All things must come to an end unless it is this recent season of The 100 which didn't know how to end.
There may be plenty of explanations, but it mostly comes down to a finale that was written without the intention of it also landing as a series finale if necessary.
During The 100 Season 6 Episode 13, Clarke and Madi ended up in space where they had to face off against Russell and Sheidheda. Meanwhile, down in Sanctum Bellamy and Gabriel have to come together to trick the cult believers into letting them stay alive.
All of this doesn't compare to Octavia somehow needing to return to the Anomaly, which becomes them exposing it enough for an older Hope to come and stab Octavia. This makes Octavia disappear into the Anomaly again, leaving Diyoza's daughter and Bellamy begging for answers.
"The Blood of Sanctum," written by Jason Rothenberg was a collective statement on what happens when there's too much plot and not enough time found to pace it. It isn't that the episode was bad it would be really good if it had been a lead into the finale.
This felt like something we should have gotten beforehand because it served well as just an individual episode that caught up on many of the storylines thrown out there this season.
What this finale wasn't was a proper finale to a season. It had too much going on, trying to catch up from the last two episodes, and it left too much unanswered. That is perfectly fine for a finale with cliffhangers, but it wasn't the right things that were left with questions marks.
All of that made the introduction to the next and final season feel bland at best, taking an intriguing story with the Anomaly and making it less than what it could have been.
Space, Sheidheda, and Shooting a Similiar Shot
Up in space, two larger storylines needed to end, or at least touched on in a way that made it seem like they were.
In a way, they were both explored, but in a larger sense, it felt like an extension of the past two episodes, and of the storylines that were left on the cutting room floor for far longer than it should have been.
Madi's connection to Sheidheda was a valuable one, if only because of the way that Lola Flanery proved that she needs to be given more to do on the show. She delivered the evil manifestation of the virus inside of her, just as soul chillingly as her switch back to the daughter who is just happy to see her mother back.
Listen to my voice! You can do this. Fight, Madi. You have to fight.Clarke
And that is when The 100 delivers in a big way, referring back to The 100 Season 5 Episode 12, where Clarke makes it clear that she loves Madi more than she loves the flame.
The choice is easy to bring Madi back, the journey is not.
For example, how many fake outs is too many? If the show doesn't want to kill off the flame then just don't do it, because wasting screentime on a "death" that will never be executed is more of an issue.
There were two attempts to end the flame and instead the piece of plastic is gone from Madi's head, but now we have to assume it is all on that computer.
It isn't clear if it is just Sheidheda or if it is all the knowledge the flame held before, the only clear thing is that the show doesn't want to let go of this flame no matter what.
And that is a choice that they are free to make, but then don't waste time pretending the story is going to go any other way. It puts other characters at risk because suddenly they fall victim to this never-ending back and forth.
Instead, characters like Madi and Gaia can be put to better use. Madi and Gaia hold trust in this technology that they can no longer access, so where do they go from here?
This is the perfect time to cut out this code on a computer and instead focus on the real people that exist in front of us.
So much of who they are and what defines them is falling into the cracks, with the characters existing when they are needed to move a plot further.
Now there is time to tell more authentic stories, wrapping it up in a way where the characters are at the center of their own stories.
Madi and Gaia have their faith to consider, with their time on Earth presenting them with a purpose that they no longer have. Now they have to explore what it means to survive individually, no longer being tied by a chip in Madi's head and choosing to move forward together.
At the same time, Madi deserves a long break with Picasso after the slight possession that was forced on her. Sheidheda might be hanging out somewhere, but at least it isn't in Madi's head.
Then you transition to another person who had her fair share of inability to access her own mind. Clarke ended up having to fight back by floating her own mother's body, something that was obvious but not like that.
It is one thing to make Clarke have to be the one to stop Simone, it is another to once again use the airlock to say goodbye to a character.
Clarke now saw both her parents die this way, and Abby just witnessed Kane go through the same thing.
It could be poetic, or it could be frightening. Should we go with poetic?
And it wouldn't make sense for Clarke not to mourn her mother, but there is a fine line there.
There is already talk of how Clarke will now hold her remaining family closer to her, which is fair when she feels she couldn't protect her mother this season.
It is important though that Clarke (and Bellamy) stand for more than that.
