‘The 100’: Xenophobia, discrimination & planned mass-murder: is humanity worth saving?

hakeldama1We’re getting some massively shifting perspective on The 100 – and it’s not for everyone

NB: This seems to be something I wrote a after 3×04, when I stopped watching the show. So it’s probably hugely inaccurate. Dug it up and I thought I might as well chuckle at what I thought would happen on the show, at least.

‘Watch The Thrones’, penned by Dorothy Fortenberry, is a rollercoaster—the kind that makes you puke afterwards. This is simply taking one aspect from the storyline and questioning it. The 100’s moral greyness is undoubted—it’s been drilled into our heads. Good characters do bad things and vice versa; maybe “there are no good guys”. But Pike and Bellamy in this episode and the Hakeldama trailer really pushed boundaries, and it was a shame—and definitely not Ms. Fortenberry’s fault, for the plot-line—that it over-shadowed some truly epic scenes in Polis.

With the episode and trailer shown, plus Mo Ryan’s interview released, social media notably latched onto the 9/11 comparisons—understandably still a tender subject. Introducing a man of colour who preaches xenophobia and comparing that to 9/11 is a dangerous line to walk. I’m not an American, nor am I Muslim: I can’t tell anyone how to feel when they read pieces like that and interpret and feel the way they do. I do believe Jason Rothenberg had good intentions in writing this storyline, but at the end of the Variety interview, when it seems like he’s justifying the atrocities Bellamy and Pike commit after he’s just paralleled it to 9/11, it was a bitter pill to swallow. Even if the mass-murder benefits Arkadia somehow, it’s still mass-murder.

If anyone’s angered, upset, or feel misrepresented, I can’t tell you to quell that because it’s simply not my position. I have the utmost respect for the diverse viewers of The 100, and I won’t dictate how you should or shouldn’t feel, or to stop you from expressing it. It is important that The 100 is trying to weave in topical issues, but it’s equally important that if the audience take offence to such issues, that it’s spoken, made heard, understood and for the higher-ups to learn from that. But is it so hard to comprehend that despite ‘progression’ in our society, Muslims are discriminated against, subject to suspicion and attack?

hakeldama2Pike: Xenophobic, manipulative and a fear-mongerer…the ideal leader.

On The 100, Pike (Michael Beach) continues to spread his toxic, xenophobic slurs with ferocity and pride. He’s inherently unlikeable yet exudes charisma—the kind plenty of hero-worshipped dictators did (Mao, Hitler, Mussolini…). It makes sense Pike is devastated by the Ice Nation’s actions—but experience cannot justify his widespread racial intolerance, discrimination and hate-preaching that. Ever since he proudly uttered the phrase “Grounder killers”, yelled at Indra to “speak English” on her own territory, and in the iTunes trailer, declares “This land is OURS now! Resist and you will be greeted by death.” (Does it suddenly reek of imperialism in here, or is it just me? Or maybe it’s tyranny…either way, it’s a stench), he was going to be divisive to say the least. Who crash-landed on the Grounders’ territory and made settlements there? Back in the day, they’d call that an invasion and thus an act of war (so why’s anyone surprised when the commander of that territory sent warriors to retaliate?). Who blew up the bridge, produced a ring of fire; whose unhinged boy murdered eighteen innocent villagers? Hint: it wasn’t the Grounders.

Pike: “Anger is our policy! Now, if [the Grounders] are here to ‘defend us’, as you say, then tell them: TO – GO – HOME!”

Humans excel at fear. When we’re scared, we spurt out irrational thoughts; we make terrible decisions. Adrenaline pushes us to ‘fight or flight’. Pike isn’t scared of the Grounders. He wants to attack. So he uses the Sky People’s vulnerable position and fears to drag them towards his xenophobic and dichotomous philosophy. The fact is, Pike’s ordering a mass-murder of innocents sent to protect them, knowing via Kane they’re from outlier villages, knowing the Ice Nation are solely responsible for Mount Weather—yet he plows ahead with his revolting xenophobia.

That’s like generalizing all German civilians as Nazis; generalizing all Muslims as terrorists. It’s repulsive and reductive. Pike’s lost people to the Grounders; Bellamy’s also lost people to the Grounders, and Gina. But Clarke’s lost Wells, Finn and her dad. Lexa and Indra lost 250 of their people at TonDC—and Lexa has lost 300 of her warriors twice, now, by Skaikru hand. Lexa lost Costia. None of them consequentially generalized populations and painted them as terrorists, to be used as a scapegoat—and that’s exactly what Pike’s doing. Why? Because Pike’s a douche? Or because Farm Station still aren’t telling the full story of how they survived up North…?

hakeldama3Bellamy: An enforcer and now a committer of treason.

Bob Morley’s portrayal of Bellamy has been consistently well-acted, but his character’s lurch into his season one mentality is giving me whiplash. It’s without doubt Bellamy can do morally questionable things (like selfishly smashing Raven’s radio upon finding her)—but in season two, Bellamy was an excellent soldier. He was honourable, brave and kickass. Morley says in an IGN interview that Bellamy is an enforcer—not a leader. Yet Octavia, his beloved sister, was there to stop him from at the gates and he still didn’t listen. He didn’t listen to Kane. He’s been utterly sucked in by Pike’s words.

But Bellamy’s suffered a lot, too. Betrayed by Lexa at Mount Weather, Clarke leaving Camp Jaha, Octavia wanting to leave Arkadia, Gina’s death (RIP Gina, for you were unfairly fridged) and the feeling of responsibility in getting tricked by Echo, leading to Mount Weather’s destruction—it’s a heavy weight to bear. At the beginning of the episode, Bellamy tearfully hands in his guard jacket because he couldn’t save lives. But by the end of the same episode, Bellamy suddenly wants to massacre every peacekeeping Grounder outside their gates.

What?! This is the same Bellamy who was present at the initiation ceremony, and heard Ice Nation claim responsibility for Mount Weather—yet these 300 non-Ice Nation warriors, from nearby villages, are sent to protect Arkadia. He knows this, and I desperately want to sympathize with Bellamy, but this is where one of The 100’s strength falls short: its fast pace. It makes for an adrenaline-fuelled journey, but it also robs us of Bellamy’s emotional exploration (hasn’t he known Pike for like, an hour?) as well as offering is rushed redemption arcs, devoid of emotional impact.

hakeldama4Ignorance can be a cause of death.

What I find most disgusting about Team Pike is that Pike ignores Kane stating Indra had assured them they were there to protect Arkadia. A fact. He continues with his dense assumption that these Grounders are here to attack the newest clan of the coalition. Pike…Do you know what a coalition means? Pike, who led a team and stormed Polis with weapons, interrupted a ceremony, and was still mercifully pardoned by the Grounder commander. The commander sends 300 people to protect Arkadia and Pike, who should’ve been killed on the spot by at the ceremony because weaponry in Polis is illegal, still thinks all Grounders are the same? One of the Arkers even has the gall to say Kane’s brand on his arm is like branding for livestock, and the look of shameful disgust on Kane’s face mirrored my own. Pike’s narrow-minded followers have no respect for Grounder culture and spiritualism. They’re ignorant and discriminatory, and sad reflections of issues that still occur in daily life—where ignorance truly is one of the vilest sins.

I ask, if this were a nameless situation and non-show related: would you redeem a tyrant manipulating a population’s fear into killing 300 innocent people, based on assumption and the omission of fact? Would you redeem every participant in Pike’s attack? When has this ever happened before? Clarke’s genocide was because she had no choice and she had to save her people. Whoever can argue Lexa and Clarke’s sacrifice at Tondc is quite frankly ridiculous because they didn’t fire the missile (i.e. issue the attack); they immediately felt remorse; it was a decision made in war; they actually saved Bellamy’s cover and life; and ultimately, they didn’t personally attack (well, they didn’t attack at all) out of sheer, disgusting xenophobia. That was Mount Weather’s attack.

