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‘The 100’: In Defense of Bellamy Blake

If you’re just tuning in to The 100 or haven’t caught up, go away. No, seriously. I’m about to throw down some major spoilers up through the most recent episode of season 3, episode 4: “Watch the Thrones.”

Okay, we good?

Good.

Now, The 100 hasn’t exactly been a slow-moving beast and season 3 has been off the rails right from the start. There have already been more deaths and betrayals than in most seasons of Game of Thrones. While the show has never lacked for excitement, one of the things it does phenomenally well in such an action-packed environment is developing characters. In the most recent episode, Bellamy has acted, shall we say, different than we as viewers have come to expect. At first, this might be shocking, but after mulling it over, it makes sense and it makes Bellamy even more of the tragic hero.

Season 1 Bellamy was awful. Not quite Finn levels of awful, and I fully realize he was scared, but on the Grounder Scale of Stabbity, he was at least a 7. And I’m okay with that because in thirteen episodes of season 1 we watched Bellamy realize that 1. He’s kind of a coward and 2. He got in way over his head. In these realizations, Bellamy leaned heavily on Clarke’s leadership and no bullshit attitude. He learned from her and grew into a character so fantastic that I couldn’t help but cheer for him.

But as we’ve seen in season 3, there’s still a significant amount of insecure season 1 Bellamy inside that makeshift guard uniform. Octavia may have been the lucky one of the Blake siblings because she was given a clean slate on the ground. Bellamy, on the other hand, already had a role drilled into him as a child: protector. Without Octavia to protect, he loses his sense of purpose, but then smartly diverts that energy to protecting and rescuing his friends at Mount Weather. Much like his sister, Bellamy is more of a soldier than a leader. When push comes to shove he looks to those in charge (the ones he respects) for guidance before making a decision, because in Bellamy’s world, when he makes a decision without help, people get hurt. Octavia got caught and imprisoned on the Ark. Scouting parties were impaled searching for his sister. Finn ran off and killed innocents at TonDC, then getting himself killed.

Because of all this and his inability to brush aside the feeling of guilt, Bellamy is much more skittish about making decisions than his counterpart, Clarke, and is therefore more at ease with letting others lead. When Kane and Abby arrive on the ground, he appears almost relieved that someone else will be making the difficult choices. Yes, he goes against the rules and rebels for the sake of rescuing the 48 in Mount Weather, and he comes across as in charge, but he makes sure to get approval first from at least one leadership figure. He also does what many of the other characters do when faced with a challenge: he asks, “What would Clarke do?”

At the end of season 2, Clarke and Bellamy make the horrific decision to irradiate Mount Weather, killing everyone–men, women, and children–inside. We aren’t expressly told about how this event gnaws at him, how it’s changed his persona since the show jumped ahead 3 months in the timeline, but we can infer what may have happened.

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Clarke, riddled with guilt over their actions, leaves Arkadia, hoping that with her departure, she takes that negativity with her, thereby allowing Skaikru to finally be free. Except she didn’t rid them of guilt; she ran away. And who was left to pick up the pieces, day after day? Who was left to watch Jasper as he fell deeper into madness, or as Raven’s health declined, or as all the in-fighting between Skaikru grew over the Grounders’ betrayal?

Bellamy.

Bellamy stood up and risked his life to infiltrate Mount Weather with the hope that Lexa and the Grounder army would save his friends and do so without killing innocent people. Because for all his anger and bluster, Bellamy is a good person. Maybe one of the kindest on the show. And then Lexa betrayed Skaikru, leaving them to be tortured and maimed and slowly picked off by the mountain men. Lexa and the Grounders abandoned Clarke, Bellamy, and Monty alone in that security room to watch as their loved ones were chained to a bed and drilled through for their bone marrow. They watched the blood drain from their bodies and listened to their gut-wrenching screams. Lexa and the Grounders left them to make a horrific decision to kill hundreds of innocents, children, and allies. Lexa and the Grounders made them monsters.

