What's Happening on The 100 Right Now, As Interpreted From Trailers By a Salty Lesbian
Image credit: Monika Grossova
Disclaimer: The death of Lexa probably affected white cis lesbians more than anyone else. I do not claim that this character was the end-all-be-all for lesbian representation. That is far from the case, and anyway, no one character can be that; it's why we need more and broader representation to begin with. But in this post I speak from my own experience of this particular cultural moment, and since I am a white cis lesbian, I imagine I was able to identify more with Lexa than someone who does not identify the same way I do. Everyone deserves to see themselves reflected in a positive and sophisticated way in pop culture, and everyone, regardless of identity, deserves to see broad representation of many different kinds of people.
Almost exactly one year ago, the most tragic television moment of my generation occurred. I'm referring, of course, to the trope-y and grotesque manner in which Heda Lexa kom Trikru was ripped from the screens and hearts of all who loved her, which was a lot of people, and a LOT of lesbians. Like all the lesbians. Every. Lesbian.
The extent to which the lesbian and queer-lady community was hurt by this speaks to the desperate way in which we, like all "marginally" identified people, crave to see something of ourselves reflected in the culture we consume in our free time. We all know the phrase, "if you can't see it you can't be it"- when people see characters they identify with on screen, in books, etc., living empowered and nuanced lives like actual humans and not used as a dirty plot device or example of how to get sad and dead real quick, it contributes to the validation of a diverse humanity. For many queer girls who saw Lexa being a powerful leader who was hard and determined and ruthless but also soft and loving, the character was a beacon among a wasteland of dead or depressed queer characters who lacked depth and empowerment.
I've written about this before and have since left The 100 in the dust for the sake of my own emotional health and desire to not be bored as fuck by something that used to make my heart flutter with every episode. But as we approach the anniversary of The Day The 100 Did The Dumbest Thing And Became A Really Really Bad Show (coincidence that as soon as Lexa was dead the plot of the entire series took a hard turn into the gratuitously dark and utterly nonsensical followed by a massive ratings drop? I think not), I've decided to recap what's going on in the current season of a show that is inexplicably still on the air, using only the trailers for the individual episodes.
I am also doing this in the lead-up to ClexaCon, which takes place this coming weekend and was organized as a conference for queer women in media (TV, web video, film, blogging, comics, fiction writing, etc) in direct response to the gaping need for connection and representation among this community that was made so abundantly clear (at least to the mainstream) after last year's epic The 100 fail. (Hence the name ClexaCon). I'm lucky enough to be going to this conference and will be reporting back from the panels and workshops I go to on this blog. (Rowan Ellis will be there, my literal feminist shero, as well as a bunch of Autostraddle folks and basically everyone involved in Wynonna Earp, so needless to say I'm excited).
So here you go, a long-ass post about what's happening in everyone's former favorite show, as interpreted by me, a salty lesbian, based solely on the youtube promos for each episode. Enjoy!
Season 4 Trailer
So the entire planet is undergoing nuclear meltdown from every reactor on earth. Apparently everyone's skin is melting off, but not the main characters, obvs.
ALIE pops up to let us know that "death is inevitable." Ok thanks that's the premise of this series. In response, Clarke tells ALIE that you don't ease pain but overcome it. ... like when your gf gets murdered in front of you and all your "friends" can do is blame you for literally everything that goes wrong and you're forced into a hetero relationship with a gross dudebro who is a big reason why the love of your life was killed in the first place. Like that kind of pain? Like IDGAF about your silly AI and I'm better than all of you?
That's what Clarke is thinking I'm pretty sure.
Then there's a strobe light-y shot of a lever because this show loves levers.
So since Clarke carries everyone's burdens she's telling people that if they stick together they won't just survive, they'll thrive! lol. Really she's thinking, "I'm smarter than you so please shut up. Also you all are responsible for killing my gf and the only chance we had at peace. Lexa my people are being dumb again please come back kthanx."
Oh look! Monty's blaming Clarke for something again. Monty u mad? Because Lexa could've saved you all if you weren't complete morons. She was special. (See what I did there?) Then Raven chimes in saying that they need to focus on riding out the radiation someplace safe... lol good luck that's not how radiation works.
Bellamy gets on a high horse and declares in his self-righteous white male preachy voice that We Are Not Sacrificing Any More Innocent Lives. Um sure you were just personally responsible for a giant massacre of thousands of innocent people so whatever you say Bologna. Since you're totally willing to attack "bad guys" and the only "innocent" people are "your" people, you're basically Tr*mp so boy bye.
Yep this little soap box speech is immediately followed by a shot of him pointing a gun at someone's head. Seems right.
