The 100 Season 7 Episode 16 Review: The Last War

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We are finally at the end, and it's about time.

To say this wasn't the show that the audience knew and loved is an understatement. It isn't clear what show this was, but at least it is finally over. 

Up until the very end, The 100 decided to dig its heels into a storyline that made no sense, which means the resolution was lackluster, and the happy ending was nowhere to be found.

It felt very fitting to be so emotionally removed from a series finale, especially when most of this final chapter didn't tune into the feelings that mattered.

The Final Battle - The 100

During The 100 Season 7 Episode 16, Clarke fails the test, and then one speech about peace makes humanity worthy of transcendence. Everyone ends up looking like yellow waving inflatable arm flailing tube men from car dealerships, and Clarke ends up alone.

But at the very last second, her friends return to be with her and to live out their days as the last of the human race before they die out.

The real question is, why is transcending a good thing when dogs can't even get there? If dogs can't make it into that version of heaven, then the show can keep it.

"The Last War," written and directed by Jason Rothenberg, was the final story on the show that frankly couldn't have come fast enough. Putting The 100 out of its misery, this episode tried to tackle everything and ended up telling the story of very little. In an effort to rush through to the meaning of the show, the narrative itself found itself promoting more misery than any actual hope at the end of this journey.

Clarke in The Stone Room - The 100 Season 7 Episode 16

Whether it was the journey that got us here or the destination where we ended up, The 100 struggled to stick the landing all around. It let behind the scenes problems affect the final product, which was felt throughout the entire season.

By not focusing on where the story was heading, the show lost all meaning.

Somewhere along the way, The 100 lost itself, and it never quite found its way back to what it once was again.

For a fan that has been on this journey since almost the very beginning, it is heartbreaking to see the potential wasted time and time again. For a fan who was given about the same amount of respect as the characters that the show threw to the side, it isn't surprising that we were let down one final time.

Clarke Sees Bellamy Again - The 100 Season 7 Episode 11

But since there are no more redoes, hiatuses, or next seasons to make it better, it is up to the fans to find meaning in all of this that doesn't feel like a waste.

And maybe that meaning comes from not allowing a show to have the power that the fans took for themselves after all this time. Their passion and love for the characters (and their relationships) are what got The 100 this far.

It isn't up to the show at this point to provide meaning to their fans, not when they do it so much better by reclaiming control of the journey themselves. 

Saying Goodbye To A Show You Once Loved 

Clarke and Crew Look At A Threat - The 100 Season 7 Episode 14

Saying goodbye to a TV show is hard. Saying goodbye to a TV show you wished more for is harder. 

It is a constant battle between reminiscing on what was and coming to terms with what is. 

Saying goodbye to a show like The 100 is coming to terms with the fact that this story isn't the one that we started out on. It took a wrong turn somewhere and has never quite figured out its way home.

But the foundation that fandom created through their love of the characters, storylines, and relationships is what is worth taking away from all of this. Fans are the ones that made this experience unforgettable and that is where things should end.

Indra Takes Jordan and Hope To The Last War - The 100 Season 7 Episode 16

The show only has as much power as fans will give it, and The 100 Season 7 could do without any power. Nothing this last season gave weight to the original story. The nostalgia of delinquents being sent to the ground to survive will forever stay with all of us.

Anything beyond that is up to us to accept or not.

But the important part to take away from all of this is that this is not the end. The space that fans created for one another will always be there, as will their love for parts of the show that truly impacted them.

The Message of the Entire Series That Took 100 Episodes To Reveal

Octavia Back In Bardo Where It Began - The 100 Season 7 Episode 16

How can it take an entire series to get to the main message? It isn't exactly the message that is being sent to your audience if they don't know what it is for seven years.

Case in point, The 100 flipped a coin and decided that the theme for the series was going to be that humanity can do better. Their prize is the human race being wiped out into yellow lights that hang out everywhere forever, and that is somehow not meant to be a punishment.

Clarke's real punishment is getting to live, but as the only human left in the entire universe. That is quickly walked back with her friends caring about her so much that they come back to live out their lives with her instead of continuing to be Groot lights together.

It is probably meant to be some feel-good ending for the characters as they come back together after all this time. Except it isn't.

Clarke Heads To The Last War - The 100 Season 7 Episode 16

In order for that to work, The 100 would have had to do what it is most terrified of, making the show about relationships. 

