It’s safe to say that as we head into the final season of The 100, the number one question on every viewer’s mind isn’t what the Anomaly is or why Octavia was stabbed, but whether Bellarke will happen or not.
It’s a question showrunner Jason Rothenberg has been teasing us (baiting us) with for over six years (that’s over 47,000 days in the show by the way) and it’ll finally be answered in the next few months in a 16-episode arc that honestly doesn’t seem enough to address the “will they, won’t they” vibe they’ve been toying with since 20-frikking-14.
The Bellarke ship is one of the strongest out there in TV land but whether we’ll achieve some form of catharsis is as much a mystery as is the question what happened to Wick post season two’s finale (seriously).
Will the years of tight hugs, longing looks, and charged moments climax (pun intended) into a sweeping show of love? Rather, should it? The Tempest editors Federica Bocco and Sana Panjwani debate if Bellarke deserves a shot in the final season.
YES: or else we’ve wasted years of our lives
Bellamy and Clarke have always been the driving forces of the show. Not just the two main characters often finding themselves on opposite sides of a debate involving the fate of the mankind (on multiple planets), but the two driving forces of the very human condition: the head and the heart. They are, for lack of a better and less cliche phrase, two halves of a whole. They literally serve as a metaphor for humanity, which cannot thrive if the head and the heart are not cooperating; in the same way, the show has proven time and time again things only work out if Bellamy and Clarke are together (this word is the writers’ biggest baiting tool).
The showrunner insists that they’re co-leaders. Raise your hand if you also repeatedly hug your platonic co-leader with this much intensity and pathos!
Bellamy and Clarke belong together more than with any other canon love interest they’ve had. Yes, Bellarke might never have had a proper kiss (hold on, does mouth to mouth resuscitation count?), but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t hundreds of more or less overt romantic moments between them. In fact, their words, gestures, and plot arcs are heavily romantically coded and have been since the very start. If you watch season 1, it’s very clear. They have all the sexual tension of two hormonal teenagers who are clearly in the first stage of an enemies-to-lovers trope. For years they’ve been a bomb ticking, ready to go off. It also goes unsaid that Bellamy and Clarke are married in the books that the show is based on.
With every season renewal, the showrunner got more comfortable in his shoes and started straying away from the original plan. In every season finale, Bellamy and Clarke are forced by circumstances to separate. To stop the action from going forward, to stop their relationship from taking the natural next step, they must be physically apart from each other. At the beginning of some seasons, we find new pairings that started off-screen and just serve to excuse Bellarke not kissing passionately the next time they reunite.
(Side note: I still believe that somewhere, in a dusty archive room at The CW, one could find deleted scenes of Bellarke kisses from each season that were filmed in case the show did not get renewed. Or maybe not, Jason might have burned the footage along with any Bellarke evidence like his own tweets from when season 1 was airing.)
Their relationship is clearly not written to be perceived as platonic, they’re always almost there, to the point that the show itself gives us metatelevisual moments and has other characters commenting on it. They always give us just enough. Just enough to keep hoping, to keep watching, always utilizing phrases like “I need you” and the magic baiting verb “care”, which was finally substituted by “love” in season 5, when Octavia called Bellamy out.
And it would be impossible to pinpoint all the reasons why Bellamy and Clarke deserve to be happy together. It’s in a million scenes. It’s in how they go crazy every time they believe the other to be dead. It’s in how desperately they cling to one another. It’s in how they always forgive each other no matter what (and make it up with a “platonic” hug). It’s in the carefully-planned script parallelisms, and in the little glances the actors steal at one another. Bob and Eliza certainly deserve multiple Emmys for their nuanced portrayal of two people who are clearly in love but are not allowed to show it. And yes, let’s ice this cake by adding that these two fell in love by playing Bellamy and Clarke and are now married.
As far as I’m concerned, the only reason why they haven’t gotten together yet is that Rothenberg wanted to be “different.” He decided, halfway through, that it would be original for his two main characters not to get together. It’s too bad he had already set them up though. He couldn’t totally go back on his choice and so he has had to keep delivering veiled romantic content to bait the fandom to continue tuning in every year.
Is it late for Bellarke? Yes. They should’ve gotten together years ago. Frankly, with how the past few seasons have turned out, the show should’ve ended a couple of years ago. But would it make sense to completely disregard the chemistry and history that Bellamy and Clarke have? No. As the poets say, better late than never.
– Federica Bocco
NO: Bellarke has missed its moment
Let me preface this by saying that I love Bellarke, despite my computer repeatedly autocorrecting it to Ballpark. I’ve read the fanfic, I’ve squealed over the crumbs The 100 fed us, and I’ve tried my damndest to wish it into existence. But as the seasons have unfolded, I’ve come to believe that Bellarke has missed their moment – it left with Bellamy in the season 4 finale.
When season 5 premiered to show that six years had passed, I felt my heart sinking. When I saw Echo and Bellamy embracing, there was a pit in my stomach, and when shit repeatedly hit the fan, I felt Bellarke slipping away further and further.
One can argue that the shared trauma, the hope, the trust, the friendship, the willingness to give everything for each other (and more), is what has cemented Bellarke as endgame. And while I don’t deny the depth (or the UST), I don’t see a Bellarke relationship surviving at this point.
Leaving Bellamy after Mount Weather. Staying back in Polis with Lexa. Bellamy siding with Pike, massacring Trikru warriors. Clarke sealing the bunker, leaving Octavia outside. Bellamy taking Madi. Clarke leaving him in the pit. Clarke siding with McCreary.
There’s too much history of betrayal and fighting for it to lay ground for a sustainable relationship. And while they’ve fought and forgiven a million times, I always wondered if they’ve truly forgiven each other or whether the circumstances forced them to because there’s always a bigger picture, a bigger battle to survive. They’ve been bouncing from one traumatic experience to another with no time to stand still let alone heal.
Their baggage is basically kindling, and the next time the fire lights, I wonder if anything will be left to rise from the ashes.
Let’s not forget that Bellamy is with Echo and while Becho might not be a fan favorite, there’s love there and a foundation that’s been three years in the making. I don’t see them breaking it off civilly on-screen (not without a significant time jump involved) so that means death and I honestly don’t know if Bellamy can handle another dead girlfriend or build a relationship soon after, especially not with his sister currently MIA and bleeding to death.
Let’s also not forget that Clarke will be entering the final season as an orphan. At this point, any relationship might be nothing more than a physical distraction. For once, I’d like to not see a cloud of death and tragedy and violence shadowing her relationships.
I’m not denying Bellarke’s love for one another, I’m simply saying that a pairing now might be a pairing doomed. Love isn’t enough to sustain a relationship, especially considering how often their friendship suffers in spite of it, and both Bellamy and Clarke need the room to come to terms, together, with everything they’ve faced since landing on Earth. I also don’t want the showrunner to ride the coattails of a Bellarke romance and leave us with an unsatisfactory plot. Bellamy and Clarke can have their happy endings, just not together.
– Sana Panjwani
Do we think they will get together? Probably not. Do we think they deserve to be together? We’re still divided on that one. And if they somehow miraculously do, it might be in the last 30 seconds of the show because we just can’t win when it comes to Bellarke.