In all fairness, we’re only on episode four and there are still twelve episodes left to clear the mess. And with The 100 raising issues and debates like this—it really does show the importance of xenophobia, even though so far it’s handling it quite atrociously. We’ve only seen a trailer. Maybe there are external factors that contribute to Pike and Bellamy’s actions. Trailers can be misleading—maybe ALIE’s drones killed the Grounders. Maybe the Ice Nation did in retaliation. But from Kane’s horrified “you killed an army? Sent to protect us?” to Bellamy in the trailer and Bellamy confessing they’d gone “too far”, it’s easy to conclude that they really did carry out the massacre.

hakeldama5Genocide versus Massacre

I just can’t mentally compute any justification for a planned massacre: personally and objectively, from any ethical standpoint. It’s mass-murder. Even worse: it’s planned, xenophobic mass-murder. It’s horrors that have occurred in the past, such as the WWII, the Sino-Japanese wars, the Crusades—and still happen today, with ISIL and Boko Haram. Taking a still-tender case: Would you redeem the radicalized Jihadists responsible for the Paris attacks? Because they were Muslim, would you generalize all Muslims as terrorists who should be killed? Of course not. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in this world. To generalize a terrorist attack engineered by a small militia of violent monsters is ignorant and unjust—and that’s what Pike and his followers are doing, by using the Ice Nation’s brutality as an scapegoat for ‘all Grounders are evil’.

By definition, Pike & co’s attack on the peacekeeping grounders is an act of terrorism. When Clarke committed genocide after having no choice at Mount Weather, she couldn’t (and still can’t) forgive herself; it haunts her. By definition, Pike and his followers also commit genocide—a mass-killing of people for particular beliefs and differences to them. Genocide doesn’t equate to the eradication of an entire race. History has shown this. Hitler committed genocide—but he didn’t kill all Jews. So how can Pike and his followers, committing a planned genocide of innocents, ever be forgiven? They’re driven by xenophobia, anger and spite—and as seen in the trailer, the results are monstrous, and Octavia, Lexa and Clarke are horrified. Just look at Lexa’s face—this is so different to TonDC. She specifically sent 300 grounders to protect Arkadia—and it’s resulted in their mass-murder. No matter what happens in the future of The 100 that may somehow benefit Pike slaughtering 300 innocent Grounders—the fact remains that he still did it. They still committed an act of genocide.

I sympathize with how they all feel following Mount Weather and their losses, but I cannot accept the humanity of a cold-blooded mass-murder. That’s inhumanity. This isn’t the murder of Grounders based on the fact they’ll attack: it’s based on the assumption they’ll attack, because Grounders are all the same to Pike. Does this sound topical? That’s because it is—because racial profiling and discrimination is still rife in this world. People still assume others of certain races or religions are antagonistic and they are unfairly demonized for it.

Kane: “You attacked an army? That was there to help us?”

A thought to ponder on: how has your perspective, as a viewer, changed since season one? Do you still see the Grounders as savages, after seeing Polis and their political system and democracy? Do you still see the Arkers as the heroes? Consider this: a radical commander forming a coalition in which she accepts clans from all cultures; in which a city is formed where people from all walks of life can live—whilst Charles Pike exerts violent tyranny as chancellor of the Ark and executes 300 innocent protectors. Now who are the savages?

 

hakeldama6ALIE and humanity: is humanity worth saving after all?

I argued in a previous post, humanity, I believe, is worth saving. Pike’s bigoted and disrespectful but that’s exactly it: humanity can be hateful, disgusting and brutal. We can’t generalize Pike’s xenophobia onto everyone—look at how accepting Kane, Abby, Octavia and Clarke are. If we generalize Pike’s behaviour onto all humans, aren’t we just sinking to his level?

On the flipside, Clarke shows that humanity can also love. Though ALIE may grow increasingly self-aware and independent, we don’t know if Rebecca or the programmers taught ALIE human morality—to act with the people’s best interests at heart. Judging by the apocalypse, she’s a highly-advanced AI (perhaps even an ASI) who saw a quick, efficient solution out of her root problem—but humanity’s cruelty is increasingly exposed by mass-murders, prejudice, and war. To ALIE, it’s ridiculous. Why don’t these idiots just stop fighting and live in the City of Light?

Interestingly, the next episode is ‘Hakeldama’, a Biblical term that’s now commonly known as the Field of Blood.

The passage from the NAS95S’s Acts 1:18-19 reads: (“Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out. And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.”)

We must note that traditionally, Hebrews interpreted blood differently as we do today: they believed it was the very soul of a person, quite often associated with desire too. So perhaps ‘Hakeldama’ plays more into its Field of Blood reputation—the loss of so many souls—rather than the site of Judas Iscariot’s suicide there (I suppose one could argue that in betraying the Grounders in such horrific fashion, like Judas did to Jesus, there are similarities).

Lexa: “How do we best lead as Commanders?”

Nightblood: “By serving our people. Each life is valuable, and we suffer every loss as our own.”

For the ugliness of humanity The 100 is showcasing this season I do believe that humanity will conquer all. It must. For example, for Clarke and Lexa, who dream of lasting peace and no wars (especially Lexa, who tried to build a peaceful utopia via the coalition only for it to fall)—they have to accept humanity’s crimes as part of just who humans are. They have to accept that humanity is humanity’s right, not an AI’s—and that’s why I think no matter how powerful the AI, humanity will prevail. Love is the greatest weapon after all, isn’t it? (Link to Aaron Ginsburg’s tweet) Love cost Costia’s life. Love cost Finn’s life. Abby by law had to betray Jake, whom she loved. Lexa sacrificed Clarke for the love she holds for her people. It’s a deadly weapon to be struck by—but a weapon means you can strike back too.

I don’t believe ALIE has been programmed to recognize the importance of love. AIs can self-learn, but they respond ultimately to an ongoing core command. It’s almost cliché to say that love will defeat the ‘villain’—but these characters have an overwhelming amount of love. Bellamy loved Gina. Raven loved Finn. Octavia loves Lincoln. Clarke loves Abby—and even Lexa, possibly, as the season unravels. Lexa is perhaps the most altruistic of the lot: everything she does, she does for her people—including sacrificing her personal love (twice, with Costia and Clarke) for the greater good, yet her ardency for Clarke is undeniable.

You could even argue that in creating peace in a completely unjust world, Lexa’s been saving humanity all along—because humanity includes her entire people. The 100 world can get ugly, and sometimes irredeemable, but I think whoever ends up saving humanity from ALIE, it’ll be surely love that breaks through. And you know, sometimes humanity is undeserving of that. But humans make mistakes; they’re flawed, selfish and greedy. But they love, they care, they are kind. If anyone should get to decide whether or not humanity can be salvaged, it should be humanity itself. They can choose right, or they can self-destruct.

Judging by Pike and Bellamy’s mass-murder, they’re on course for the latter.

Advertisements

‘The 100’: Gritty, it is Not

It’s about time we created a post-apocalyptic drama with zero realism, said no-one.

There are likely approximately minus three-thousand reasons why ‘The 100’ got a renewal this year. For a show that claims to be gritty, it truly is not. Really, the term ‘gritty’ needed a double check in the dictionary to understand its definition. Nowhere next to the word does it say ‘unnecessary darkness with no light at the end of the tunnel’. Wars had victories, albeit at a great cost. Mass-murderers usually got their comeuppance. A bunch of mainly-white, insanely good-looking, fresh-off-the-boat ‘convicts’ who look like they’ve just stolen a loaf of bread getting sent down to earth? Considering the earth’s habitable and the Ark is dying of oxygen starvation, it seems like a sweet deal.

