Female Character Empowerment And A Badass Show – The 100

In the past, getting me to watch anything on the CW network was either by force or my way of wanting to witness a show that is absolutely ridiculous with so many plot holes I find myself saying my signature catchphrase  ‘pshh, that wouldn’t happen’. This is usually followed by additional hours of anger and disbelief until I abandon the show completely.

However, sometimes a show comes around and instantly you get attached to the characters and storyline. For me, it was why  ‘The 100’ was appealing (novel by Kass Morgan of the same name). First off, any kind of story about post apocalypse or the characters are kind of constrained on one area (so yeah, Lost is my ultimate favorite show of all time), can be a unique setting that challenges storylines to develop better characters as episodes move forward (if it’s the Walking Dead, just add new people and kill them off to preserve the a-team–I’m not complaining, I like the characters still alive).

What kept me watching The 100 was the  strong female characters. So yeah, there are going to be some spoilers in here but if you think you would be even remotely interested in this show after reading this, I’d say this is still a success and you can watch the past seasons on Netflix and current season on Hulu or cable.

Quick Plot

At some point through war and destruction, the world became uninhabitable so people took to the stars and lived in space stations. Expecting to have been back on Earth by now and their living was not equipped to hold the population with the thinning oxygen supplies, the station decides to send their criminal 100 teens to the ground to see if earth is survivable. They pretty much are sent to their death as they had no real knowledge prior to the decent  if they could even breath on a planet.

And guess what. It’s not only habitable, but there are people who never left. We call these violent balls of energy ‘Grounders’. Even more violent but unlike Grounders are the ‘Mountain Men’. If you want to know more watch it. I dare you!

Taking (and sharing) the lead of the 100 that survived the crash  are the subjects of my first analysis and first post of this series, Clarke Griffin of the Sky people (called Skaikru by the Grounders) and Grounder Commander Lexa.

Clarke Griffin

Skaikru- The Ark

clarke1
Eliza Taylor plays protagonist Clarke

Clarke is the protagonist, though like Lost, some episodes focused on fellow survivors which strengthens the overall story. She is among the 100 that was locked away in space with other criminals and sent  to earth. Emotionally, she’s fairly strong, leading with a bit attitude but has more a logical mindset than her peers. She takes their mission seriously, even if she’s got a large chip on her shoulder, one that has been there since her father was floated ( In the Ark – the space station they live in, a person committing a crime might be “floated” or locked in a room and the hatch opens up, forcing them to be sucked in space). But Clarke doesn’t really set out to be a leader–it’s her clear moral virtue and leadership qualities that separates her from the rest and allows her to rise the ranks (if you want to know how, watch the show muhahahaha). Other characters share this virtue, both male and female, but for the Sky People (what they are called), it comes naturally for her.

But what makes her so great?

  • She has morals and is more mature than most of her peers combined; yeah, that takes some strength. Also, the fact that she still wants to help the Ark after they imprisoned her, floated her father and sent her to her death makes her a pretty amazing character and respectful leader.
  • She doesn’t always get it right. There have been more than a few instances where Clarke has straight up failed. This brings realism to her character that is refreshing to the usually “perfect” female protagonist we are stuck with. The added benefit is her failures can have fatal consequences.
  • She’s brave as much as she is physically tough. Basically, she take a punch to the face. And has taken plenty. Her braveness is even more impressive because she’s put her life on the line and made sacrifices for her people, time and time again. Her push to protect everyone around her causes a lot of personal pain which comes across authentically. Her motivations are also authentic, especially trying to keep peace and protect huge masses of people.
  • When she follows her heart, the gender is irrelevant. This was certainly a surprise in season 2 considering her connection to Finn in the first season. But Clarke’s not one to wait, and in a move that isn’t the usual CW plot, she shows interest in another female character. She really evolves through the seasons and is very different than the typical crap character the CW brews up.

kissing

Lexa

On a personal level, I actually enjoy rooting for Grounder Commander Lexa more than Clarke, despite her narrowed empathy (at least in comparison to Clarke). She’s strong, physically and emotionally at a young age, commands 12 clans with an iron fist and is no older than Clarke. But this doesn’t mean she’s not challenged. On the few occasions she has been, she’s used her physical might to silence others, and commands her own people in such a manner they respect.

So, this list will be easier of why she’s an amazing character and happens to be a female:

  • She’s a military strategist. When she captures some of the high ranking Ark leaders (after the Ark lands), she’s keen to observe them closely to gage their morality. She also knows strategy in a literal sense in war conflicts, and unfortunately for Clarke, when to make peace with a common enemy to save her own people. However, life on earth has not been a walk in the park and Lexa’s personal life has taken many hits. She still cares though…
Care for Clarke.gif
Alycia Debnam-Carey  brings Lexa to life in The 100

See, she cares…just with blood on her face.

  • She’s highly respected and when challenged, she does not allow anyone to fight for her. If betrayed, she will remove you permanently. This is why she is Commander–that and she was born with the blood of a reincarnated Commander. Her soft side is barely seen and when it is, it’s because of Clarke. Essentially Clarke is her only weakness. This is not too much of a surprise as she was bred to a life of brutality on Earth and her only previous companion was murdered in an attempt to weaken her.
  • She gives 0 fucks to who you are if you challenge her. She removed her own guard for after their failed  to sabotage an alliance with Clarke’s people. Also, her agility and combat style is impressive.

Clarke and Lexa are well built characters with believable behaviors and both internal and external conflicts. At first glance, Clarke appears to be relatable and the recipe of the usual female character but she isn’t–she’s complex with an edge. For Lexa, she is all edge but she has these moments  of reserved compassion that is refreshing for a supporting character. As the show progresses, there is still time for both characters to grow and from the current season, neither seem to be going anywhere (perhaps obvious for Clarke as she is a major player in the show).

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Female Character Empowerment And A Badass Show – The 100

  1. You summed up perfectly exactly why Clarke and Lexa, as well as Octavia and Raven and other women on the show, are such exemplary characters. I think this is the true reason many fans

    —- spoiler start —-

    .
    .
    .
    were unhappy with Lexa’s death. It was not just some petty ship, but a beautiful relationship between two female characters that were actually well-written – strong, smart leaders. I think that is what made the loss so disappointing. How many years until we get another relationship between two female characters whose backgrounds actually have substance?

    —- spoiler end —-

    Thank you for your observations (^_^)

    Like

    1. Hey Omni!

      Thanks for reading! I was devastated by Lexa’s death – she was my favorite character and so unbelievably strong but she served a very important purpose for Clarke and the overall storyline so high fives to all of the writers on that show! Her death though sudden, came at a perfect time in the plot, unfortunately. I hope more writing goes into shows to build strong relationships such as what Clarke had with Lexa, regardless of their gender but let’s hope soon. I can’t wait to dive into more characters in the show as it goes on. I hope to see many more seasons of this unique show and hope its creativity spreads and more shows can emulate what The 100 has done, both in plot and character development.

      -S

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s