The potential is there, but that isn't enough to actually make any of this work.

In theory, this could have been a beautiful way to look back at the growth from The 100 Season 5. That was a season that focused on Clarke after six years away from her people.

The space group became virtual strangers to Clarke, and they treated like that too. She didn't belong with them and leaned on her irrational tendencies to over mother Madi instead. She wasn't in a healthy place because she was only with her child and now with the rest of her family.

Niylah During The Last War - The 100 Season 7 Episode 16

If this was actually given weight back when it was happening, this would have been a natural and satisfying final journey.

Having Clarke struggling to find her place with her people spilled over into The 100 Season 6, a point where she was trying to do better, and yet she got mind trapped before she could. In what could only be described as a Bellarke centric season, Bellamy was one of the few people that cared enough about Clarke to mourn and fight for her.

Once again, Season 6 could have been a bridge between Season 5, where there was such distance between old friends, and this last season where they found each other fully again.

It isn't that the story is bad; it is the fact that they didn't actually tell it.

Hope Makes It To The End  - The 100 Season 7 Episode 16

First, the show tore apart every relationship Clarke had with her friends because it was necessary for the season's plot. But then there was no effort made to rebuild those bonds in a visible and healthy way.

Instead, there was once again half-assed attempts to pretend everything okay just because there was no time or energy to write conversations between everyone.

Even if we are meant to assume that all of those characters were on good terms, where was that shown this season? They barely thought about each other most of the time, so for that to turn into a sacrifice for eternity felt hollow at best.

These aren't the characters who I fell in love with. Their relationships don't exist anymore, so them coming back to Clarke doesn't make sense.

And on a bigger scale, how is that meant to reflect a main message of rising above the violence to get to peace?

These characters found peace in the last minute of the entire series. Not of the season. Not of the episode. Of the entire series.

For 100 episodes, we witnessed constant trauma, pain, war, and endless violence. It was a cycle of never doing better because some groups would always kill or harm another. All flickers of hope were either shot or forgotten about, but then somehow, we are meant to buy that the big takeaway from the series was doing better?

One second of happiness doesn't excuse seven seasons of constant death and destruction.

It also doesn't make sense what the real meaning was if transcending into those beams of light was a good thing, then what does that mean for the actual main characters?

Clarke wasn't allowed to go to The 100's version of heaven after fighting against the trauma that the show threw at her, and her friends chose to stay with her. That means they are no longer in heaven either because they will live out their days with her, unable to procreate until they all die, and so does the remaining human race.

So now, the main characters that the audience has spent years rooting for don't actually get their version of a happily ever after full of peace and happiness on the other side. Instead, they are stuck no longer knocking on heaven's door, and that all ends with the end of the human race.

If the show wasn't pretending that they are ending on a note of hope that they were supposedly writing towards this entire time, how is wiping out the entire population representing that?

Raven in Bardo with Clarke - The 100 Season 7 Episode 16

Humans prove that they can do better, so as a result, they all don't get to live out their lives anymore because they can move on, and there is no more need for others to exist.

Beyond that, behind the scenes issued seemingly created an issue where the show wouldn't bring back every character from the past. Instead, Instead, they died their brutal deaths so others could find happiness, and then the human race could cease to exist.

So every character that died a tragic death, everyone who sacrificed themselves so others would live better lives all did that for nothing. They don't get any peace or respect in the after thought of this series finale, instead they died their brutal deaths so others could find happiness and then the human race could cease to exist.

Looking back on it, maybe the show's real message was that The 100 didn't know what story it was telling. It forced its characters to face every emotional and physical hurdle that it could find to waste some time, and in the end, all of it amounted to nothing.

There is always talk of acceptable losses, and at this point, it feels like what was really lost was the essence of the show. 

Because nothing in Season 7 managed to channel even a small portion of the promise that existed in the seasons that came before. The 100 lost sight of itself long ago, and this was just the quick journey to its final resting place where it can't hurt any more characters or fans. 

Clarke Griffin: The One Who Redefined  

The 100 wouldn't be what it was if it wasn't for Clarke Griffin. As the lead, it was up to her to make the audience invested from the very beginning, and she took that responsibility in stride.

Clarke Glares at Others - The 100 Season 7 Episode 15

But along the way, The 100 lost sight Clarke, using her as a piece of the game instead of the game's subject.  

