The final season of The 100 let down its leads and the relationship that drove the story for six seasons.
With one episode or the last five minutes of it, The 100 found itself ruining the legacy that it spent all this time building.
Bellamy Blake was the heart of the show; he made the audience care more than anything else could have. Bellamy and Clarke's love for one another always made sure that things made sense, no matter what was happening that season.
Bellamy and Clarke's connection drove each season, whether through conflict or them working together to get to the end. The showrunner himself admitted that their relationship drives the narrative and that their bond is the center of the story.
So it was surprising, to say the least, to see the exact opposite of that during The 100 Season 7 Episode 13, with Clarke making the ridiculous choice to kill Bellamy. It didn't make any sense, and it also was a very weak way to send off such an important character.
Essentially, The 100 Season 7 could have gone about all of this another way, a few different ways. Even if there were details that had to stay the same, the ending could have allowed the male lead to get the respect he deserves.
It also wouldn't have ruined the iconic bond between Bellamy and Clarke, and it wouldn't have left Clarke a shell of her former self.
It was a huge misstep that made many question if the show knew how to honor characters that created the love and the hope that The 100 desperately needs heading into its series finale.
That is why TV Fanatic has created a few options that could have been explored in Season 7 that wouldn't have left everything feeling so hollow. From a significant plot twist to a simple rearranging, all of the possibilities are here with no painful side effects.
Bellamy Blake deserved better. Bellamy and Clarke's legacy deserved better.
But maybe the real message of The 100 is that it doesn't know how to do better.
Bellamy Blake's Disappearance Being The Actual Focal Point of the Season and Clarke's Storyline
To be clear, this isn't about rewriting the structure of Bellamy's storyline this season. These scenarios could have happened around canon decisions like Bellamy being missing for most of the season and then getting killed off early.
It isn't about not having him on screen, although not having Bellamy Blake in almost every single scene of the season was one of the biggest mistakes the show ever made.
But what if Bellamy's disappearance actually played a role in the season? Not the pretend role that we heard about when Jason Rothenberg was promoting the season and promising that Bellamy would matter even if he was off screen.
Instead, let's imagine a scenario where Bellamy did disappear, and everyone that cared about him was focused on getting him back. Because after seasons upon seasons of Bellamy stopping at nothing to save every single person in his life, it is about time they returned the favor.
What if Bellamy Blake got the same treatment that Clarke Griffin got in The 100 Season 6? Granted, the show didn't exactly make many characters care about Clarke when she was body-snatched, but the message of the season was still all about Clarke's value and how Bellamy will stop at nothing to save her.
Where was this energy for Bellamy?
Just think of the possibilities if Clarke was just as hyper fixated on finding Bellamy and bringing him home. It isn't like Clarke even existed on screen or had anything driving her this time around, so swapping that nothing in with Bellamy Blake would have been perfect.
That way, Bellamy's memory would still play a significant role in the final season, and it would all hurt less when he returned and had to keep such a distance from his loved ones. At least there would have been the memory of everyone that Bellamy matters to focused on bringing him back.
And not just one character whose relationship with Bellamy leaves a lot to be desired and whose search for him this season was mostly selfish.
But what about his sister, who spent ten years on Skyring thinking about how she would get back to him? What about his soulmate who continuously needs him in her life as a co-leader and a best friend? What about his friend since Day One, whose last scene with Bellamy was cut?
What about one of his people who cared about him and showed him the most amount of kindness this season? What about the son of his friends who ended up with the same belief system as Bellamy did? What about the man who shared his cardigan with Bellamy?
If they spent all season trying to bring him back, the fallout of him joining Cadogan wouldn't be so bad because at least there would be a celebration of the love that Bellamy creates first.
Bellamy Blake Joining The Bardo Void From The Very Beginning
A prevalent idea amongst the fan population was a take on a Bellamy that we haven't seen before, one where he is more void Bellamy than anything else.
This would be a shift from how the season approached Bellamy's storyline in that he would actually have one.
The 100 Season 7 Episode 11 was a great episode because it finally let the audience spend time with Bellamy again, something that should have happened the whole season. But that didn't make the plot line he was forced to carry any better, especially when it feels like there wasn't much thought put into it.
Bellamy introduced us to the belief system that supposedly inspired Cadogan's Last War theory, and he experienced several visions to get him to believe the same thing. But given The 100's not so great history with faith and those that find comfort in it, Bellamy's arc didn't stand a chance.