That’s not to mention that nowhere near the word ‘gritty’ is there ‘unrealistic’. In the first episode (or something) Jasper (Devon Bostick), the most annoying boy in the world, gets staked in the chest by a spear. He survives, because Clarke (Eliza Taylor) clumsily rubs some seaweed on him. But it’s magic! You say. No. We eat seaweed. We do not survive a spear to the chest.

Yet when Commander Lexa bursts on-screen (Alycia Debnam-Carey) to the jeers of unnamed shippers, she get shot by a gun to a non-fatal organ. Instead of using her healing abilities, Clarke faffs about. Murphy (Richard Harmon) and Titus (Neil Sandilands) stand and perform an excellent impression of lemons. They do not call for help. Thus, the great Commander who united twelve clans and fought several wars…dies.

 

That isn’t even the half of it.

Within what seems like days, Raven (Lindsey Morgan) suffers a spinal injury and kinda gets better. Granted, there’s five minutes of her being in agony. Thanks to her knight in shining armour (we’ve forgotten his name) she has a crutch made for her. This is no slight on Morgan’s acting. She perhaps has some of the better scenes in the show. But for someone with a bullet lodged in the spine you’d think there’d be sufficient nerve damage. No-one can realistically withstand that pain without some opiates. But no, soldier Raven goes on, hobbling about. Stupidly, she ignores the medical advice of Abby (Paige Turco). You guessed it: she’s a trained medic. But anything for the unnecessary drama, right?

Ignoring the fight scenes in Polis is a wise thing to do right now. Having Lexa face a daunting Prince Roan (Zach McGowan) is difficult to explain and requires another analysis article. And that’s assuming the show thought of such tactics whilst choreographing the scene. But the problem with ‘The 100’ is creating conflict where there is none. When Clarke killed the Mount Weather residents, couldn’t she just have brokered a deal where year by year, the Arkers donate blood? Once? Then, like Emerson, they can roam the land.

Jaha (Isaiah Washington) deserves a website of his own. Landing on earth on a missile? Check. Getting high off some shrooms in the Dead Zone and hallucinating some chick in a curvy red dress? Check. There must be a theory somewhere about Jaha dying as he crossed the atmosphere of Earth, burning, and replaced by a robot.

Anything’s possible…

 

Gritty does not equal macabre mass-murders.

‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ was a gritty, quiet thriller. Featuring the acting prowess of Gary Oldman and Colin Firth to name a few, the film was quiet, smoky and brooding. The trick was, it never overdid it. However, there were disgustingly inappropriate (one could say the show did overdo it) deaths in ‘The 100’. Especially for its timeslot on ‘The CW’, which is probably aimed at tweens.

Instead, ‘The 100′ seems to end with genocide every single season. In the first season, Clarke—eighteen years old—scorches three hundred Grounders alive. She doesn’t even know them. In the second season, she gasses over three hundred Mountain Men, some of which are children. In season three, she condemns the entire world to a fate of an oncoming nuke. That’s pretty heavy stuff for someone who can’t even legally drink in the USA.

This is a disclaimer: mostly, it was well-acted, especially by Eliza Taylor.

Bob Morley’s Bellamy gets the brunt of it. Manipulated by a crazed son-of-a-bleep, Bellamy sets off in the middle of the night. Accompanied by like-minded individuals, he murders three-hundred Grounders in their sleep. The worst thing? They were sent by the Commander to guard the Arkers’ segregated camp, Arkadia. They were there to protect.

This moves us onto our next point…

 

Gritty does not equal colonialism.

This could all be a moot point, if Jason Rothenberg had decided to be clever and tell the story of man. We are instinctively selfish; we want. Ask Christopher Columbus. We see land that is fertile, and we invade. Do we care about the people who lived there previously? Running out of water and provisions, the likely answer is no.

But we do not live in a world like that anymore. How many of you will sail ashore, find a deserted island, kill the natives and roast some fish by the fire? ‘The 100’ was never a story about the horrors of man: it simply is not clever enough to be so. There are too many plot gorges to be so. Storytelling is not a necessity here.

This is not a hate piece. It is the criticism nobody really wants to hear. If we looked at the bare-bones of what has transpired over these hollow seasons, the themes remain the same. The Natives (the Grounders) are slowly but surely shunted from their land, to make room for the Arkers. All traditions they have are taken over by Arker science. These Grounders—these Neanderthals—are ridiculed, sometimes by Clarke, for their beliefs. Indra (Adina Porter) is especially represented as brutal. Hakeldama showed that regardless of past allegiance, the Arkers will terminate the foreign scum. Without mercy. The treatment of Lincoln (Ricky Whittle) was despicable. He was imprisoned for the season and then executed like a Jew in World War II.

It’s not just that. Even Clarke, who we do love, is seen as some white saviour. With her scenes in Polis, she regularly speaks out-of-turn and defies the Commander, who commands ultimate respect. Bob Morley, with his Filipino origins, has that utterly erased when Rothenberg & co cast a pure-white boy for his flashbacks. So maybe this is some weird experiment about how man is perpetually racist. My bet? Rothenberg wasn’t that clever.

 

War, Morals, Ethics and Ramifications.

 

This is honestly provoked by me getting explosively agitated on a stuffy Manchester bus ride back (will you believe people have sunburned in Manchester already over the weekend? As in—pink lobster levels?) and the exclusion criteria to this post…oh, for goodness’ sake, you know who you are.

NB: I suffered through whole episodes of ‘The 100’ to understand Luna’s character, motivations, background and moral/ethical stance to make this goddamn post—and I think that either requires a.) a liver pump; b.) hospitalisation or c.) someone needs to set up a fundraiser for me because I think it’s going to cause prolonged mortal damage to my brain. “Stop being so dramatic, Nico” you may whine; then good madam or sir, I will counteract you with “I sat through them in succession and then ran out of beer and munchies.”

Firstly, I want to note that whoever the actress for Luna is—I commend you and this is purely character-based, not at the actress. Secondly, okay—I started off a little light-naturedly but if you aren’t interested in the history of warfare, morality or ethics, that is completely understandable and this may not be the essay-of-sorts for you.

As I stated quite blindly in my previous post, pacifism does not equal commandership, thus rending Luna very unsuitable for the seat (I am still ignoring Ontari, and that ‘plot’). Upon watching (I ran out of Bud at about twenty minutes of the first episode, so please bear my frustrations) the episodes, I cannot stand by that stance firmer. From an utterly impartial standpoint, and I think I can claim this because I wish to approach this as an ethics write-up, or an analysis of two very polar opposites. I don’t want to mix in character favouritism into what should be quite a fact-based essay. I physically cannot bear the thought of rewinding those videos and making gifs, so this will be a giant wall of text—an essay of sorts.

LUNA AS THE COMMANDER

Here are the facts I have about Luna:

  • She is a recluse. She lives on an oil rig, far away from the roaring troubles of the earth and Polis.
  • She is the last Nightblood apart from Ontari, which makes her suitable for this…chip.
  • Did Lincoln just go “see ya later, Luna!” and leave this goddamn massive oil-rig to become Trikru or what? How on earth did he—did he swim?
  • She is labelled (self-labelled? Okay, I couldn’t remember at this point) a pacifist—which is true. She states at some point that she did not want any more killing.
  • She is good with children and teaching; there was a brief scene of her interacting with the kids and teaching them about the fishing nets. She seems patient and willing to impart her knowledge to those.
  • She is selective in those she chooses to protect. Everyone on her oil-rig seems to be silently approved by her; thus she is well-loved and seemingly popular. Yet to strangers, she is initially (and sustains it, I think…I can’t remember…) hostile—she is not kind to Clarke, Octavia and whoever else went.
  • She’s paranoid. This is evident in the way they have to light a signal just to get Luna’s attention. The fact that she then sends these huge bulky Grounders to greet Clarke & co, and then sedates them to the point of unconsciousness so nobody knows how they got to that oil-rig (I don’t know if this is a mystery; if they got there by drones or if the writers just don’t know…) except for her trusted warriors.