She was a remarkable leader that always took the burden off her loved ones. She carried it, so they didn't have to. It wasn't always easy for Clarke, but joining her as she tried to keep her people safe made it all worth it.

The passion she had for keeping everyone alive turned into an unrecognizable bad take at what the show assumed mothers are like. Suddenly Clarke went from existing for herself to existing for Madi. 

Even more than that, the show counted on Clarke to play out their darkest ideas and force her to take on those choices' weight. To the show, it was just a new edgy plot twist to keep things interesting, but for Clarke, it was another thing for her to blame herself for.

Clarke Talks to Gaia - The 100 Season 7 Episode 15

Every pulled lever, every shot fired, and every person murdered was a way to make it harder for Clarke to function. Yet all of that was happening simply because The 100 wanted it to.

And it isn't like there isn't room for problems to exist for or around Clarke, but you have to question why individual choices are made. Conflict isn't created around Clarke to better her journey; she is just put through the wringer for the season's benefit.

Clarke exists outside of the difficult choices that she has always found herself making. 

But then she was punished. Clarke was punished for finally letting all the beatings that the show made her take get to her. Every loved one that was ripped away and every tough choice that broke a piece of her heart was suddenly the reason she wasn't allowed to find peace.

Clarke and Crew Look At A Threat - The 100 Season 7 Episode 14

In a way, it was disgusting to have the main message lead up to not letting Clarke Griffin transcend. After the way, The 100 used her to introduce the darkest story shifts, yet here she was still not deserving of happiness.

Instead, Clarke had to become an irrational mother who stopped at nothing to protect a child who didn't ask for her to cross lines she can never come back from. But for The 100, Clarke suddenly didn't exist if she wasn't a mom, so that meant once again using her existence to push the story forward.

And so Clarke found herself being denied from transcending, literally the only person who wasn't found to be worthy of heaven.

First, you have to consider how that looks when the bisexual female lead is alienated against the only happiness The 100 found time to create. Instead, Clarke is forced to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders, and in a blink, she is all alone again.

Clarke is Back on Earth Again - The 100 Season 7 Episode 14

To call it heartbreaking is to pretend this is the first time The 100 has treated Clarke like this, but this isn't.

Time after time, Clarke is subjected to most of the nonsense that the show finds worth risking her characterization. She is left alone on Earth for six years, but really the actual separation is the emotional one that is forced upon her from that moment on.

It is unfair to think that Clarke can be yanked around like that for the sake of conflict, only to then deny her the one form of peace the show found. Having her friends come back to her doesn't make it all better.

Why couldn't Clarke Griffin be allowed to transcend? 

Clarke Dealing With The Red Sun  - The 100 Season 7 Episode 13

It is just another cycle of mistreatment for the lead to go through, always existing as a way to make the story seem edgier when it isn't.

Clarke Griffin deserved better than this. Eliza Taylor deserved better than this. 

She deserved happiness and to transcend with everyone around her. She deserved not to be emotionally tortured to drive her to do what the show needed to be done at that point in time. She deserved not to have to kill one of the most important people in her life. 

Even with all of that being for Madi, in what was arguably a way to show that Madi may have been Clarke's biggest love, and yet they weren't together. For some strange reason, Madi chose to stay in that transcended state and leave her mother all on her own.

Raven and Clarke in Bardo - The 100 Season 7 Episode 8

After all the reframing that the show did to pretend this made sense and after Madi became the motivation for Clarke in the finale, how did that make any sense?

But to be fair, so much didn't.

It isn't shocking that The 100 forgot to prioritize its lead, but it is sad.

Clarke Griffin deserved to be valued and to have her relationships matter. Her connection with Bellamy was so much of her time on the show, so erasing that only makes her harder to recognize.

Clarke in Nakara - The 100 Season 7 Episode 6

But at her core, Clarke is just trapped and trying to get out. This isn't her; this is just who the show wants her to be.

Coming off the finale, seeing Clarke as happy as she is allowed to be, was one of the only good things worth taking away from all of this. Clarke shouldn't have been left behind, but at least she knows how much she matters to others. 

Clarke is a resilient representation of pushing through to find peace in your own way. The impact she had as a bi icon and as a leader won't be easily forgotten, even if others might.