It wasn't clear why Bellamy seeing a vision of his mother would be enough to make him believe in the concept of transcending into light aliens on a random planet. His belief relied heavily on him being tired of fighting, which was a realistic thread to follow.
But instead of exploring what violence and pain could do to someone's mental health long term, Bellamy was used to sell a story that wasn't even fully formed. Having Bellamy believe in it made it so that fewer questions were asked.
The male lead was essentially a bandage for a bigger problem that the show is only solving in the show's series finale.
This is why it would have made more sense just to have Bellamy join Bardo differently.
Even if The 100 still wanted to pretend that Bardo was "good" until the very last minute, Bellamy joining out of force would still leave room for that. It wasn't clear why Bellamy was part of Cadogan's cult when we saw his time on Etherea, so the same principle would apply if he appeared on Bardo's side without an explanation later.
It could even give more thought to episodes like The 100 Season 7 Episode 5, where it felt like there could be more under the scene's surface. Many wondered if the untrustworthy focus on Octavia's memory meant that it was altered or that Bellamy was already his void version playing a role.
Unfortunately, those kinds of complex theories were no match for the mediocre memory sequence that was just a memory. Maybe there was meant to be more under the surface, or perhaps it was filmed to be suspicious with no follow-through.
Regardless, there would be something unexpected in having Bellamy working for Cadogan out of the blue as a warning sign of how dark things can get in Bardo. It would allow Bob Morley to have a new acting challenge to show off in the show's final season, and it could have left more of an impact.
Could have, would have, should have.
Bellamy Blake Being an Inside Spy
Now, what if instead of forcing Bellamy to carry the weight of a storyline that wasn't even fully developed yet the show allowed the male lead to be true to himself.
If the point of Bellamy being sent to Etherea was to introduce transcendence, why not keep it at that but not let him believe in it so blindly?
Ironically Bellamy's journey on this planet was all about getting back to his people, and even what the narrative wanted to pretend Bellamy was hooked on didn't work.
Supposedly Bellamy started to believe for all mankind when he was on that mountain trying to get to Bardo. Yet he saved his Conductor friend, which was him choosing one specific person that he cares for over the concept of everyone.
Then he came back to Bardo and kept saying that he was following Cadogan because he wanted to make sure that his people were able to find a peaceful life ahead.
Everyone in Bardo followed these rules because they wanted to transcend in the next life. It wasn't about the greater population when everyone selfishly wanted to make sure they would see this Last War and would reap the results.
But Bellamy wasn't thinking about himself; instead, he was focused on making sure his people got to the point of safety and happiness. He wanted them to find a way to stop the murder, and violence in their lives become the only focal point.
Bellamy even questioned Cadogan's motivations, lied to him, and went against proper Bardo protocol because everything he did was for his friends and not against them.
It was an inefficient way to pretend Bellamy was on the Bardo Kool-Aid when he didn't even follow the rules that came with that.
An actual way to explore this mythology, if we can call it that, and have Bellamy introduce it, is to have him be an inside spy.
He could have spent all that time on Etherea just like he had, except he would continue to follow his instinct to not believe in false gods. He would create the illusion that he was coming around on Etherea, and could even pretend in front of Cadogan, only to reveal that he was doing it for a reason.
Because there is really no reason to pretend that this season went out of their way to explore an arc for Bellamy. They didn't.
He was a puzzle piece meant to create conflict and slow down any progress the others could have made on Bardo. So if there wasn't going to be much investment in Bellamy as a character who deserves development, growth, and care, then at least use him true to form.
Bellamy playing the role for the greater good of his people, would have at least communicated that The 100 knew and cared about their male lead.
Bellamy Blake's Last Minute Death Scene and Beyond Being Approached With Forethought
Let's assume that Bellamy's storyline absolutely needed him to be gone for more than half the season and then follow the Cadogan cult until the end.
That still doesn't excuse the lack of respect towards Bellamy's death and the repercussions that came with it.
There was no real thought put towards Bellamy's last episode or the legacy he leaves behind. There was no real thought towards how he would die and what it would mean. There was no real thought behind the aftermath and the honor he deserved to get from the other characters.
According to Jason Rothenberg himself, the decision to kill off Bellamy was a last-minute adjustment.
That means we have to assume that overall, The 100 Season 7 Episode 13 wasn't written knowing that this was Bellamy's episode. Arguably if there was a decision to kill Bellamy off at the last second, there still should have been more time dedicated to it than the last five minutes of the episode.
But even the choice to do it as a last-minute switch doesn't mean the way it went down was okay.