As I’ve said before, I’ve already explained why I don’t think pacifism is fit for leadership. I think anybody with common sense, looking upon the messy world of ‘The 100’, would already have known that regardless. Pacifism does not, by definition, mean that you are calling for peace. Pacifism means that you already stand by ideals in which you do not wish to engage in violence. One thing that will befuddle me even more (though I really need to stop getting irritated by this show—I’ll be on anti-hypertensives soon…I’m 22) is the fact that Luna didn’t adopt this very strong ethical standpoint when she had to kill her brother during the Conclave. I think there’s a line, actually, that says she was ‘forced’ to kill her brother. What is this? Did somebody put a gun to her head and say “if you don’t spear your brother through the chest* we will kill both of you”?

*Of course, there was no magical seaweed available at the time to cure such spear-to-the-chest injuries.

Another thing: if this Grounder tradition is literally killing off all Nightbloods apart from one (in which Clarke, I believe, in the narrative, has already ridiculed) then why did she kill her own brother? I don’t presume that someone goes from warrior to utter pacifist with one kill, despite it being Luna’s brother. If she knew Lexa was facing her in the second round in advance, did she not know her brother would face her? Could they not have run away together? Could there not have been a spark in Luna’s brain that went: “hey, let’s run away together and become pacif—nope, I’ll just kill you first and then I’m going to declare pacifism”.

The three pillars of being ‘heda’: wisdom, compassion and strength. I think Luna may be missing the first.

Well, Lexa and Ontari are subjecting these innocent Nightbloods to Battle Royale, and if you installed Luna as the commander, this would never have happened. I would first like to point out that Luna engaged in this ritual. The Nightblood Hunger Games (which is such a stupid biological principle) is not a tradition designed by Lexa nor Ontari. It is a tradition that they have grown up with. As cultures and traditions evolve, so do rituals—and this is one of them. It may seem savage to us, as we mostly sit behind our computer screens in relative peace, free of such horrors—but that’s how they survived. The belief that the strongest or indeed the most proficient in battle is not something that is historically invalid. If you look at the Romans and their gladiators, I would argue that that’s barbarianism—but I cannot invalidate their absolute genius in the towns they built, the lands they conquered, the technologies they invented that were hundreds of years beyond their own. I will rant at you about under-floor Roman heating for an entire fifty pages, but I think you’ll all ditch me. In my opinion, and here is where subjectivity comes into play I guess, the Roman Empire was quite possibly the greatest there has ever been, in existence. It was wondrous. It gave us inventions and philosophers and stories and physicians and it was bloody and vicious and absolutely fascinating.

There is a point to my seemingly off-topic rambling. In every culture that is built from rubble, there will always be something that is seen as ‘savage’ or ‘barbarian’ by the onlooker. It’s all about perspective. If I looked at the Grounder traditions of the Nightblood ritual, I would think it savage and stupid; if I looked at their reincarnation beliefs, I simply do not agree; if I looked at their trial by a thousand cuts or whatever, I would also think it’s very brutal. But that’s me, sitting at a cushy chair, at university, as a twenty-two year old who’s never faced the apocalypse. I have never had to adapt to a society that has already fallen around me. So who am I to judge the years of spiritualism and beliefs the Grounders have built for themselves? Most specifically: the Nightblood ritual. Yes, it’s genetically idiotic. But most importantly, Lexa nor Ontari created this ritual. It was an established tradition—and one that Luna took part in. If Luna assumed commandership, pacifism does not dictate whether she would rid of this ritual or not—because it’s Grounder tradition. Just look at the uproar Lexa incited with ‘blood must not have blood’. If Luna eradicated this ritual, they’d have to find a new Nightblood ruddy quick.

If Luna had been the commander, there would’ve been no Grounders sent to attack the dropship, no Grounders at war at Mount Weather, etc. I’m going to go by the show’s timeline(?) here and assume that Luna would’ve been installed instead of Lexa. I think I’ve already argued this point in my previous post. Lexa assumed commandership in the midst of a civil war. I imagine that would be a pacifist’s worst nightmare. Civil wars rip through societies like a hurricane tears through towns and cities; it’s tragic, destructive and it does not spare the innocent. At this point I wish to state that I don’t believe Lexa is a pacifist; I do believe she’s a peacemaker and I believe she strives for peace, but that doesn’t make her a pacifist. For Luna’s case, I ask: how, in abiding to strict pacifist principles as people seem so fond of doing—do you solve a problem like Maria a civil war? Think of the size of the twelve clans here. Think of the Ice Nation. Think of Costia’s decapitated head. Of Nia. I don’t think some pacifist summits at The 100’s version of the G8 with some kumbaya over the fire and grilled fish will solve a civil war.

Wars (especially not this brutal-sounding civil war) are not won by actively preaching pacifist ideals. You can state you are a pacifist with such ideals—but if you engage in war you are, by all means and facts, not engaging in pacifist ideals. If you blow up a village to save fifty billion lives elsewhere, that’s cool for you, but you still killed people—and thus you are not a pacifist. To be frank—I don’t think I can be any more frank—you cannot win wars without engaging in them. You cannot achieve peace—and I have already said this—without, paradoxically, war. Negotiations can be made, yes, and I do believe that in the process of uniting twelve clans under a coalition, Lexa made such negotiations—rather than seizing every chunk of territory by besieging them. But I believe there’s a tweet from Jason Rothenberg somewhere in the depths of his enthralling social media that states that the civil wars were bloody. And on this point, I would have to agree.

Being a pacifist and having such ideals does not make you a good person. It simply means you do not wish to kill anyone. With Luna’s clear lack of foresight (or the show’s just dumb—I actually think it may be the latter) she is not fight for commandership. I have no comment re: wisdom. She has shown strength. She has shown compassion…selectively, to the people she trusts and loves. And that’s another problem: if you’re going to set out for peace, you are surely looking to do what Lexa did: propose a coalition. How do you propose a coalition if you are not open-minded enough to trust? To take those risks, like Lexa took with the Skaikru? Some paid off—Clarke was a brilliant ally to have; some didn’t—Pike is an absolute monster. But seeing the skitterishness and sheer apprehension and immediate distrust Luna placed Clarke & co under, I’m not entirely convinced that she is charismatic enough to hold negotiations and wind up with a coalition. I’m not at all convinced that she has the foresight to see that the coalition does not just mean twelve-clan-wide peace; it also means extended growth of the society, open trade routes and pooled resources among many others. A ‘pacifist’ is a very easy word to throw around, and a very easy word to believe in that makes you think “darn, that pacifist is a good person!” but it’s not. It’s a moral and ethical standpoint. And in The 100 world, pacifism will eat you up alive.

 

ONTARI AS THE COMMANDER

Dude, this girl took the chip. She’s hideously insecure and she massacred a bunch of sleeping, child Nightbloods. Next.

 

LEXA AS THE COMMANDER

Here are the facts we know about Lexa:

  • She was trained to be a warrior since she was two years old
  • Shortly after establishing herself as the commander, she forged a coalition across all twelve clans—even after the Ice Queen cut off her love’s head
  • She’s not a pacifist—she’s a skilled warrior, unafraid to fight on the front lines.
  • Though Clarke had killed 300 of her Grounders, Lexa was willing to listen to her negotiations
  • She was due to face Luna in the second round of the Conclave, in which Luna clearly thought she would’ve won, as she stated something like “I would’ve won” (okay, can you tell I don’t pay much attention?)
  • Tropetropetropetropetropetropetropetropetrope
  • She is well-loved by her people; it’s evident in the reception she gets from the single combat scene in episode four.
  • She’s a good teacher: she regularly teaches her Nightbloods, and reminds them they are all ‘worthy’ of their Nightblood status. She reinforces the three pillars of being ‘heda’: wisdom, compassion and strength. She regularly trains in combat with them in preparation for the ritual.
  • She’s highly spiritual, and believes in the whole reincarnation stuff.
  • She’s dead (hence this whole BS ‘plot’ I suppose).