In season 3, Bellamy is approached by Echo at Mount Weather with a warning that Ice Nation plans to attack the Coalition at the capital, Polis. Bellamy believes her because they spent time imprisoned together at Mount Weather–she saved his life–so he goes to the capital to warn his friends. He goes to be a hero. Instead, the attack happens at Mount Weather, killing everyone inside, including his girlfriend Gina. He isn’t a hero; he’s the one who left them to die. In his eyes, he’s just as bad as Lexa and the Grounders.

Bellamy feels guilty but more importantly, Bellamy feels weak. I don’t think his distress over Gina was because he had life-altering feelings toward her. We don’t get to know her better before her death because she isn’t important. What she represents, is. Her death just solidified Bellamy’s hopelessness. He feels he can’t protect anyone and his rash decision making only leads to more and more lives lost. So, he gives up.

When Finn snapped he went on a rampage that slaughtered families. When Bellamy snapped, he just stopped making decisions. Pike, the devious weasel that he is, sensed this shift in Bellamy and took advantage of a scared young man to mold him to his prejudices. Of course Bellamy knows not all Grounders are murderers, but his experiences and his feelings of ineptitude have left him so shaken that he goes along with the loudest voice.

The voice that might get him killed.

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And I think that’s where he is the moment that Pike suggests they kill 300 Grounders with 10 armed men. Of all the characters of the show, Bellamy knows how little guns make a difference in this war. He knows that they’re dead if he agrees to shoot at a fully armed war party of Grounders. In that moment, he’s accepted his fate because at least this way, he won’t be responsible for killing anyone else. In that moment, he won’t be Bellamy the leader, but Bellamy the soldier, taking orders.

And the cherry on top is when Lincoln stops him from leaving; all resolve to be the Bellamy we’ve grown to love goes out the window because here in front of him is this strong beast of a man, a man who has endured torture, mental abuse, and far too many near-death experiences and still he’s come out on top. Lincoln was the one who protected his sister, his responsibility. Not Bellamy. Lincoln helped shape Octavia into a warrior. Not Bellamy. Bellamy couldn’t ever save his sister, he couldn’t rescue Clarke, he couldn’t save his girlfriend. And with Lincoln now guarding Arkadia, taking up the job that was once his, Bellamy is useless to Kane and Abby.

But he is useful to Pike.

I won’t deny that at first I found Bellamy’s actions, siding with Pike, procuring the gun, and agreeing to attack the Grounders, a complete 180 from the Bellamy character I knew. But then I started looking closer. He wasn’t willing to kill Grounders just because his girlfriend died. No, no. His actions have been building for a long time coming and he’s finally hit  his limit of all the heartache he can stand. He’s human, not a punching bag.

And I think that if things continue as they are, there’s only one person who can save him: Clarke.

(But that doesn’t mean I want them to be together romantically! Please, let them just stay friends!)

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The 100 airs Thursdays on the CW at 9pm EST.

About Jen Stayrook

Jen Stayrook
Don't let the fancy nerd duds deceive you; Jen’s never been described as “classy.” You can find her on Twitter where she stalks all of her favorite celebrities: @jenstayrook. Or you can find her on Steam or Xbox dying in every game she plays as "Rilna." Email: jen.stayrook@theworkprint.com

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21 comments

  1. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Although about season one: he wasn’t awful just scared out of his mind thinking he was going to die when the remainders of the ark came to the ground. Therefore had impulses and acted on them.

    I also hope he doesn’t die . He should be the one person to make a bad mistake and make it to the other side.

    • Jen Stayrook

      He was scared in season 1, and I was okay with that, but that doesn’t mean I have to like him for it. But it really says something about his character that he was able to pull himself up out of that fear and become the Bellamy everyone expects. I don’t think he’ll die, though. I think he realizes what he’s done and comes out of again like he did in season 1.

  2. Honestly, he needs Clarke more than ever right now. When they’re separated everything is always falling apart. One can’t work without the other. Do I want them to be together romantically? Hell yeah! It’s the natural progression of their relationship and they’d be crazy not to go there. But right now, I just want them in the dame space communicating and being a team.

