Have a better idea?", only to be met with blank stares and silence? At what point will Clarke be permitted to turn to everyone else and tell them to piss off if they think they can do a better job? Which is it--Clarke's done a shit job and shouldn't carry on doing said shitty job or Clarke abandoned us, boohoo? You can't have it both ways. You particularly can't continue chewing her out for both (with Clarke having to apologize for both). This has been nothing but frustrating to behold.

I do think the others, Bellamy eapecially, are much too hard on Clarke. As you mention, they seem to expect her to lead and then immediately attack her when she makes decisions they don't like. They lack compassion. But it's not really that different from how we treat our real leaders in the US.

I've read a lot about viewers having trouble with Clarke's character development in season three, but I liked it a lot. I think she fell deeply in love with Lexa and wanted to stay with her; Lexa did the same thing. But both were also burdened by this steadfast loyalty and feeling of obligation to their respective tribes. Clarke spent the whole season battling that: Should her loyalty be with Lexa and nurturing that relationship, or with her people who were falling apart? In the end, she chose her people...mostly. Interestingly, though, Lexa sort of chose Clarke.

Edited by madam magpie.

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I know a lot of you are tired of discussing Bellamy's actions this season but I want to offer the perspective of someone who just binged the first three seasons as my introduction to the show (thanks Netflix!).

I think the problem a lot of you have is that Bellamy's actions make no sense tactically, morally, intellectually. Totally fair. Not disputing that. However, I think they're also totally in character for him and I think they serve a more important thematic purpose. I find it perfectly realistic for him to backslide into being weak after his frankly quick turnaround to S2 hero as opposed to S1 asshole. For me it makes him a more real and complex character.

I also believe that the "point" of this storyline was to draw out the thematic and moral questions that come with the uncritical following of a strong, charismatic fascist leader (YMMV but I think that's what Pike is intended to be). I think this storyline has echoes of Hitler and the German people's complicity, and I think themes related to this come out through Bellamy's storyline: how far are we willing to follow in line with committing acts of atrocity.

I think Bellamy is perfectly suited to draw out these themes and storyline - we've seen that his character is a weak one, a follower, but a good soldier, easily manipulated (see the assassination of Jaha plot) and lacking moral guidance. He was also emotionally compromised at the time (Gina, whatever, and a perceived betrayal by Clarke, doubly so) and I think that allowed him to get swept up in Pike's rhetoric without being able to pause to critically think.

As the atrocities continue through the season, Bellamy becomes more and more entrenched in his belief that he's doing the right thing. To admit otherwise is to take on the weight of the  countless murders he has already committed. I think it became an act of self preservation in order to stay sane and not be overcome by guilt.

Yes, a bit more of this could have been shown, I agree, but this show has consistently skimped on moments of important character development (for me, Finn's 180 degree personality swap is a case in point). I think it was perfectly clear otherwise.

Except for one thing... The fall-out/redemption... I do think it has been done very poorly so far. I guess you could say the characters have been caught up in the plot sweeping them along and haven't gotten time for much of a breather to think through the potential weight of all this... But it does seem like it's being filed away as just one more thing to live with... Which: no. This is definitely a step beyond what any of our other protagonists have done so far and needs to be addressed as such.

My hope is that the writers have seen the backlash and try to repair this. I think there's still time. Once the characters get some time to breathe and digest what has happened, the full moral weight will come down on them all and Bellamy will have to face some real consequences. I think this is still possible. Fingers crossed, because I actually thought this storyline was really interesting and I'm glad they did it. I really disliked Bellamy as a Mary Sue last season. I think his character has a lot of potential for interesting stuff, mostly because he is so weak (and yet very capable and charming, and the top billed male cast member - definitely a rare thing to see!).

Sorry that was so long but hopefully it made sense.

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My favorite character by the end of season three was Murphy.  Murphy!  Never would have believed that in earlier seasons.  Never underestimate the power of a witty one-liner, consistent characterisation and believable character growth. (and all your previous favorites behaving completely out of character)

Clarke annoyed me this season.  Yes, she stayed with the grounders, but she could have spent a bit longer making others understand why she was doing it and smoothed over some things (but I guess that wouldn't have served where they wanted to take the plot).  She seemed very primadonna to me this season and only started acting in ways I could identify with towards the end.

I was fine with Bellamy season one and season two.  While Bob Morley continues to be a favorite of mine, Bellamy was just stupid too many times this season for reasons that only served a plotline.  Once all the characters reunited he started getting better and motivations became clearer and some of the damage was repaired, but still...  I do think relying on the 30 second girlfriend with whom he had no chemistry for motivation was a  mistake.  I couldn't understand why he was following Kane one minute, with almost a fatherly vibe, and then wouldn't listen to him the next.  Still, things were getting much better towards the end of the season.  

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ETA: Nevermind. I'm not going to post in this thread again. This show pisses me off.

Edited by CooperTV.

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Whoever plays Clarke took me out of the show with her acting.  Even when she was supposed to be crying, it just seemed underwhelming.  