The Clarke Griffin that deserves to be remembered is the compassionate and complex person that was just trying her best. She made mistakes just like everyone does, but all she wanted was to make things better for those around her.

Clarke Calls Bellamy on The Radio - The 100 Season 4 Episode 13

That is the Clarke that everyone should take with them, the one that dreamed of what Earth would look like, and that found her way back there in the end.

Clarke Griffin found her version of happiness, one where she isn't alone. And regardless of how much the show let her down in her relationships and her decisions, the fact that she can finally relax is all we can be thankful for. 

A victim of her own show, Clarke.deserves to find peace and to be free of all this too. And now she is. 

Bellamy Blake: The One With Love, Loyalty, and Courage in His Heart

Bellamy Happy One Last Time - The 100 Season 7 Episode 13

Bellamy was right.

Wait, we already knew that. 

What other words are there for a character who deserved the world and instead got the end of everything?

A lot like Clarke, Bellamy was a character who wasn't built for The 100. His potential overflowed the show itself and he paid the price for that.

Bellamy Not Leaving Bardo - The 100 Season 7 Episode 5

It was still hard to watch the series finale, only to wonder what Bellamy's role should have been. He wasn't meant to die so early, which could only mean he wasn't meant to die at all.

And watching Levitt go into that field to give a speech, only to be shot and saved by Octavia? That is Bellamy through and through.

It is very likely that Bellamy was going to use his place in Bardo and his loyalty to his people to step in the middle to help see reason. After so much time, his hope for everyone to transcend was not in vain.

There is no dount that Bellamy died sticking to his beliefs, the ones that were all about wishing for more for his people. As much as some might think Bellamy went into this with selfish intentions don't realize that he was doing it for the others.

Bellamy Is Back - The 100 Season 7 Episode 12

His trauma caught up with him, and he was just trying to stop everyone else from continuing to not find happiness for themselves.

But as the series finale completely replaces the fact that Bellamy was meant to be there with the rest of the group for some behind the scenes issues, the only words left to say are thank you.

Thank you to Bellamy Blake for making this show what it is after all these years. Bellamy would be nothing without Bob Morley bringing him to life and investing in the storylines that the character goes through.

Thank you to Bellamy Blake for trying to find heaven for the others, even when all of them were ungrateful and rude. Thank you to Bellamy Blake for making this journey worth it, even if it wasn't always easy.

Bellamy's Cult Regret - The 100 Season 7 Episode 12

Thank you to Bellamy Blake for always believing in hope and for pushing to find happiness for those around him. Thank you to Bellamy Blake for proving what a gift he was to The 100.

It is hard to talk about Bellamy when it comes this season, but the good thing about a legacy is that it he never stops touching parts of the story. Bellamy is The 100, and that makes saying goodbye harder but also more easy now that he is finally free. 

Bellamy Blake leaves behind a legacy that will never be forgotten. The way he contributed to the show will leave pieces of him behind no matter what.

Getting to remember how meaningful Bellamy Blake was to the story after all this time is just one way to walk away from this series honoring those characters that made The 100 what it is. 

Bellamy In The Cave - The 100 Season 7 Episode 11

Sadly Bellamy really did take the heart of the show with him when he left, but to be fair no one deserves more heart and soul than him. 

Octavia Blake: The (War)rior Who Chose Her Own Story

She came a long way from the girl under the floor who wasn't able to make her existence none.

Now Octavia took on the responsibility of finding peace in a place that brought her nothing but pain. Taking from her brother and pulling strength from Lincoln, Octavia made a speech that combined her past with her hopes for a present.

Octavia is Here For The Last War - The 100 Season 7 Episode 16

And although Octavia did find happiness with Levitt, it isn't enough.

It isn't right to look back at this season and wonder what Octavia's actual conflict was.In an abstract sense, she was focused on Hope and Diyoza. But even that wouldn't express what The 100 actually thought Octavia was valuable for. 

Her inability to talk about her brother was a roadblock that many still aren't over, silencing the remaining half of one of the most important bonds on the show. Octavia should have more to say about the loss of her only family, and it shouldn't take a back seat just because she had more people in her circle now.

And the fact that there isn't much to discuss when it comes to Octavia's existence there erases one of the most important characters still left standing.

Octavia and Levitt Before The Last War - The 100 Season 7 Episode 16

It was a last-minute mistake not to realize how much Octavia spoke to the show's remaining energy, especially as an original delinquent.