    • Jen Stayrook

      He really does. I’m sure on some level he feels betrayed by her just as much as Lexa. She willingly stayed at Polis and she’s not around for him to confide in anymore. She’s the only one who truly understands him and she’s not there.

      • Interesting article, but I have to say, I hope the writers won’t choose an easy way out with Bellamy/Clarke relationship and Bellamy won’t use an argument “I did it because you were not here etc. etc.”. When you do such a terrible thing, you can’t use this type of excuse. You just can’t. We all need people, good people in our lives. And Bellamy had that people in Arcadia.

        I liked your article because even though I think Pike story is rushed, I totally understand why this is not necessarily out of character for Bellamy. But they all lost people they loved: Lexa, Clarke, Raven.

        At the end of the day, we make some good and bad choices…. And there comes the point in our lives when we have to recognize those mistakes as our own.

    • I’m totally agree with you ! They have to be together

  3. I’m sorry but Bell, Pike and everyone who had an ACTIVE hand in murdering the peacekeeping Grounders that were there to protect the Arkers should be convicted/punished for war crimes. The work that Kane, Abby and Clarke did in trying to establish a peaceful co-existence were ruined by those bigots. Bell’s actions were worse than Finn’s because he was there in Polis when he saw that the leader of the grounders and Indra had nothing to do with Mt. Weather and yet he went along with the plan to kill those grounders. I’m sorry, the only way I can hold faith with this show is if Pike and his crew (including Bell) are punished by death for being the terrorists that they were.

    • Definitivamente Bellamy es un soldado. Como líder se desmorona. Obvio que necesita a Clark, Clark es la mente. Bellamy estuvo en Polis cuando la nación del hielo se hizo responsable del ataque. Simplemente no toleró que Clark no hubiera ido con ellos. Creo que debe saber que no todos los grounders son iguales. Comenzando con Lincoln que salvó a su hermana. Cómo puede apoyar que de forma cobarde ataquen de noche a personas que no estaban siendo hostiles, cómo permite que maltraten a enfermos, personas que no pueden defenderse… veo a un Bellamy que perdió el rumbo.. y a un cobarde.

    • Bellamy is definitely a soldier. As a leader crumbles. Obviously he need to Clark, Clark is the mind. Bellamy was in Polis when the ice nation was responsible for the attack. Simply not tolerate that Clark had not gone with them. I think he should know that not all grounders are the same. Beginning with Lincoln who saved his sister. How can he support that cowardly attack people who were not being hostile, how can he mistreat sick people who can not defend themselves … I see a Bellamy that lost its way .. and a coward.

    • He has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, officially confirmed by the show. People in that state of mind simply can’t make rational decisions. You wouldn’t either in his shoes.

  4. So basically you are saying that Clarke needs to babysit poor old Bellamy? This is not what a powerful couple do, Bellamy is a follower that will never be on Clarke’s level of leadership, I feel bad for Clarke because probably she’s going to be stuck with him so he can redeem himself like some cliché show where the male character is forgiven of their mistake for the sake of the lead couple!

    • Right because Clarke is such a great leader. Well hate to burst your bubble but she is not a greater leader. Bellamy is a soldier yes and he lost his way. People don’t understand that and are being judgmental about that. People are aloud to make mistakes and yes Bellamy made horrible mistakes. But he also lost everything. I mean lets be honest the grounders have not been giving Bellamy a reason to trust them. They left at Mouth Weather. They killed his people who were in Mouth Weather. There is no secret that Bellamy would do anything to protect his people and he is fiercely loyal to his 44 people. I mean he could have betrayed Nathan and Harper but he didn’t. I kind of get his actions but there are alot of short minded people watching this show. That seems clearer then ever.

      • Jen Stayrook

        I don’t think Clarke is a great leader. I think she’s learning that the path to becoming a great leader is lined with failed good intentions. A lesson Bellamy is also learning. They’re both still kids and I think it’s easy to forget that they’ve both been sheltered to the true nature of humanity for most of their lives when they’re covered in blood and dirt, but that fact still remains.