We are heading into a final season, so there needs to be that consideration for where the final story for each character should go.
Clarke can hold her mother's death as a push to treasure those around her and as a loss she will never forget, but it has to be more than that. Just like Abby shouldn't have been limited to her love for Kane this season, and just like Bellamy can't only exist as an extension of Octavia's existence.
She is currently struggling with doing right by Monty, and there is room there for her to explore what that means in Sanctum now. There are (too many) plots that will take her away from that journey, but that is the one that she needs to keep coming back to.
If only for herself, Clarke Griffin deserves to just live.
Sanctum, Cult Blood, and Lost Characters
Down on the ground, there was also enough of a story to move everyone around, and yet it did come off a bit heavy too.
This cult storyline popped up one episode ago, which may have worked as an obstacle for the people on the ground, but now that it is sticking around it comes with its own confusion.
Jordan didn't have much going on, which has been discussed before. Now though he is brought back into the loop by becoming a threat with those mind drives.
Clarke: Thank you.
Raven: I'm sorry about Madi.
In a way, this is the show's fault for not knowing when to let a storyline go, in another way it makes sense that no one paid attention to Jordan within the show so he is straying in a direction he shouldn't be.
It is fair to say that for all the promises the others made about looking after Monty and Harper's child, they aren't doing a whole lot of that.
They let a lot of harm come his way, and most of their interactions with him fall hollow. Even Bellamy's concern fell flat because he can't be worried now when he spent so much time dismissing Jordan.
He was pushed into this adjustment protocol by people he wanted to trust but couldn't seem to find by his side, so instead, he started to believe in the life that was destroyed around him.
In a way Jordan represents Monty to himself, questioning what exactly doing better is. Is it trusting that a society needs to be disturbed because it is built on lies, or is it letting that society exist because they possess the happiness that as outsiders they aren't privy to these days?
Hopefully, that is explored more instead of just circled, because Jordan deserved better this season and he didn't get it. This character felt like an afterthought and it shouldn't be that way for a new main character.
His story deserved to be developed and he should have existed as more than a bridge to the Primes.
But it wasn't limited to him, with quite a few characters not even getting a story told this time around.
Raven was the most obvious one, she existed within the realm of a story, but it was just out of her reach. She ended up in a better place emotionally, and yet so much of it felt surface level for her.
There was more that Raven could have gotten involved in, and it was a let down that somehow there wasn't time to tell her story.
The same could be said for Echo, a character who existed for 6% of the season and that put her more at a disadvantage.
Murphy and Emori were on the other side of the spectrum, they were involved but again only when they were needed. So it was an issue when they would disappear, only to come back and the audience couldn't track where their loyalties fell.
It was a small side effect of a larger problem, not thinking that your character deserves to be invested in any further when the audience has followed them for years.
That is a mistake when you consider how much growing a person does every single day of their lives, everything plays a role in how they are influenced and developed.
It is only fair to let the show reflect that, instead of benching characters the second they need them out of the way.
The Bellarke Corner
Nothing is ever really sacred, but maybe some things need to be. At least the core relationship of the story that you have been telling for six full seasons now.
Essentially, Jason Rothenberg spoke with Selina Wilken at Hypable about the sixth season of The 100 recently. In the interview, he clarified that Bellamy's story was misinterpreted by some, with his choice to leave with Josephine during The 100 Season 6 Episode 8, a reflection of him looking to keep everyone safe.
Bellamy: I heard about Abby.
Clarke: I tried to do better. I did ... and then I lost my mom. Tell me it was worth it. Tell me - tell me it was worth it.
Bellamy: We did do better. I have to believe that that matters.
Now there is merit in saying that Bellamy cared about keeping everyone safe this season, he was focused on doing better by looking out for those that he could protect.
What doesn't have merit is once again erasing the way an arc is shown on screen.
An entire audience can't misunderstand what you are trying to say with a season. If you don't like the message that the viewers are picking up from your show, write a different message.
But what shouldn't be happening for the second finale in a row is the audience being told that intentional dialogue, scene framing, and the general plot structure is not to be seen the way it is on screen.
Once again this lingers on gaslighting, when you write a season focused on Bellamy being the first to see something is wrong with Clarke and his entire purpose becoming a mission to save her life and then having an emotionally charged resurrection based on his love for her, all of which is waved away as if it was for the greater good of a larger population.