Going by what I’ve seen on the show, I will put it here now: Lexa was simply the better candidate for ‘heda’. She was not a pacifist like Luna, but that’s because she was intelligent enough to know that if you’re going to sit by pacifist ideals from the beginning of your reign, you will die at the beginning of your reign. Lexa was a fighter: she accepted responsibility and burden, instead of running away from it like Luna did. This responsibility was her people. Her people did not stretch out to just her army: they stretched out to every civilian under the twelve-clan coalition—which she forged, at a very personal cost.

Altruism, simplistically, is the standpoint where you put the needs of others—or perhaps the betterment of others—ahead of your own. Utilitarianism is often associated with the ‘end justifies the means’—as in, if you sacrifice [X] now, it will pay off later because you will have reached your ‘means’. This was most notably demonstrated in the Tondc missile episode, in which Lexa had moments to decide between sacrificing 250 people in the village or keeping Bellamy alive. In saving the 250 people, it would’ve been the morally right thing to do: life-saving’s always a good check in my book. But it would’ve alerted the missile-spotter from Mount Weather, and Mount Weather would realise that Lexa knew about the missile about to hit Tondc (why else would you randomly evacuate a village to a distance as far as possible, when you were about to hold a summit there?) and report this back to Mount Weather. Mount Weather would’ve increased and squeezed the search for Bellamy until someone ratted him out or discovered him, thus devaluing his job as the inside-man. The acid fog would never have been turned off at the Grounders would have been back at step one: unable to breach the border of the acid fog’s reach.

This is the scenario Clarke fought so ferociously for in that episode. Still a little fresh-faced in terms of war, and perhaps a nice set-up for a bit of an egalitarian, somewhat deontological clash (that is—every step towards the means must be moral and just) versus Lexa’s values. Yet Lexa had the foresight to know what this meant, and know of the consequences. In the end, she was right. Bellamy remained hidden and alive because of her decision, and he in turn later deactivates the acid fog.

But the betrayal was so cruel and [yadayada]. I absolutely, 100% agree with you. The betrayal Lexa carried out in episode fifteen was cold and sudden—like a stray bullet from nowhere (sorry). So yes, I agree—on the surface.

If we did a little digging and thought of why Lexa betrayed Clarke, that’s where things get a little messier. Clarke’s Skaikru were not officially initiated into the coalition until season three; up until the end of season two, the coalition consisted of twelve clans, and the Skaikru were saved from impending doom and wipeout due to Clarke’s negotiations with Lexa and Finn willingly giving himself up to the Grounders to face punishment for the massacre he carried out. I’ll refer back to what I said earlier: Lexa is somewhat, if not mostly, an altruist—she repeatedly sacrifices her own chance at happiness for the sake of her people’s, and that is a duty she carries not with some teen angst, but with honour. If you took fan favouritism out of the picture and anonymised everything…if you were a commander of an thousands-strong army, would you sacrifice their lives, upon seeing Mount Weather’s range of guns and knowing they have missiles pointed at your villages, possibly causing the loss of hundreds of more lives—for the sake of 40-something Skaikru stuck inside the Mountain, but mostly, the woman you fell in love with?

A weaker being would say yes. A weaker being would fight with Clarke and stand her ground, watching as her grounder army would undoubtedly storm the Mountain—but at what cost? The Mountain Men had a lot of guns (some weapons expert is going to have to explain this part) and the grounders would’ve suffered huge losses. From Lexa’s perspective, that is already too much. In season three, after the 300-grounder genocide (don’t…even…) a quote sticks in mind, and it comes from one of the young Nightbloods—that the commander feels every death of her people. It’s evident from the look on Lexa’s face in 3×05 (I wonder if the murderers can feel the death of all 300…) Just from hypothetically standing her ground and fighting the Mountain Men, Lexa would’ve been hit with huge losses. Moving farther from that, each grounder would’ve had circles of close friends, families, lovers—how would it affect them? What about the missiles pointed at the village? What about the hundreds of lives lost there, if Lexa stood by Clarke?

As really shown to us in the Tondc episode, Lexa is somewhat of a utilitarian. And so she would’ve thought of these scenarios. She would’ve thought of the skewed numbers; the families and friends; the villages; the fact that once the grounders realised they’d suffered such substantial losses for a bunch of Sky people who weren’t even part of the coalition, they’d rebel. It’s uproarious to think Lexa would even have to consider that choice, of standing by Clarke—because in a war scenario, it doesn’t make sense. Even in season three, Nia managed to stage an entire coup against Lexa because of ‘wanheda’. In season three, the clans are uncertain and mistrusting of introducing Skaikru as the thirteenth clan.

To go back to Grounder tradition, that’s just how things are! Strength is a commodity—it’s proven in the belief that if you kill the wanheda, you assume her power (okay, why haven’t there been ten billion assassination attempts on Lexa’s life already? Aside from Titus’). To stand by her ~true love’s side~ at the Mountain would’ve been weakness. And Lincoln had already told Kane that a commander could be deposed if seen exhibiting such.

Lexa’s such a tyrant—she literally took all the clans and [dalskdjksf]. Firstly, I would most wholeheartedly disagree with you and advise you look up what a tyrant actually means. A tyrant would be Pike. A tyrant would be Ontari (a shit one, but a tyrant); a tyrant would be Nia. Lexa, who herself installed the ‘vote of no confidence’ as established in 3×04, installed democracy herself. I don’t know about you but that does not sound like tyranny to me. Lexa’s advised by Titus; she liaised with clan leaders to form the coalition; she literally fell in love with the girl who dropped out the sky, set 300 of her grounders on fire, had a part in the other 250 killed, and still invited her to join the coalition formally.

Lexa kept Clarke a prisoner at Polis. Now I don’t wish to expand on this too much because it takes away the impartiality of this piece (I suppose there was never any in the first place, seeing as this show is a dump) but first of all, Clarke’s plushy room in Polis is way bigger than any bedroom I’d ever hope to sleep in. It’s bigger than hers at Arkadia. I also don’t see any chains or cages or restrictions in sight. I also saw an episode called ‘Thirteen’ in which Lexa literally—literally, verbally—acknowledged that Clarke had rebuffed her offer of staying in Polis to go back to her people, and accepted (literally!!!!!!!!!!!) this. Disappointed, she still understood, and she was willing to let Clarke go. Jeez, Guantanamo Bay’s changed a lot….

Lexa’s not a pacifist—so [is it that she’s not a better person? I haven’t even…] As stated above, being a pacifist does not make you a good person. What even does? It’s a very subjective topic and one for another discussion another time (like, holy cripes, I have ranted). I won’t reinforce the points I’ve already made: that pacifism wouldn’t have created the coalition/won the civil war; that pacifism is not possible in the position of leadership. One thing I didn’t touch on was the ability of Lexa’s to make peace. It was clear from the creation of the coalition that her end-goal was to strive for a future that was peaceful. Her speech in episode [whatever one Emerson was in] was this:

Silence! The crimes of the Mountain cannot be answered by one man. Wanheda knows this. Her actions show us a promise for a new future. A world in which violence does not always answer violence. A world in which our children can flourish. Without the shadow of death. This prisoner is banished from my land. He will live but he will live with the ghosts of those he has lost. Haunted until the end of his days by the knowledge that he is the last of his kind.

I’m kind of dumbfounded reading that speech myself because if people cannot grasp that Lexa was obviously aiming to revolutionise Grounder society as we knew it, in a positive and difficult way in order to achieve some sort of peace—then I really cannot reason with that.

Luna is the true ‘blood must not have blood’; she’s a pacifist—oh for goodness’ sake.

