Major spoilers for the entirety of 'The 100' Season 3, right up until Episode 12 lie ahead
It's no secret that this season of The 100 has been full of drama, blood and tears. And that's only taking into account what's been going on behind the scenes and on social media. This season of the hit dystopian CW show has been uncharacteristically turbulent, primarily since the death of its (arguably) most beloved character, an unpopular decision which saw a decline in ratings and a severe backlash on social media. More recently it was Ricky Whittle's gives-no-fucks exit from the show which caused further outrage. So can a show that's seen this much angst and rage recover?
Well, perhaps it can. The 100, along with all currently airing CW shows, was renewed for Season 4, to the delight of showrunner and most-hated-man-on-Twitter, Jason Rothenberg. As Season 3 of The 100 weaves its way towards the finale on May 19, I want to look back at the highs and lows of the season so far, and you can let me know what you thought of Season 3 in the comments below.
I'm going to start with the big one. Lexa's death on the show sparked one of the biggest TV-related outrages I have personally ever witnessed. Lexa was a well loved, well rounded character, who happened to be the leader of the 12 clans, a lesbian and Clarke's love interest. In Episode 7 "Thirteen" she was shot and killed by a stray bullet meant for Clarke, by the man who basically raised her, just minutes after consummating her relationship with Clarke.
The crux of the issue was that the actress, Alycia Debnam-Carey was cast as a series regular on AMC's Fear The Walking Dead, and had to leave The 100 for that reason. What fans were most outraged about was the timing, and manner of her death. Many cited that this was just another case of the Bury Your Gays trope, lesbian and bisexual characters rarely make it through a series alive.
The death, and fall out, was commented on by several well-read media outlets (Variety and Entertainment Weekly to name a couple) and sparked a nation-wide debate on the responsibility of showrunners and writers when it comes to representation on their shows. Fans of the Clark and Lexa relationship felt that the show used them to raise their profile, as the showrunners pushed the relationship on social media, relentlessly claiming how "progressive" they were was based on the strength of that relationship. When the decision was made to kill off Lexa in the manor they did, fans felt used and the backlash was, rightly, severe.
Lexa's death raised $120,000 for The Trevor Project (check out the video above), a charity which helps LGBT*Q teens in crisis, a response to those who were deeply effected by it. Showrunner Jason Rothenberg, after going back and forth on the issue since "Thirteen" aired, posted an apology on Medium, which was met with a somewhat negative response. It is also rumored that Lexa will return in the finale, but likely in some kind of dream/City of Light sequence.
I hate to say it, but this is the best storyline of the season. Like the Mountain Men of Season 2, the show balances cruelty for the sake of survival very, very well, which makes for a compelling season villain. After Lexa was shot and killed, it was revealed that the Grounders were linked to Ali and the city of light through a second AI, hidden in the back of Lexa's neck, which was cut out after she died. Throughout Season 2 and 3, Jaha and the AI has been sitting comfortably in the background, until the second half of the season when seemingly all of the Arc are under its control.
What was going on here, I mean really... I feel like Pike and his coup was just killing time until the AI story kicked in... cos it ended with a fizzle and flop.
Played by British actor Ricky Whittle, Lincoln was a fan favorite from day one. His relationship with Octavia was well scripted and affectionate, making his death, and exit from the show even harder to swallow.
On the show (in a nutshell): Lincoln, and the other prisoners are sentenced to death by Pike in the wake of an escape attempt from his imposed martial law. When they manage to break out a second time, Pike threatens to kill all the remaining Grounders unless they hand themselves over. Lincoln decides he cannot do that, and sacrifices himself in a scene which is pretty devastating to watch:
Off-screen: According to Ricky Whittle, Lincoln's exit from the show was hit decision, as he felt 'bullied' by Jason Rothenberg while the series was shooting. Whittle stated in an interview with AfterBuzz TV:
"He was professionally bullying me, cutting out all the story line I was supposed to be doing, cutting lines, cutting everything out, trying to make my character and myself as insignificant as possible."
It's not all bad though, as back in January Whittle was cast as the lead in Starz's upcoming adaption of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, due to air late 2016.
If I'm honest, I could care less about Bellamy this season. After siding with Pike and slaughtering the Grounders, he was pretty much dead to me (right on, Octavia). In Season 1 you loved to hate him, in Season 2, you loved to love him. I am just so bored of him at this point, and he could use some major character development in Season 4.
The 100 seems to be in a bit of a weird place. Critically, the show is doing well, and Season 4 is likely to start shooting very soon. At this point in the season (two episodes from the end), we seem to have hit a bit of a brick wall. Our main "heroes" are back together again, thrown together a little haphazardly, but since Lexa's death, Lincoln's sacrifice, the AI army and now Sinclair (yes, another one), the plot lines are starting to dry up. I understand that this is a show that relishes in the fact that no one is safe, but when that comes at the cost of your fanbase, and cast, who raised you up in the first place, is it really worth it? For me, it will be down to the strength of the last few episodes as to whether or not I will be tuning in for Season 4.
Season 3 Episode 13 "Join or Die" airs next Thursday on The CW. Check out the promo above.