Having Clarke shoot Bellamy over a book was stupid and literally ruined a relationship that the show invested six seasons into. Their bond was what pulled The 100 from season to season, so to treat both of the characters and their relationship so callously was another example the show losing all sense of direction.
It wasn't fair to Bellamy to have that be his ending, and it wasn't fair to Clarke to saddle her with that out of character choice.
Just because there wasn't time to fully prepare a death scene doesn't mean there wasn't room to make it realistic.
Sheidheda was right there to mention the sketchbook to Bellamy that started the most random death reason of all time. Instead of pretending that Bellamy would take the advice of someone he knows is a danger to everyone, including Madi, the conflict could have been created around it.
There is a literal villain in Sanctum, two feet away from Bellamy and Clarke. His vengeance against Madi could have been used. His attempts to survive could have been used. He is evil, and his choices don't have to make sense could have been used.
It would have been so simple to make Sheidheda threaten Madi somehow and have Bellamy die due to trying to keep her and/or Clarke safe.
If this death was written last minute and there were issues having to film it, this option wouldn't force any other cast members to come back to set. It is all about using the cast in the scene and their dynamics, but in a way that adds up.
There is no way that Bellamy thought Madi would be in danger for even one second. He was always looking out for Clarke and Madi, so it would make so much sense for him to risk his life for them instead of fighting Clarke about the hypothetical danger that Bellamy wouldn't allow Madi to experience.
Using Sheidheda as the catalyst for Bellamy's death would provide more room for accurate characterization and a proper goodbye to Bellamy and Clarke's relationship.
The details wouldn't even need to make sense; it isn't like Season 7 is very concerned about continuity to begin with.
Bellamy Blake Dies Like the Hero He Was and Gets The Respect He Deserves
All of the previous points were really leading up to this.
Bellamy didn't die the way he deserved, and it was as if The 100 didn't know the character they were writing off. It looked even worse when Gabriel got a well-earned death right around the corner from Bellamy.
Gabriel was an incredible presence on the show, but the way he died surrounded by everyone and with Octavia sharing The Traveler's Blessing with him didn't add up. It wasn't fair that these same people consoled Clarke for killing Bellamy, even going as far as telling her she did the right thing.
It was upsetting, insulting, and disrespectful to the heart of the show.
So the real way that The 100 could have avoided ruining everything over a last-minute adjustment would have been to put in the work.
Bellamy Blake deserved to have his last moments matter to him and the show and his fans.
If he had to die, it should have been like the hero he was, not because Clarke is obsessed with her gun.
It came out of nowhere for her to see Bellamy as such a threat when it was apparent that he was trying his best to keep all of them safe. It was even worse to spend no more than five minutes parting with a character that defined the show for seven seasons.
Then wasting The 100 Season 7 Episode 14 by having everyone pat Clarke on the back for her actions and having no one really mourn Bellamy was the last straw.
Even small changes would have made this so much easier to bear, and wouldn't have ruined a relationship that was the DNA of The 100.
But to not ruin these aspects of the show, you have to care about the message you leave behind.
What did you think of the way the show handled Bellamy this last season? Were there simple changes that could have been made? What do you wish would have happened?
How do you think his death could have been structured? Do you have any hope left for the series finale paying some respect to the male lead of the show? Which of the above ways would you have liked to see Bellamy's journey explored?
For any The 100 fans looking for some nostalgia as the series concludes, TV Fanatic has a surprise interview series for you! "Looking Back On The 100" centers on monumental cast members and characters from the show that left their mark.
We spoke with Eli Goree about his time on the show, as well as Michael Beach about the journey he had, and we even took a walk down memory lane with Christopher Larkin and Aaron Ginsburg. We even checked in with Zach McGowan about that surprise return to the show.
We also spoke with Leah Gibson about #GinaWasReal and Nadia Hilker about creating the character of Luna.
Chai Hansen also looked back at the show with us when it came to his time on it as Ilian. And Charmaine DeGraté expanded on her writing journey with the show, as well as what it was like to write for Bellamy and Octavia Blake.
Eve Harlow spoke with us as well about Maya's pure presence on the show and about Maya's relationship with Jasper. Ivana Milicevic reflected on the message that Diyoza left behind after her exit. Lee Majdoub also shared about Nelson's connections and his final moments on the show.
Keep checking TV Fanatic for more upcoming interviews with surprise cast members from seasons past!
The 100 airs on Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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Stick around TV Fanatic for more features, slideshows, interviews, and the series finale review of the season, and watch The 100 online if you need to catch up on the adventure.
Yana Grebenyuk is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.