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On 10/10/2016 at 9:42 AM, CooperTV said:

Or maybe Clarke shouldn't be entitled little queen that expects people to still be sympathetic to her woman pain after everyone's being through. She was a crap person, left people that trusted her and betrayed her friends by staying and literally sleeping with the enemy that destroyed her psychologically and hurt her supposed friends. They definitely forgave her shitty selfish behavior way too easily in the end, even after she continued to make disastrous horrible decisions. But since she's a lead character, everyone just gets it slide. I have no sympathy left for Clarke and her bullshit.

This right here. I seen too many people turn against Bellamy and excuse Clarke when she hypocritically forgave and fucked Lexa so easily when she left Clarke and her friends to die in Season 2. There are no saints in this show period. Basically everyone has done something terrible.  

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6 hours ago, jay741982 said:

This right here. I seen too many people turn against Bellamy and excuse Clarke when she hypocritically forgave and fucked Lexa so easily when she left Clarke and her friends to die in Season 2. There are no saints in this show period. Basically everyone has done something terrible.  

So Clarke (possibly) forgiving Lexa after months passed, with Lexa trying to make up for it with protecting Clarke's people, is wrong. But Clarke forgiving Bellamy one day later after he caused 320 people to die so he wouldn't had to face punishment is totally ok? Why exactly is a situation that showed outright forgiveness given under no time much more acceptable than the assumed one from Clarke regarding Lexa after a much longer period and actual effort shown by Lexa?

Also everyone has done something terrible? Sure. But lets not pretend the burden of horrible actions is equal across the board.

Bellamy was the one who helped put Trump Jr. in charge and armed him. Bellamy went with a handful of people in the night and butchered 300 people that were there to protect them. Bellamy is the mid twenties guy that took a day before he started fucking teenage girls that he had an insane power difference over, being the sole adult in charge of water, food, weapons, shelter and security. Bellamy went to murder kids in their sleep, and got angry when the old people there placed a trap that killed one of his wannabe child killers friends. Bellamy was fine with a girl getting her face burnt off in order to further his own agenda. Bellamy got 320 people killed, while trying to get the entire population of the Ark killed (that is how many kids and babies?). Bellamy is the one that stopped Lincoln and a bunch of sick grounders from breaking out of prison that they were meant to die in. Bellamy is the one that previously supported a friend leaving to take care of herself, and then withdrew that support and threw a massive bitch fit at her for not being around to be his mom. Bellamy is the one that not even two days after the death of his sister boyfriend, whined over her still being mad at him.

Bellamy is the character that has shown to creep over in abusive controlling behaviour of his sister, complete with assigning a man to ensure she only talked to people he thought he should talk to, and confined to certain areas. Not to mention leaving a guy his sister liked out to die because they kissed, and then be pleased when he was so traumatized over it that he didn't want anything to do with his sister afterwards. This controlling behaviour started showing its ugly head again in S3. And I haven't even listed all the shitty and horrible things Bellamy has done, and yet would be hard pressed to produce such a list for one of our other protagonists. Things only get worse if we then start putting in motivation for those bad actions, where quite often Bellamy's are either selfish or in the case of S3 based on Man Pain and Xenophobia.

Like Bellamy has done some good things, particularly in S2 where he swapped personalities with Finn, but the amount of bad would had landed any other character as a villain, and not in the 'grey area' many of the other characters are perceived to exist in. He got a free pass of his S1 actions by most cuz he started trying not act solely on his own self interest in S2 and Bob's skills. Problem is, season 3 added much more without a doubt morally black actions from him coupled with xenophobic rhetoric, misogynistic narratives, unnecessary genocide, attempt to purge a village etc. Also an utter lack of proper remorse and acknowledgement of his wrong doings. IF audience members are expected to deal with such horrid actions, we need to at least understand the motivation and feel like there was no better options.

There is a point where good looks, charisma and sad eyes stops getting you good will from the audience. Particularly as we can tell he did have a viable options to not do those things that would result in actually more positive outcomes with less dead people by his hands. It wasn't S1 where the Grounders were charging the Dropship, or S2 where their people were being drained and dying in front of them.

Him simply not choosing to murder people would had been win/win for all.

Edited by Riful.

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the way Pike’s story unfolded (particularly in 3A) is pretty shaky. The bones of an amazing arc and character are there, but the narrative doesn’t place enough weight on Pike’s concerns or the very real threats Arkadia is facing; the show itself focuses heavily on the violence Pike is capable of until 3B, so I don’t mean to mount a full-throated defense of the show’s handling of Pike. I do, however, mean to mount that defense when it comes to Pike as a character.

That said, I think it’s important to look at the political setup on the Ark. They’re rocking something of a Totalitarian democracy as it is. As far as I can suss out, the people elect their chancellor, who then holds close to unilateral power. The only check on the chancellor is the council–a council that incoming chancellor appoints. Then you have the Exodus Charter, which gives the chancellor the right to treat any crime as a felony. That’s a recipe for some truly effed up politics.