Kane then tells Octavia that "justice and vengeance are not the same thing," because he's Skaikru Jesus Beard-man full of wisdom and peace I guess. But Octavia, still pissed af that her bf got murdered in front of her (i.e. how all the queer and POC characters have died in this show, at the hands of patriarchal figures and often in front of their loved ones), is riding horses alone and cutting people and has apparently been dubbed Sky Ripper, Death From Above. Indra declares how proud she is and this is by far the best part of the trailer.
Then everyone's mad at Clarke again and she's crying, and of course Heterohypocrite is the only one there to comfort her, and she accepts?! gtfu slimeface bologna.
Oh look, Niylah is here! She and Octavia look like they've been caught at something! So they're definitely sleeping together. This would make me very happy but I'm not about to watch to find out if it's true. Tumblr will tell me if anything gay happens.
So then Jasper says he doesn't want to survive, he wants to live, and we all remember the first time someone said that in this show. It was Clarke right before her first kiss with Lexa. And then Lexa was like "ya me too." So you can't have that line Jasper, it belongs to the lesbians.
A cute lady is doing something with the chip! If Lexa is reincarnated as this gorge WOC I can get behind that.
The end of this trailer features slash-y writing across the screen that says "From the ashes we will rise" and then more strobe with Clarke's face covered in massive boils!
Hmm, looks pretty bad!
4.01 - "Echoes" (of a better show whose good characters aren't all dead)
Alright, this trailer starts out with Clarke asking whoever is listening how they will tell people the world is ending after everything they've been through? Girl, it's not your fault, it was Pike and Jaha that created this mess. But like you're the only one smart enough to deal, so.
The Ice Nation is apparently blaming Skaikru for the end of the world... I mean they're not wrong.
P.S. Lexa could fix this probably.
HeteroSlimeface asks Clarke what are they going to do now? Clarke says, "Survive," and then walks away like you're dumb byeeee
The text of the trailer asks us, "Who will survive? Who will be cut?"
Oh, I know this one! Survive: Hetero white people + Clarke. Cut: Everyone else. Easy question.
Raven talks about how there's nothing like a little pain to remind you you're alive, and Jasper's like I feel u. Lexa, from the chip, is probably saying "you people don't even know, but like you're the only smart ones I guess so take care of my bae ok?" And Clarke is thinking "Lexa I still love you everything sucks without you you were the only person who ever understood me or smiled at me."
4.02 - "Heavy Lies the Crown" (crown = self-claimed authority of Skaikru, they are the Tr*mp party)
Right off the bat, Clarke is talking about how important it is to save everyone, not just themselves. Her internal monologue is probably something like, P.S. remember when you were responsible for murdering my gf and everything else shitty that happened and also you don't care like I do plus I'm smarter than you and I can't believe I'm still putting up with your shit, I could be Wanheda of the Woods aka kom Trikru like my dead wife and I could just talk to her brain chip and "visit" Niylah every once in a while if you know what I mean and kill leopards with my bare hands, but I'm here with you so shut up and listen to me.
Ok, so the gay guys apparently at least have a post-sex scene in which they dramatically discuss the need to procure a hydro-generator (?) from the "damn Ice Nation." I mean ok whatever.
Raven then schools people on the explosive danger of hydrozine (?) or something? I guess they could die trying to steal this machine? What a surprise.
Apparently this machine can be used to free slaves too?! But like it can only be used for one thing and they have to choose? So the slaves will probs just be left? At least if H.Slimeface were to decide. Also there's a note written on a piece of ratty fabric in what I hope is mud that says "Moving us tomorrow HELP." So Clarke as the only person with a brain and some bravery has a lot on her plate.
Then Gay Guy 1 says they should just blow up the machine... ok... and H.Slimeface is mad that they would destroy the only thing that could keep "our people" alive. So since he is clearly an unintentional allegory for Tr*ump I'm changing his nickname from H.Slimeface to DTET, the combined initials of the actual cheeto's adult idiot children.
Anyway this episode clearly revolves around the group making a decision about something that will kill and/or cause suffering to everyone. And that's something this show has never done before. *eye roll*
4.03 - "The Four Horsemen"
We start off with Abby treating some people who are vomiting blood because of radiation sickness, so great opener. Clarke seems surprised that radiation has reached them already even though ALIE showed her a globe covered in nuclear reactors that were all melting down. To be fair, Clarke was real broke up about Lexa at the time, so maybe she wasn't paying much attention.
Resident genius Raven declares that humans have two months of "survivability" before death consumes them all!
Bald Jaha comes up with the absolutely brilliant and never-before-thought-of idea to find a fallout shelter. Good thinking! Also remember when you were personally responsible for massive death and destruction?
Raven, apparently channeling the rest of the group who simultaneously rely solely on Clarke to save them and blame her for everything that goes wrong, reminds Clarke that they're running out of time. So save us Clarke! Clarke thinks, 'ya thanx I know."
Then the promo text warns us to Beware the Air! Cleverrrr.
