The 100 launched during The CW’s midseason lineup in 2014. Although the first two seasons went under the radar, acclaim for the show began picking up before the show’s third season premiere this spring. Since then, the sci-fi show has earned a rabid following, including actress Emma Caulfield. An alum of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she is no stranger to intense fan bases. On the evening of the finale, Caulfield explains how her love affair with this post-apocalyptic show about beautiful teens began. (Mild spoilers included.)
Sometime back in 2014, a weekly Wednesday night ritual began: My husband’s new favorite show was on. I would walk into the living room and say something super witty like, “I can’t believe you watch this.”
“It’s really good, though,” he would offer back. I’d shake my head, look at the super ugly cast, and say something superior like, “Monty’s hair is dumb.”
“That’s Jasper,” he would politely point out. “Well tell him Kenny Fisher wants his goggles back,” I would say and laugh at my own joke. His reply: “Who’s Kenny Fisher?” CRICKETS.
A few more weeks would pass, offering more flawless, unfamiliar faces. “Who are these actors? Are they all models or something?” I would ask. “They’re Australian, I think,” he would say with his eyes glued to the screen. “Of course they are. It’s The CW.” (No offense — we’re still friends, right?) “Could you stop, personal pet name? You’re kind of ruining my show for me.” FULL STOP in my tracks; I felt like I kicked a Smurf. I was a monster! I apologized and retreated to my stuck up, snobby bitch den (the bedroom).
Many weeks passed. I still mocked it gleefully, but only to myself. And then one night, while whispering to the dogs how boring Finn, Clarke, and Bellamy were, I was interrupted by this inexplicable FORCE. I felt compelled to leave my bitch den and join my husband on the sofa. (It was just a full bladder, but still, I was on the move). Somewhere between the bathroom and the sofa, I realized I had become passively invested in this show and it was time to lean in. Either jump in or X OUT you know? I promised no jokes, but I had questions. (People who ask questions during a TV show are THE WORST, right?) We grabbed pinkies and unmuted the TV after commercials, and there Bellamy was, shirtless and sweaty. I suppressed a laugh, but mixed in with that laugh was a desire to know WHY he was shirtless. And what is this City of Light? I cared.
That question began my journey into the binge-watching abyss. Over the next two weeks, I watched the first two seasons from the beginning. The 100 was smart, original, and created a world that artfully side-stepped any attempt to limit its intentionally broad scope. (I felt so smart for loving this show!) The second half of season 2 was set to return a few months later. This was totally unacceptable, so I did what most people do when faced with this problem. I watched the entire series again from the beginning and read every article I could find on the series and its cast. Finally, the second half of season 2 arrived and I was “all in it,” to quote Bieber.
P.S. Twitter, stop suggesting I follow him, okay? Please.
Speaking of Twitter, I think it was about this time I started live-tweeting the show. I find live-tweeting distracting, but sometimes, you just have to share what you’re feeling with total strangers! (Another step toward the singularity. A.L.I.E. is real y’all.) Damn it if the rest of the season was over as fast as it started, and once again, it was time to watch the show from the very beginning! Enter sad tweets like “I miss you #The100. Never leave me.” It was pathetic. Also, #Pleasehireme.
Now it’s now May 2016. Season 3 has just ended. SO MANY EMOTIONS! SO MANY OPINIONS! Let me sum them up without spoilers. That may be impossible actually. Whatever, here I go.
Clarke! Death! Jasper is not okay. What’s up, Farm Station? Lexa! Mayhem! Go away, Farm Station! Blood must not have blood! I’m sorry what’s happening? Hot people! Pike, like, fike-off! Death! John Murphy is in love! Broken alliances! Death! Blood must have blood? Octavia is, like, I’m so lost, let me stick my sword in something! Indra and Kane. Besties! Death! Betrayal! God, someone kill that A.L.I.E.! Kane for president! Damn. Pike for president? Uh, Bellamy? Clarke! Jaha, I had a son? Memories, like the corners of my mind. Bellamy, are you smarter with your shirt off? Death! Lazy writing that causes artfully executed characters to make dumb choices. Pike and Bellamy! Seriously, Bellamy! What are you doing?! Check those corners, writers. LEXA!! Internet s—storm! Unearned attempts at character redemption! More death! Raven! City of Light! City of Fright, more like! Seriously, someone kill A.L.I.E. before it’s too — Lincoln! I tried to warn you, Octavia! “It’s ’cause of you we need saving!” Sweet Sugar Kane, stand strong! You are NOT my Heda! Murphy! Hey, oh, what’s up, LUNA?! More of you please. Blood must not have blood! RAVEN! KILL SWITCH! RAVEN! Blood must have blood? Clarke! Lexa! Sigh! Lexa! She told us she’d pick wisely! Cry. Kill SWITCH! Bye, A.L.I.E.! What was that about the nukes? Clarke you saved us! Crickets.
Phew! I’m exhausted. Three seasons in, and I love The 100 more than ever. Were there problems? Yes. But really I think those can be summed up in one word: BELLAMY, Mr. American Apparel villain, turned hero, turned awesome, turned possible quagmire. The mess of him has been so pervasive, he can be described as both an adjective and a verb.
Adjective: Destructive, confusing, and supremely disappointing, with no apparent self-correct.
Verb: To suddenly and steadily implode.
(Example: Everything was going great on their first date until it BELLAMIED.)
BUT as disastrous as his season 3 arc has been, Bellamy isn’t the face of this wonderful show. Technically that honor belongs to Eliza Taylor’s Clarke, who’s carried the heaviest of story burdens. As close as Bellamy came to nearly Bellamying the entire show, Clarke is the center square. Where she goes, magic and narrative focus follows. The strength of her character lifts every other out of the chorus and into the spotlight. Sometimes that light shines extra bright, as in the case with Lexa.
I wasn’t going to weigh in on Lexa in terms of the controversy, but I want to say this: It’s always sad to lose a beloved character. She was probably my favorite character along with Murphy. Her death was a major blow, even though I knew they had to write the wonderful Alycia Debnam-Carey off the show. From a story standpoint, I didn’t like the way she died. It felt like another cut corner. I would’ve preferred her to die in battle or have the A.L.I.E. chip malfunction, crawl out of her, and slither away like the alien in Alien. Her reappearance in the finale, however, was poignant and effective. The larger brushstroke with her character was made very clear.
But her story, as well as Bellamy’s, wasn’t written with my feelings in mind, and I know something else for a fact: Creators and the writers who work under them are not in this to betray our sense of trust. They might want to inflict pain but only as a means to tell the story, not because they want us to hurt. They can Bellamy a story line or a character and make us feel that the material we’ve grown to love is unsafe in their hands. But do they sit around in some sadistic circle jerk and say, “Let’s torpedo this love boat and start a war?” No, they don’t. I know a lot of writers. I’ve worked with some of the best. And the best ones have a strong vision and choose to execute that vision however they best see fit. Their vision may work for me or it may not.
Luckily, the miraculous course correction that has taken place over these last few episodes — and the pitch-perfect finale — fits with my fan vision, so I’m not going anywhere. (Not that I ever was ’cause I’m in this love affair way too deep.) I can’t speak for anyone else, nor do I care to, but this fan girl is very much still in love with her dreamy boyfriend. Even though he drank too much that one time and Bellamied all over the carpet.