All the chancellors we’ve seen have been fine with making life and death choices based on their own agenda. Jaha and Abby both display a level of comfort with authoritarian rule–I adore Abby, but she’s no less guilty of “it’s my way because I have the pin, now do what I told you to do” way of governance than the rest of our motley chancellor crew. Pike absolutely sees himself as the ultimate authority once the pin is his, but that’s because… well, he is. I have a lot of feelings about how his arc went down in the narrative, but in terms of “what is going on in that shiny, shiny head of yours, Charles Pike” it pretty much scans.

For a concrete example of this, Pike’s order of execution is often spun as being beyond the pale or “out of nowhere”, but that’s not only pretty typical, it’s one of the few actions Pike takes that I will categorically defend. Quite obviously, as a viewer I didn’t want Pike to win and get three of my favorite characters killed, but Kane didn’t truss him up to hand him over to the grounders so they could have a stirring debate or play a game of checkers. He was, in essence, playing an active part the assassination of his legally elected chancellor. If Pike had gone after Abby rather than Indra’s army in 3A, I can’t imagine that we’d say he shouldn’t be punished in whatever way she deemed necessary. The same applies here. It wasn’t the outcome I wanted as a viewer, but from a dispassionate standpoint Pike is the one with the law on his side.

There was a scene left on the cutting room floor where Pike begged Kane to recant and allow Pike to save him, and I wish to God it had been left in. Showing the audience that Pike was ready to pass the sentence and swing the sword and that he tried to find another way before going to the worst option on the table would have made the choice land as less cold and more the only choice he felt was left to him.

This is where I think they fell down most. Pike can seem cold or dictatorial because the narrative doesn’t emphasize that these choices aren’t ones he makes lightly, and because the show doesn’t spend enough time walking the walk that it’s factually wrong but entirely reasonable to view the world through his myopic lens.

The massacre of Indra’s army is the most egregious example of that second issue (and the one I would full-stop get rid of if I had a hand in the writing) but the lack of emphasis later on, say, the fact that Pike wanted to take that village’s land because Arkadia genuinely needs it to survive made him seem violent and arbitrary to many viewers, rather than a desperate man taking desperate measures.

The way I look at the Charles Pike who rolls up on Arkadia is best summed up through a ridiculous analogy, but go with me. Let’s say you’ve never heard of blonds before. Not just haven’t met one, but didn’t even think they were a thing. Then you find out a bunch of kids you feel personally responsible for have been killed by these mysterious blonds. You lose contact with all those kids, so who knows what happened to them, and then it’s your turn to go meet these blonds.

The first interaction you have with blonds yourself ends in dead children. Then for nearly half a year, they try and kill you and everybody you love. They’re the boogeyman, for all intents and purposes, and by the time you find your friends again, every single blond person you’ve met has tried aggressively to murder your face right off. So, being a logical person who still would rather not die, you make it clear that blonds are super dangerous and to be avoided at all costs.

Your buddy is like, “No! I promise, your empirical evidence is wrong. You were just around the wrong blonds, our blonds are friendly.”

You’re skeptical, but you go with it because he’s your friend and hey, maybe he’s right and you’ve just been hanging with the wrong crowd. Then more than half the people you managed to drag out of the wilderness (including the last remaining children) die in an explosion set off by those pesky blonds. You go to your friend like “so, we can agree I’m right now, yes? Because of how I was just proved right?” and he not only tells you you’re still wrong, he tells you that you’re not allowed to do anything about all those people who just died. How ready are you to listen to your friend once everybody votes and they give you a mandate to lead as you see fit?

Tldr: I think the question of “is Pike a dictator” ends up more or less moot by virtue of every chancellor being a dictator. The argument is a valid one, but he’s no more or less dictatorial than Jaha or even Abby.

 

Some fandom meta about Charles Pike

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Echo:
-she’s a royal guard
-we’ll be seeing a lot more of her this season
-Tasya is intimidatingly beautiful but so sweet
-Bob mentioned something about Echo being the Big Bad this season (aside from the end of the world, of course)
-Bellamy is the only Skaikru Echo trusts (I’m fairly certain that sentiment isn’t returned though)

Niylah:
-We’ll definitely be seeing more of her this season!
-she’s very much a thought-before-action type of person
-sounds like she has more sex scenes this season? (She was talking about them in the plural and she only had one in s3 so…)
-she is part of Trikru
-she’s no longer still wandering through the woods after Clarke told her to leave (lol)
-she loves Clarke for what she did to Mount Weather, but she’s not in love with her

(I missed the main panel Tasya and Jessica were at because of my Sachin m&g, but @ginalou16 might be able to provide more info!)

Octavia:
-her relationship with Bellamy is rocky and doesn’t get fixed right away

We actually didn’t talk about Octavia much (or anyone who wasn’t actually present) so I don’t think I have anything else to share!

 

Echo, Niylah and Octavia in season 4 from the recent UnityDays20017 convention in Vancouver.

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