This isn’t as much an opinion piece as it is a piece explaining why certain ethical principles do not fit the ideal jigsaw of The 100 world, and why pacifism as a word cannot be thrown around to be meant as ‘good’. If I erased all names, would you rather—I’m literally shunting Ontari out of this—someone who ran away from grounder tradition to live on an oil rig, who selectively chooses who to favour, who is paranoid and who refuses to accept the responsibility and burden that is becoming the commander…or would you rather someone who was intelligent enough to make egalitarian decisions in the midst of a war (I’d like to make a point that simply being a pacifist doesn’t just end the war that surrounds you, jeez, what kind of City of Light world are you in?) for the altruistic belief in the betterment of her people?

“Maybe there are no good guys”—isn’t that a phrase ‘The 100’ likes to use a lot? So why is Lorde Luna the purest of the pure because she’s a pacifist? Because she holds one ethical stance? Is that honestly what makes a good person? A good commander? (Well, it still ranks her above Ontari, but I’m going to get profane here if we discuss Ontari).

I can’t even find an emoji that describes the look on my face right now.

Pacifism Does Not Equal Commandership…Sorry, ‘Luna’.

Disclaimer: I can’t say I know much about The 100, considering I haven’t watched it: all I know are facts that a.) Luna can fight/take down people quite impressively; b.) she is a pacifist; c.) she ran away from the Conclave after killing her brother in the first round and was due to face Lexa in the next; d.) there seems to be some belief that because Luna is all pacifism this and that, that she would’ve been a better Commander; e.) that Luna would’ve bettered Lexa in the second round of the Conclave anyway.

I can’t say much for the Conclave stuff, because I don’t know how Luna and Lexa’s respective battle training was at that point. Perhaps, at that point, Luna was indeed the more impressive combatant than Lexa. Looking at Lexa’s single combat scene with Prince (now King) Roan (Zach McGowan) in episode four, I find that incredibly hard to believe. Such skill and precision takes absolute years to master. Perhaps Lexa had not blossomed into the skilful, intelligent fighter that she proved herself to be in that combat scene—so perhaps Luna could’ve taken her—but this is an absolutely unfounded claim, and quite a cocky one I find—though cockiness is not a trait I have seen associated with Luna.

What I find more ponderous is the idea that a pacifist would make a good Commander, or a better Commander than Lexa. In fact, if I were to shove aside all politeness, I find it quite frankly laughable.

From what I understand, Luna ran away from the Conclave. Oh, she might have her reasons and she might claim she would’ve bettered Lexa or whatever, but she ran away into obscurity vowing to never kill again (after, y’know, killing her brother—this show does not make sense to me). Just that act alone renders her one-hundred percent unsuitable for the role of the Commander. As one of the Nightbloods says in their sessions with Lexa, to be the Commander is to bear the pain of their people. Luna, in running away from the Conclave and thus the responsibility of commandership puts her in prime position of number one in unsuitability for the position. If you cannot take pride in altruistically putting your happiness, your life ahead of your people’s—then you’re simply not heda. Lexa, on the other hand, did shoulder that burden. It was a heavy burden that I’m sure her heart screamed for her to go against—but she was selfless enough to take it. Luna wasn’t. And on this occasion, I have to agree with Titus: she was a coward.

I don’t know exactly how fans think commandership works, but being a pacifist when the twelve clans are at war isn’t exactly the best thing to be. Peace cannot be achieved by sitting around in a circle singing kumbaya whilst your husband fishes some sea bass for you on an oil rig. Peace, paradoxically, is achieved by war. It’s achieved by killing and ransacking and bloodshed; it’s achieved by forcing the enemy into submission, either by blood or by force.

Somehow, Lexa wrangled a coalition out of that. It is not her pacifism that makes her a great commander. Indeed, in the dark (nonsensical) world of The 100, I really don’t think you can be a pacifist as well as being the commander. But you can certainly utilise your position, as clans fear and respect you—to look ahead for brighter futures, greener pastures. Lexa was a peace-seeking revolutionary; she tried, especially in episodes five and six, to change the Grounder beliefs of ‘blood must have blood’ to ‘blood must not have blood’. She made impassioned, political speeches to the Grounders surveying her that this would be the only way their children could flourish, the only way their world and their society could flourish too.

And she’s right. It was a damn bloody road to get to a coalition, but install the right person in power (I’m ignoring you, Ontari) they can use their position to try and persuade others into their way of thinking. In Lexa’s case, it was a peace-seeking, unification way of thinking—and one many rebelled against. That’s predictable, not savagery: these Grounders have known war and hostility their entire lives. To have a young commander step up and declare such principles is a swift and dramatic change—and change is scary. To say Lexa isn’t a pacifist would be accurate. To say that she is a peacemaker would also be accurate. To say that Lexa perhaps sought pacifism as her endgoal as the commander? I would like to think that’s what she was trying to achieve with the coalition.

I guess what I am trying to say is that any argument of Lexa being any less capable of a commander than Luna is actually, I’m sorry, laughable. Luna ran away as soon as the weight of responsibility became too much; she isolated herself far, far away. She might be a pacifist but pacifism does not win you wars. It just means you don’t like killing. And unfortunately, in the midst of a bloodied twelve-clan war, the commander they needed was not a pacifist. They needed a revolutionary.

The Importance of Minorities: It’s In the Name

MinorMn

They’re a minority for a reason.

This is a phrase I’ve heard time and time again, flung between fandoms and Twitter handles and Tumblr users in disdain; it’s a phrase that has sickened hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people (yes, there are people behind these computer screens) which makes me believe that this isn’t a game of Chinese Whispers. Somebody had the idiocy to utter those words. At first, I was cynical somebody could even say something as audacious and inconsiderate as that. Surely even if there is a bit of a problem with the ‘human decency’ side of someone’s brain, a phrase as offensive and ignorant as that cannot pass from brain to mouth. And yet it has, because the exact phrase has been uttered over and over, with understandably disgusted and appalled reactions to the phrase—for good reason!

I’m a minority. I am a minority in more than one sense, and I like to think that I matter to people in some way or another. Talking in terms of media, I am still a minority. My ethnicity is hugely underrepresented, as is my sexuality—and when ‘represented’, it’s often badly so or used for comic relief. What I think people have misconstrued, lately, is that minority does not equal LGBTQ. Minorities include men and women of color (that’s not just black men and women, but Hispanic, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian…the list is endless), individuals with disabilities (mental and physical disorders), individuals with varying religious beliefs, and individuals who do not fit the Hollywood frame of skinny, long-legged and blonde.

You may ask: why do you care about minorities so much? They’re called ‘minorities’ because they’re in the minority, so why are people making such a huge fuss about them?

Commander Lexa--arguably the spark of this revolt. A great character cheated out of a great exit, and minorities finally decided: "I've had enough."

Commander Lexa–arguably the spark of this revolt. A great character cheated out of a great exit, and minorities finally decided: “I’ve had enough.”

I may retort, slightly bitterly, that there are nearly seven billion people in this world. A minority does not mean a group of ten gay people, or a meeting of six chronic pain sufferers in wheelchairs. Minorities may be the collective umbrella term, but minorities can manifest in numbers up to thousands, or hundreds of thousands—and still be in the minority. Minorities can be supported by those who aren’t, those who have the heart to consider them, those who understand what good representation is on media—and I guess that’s why this is so important to me, as a minority myself.

I confess, whilst television is not in a vacuum anymore, I do still watch television with a level of detachment. I very rarely get too attached to a character, and thus when representation dies—I’m upset, but I get over it pretty quickly. But that’s just me. I will take the cases I know most about, and the show that has kicked up the most controversy (though I endeavor not to ignore the recent ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘The Vampire Diaries’ disasters): The 100.