It was intentional to have Bellamy be the one to save Clarke and to have his entire purpose become making sure she returns. Bellamy mourned her on purpose during The 100 Season 6 Episode 6 and then he naturally stopped at nothing to bring her back.
So to have a showrunner try to diminish a storyline that everyone witnessed and interpreted a specific way is once again poking holes in the writing that the room chooses to do.
It isn't fair to the viewers, and it questions their intelligence when what is on the screen keeps getting walked back in a borderline cruel way.
It comes down to this if you don't want to write scenes that tease romantic Bellarke for six seasons then don't.
This is a choice that has happened as long as the show has existed. So if the decision is to attach Bellamy and Clarke's interactions to romantic tropes and heavily hinted comparisons to actual couples on the show, then commit to what is being danced around on screen for years.
Don't write something and then make the audience question if they are seeing it correctly. It is insulting to spin it any other way than what airs in the final product of each episode.
Because it is all about taking responsibility for what ended up on air. Even if the plan was different, that is not what made it into the final cut and that is what matters.
No one misinterpreted anything, because it was written with intention and fans are allowed to view it that way.
At the end of the day, the story always comes back to Clarke and Bellamy, just like every finale has shown us so far.
Looking at where Bellamy and Clarke's relationship lands next season means considering where they have been in most of the previous season finales.
It has been mentioned before that some of the finales for the seasons were written in a way where they could serve as the end to the show as well, on the off chance The 100 wasn't renewed.
If we track that, we get to see one common theme in all of them. Bellamy and Clarke are the focus of each ending, leaving it so that if the show ended, our mind stayed with them.
The 100 Season 2 Episode 16 had Clarke saying goodbye to Bellamy before she left to deal with her demons after Mount Weather. That emotional conversation and that cheek kiss then became Bellamy looking at Clarke walk away as he said may we meet again.
In many ways that didn't feel like him just saying that back to Clarke, it was a confirmation that they would meet again. Had the show ended then, the future would be hopeful because we knew that Bellamy and Clarke would find each other when the time was right.
Their ending was really just the beginning of their story.
Then you have The 100 Season 3 Episode 16, where Clarke has to go into the City of Light and Bellamy holds her hand as she does. She manages to save the day until ALIE tells her that the real problem is the impending end of the world.
Clarke comes out and tells Bellamy that their problems are far from over, and they together look at the people that they will need to protect in the coming months.
This was the first finale where the two of them ended up in one place, putting them back as leaders and as partners into their next mission.
Arguably the most impactful finale so far though was The 100 Season 4 Episode 13, with the end of the world leaving Clarke all alone on Earth.
The entire episode was about Clarke knowing in some ways that she wasn't going to go to space with the others, and she spent that time leaving Bellamy with advice that she knew he would be repeating to himself when he was without her.
The two of them reflected on their relationship, and it was almost as if Clarke was seeing them in a new light, ironically just as everything was going to dim for them.
Then the time jump showed Clarke calling Bellamy, which we now know she did every day for six years. It wasn't clear who was on the ship that she spotted, but did it matter?
Had the show ended after that, the lasting impression was Clarke finding hope in those radio calls to Bellamy and the understanding that soon he would come back to her.
The legacy of The 100 rested in the promise of Bellamy and Clarke finding one another again.
Which leads us to the most recent finale, The 100 Season 5 Episode 13, which had supposedly been structured in a way where it could serve as the series finale too.
After Bellamy was clued into Clarke's emotional state from Madi, he figured out how much he truly meant to his soulmate when she couldn't express it herself. That made him reconsider his anger with her, and they went into cryo in a better place.
So when Jordan woke them up, that lasting shot of them staring at this new planet that Monty left for them was everything.
That shot collectively showcased what the show was headed towards, the promise of a better future as long as Clarke and Bellamy were there together trying for it.
There are plenty of times in this current season alone where hope felt like a passing thought, no longer what the show was aiming for its characters and more of a promise that no one would ever get.
But then when you look at each finale, no matter what kind of possible danger exists, and it is all about finding more than that.
The story continues to promise that as long as Bellamy and Clarke are together, holding one another as they look at the next adventure they are taking on, there is more to come and it is bright.