  5. I honestly disagree with a large portion of that, though thought they were retaliating against the ice nation, that would have made sense and personally wouldn’t have bothered me as much… this whole plot is another of the writers hiccups that destroyed (an already bad character mind you) finn. They removed the ice nation as a threat prematurely and now are and so now they’re doing the same thing with Bellamy and its annoying as hell. The whole crap about him needing Clarke is … well crap. This is to suggest that he needs Clarke to make everything all right and the second she leaves he’s a puppy dog left out in the rain questioning his meaning in life and ends up peeing on the carpet. Clarke defeats his development and this whole obsession with their being something to one another is ridiculous. He was the one to suggest that he infiltrate the mountain, Clarke told him no and then she made the decision for him. Its not that hes not a leader, he’s just not a figurehead leader. He doesn’t need to be “wanheda” he just needs to be that guy whose always been willing to do whatever for the people he loves. First season he did bad things sure, but he also did bad things for good reasons. Otherwise he wouldnt have been on the ground in the first place to protect his sister. Also: Does no one remember the fact that CLARKE & LEXA LEFT PEOPLE TO BE DECIMATED IN A BOMBING? Why should they trust Lexa to protect them? After she abandoned them. They’re not that good of leaders. In fact everyone is kind of terrible at it in this show. /rant over

  6. Love this! Very well said and I completely agree. You make a really good point about what Lincoln represented that I hadn’t considered.

  7. Yeah, Bellamy is human, but also both stupid and narrow-minded asshole !! He is lost without Clarke ?? Really ?? Clarke is not !! Bellamy needs her ?? We don’t care! If someone is allowing himself to be a, irrational dumbass because he is both hurt and pretty dumb, I won’t root for him anymore : yeah stupidity can get people killed !! Do you really think that Clarke should stay by his side after the massacre he is going to take part to ? Bellamy is just worthy when he choose to follow the good person ? He has no purpose anymore where he’s left alone, and has no one to protect ?? So he choose to kill the people who give a home to Octavia?? He choose to start a war against the Grounders, although Clarke is there in Polis as an ambassador ?
    How can you still rooting for him after all his poor decisions and how oblivious he is about all the other culture ?? He is human, yeah but he SHOULD be a punching ball (Thanks Octavia, beat the crap out of him) !!

  8. He was my favorite. He needs to be killed. There is no coming back from this. I hate Clarke, I hate Lexa even more. But they don’t have anything to do with this. Bellamy needs to be killed.
    I just think that people that liked him need to stop watching this show just like I going to do.

  9. Can we talk about the race issue in the show? Because again two non white character became the mass murderers, one of them that until yesterday was a good person, when the two darling savior of the world are the two blonde white girls.

  10. It’s just one mistake your not a true fan if you quit watching it because of bellamys mistake and really why do you watch it if all your going to do is bitch about the show

  11. Forget Bellamy Blake, he has proved on more than one occassion during the first two seasons that he was dropped on his head as an infant. Either that or he’s being used as an example of what 100 years of inbreeding in space gets you. My problem is with Pike. NO ONE is that stupid, no one. Even the smallest children know you don’t pick a fight with someone bigger than you. No way you can convince me he truly believes his few hundred guns will overpower 30,000 grounders. Did they not teach the battle of Thermopylae on the ark? Nevermind, this is obviously the writers racism using an angry black male for yet another bad guy. I’m white and even I’m getting sick of seeing this stereotype.

  12. Bellamy is my favorite, he will always be my favorite….but can people just calm the hell down and watch the fucking show without hating on a characters…man Bellamy had high lights in all seasons…he saved everybody in mount weather by killing all those people…now he’s doing the same in Arcadia…if he guys actually watch the show he thought the grounders killed his people and his GF in mt.weather at the beginning of season 3, plus his hate towards Lexa who left them in MT.Weather to die was still haunting him, that’s why he was mad at Clarke for staying with somebody who betrayed them…on top of which Lexa let a bomb drop on 300 people who were there to protect them…and Clarke let it happen…I think that’s worse then what Bellamy’s going through…So tell me why everybody is ripping on Bellamy in season three but not on Lexa for doing the exact same thing?

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