She found herself in a new place in her life, and the peace that Octavia was afforded was a long time coming. 

Now the only hope that we have for Octavia is that she sticks to that happiness, especially since all she has is freedom now. But beyond that, there is also the wish for Octavia to keep Bellamy's memory alive.

No one seems to keep him in mind anymore after everything he did for them, so the only hope is for Octavia to make sure that Bellamy isn't forgotten. All he ever wanted was for her to have the chance to exist and just breathe, so at least he can leave knowing Octavia will find peace for herself.

Octavia Gets Ready for Another War - The 100 Season 7 Episode 15

There is no rush. There are no more hard choices to make. There is just silence. 

Stray Thoughts

  • Jordan Green: I am so sorry that the show took you living in your parent's shadow literally. A character destined for greatness became a shadow for those around him, always being hidden for absolutely no reason.

    Even though he conveniently found his happiness at the last second with Hope, the show should have invested in him so much more. From the beginning he was always there just to be there, and it felt like The 100 itself didn't fully have a plan on how to explore him. Along the way they lost parts of a really unique character by not viewing him as such.

Raven is Ready for The Last War - The 100 Season 7 Episode 16
  • Hope Diyoza: Similar to Jordan, this is a character that got lost in her identity. The way that she mattered to other characters like Octavia diluted her value to the narrative towards the end of the series.

    She was a unique voice during a season that deserved some unknown. But once again, if only there was room to really allow her to be explored more, especially if she was brought on earlier.

  • Madi: Another offspring of an original character, Madi was an example of how the next generation can make things better.

    Of course to do that they would have to stay alive, but that story is for another time. For now though, Madi was a surprise that exceeded so many expectations. Lola Flanery brought her to life in such a remarkable way and it was wonderful getting to spend that time with her.

Echo is Finally Ready for The Last War - The 100 Season 7 Episode 16
  • John Murphy: If this is the ending that Richard Harmon requested for Emori, then count me on board. 

    It isn't conventional but it is exactly who Murphy ended up becoming during the course of the show. His love for Emori was the driving force that kept him alive and on the path towards something better. He wasn't just there to create problems anymore, he was there for find peace for him and Emori.

    Their happiness and love for one another was probably one of the few things that still makes sense on the show this season.

  • Emori: It was difficult and confusing to watch her be brought back just to brutually kill her, but at the same time her scenes with Murphy were out of this world. Their love for one another is one of the few I still believe in.

Echo and Raven Meet Levitt  - The 100 Season 7 Episode 16
  • Raven Reyes: While it would have been great to see them take the test together, it was wonderful to see Raven convince the judge of the hope that is out there. It may not matter right now, but someday!

    Raven has come a long way and her taking the test for all man-kind was exactly where she should have ended up. But there was so much more that she deserved to experience after all this time.
  • Indra: If only she wasn't used by the show to keep Sheidheda around until the last second. She had so many chances to kill him off, and this was badass but it could have come so much sooner.

    Regardless, Indra left behind an extraordinary journey all the same.

Levitt Against Echo - The 100 Season 7 Episode 16
  • How did the show end for you?

  • Is the flame not eternal then?

  • Did anyone else feel like this wasn't a series finale? The episode felt like any other episode this season, and in fact if anything it was more anticlimactic than anything.

  • Do you think the characters deserved to transcend?

Clarke and Madi In a Different Place - The 100 Season 7 Episode 16
  • The judge taking form of other characters was a choice and a half. And all I am wondering is if this was meant to be the villain all along?

  • Who else misses Bellamy Blake as much as I do?

  • So Clarke could have just pulled the level for the City of Light in Season 2 and avoided all of this, right?

I wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who ever read or supported my reviews of The 100. This journey wasn't easy, but fans made it much more fulfilling, and they are what made all of this worth it in the end.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

What did you think of the series finale of the show? Did you think it delivered what it should have? Was anything missing for you? Which characters did you miss? Which characters did you want more of? 

What is the legacy of The 100 for you? What was your favorite part of the journey? What will you miss the most?

Let us know what you think below!

Stick around for more interviews, features, slideshows, and reviews of the upcoming season, and watch The 100 online right here on TV Fanatic.

The Last War Review

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Yana Grebenyuk was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in April 2021.

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