The same thing happened this time around, with so much chaotic messiness happening where it didn't feel like the show would even find the time to bring Bellamy and Clarke back together.
It did, though, having them come back to each other and try to find the hope that feels so lost to both of them.
A victory can't be the bodies that are scattered across Sanctum and the lives lost along the way, but it has to stand for something.
Bellamy and Clarke didn't ask to be dropped on a planet with people so foolishly lied to for the sake of their "functional" society. Once they became a target, there was no other way for the story to end.
Sanctum had to be taken down, and they had to be the ones to do it, but it was the way they approached it that decided whether they did better.
Bellamy and Clarke can't be held responsible for other people's choices, all they can do is make sure they try to keep to their promise. Bellamy has to believe that they did better because there were no other choices for them to make.
All of this talk of promise, however last minute, felt authentic because Bellamy and Clarke are the ones who always come back to it.
Their understanding of where they stand as people is always based off how their partner approaches the topic. Clarke and Bellamy can only be good if they do it knowingly together.
Also, there is an interesting parallel in the way that Clarke left Bellamy behind when she couldn't deal with the choices that led to Mount Weather.
Now she is seeking him out, trying to find comfort in him and his words about where they go from here.
Clarke just lost her mother, and the person she knew she could just exist with, letting all of her pain and feelings out to is her platonic soulmate.
It is a chilling improvement on the Clarke that literally was written walking into the woods so that her grief wouldn't be faced the way she herself couldn't face it yet.
Now it is all out in the open, with Clarke trying to work through these feelings and finding the person she trusts most to help her handle it.
There is no telling where exactly they go from here, although they both will have grief to deal with (together).
What is clear is that there is no The 100 without Bellamy and Clarke at each other's side. What that means for the final season and how it is represented in a satisfying way.
But all my thoughts just circle back to this episode, that had so much going on and that still managed to make sure Bellamy and Clarke found that moment with one another.
And then there they were, searching for each other and the comfort that they always offer after each battle. It was an emotional moment, once again making us question how those two aren't together when their reunions look like that. Especially when you parallel them to reunions between actual couples on the show.
But maybe I just misinterpreted the show.
Hope For The Future and Hope of the Anomaly
Looking forward means considering what should have been left behind, or maybe even reconsidered.
Don't get me wrong, the Anomaly is something that piqued my interest the second we saw it in the trailer. The mystery and the way that it compares to The Shimmer from Annihilation is fascinating.
But the road to exploring it felt lackluster at best. Let's be honest, there was too much going on in that finale that there was no way every single storyline would be able to hold the same amount of weight.
Guy: Woah, where did you learn to code like that?
Raven: City of Light Community College
Sadly this was one of the bigger issues, with this huge shift and a new direction appearing in the last five minutes of the episode.
And while it made sense for Gabriel to want to go full National Treasure at Sanctum, it didn't add up the way the others rushed there.
Maybe Octavia was still curious what happened to her and what was on her back, but what about Bellamy and Echo? This rush to go back, and this statement that she has to is untrue.
No one has to go back into that Anomaly, and the timing felt confusing when so much happened back where the others were. This group didn't clue anyone in and just decided to take on this huge arc.
To be fair, they had no idea what they were walking into, so the irony of how impactful it ended up being isn't on them.
But consider this, why wasn't the lead part of that?
Clarke was nowhere to be found, and it felt off watching the season wrap up without having her there to see what was next. Bellamy is important too, very much so, but again that made this feel like any other episode instead of a finale.
Still, there is a lot that will need to be unpacked in the next season, which is why it is structured that way.
In case anyone missed the news, The 100 will officially end after its upcoming seventh season next year. This means that the next season can't only tackle this storyline about Hope, it needs to cover actual hope.
The show has come a long way, but the ending is where they need to stick it, allowing every person to get their time and their story told.
This is also the time for the plot to no longer exist as the main point of the show. It makes sense that after some backlash this season chose to make the plot the priority, but at what cost?
The characters are being formed around the storylines that are created, making it far from their own journey and more about how they can service the show's message.
Like the audience, the characters shouldn't be boxed in an attempt to conform to the writing that is taking place.
A big example of that is Bellamy and Octavia, who went through an entire season of growth only for him to end up right where he started.