In three episodes (do I count episode eight as an episode?), The 100, in its unfortunate shock-value way (i.e. shock value for the sake of shock value to a point where it is really, really, really, really not shocking anymore) committed child slaughter (whilst they were sleeping. It appears cowardly genocidal tyrants like killing masses of people in their sleep on this show), killed a lesbian in a frame-for-frame comparison to Willow and Tara from Buffy (though I confess Mr. Whedon is a good writer) and also executed from point-blank range, a peace-seeking, loving, innocent black man, Lincoln, in one of the most graphic scenes I’ve ever seen on any channel. It took the phrase ‘torture porn’ to the next level—because that’s all it was, and it was disgusting.

Not that I want to see massacres of sleeping innocents on my television (or really this show at all, but gif-makers—you’re quick!) but I find it worrying how this season things took a heavy, racial, minority-aimed step into the dark abyss of no-hope. In episode five, the massacre of the three hundred Grounders wasn’t shown; in the recent episode, Ontari was not shown killing the Nightbloods (alright, I don’t want to see those innocent kids die—and I guess it was for ‘shock value’ because nobody guessed Ontari would kill those Nightbloods, right?). The Hakeldama one is most prominent in my mind. Led primarily by Pike and his gullible sidekick Bellamy, they mass-murdered three-hundred innocents. Only the aftermath—the field of the dead, very brief flashes of about two bodies, and a slow-motion entrance into Arkadia for the genocidal monsters was shown. I don’t know what this show implicates, in writing a scene that way—the same as when they shot Lexa straight after she’d consummated her relationship with Clarke. Maybe they didn’t want viewers seeing fan-favorites do an awful (that’s too kind—this is genocide—crimes that dictators and terrorists commit) thing, so it’s a little easier on the redemption arc when the tears and manpain starts.

It’s not enough. What happened on that field is by every single definition a war-crime and whether you like it or not, one of the war-criminals was Bellamy Blake, shooting to death sleeping Grounders with his rifle. The 100 won’t put Bellamy Blake through the Nuremberg trials. That’s a little too harsh—I mean, the genocide-committer’s a good boy at heart, isn’t he? It shames me to say this because I enjoyed his character up until this season, where his character’s 360 was the weakest, his ‘redemption arc’ nonsensically atrocious, his story-lines horrific and bland—and it hurts, because I did like Bellamy. But when every—single—critic absolutely loathes that story and thus him now; when even the esteemed Ms. Mo Ryan says on the Televerse podcast she can’t even face him as a character—you know you’ve assassinated that character. I’ll never truly understand the appeal of a ‘bad boy’ versus, you know, a decent and peace-seeking man but Bellamy’s not a ‘bad boy’. He is an irredeemable war-criminal with innocent Grounder blood on his hands—perhaps he’s too far gone, now, and any attempt to bring him back will just be laughable. Every single critic I’ve seen has ridiculed a potential redemption arc for this—this isn’t slapping someone in the face. This is genocide. I can’t emphasize that enough because I need to put real weight behind that word. Even when Clarke visited, Bellamy—a grown man—shouted and reminded an eighteen year old girl of everything she’d done, put all the blame on her because his poor twenty-three year old heart couldn’t handle it. A grown man reduced a teenager to tears, and then handcuffed her to be taken to Pike. There’s a worrying trend or I guess double-standard of audiences enjoying ‘bad boys’ suddenly doing one good thing and thus becoming amazing, whereas the badass Clarke—if she’s not physically fighting, but rather politically and cleverly fighting, i.e. using her brain—is seen as either useless for her political scheming in Polis or boring. Either way, it’s gone too far. When that decision is made, and the war-like (ethnic cleansing) execution of the black man is the source of such torture porn (who cares, right? But you can’t watch a white boy* commit genocide because we need to redeem him later) then it’s too far. When suicide hotlines need to be posted, it’s too far. When Lincoln’s only real screen-time this season involved a little with Octavia, then mostly inside a prison cell, and then getting executed—the implications are clear, and it’s—too—far.

Lincoln's had more screen-time as the show's shirtless torture-toy than he has a character, beside his romance with Octavia, at the hands of colonialist Arkers.

Lincoln’s had more screen-time as the show’s shirtless torture-toy than he has a character, beside his romance with Octavia, at the hands of colonialist Arkers.

This is my first article in which I will say that this next paragraph may trigger some of you (I apologize—and I also understand if you skip to the next paragraph or this article altogether), because when that episode aired, I confess—I didn’t watch it—but soon videos and gifs were being spawned on Twitter, and I saw the scene in its entirety. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. A black man, imprisoned all season long for doing no harm except being different—i.e. fall victim to a xenophobic tyrant—sacrificed himself to save Kane and allow for his escape whilst bravely condemning himself to his fate. The heroism of Lincoln’s actions and his burgeoning, enduring love for Octavia, his girlfriend, will not be forgotten—but neither will his death scene. It wasn’t shocking as much as it was depressing. In fact, the only thing that startled me, quite frankly, from this repulsive show is that Lincoln didn’t fall like a rag doll into a pit of freshly-dug mass graves like the horrors of Romanian and Serbian laborer camps—he fell into a muddy pond instead.

Why am I talking about The 100 again, when I’ve made it pretty clear I couldn’t care less for the show nor its lack of quality? I speak of The 100 because of the very real effects it’s had on real human beings: they are the individuals I care about. All over my Twitter I had horrified teenagers speaking of triggers and suicide—again—following Lexa’s death by mere weeks. E4, the broadcaster that airs the show in the UK, have done excellent jobs in providing viewers with warnings before the show airs that some viewers may find scenes distressing, and at the end of the program (E4 does this on principle—not just for The 100) they provide a helpful list of hotlines and websites in case anybody needs to seek urgent help for what they’ve just witnessed on-screen.

I’ve heard plenty of excuses (seriously, why?) too. One angered me: one compared the show to some American town (Detroit, I think it was) where gun crime is rife and minorities are killed aplenty. I argue the case that The 100 is set in a post-apocalyptic future where the ‘groundbreaking’ show-runner already stated factors like race and sexuality were nullified—so why compare real-life events to very fictional ones? Hasn’t the show-runner already smugly distinguished his world from the real one? Indeed, should it not be one television’s primary aims to offer escapism and hope in a world very deprived of it?

Recently there have been terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Brussels and Turkey; there continue to be attacks in Syria and bomb strikes; there’s a surging terrorist epidemic and under-reported massacres across Northern Africa. There is the existence of Donald Trump. There are people living with chronic, fatal lifelong conditions, battling each day. There are addicts spiraling into an endless abyss. There are young children diagnosed with rare forms of terminal cancer. There’s one suicide every forty seconds. There are LGBTQ teens being bullied both physically and verbally; both in real-life and online. There are people of color everywhere being harassed—again, physically and verbally, both real-life and online—for the color of their skin, the slant of their eyes, their religious beliefs and practices. It’s a dark world for hundreds of thousands of people and if you are in a position of privilege where you are blissfully ignorant of this, then I pity you and I implore that you read on it; that you be kind. If you are in a position of privilege and you simply don’t care, then I pity you for your inconsiderate nature and heartlessness. If you’re in a position of privilege and you contribute to such insults, bullying and petty behaviors in order to discriminate against these minorities even further—I only have the greatest sorrow for the hollowness of your soul, because I cannot imagine anyone with a heart that has the audacity to do such a thing.

The Vampire Diaries killed their LGBTQ characters simultaneously...which must be going for a record, or something.

The Vampire Diaries killed their LGBTQ characters simultaneously…which must be going for a record, or something.

Other excuses have ranged from “well, they’re a minority, so why should they be overly represented?”—and my answer to you would be that they aren’t overly represented, if at all, and that’s one of the biggest problems. My other part of the answer would be what you define representation as. Do you define it as simply sticking a token Asian on-screen? Or do you define representation as a good, realistic, down-to-earth portrayal of that minority?