DTET declares that if this bunker Jaha speaks of is real, they could save a lot more people! Thanks for your brilliant insight, DTET. This episode is clearly all about the characters going around saying obvious things.
Cut to Murphy, who is going on about some storm and being on the right side of a door, presumably a bunker door, and Emori we need to save ourselves!
Ooh a tiny flash of Lexa's chip! Clarke is probably opening the case and pining. I feel u girl. This is followed by DTET telling Jaha that he'll see him in hell if there is one. lol okay
Conclusion: Skaikru is trying to outrun a nuclear storm. I mean, that's been the established plot of this entire season since last season's finale so this episode seems pretty uninteresting. (Surprise). I'm guessing that since there are like 13 more episodes to go that they make it to the bunker but that a bunch of secondary/tertiary characters die outside of it. I really don't think this is a stretch.
4.04 - "A Lie Guarded"
Ok! So it seems 100 people can be saved from radiation by some kind of ship! 100 survivors, how subtle! Good job J.Rot.
Clarke is holding a list of names while Jasper goes on about how "Clarke's deciding who's worth saving, that's just great." I don't like anything about this but I haven't liked anything about this show since 3.07 at 34:47. Jasper then yells at Clarke that she's not god! She doesn't get to decide who lives or dies! And Clarke looks like she's going to cry, so pretty typical.
Roan is mad that Skaikru asked for more time to solve the radiation problem and they haven't solved it yet. Kane's like, "You have to trust me!" lol Kane you have no control.
The text asks us, "Who will weather the storm?" A deep contemplative question.
Roan declares their alliance broken, followed by a shot of Monty being dragged off bound and gagged? Whatever shit like this happens all the time.
Cut to a bunch of Skaikru standing around outside and Harper exclaims, "Black rain!" Everyone scurries inside except Jasper, who tells them that they can't live their lives in fear! Then he opens his mouth to the rain and shouts, "Wooo!" Clarke and Monty (who is apparently freed) run out to grab him so he doesn't commit suicide. This is not a topic this show should be dealing with because they are not good at compassion and nuance unless it's for powerful dudebros.
4.05 - "The Tinder Box"
Alrighty, last one before we're all caught up! I don't exactly feel fulfilled by this; this show is clearly capable of sucking out my soul even with it's tiny promo clips but I'm committed now.
So Clarke and some other people are in some kind of situation room with a fancy blue screen, and she tells whoever is there that she needs to talk to Roan. "Something happened, some sort of misunderstanding!" Clarke, why do you even try anymore. Everyone hates everyone and Lexa is dead. Go be Wanheda kom Trikru and save your dignity. Also I'm pretty sure nightblood makes people immune to radiation which is how the survivors of the first nuclear apocalypse endured in the first place, and since you had nearly all of Ontari's blood pumped into you (and let's be real, you were fluid bonded with Lexa), you're good. Ditch these losers.
But since Clarke can't be her best self, she's trying to be a diplomat on behalf of her ungrateful people. Harper says, "If he wanted to talk, he wouldn't be coming with his army." Cue shots of the Ice Nation army marching around.
Side note, every time I see Roan I just think of Jody from season 2 of Shameless, and I can't help but think of him as an adorable sex addict.
Anyway some rando white dude with a gun is mad. He says that "negotiating with these people is a waste of time!" So many Skaikru people sound just like the cheeto and his administration. They're the worst.
Cut to a shot of Clarke standing alone, unarmed, in an exposed landscape, looking like she dgaf anymore.
Oh yay, the promo text! "So many guns! And one! Loose cannon!"
This is literally the promo text. Do better, writers. Oh wait I forgot who I was talking about.
Now Clarke is talking to Roan, telling him, "We have more bullets than you have men. You'll lose." Then the rando gun dude, hiding behind a rock, says, "I have a clear shot at the king!"
Monty, fulfilling the role of Captain Obvious for the episode, says, "One shot and we'll be at war! We have to give Clarke time!" Presumably to negotiate. DTET chimes in: "It will be a bloodbath!" Go away, DTET.
The promo ends with a shot of Kane and DTET captured, bound and gagged by the Ice Nation, and Roan saying, "Your move, Wanheda." Dear Wanheda, please let your move involve the sacrifice of DTET.
Welp, that's all the episodes that have been released so far! I feel slightly drained from this exercise. I'm really glad I don't watch this show anymore.
Unfortunately, there seems to be zero hint that The 100 has retained any of its former pop culture glory, but in a way, that's a good thing. It means that its 1.5 good seasons stand alone as a self-contained entity with no lingering interest on either side. (Season one was ok for plot setup but was pretty uninteresting in and of itself. Although it wasn't as outright terrible as it is now).
I might keep up with these salty trailer recaps as the season goes on, as a kind of brainless pop culture catharsis, since sometimes anger and disappointment can be good for that! In the meantime, I can't wait to bask in some joyous queer lady culture this weekend.