The Blake siblings don't need to never speak again, but they also can stay in the place that they found for one another this season. Bellamy learned not to base his entire existence around Octavia, and she learned to take a step back to allow him to be an individual too.
It was going well until it wasn't, with Bellamy not written around Octavia again.
Let's be fair, she is his sister, and he has to worry what happened to her after she was stabbed in front of him. But that can't be his only arc, and from the sound of it, his only drive will be Octavia.
It reflects the trouble that the show always had with allowing Bellamy to exist as his own person, and it is a worrisome look for the last season of the show.
The fear becomes Bellamy falling into the Abby trap of this season, only existing to voice and remind the audience of a character who won't be around herself on screen.
It means risking Bellamy, and it pushes his progress so many steps back. No longer the person he was, Bellamy now becomes a way for Octavia to exist.
This all touches on the real change the show needs to make, putting the characters first.
They are the ones telling the stories, and now the other way around. They should control what comes next, getting the time to be explored, and earning the right to be a priority for the series.
If we are to look forward as we consider the show wrapping up, it should come down to the future that exists for those characters and not how they exist to please the plotline of the season.
Let's just say it. Hope telling Octavia that he has her, we assume Diyoza is taken hostage by someone. At the same time, it has been confirmed that Sheidheda sticks around, on the Eligius computer but who says it has to be limited to that?
Diyoza touched on how ridiculous she found the conversation between Gaia and Madi about this Dark Commander, so what better way to bring it all together then to attach the two stories?
Also, April Morris from Truth Bee Told pointed out that Hope has a very Grounder like look, so if time is played around with next season then who is to say that they don't go back in time as well? Indra did mention her experience as a child seeing Sheidheda killing people, so maybe that is something to look out for.
Speaking of Octavia and Hope, that brief glimpse at them screamed romance. Did anyone else feel how close they were around each other and what that could actually mean?
But also who else is hoping that isn't true because Octavia just saw Diyoza pregnant with Hope in our time? Raise your hands accordingly in the comment section!
- Eliza Taylor deserves to have her acting appreciated one last time this season. She took on this challenge of playing someone else, transforming that into Clarke at her finest. All of these emotions are so raw, but they are also refreshing to see in the lead. Eliza continues to prove why she is so talented, taking on this challenge as seamlessly as anything else that she delivers on the show.
- Gabriel is alive and well so nothing else matters anymore really. Where do we see him for next season?
- The same actually goes for Russell, a character that I didn't expect to see stick around. But if they are going to jump around from planet to planet, it seems only fair to let him come along for the ride that he planned.
- Speaking of, now that we know the other planets can have their mind drives accessed through a simple wi-fi connection, we should worry. That isn't clear yet, but Clarke and Murphy and Emori still remain with their mind drives. There has to be a point to all this mythology, so it is all coming together.
- Murphy kissed a boy, and he liked it. Out of this entire finale, that kiss was the true, shocking twist of the night.
- Who allowed Bellamy and Clarke to have a reunion set under a romantic sunny backdrop? We get it, they love each other and have to be super extra about it.
- The Anomaly may be strange, but at least it is gorgeous to look at.
- That beautiful moment between Raven and Clarke was way overdue. It would be lovely to see them connect again next season through their loss.
What did you think of the finale? Did it wrap up everything you were hoping it would? Where there any questions you wish were answered?
Which storyline are you most excited to see next season? What do you think is going on in that green Anomaly?
Where does this season land for you? Who are you thrilled survived? Who did you think wouldn't make it but did?
Are you happy with where Jordan is now? Are you thrilled to see the Flame gone but not really gone? Di you expect Sheidheda to stick around?
Where do you think Diyoza is?
How do you think the series will end? Is there hope to count on in this show, or will it all be doom and gloom? Do you think Bellamy and Clarke exist, or is their relationship a cognitive dissonance?
Let us know kindly what you think below! Also check back here for an exclusive interview with Ivana Milicevic, who plays the extraordinary Charmaina Diyoza, on this season and the finale.
The 100 airs on Tuesdays, at 9/8c on The CW.
Stick around TV Fanatic for more features, slideshows, episode previews, and reviews of the upcoming season, and watch The 100 online right here on TV Fanatic.
Yana Grebenyuk is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.