Some may say: “well, I’ve been picked at by a minority so why should they deserve my time?”—and my answer would be: are you really that desperate to generalize an entire population for a few bad eggs, to masquerade your hatred? If I was hassled or bullied by a white person—and I have been—that doesn’t mean I hate every single white person on this planet. Quite the opposite! I have strong opinions on fascist regimes—I’ll plunder for the popular ones—such as Hitler, Mao and Mussolini—but do I hate every German, Chinese and Italian person for it? No! I shall not hold any person associated with that race accountable for a few’s actions—just as the concept of holding an entire community responsible for the actions of a few is an incredulous, despicable, and frankly a stupid idea. Is ‘an eye for an eye’ really the only policy you can draw here? Or would you prefer it if I proposed this: block or mute—or whatever you do on social media—for a few. And consider how many LGBTQ people there are on this planet. Consider how many POCs there are. Out of nearly seven billion.

Out of an impassioned piece on my anger and distaste of this issue, I do offer some things I wish not to do. First of all, my number one stance is to never tell anybody how they should feel. This includes people who quite simply tell others to “get over it”—be it over a fictional death or, will you believe it, real ones. Whatever you grieve for and however long, and however it may affect you—I shan’t have the pretentiousness to dictate that. You must consider that for as many minorities there are individuals who have co-morbidities such as anxiety and depression; grieving times and severity varies over this wildly heterogeneous population. Perhaps you don’t understand, and that’s fine—it really is—butplease, I beg, for their sake, do not be inconsiderate and rude. It takes more effort and more of your energy to be hateful and spiteful than it does to simply be quiet or offer quick condolences.

I also do not wish to speak for all minorities. That, I hope, is obvious. As a minority of many myself, I can speak from individual experiences but as each of you on this planet is precious and different and unique—I cannot speak for your experiences. I cannot speak for the young lesbian teen still struggling to come out of the closet; I cannot speak for the Hispanic suffering of autism; I cannot speak for the black thirty-year old man in a primarily white neighborhood. Yes, those are scenarios I plucked out of my head—but the point is, is that we are so diverse on this planet. We are surrounded by a sea of color and love that is varied and bright. Why is that something that isn’t celebrated, but rather crushed upon? Bullied for?

I’ve seen teenagers getting bullied or getting into arguments with grown men and women about this issue. I’ve seen people accuse others of using the word ‘minority’ as a cover-up for LGBTQ. I’ve seen articles from reputable websites accusing mourning viewers of The 100 of only grieving the loss of Commander Lexa because the actress was white—and that they wouldn’t be mourning if the actress was black. I have a quick word to say on this, because clearly the journalist had perhaps not researched into the depths of why the community was angry. It barely had anything to do with the death, andnothing on the actress’ skin color; in fact, it had everything to do with the exploitation of vulnerable youth, alleged (and I think confirmed) suicides relating to the death; the year-long misleading of writers and show-runners in baiting the LGBTQ community in their supposed safe-zones by luring them into a false sense of security. And as Ms. Mo Ryan wrote here, the show-runner himself invited fans to watch the filming of the finale on the streets of Vancouver—where everyone would spot the iconic warpaint of Commander Lexa, thus throwing further oil into the already-alight pan—in a long-drawn game of trickery and masquerading so sick that it resulted in self-harm, tears, suicidal ideation and writers desperately tweeting suicide hotlines. I shan’t speak once more of how atrociously the death was handled because many articles have covered it much more eloquently than I shall, and this podcast is an excellent listen for further explanation.

In the space of about a month, there’s already been four LGBTQ deaths (three from the CW, one from AMC) and a graphic execution of a man of color (the CW…again). Again, articles have covered these deaths much more eloquently than I shall—for example, the girls from the Vampire Diaries, Denise from The Walking Dead, and Lincoln from The 100. A week or so ago, ‘MINORITIES ARE NOT DISPOSABLE‘ trended on Twitter. It was then when I saw people—grown adults, mainly—accuse teens of masquerading the word LGBTQ behind the word minority. And I have to say, with the uproar Lincoln’s death has caused on The 100, I think they’ve just been proven mightily wrong.

Denise's arrow through the eye was not even intended for her--she died by mistake, in place of--yes, a white male.

Denise’s arrow through the eye was not even intended for her–she died by mistake, in place of–yes, a white male.

We know this now: TV is not just a weekly sit-down and family gathering. TV affects us in real life because people talk about it; people discuss it on social media; people get sucked into the hype and buzz. People seek escapism from their harder real lives; people seek solace in online friends; people seek online safe-spaces. Yet the Internet is a double-edged sword. It can offer both kindness and cruelty. It can offer understanding individuals, open-hearted people willing to listen—and it can offer delusional, petty bullies.

I only ask that you navigate Twitter and Tumblr and such with care (though I’m sure literally everyone’s more proficient at social media than I am) and never let those words, that you’re a minority for a reason, sink into your hearts. After all, you have very human beating hearts—same as everyone else. People may despise you for your skin color, your religion, your ethnicity, your weight…and you know what, in this world of billions, it’s easy for me to tell you to just not care about them. But I know as well as you that words hurt—that’s why people use them. That’s why insults are thrown around. That’s why hate-mail is sent. I can’t ask you to ignore all of that; I can’t ask anything of you. All I ask is that you know there are people in the Twitterverse, the Tumblrverse, the Facebookverse, the Periscopeverse—however many ‘verses there are (just not The 100’s, because you will die if you are a minority, sorry)—who care, ardently. There are people who are willing to talk and understand and reach out. There are people who empathize; who sympathize; who are rational, decent human beings. And just like minorities may never get the same representation on television as we’d like, because society has fooled itself into being progressive, bullies do not represent the general population. They represent a small percentage of cowards who dare only to attack young, vulnerable teens from behind a computer screen. If anyone has encountered such a being, then my heart goes out to you—but know that you will always be supported by the humane ones on this planet, and I think I can safely say that makes up the majority of people.

Meanwhile, I will pop on Person of Interest, in which the main male lead is permanently and chronically disabled, the male lead is never hyper-sexualized and does not do the same to others, the same-sex couple consists of a half-deaf cordial twerp and the other is a Persian badass with an Axis Personality II Disorder, and their detective on the inside is an overweight but honorable and dutiful cop. (Was that a ‘ding’? I think that was the sound of quality).

I love it when a bit of genuine quality pops up on my screen.

I love it when a bit of genuine quality pops up on my screen. No whiff of exploitation, baiting or lies either (and the POI squad never have done, in four years). I heard exploitation and lies smell like alcohol and trains.

*As played by the show, in which this character’s younger sister is Octavia, and there’s been no indication with regards to Bellamy’s potential parentage. As Octavia is white (or Marie Avgeropoulos is at least half-Greek?) I would assume as siblings (certainly from the same mother) there’s nothing to warrant Filipino origin there. I’ve always fully known the actor, Bob Morley, has Filipino roots. The show, in its flashbacks with Octavia, young Bellamy was played by a white actor, Spencer Drever. I have since been assured via multiple platforms that Filipino children do not get darker as they grow older, hence the whitewashing of Bellamy Blake seems to remain a valid claim. Once more: this is not a slur on Mr. Bob Morley. I completely respect his pride of his heritage—especially coming from a minority myself, where I admittedly was not always comfortable in my own skin—and on a personal level, I wish the CW, Mr. Jason Rothenberg and the show had been willing to portray their main male lead as a man of color. 

Thank you once more for reading. I understand now is a sensitive time for many, and I offer my condolences. I confess I don’t watch all the shows I’ve mentioned here but my heart does genuinely go out to anyone who’s suffered through this. Paradoxically, I find this statement uplifting andheartwarming: you are not alone. And I hope solace is found and social media used for good in this context. To end on a positive note, this smashing fundraiser has achieved over $112,000 as I write. Minorities, huh?

As ever, I’m on Twitter at @NicolaChoi or via the comments below—thank you.