in Television

Why You Should Be Watching ‘The 100’ – For Its Leading Ladies

Granted, this is most definitely not the only reason you should be watching The CW’s The 100, but you get the idea.

It’s cancellation season and with the quick loss of one of my new favorites, Selfie, I came to the realization that I may be at risk of losing one I hold dear to my heart — The 100. The ratings haven’t been doing as well as they possibly could be, so this is basically me clutching the show and all of its characters to my chest, willing that I won’t have to let go.

Despite the fact that it airs on a television station that’s known for its stories centered on romance and is almost always set in a world that seems to only have attractive people around, this is the one show that stands apart from the typical CW stereotype on the basis of its characters. I’m not saying there aren’t love triangles on this show or there aren’t attractive people because there are. Believe me! This is a beautiful cast.

I’m just going to cut to the chase about the wonderful women on the show, but if you want to know more about what The 100 is about in general, read Sara’s review of the entire first season.

I’m definitely not the only person to catch onto how strong the female characters are, since a few articles have pointed it out too, but I find everyone is overlooking the fact that these aren’t just strong women, but they’re real. As real as they can get when they’re living on a radioactively ravaged earth. I’m afraid that everyone’s idea of a strong woman is one who can kick ass and at the same time, shield her emotions from others and even, at times, herself. Don’t get me wrong, all of these women can fend for themselves. I mean, did you see Octavia take out that Grounder with just a rock? I’m proud that they’re like that. They’re adding onto the list of badass women that younger girls are now looking up to. (The list includes the likes of Katniss Everdeen and Hermione Granger). But what the writers and cast are doing exceptionally well is portraying real women.

At the beginning of this second season, we see each of our main female characters dealing with some new obstacle they have to overcome. Clarke has to get out of Mount Weather pronto and find Finn and Bellamy; Raven has to cope with the fact that she’s now crippled; Abby has to deal with her new leadership position as Chancellor, all the while worrying over whether Clarke’s alive; and Octavia has to find and rescue Lincoln.

At skin level, these problems tend to require a lot more physical strength, but at the crux of everything is their emotions. This show isn’t afraid to show and deal with emotions. And why should they be afraid? That’s reality. Most of the things we do aren’t done for practicality’s sake, but for emotion’s. We act on account of how we feel. I personally hate when people try to belittle and sometimes hide a character’s emotions at the risk that they’ll be portrayed as weak, which is actually a pretty common occurrence. Take a look at Peeta for example. He’s continuously called a damsel in distress. Why? Because he has emotions? Because he shows them? Because pretty much everything he does is on account that he cares for others? And because of this, Gale is shown as the more masculine option. Mass media has had this overwhelming idea to shove emotions to the side and label them as “feminine.” I might never understand why, but what I do know is that the more females are shown as being equal parts strong, independent, and emotional, the more we’ll get it ingrained in our minds that it shouldn’t be just one or the other.

These characters bare what they’re feeling in the open. They never apologize for what they’re feeling. There are a few standout moments for each of these ladies that I feel really express this combination of independence and emotions. Heads up, if you haven’t caught up on the episodes, I suggest you skip these next 2 paragraphs.

[SPOILERS] For Clarke, it’s the scene in Season 1 Episode 6 after she saves Finn’s life and then gets a chance to finally speak to her mother, Abby, one-on-one after she’s learned that she caused her father’s execution. After her stress-filled and quick operation on Finn, she completely breaks down sobbing after what she had to go through and do. The weight of having someone’s life, someone she really cares about, in her hands overcomes her. She was strong, in every sense of the word, throughout the entire episode, but after all’s been done, she finally gets a chance to release all the tension and fear she had been bottling up. This is real emotion. It wouldn’t be believable if she were to just walk away from that hasty surgery unscathed and emotionally fine. Not to mention, she also had to endure taking part in the torture of a Grounder.

The same applies to Raven in this season as she’s about to endure a completely anesthetic-free surgery in order to remove the bullet from her spine. She very quickly agrees to the surgery and seems to be taking on the task courageously, but as they’re about to cut her open, she stops them. She, too, needs a chance to let her emotions get the better of her. She needs to let what she is feeling out. She also breaks down, starts to cry, and admits to Finn that she is scared. Are we to believe she wasn’t scared about being cut open? Of course not. [END SPOILERS]

Real women feel. Real women suffer. Real women are flawed. Real women get scared and make mistakes. And what really ties them all together is that they do everything for the ones they love.

I could go on and on, but what frustrates me is that so many other people are watching shows that don’t have a fair and diverse (that’s a topic for another day) representation of women in them. The 100 deserves so many more viewers on this fact alone. Yes, this is a sci-fi show and sci-fi shows tend to sensationalize the idea of a woman who can kick ass, but rarely ever shows emotion, but this show does not. They set these characters out for us to watch every week without fear. We’re supposed to have opinions about them. We’re supposed to agree and disagree with them. All because they’re human beings. Who knew that a sci-fi show could deal with reality so well?

I implore you to start watching The 100 on The CW on Wednesday nights at 9 PM. Pretty much everyone who’s started watching it has binge-watched it and been pleasantly surprised at the fact that such an amazing show can come out of The CW. And you’re in luck because Netflix has recently added the entire first season to its collection. Go now!

P.S. Pretty much every little group on earth from the remaining 100 to the Grounders to the Ark are being led by women. If that isn’t awesome, I don’t know what is.