Bellamy Blake is a complicated character.
The first moment viewers laid eyes on him, it was clear he was to be an antagonist. By episode 3, it was clear he was meant for much more.
As the seasons progressed, we saw a self-serving, driven young man transform into a loving, sacrificing leader. One who repeatedly stepped up to bear the burden, to share it, to make the hard choices, to fight for his loved ones till the ends of the universe.
Bellamy and Clarke did this together, even when apart, even when at opposite ends. For both of them, there wasn’t a line they wouldn’t cross to save their loved ones, especially when the loved one in question was the other.
So, to see Clarke shoot him in the heart was devastating and heartbreaking.
The 100 has a problematic history of killing off key characters. Jason Rothenberg, the show’s producer, set the precedent pretty early with Wells Jaha’s death in S1E3. Countless others have joined since including Heda Lexa, Roan of Azgeda, Thelonius Jaha, Jasper Jordan, Monty Green, Marcus Kane, and Abby Griffin.
So, in all honestly, I wasn’t expecting The 100 to end without Clarke or Bellamy or both dying. What I did expect was it to be in pursuit of saving a loved one: each other, Madi, Octavia, everyone – take your pick.
Not hastily. Not pointlessly. Not without meaning.
The harsh truth is, Bellamy Blake did not die as he lived.
In life he was loved, he was steady, he was a rock for Clarke, for Echo, for Octavia. In death, he was alone, left behind, and on a path so far removed from his foundation that it left fans reeling, grasping to understand the meaning, the justification.
But there isn’t any. Bellamy’s death is the result of horrible story mapping. Worse, his death simply serves as shock value. His death merely cements The 100 as a show that will forever be remembered for its nonsensical, thoughtless treatment of its characters.
Bellamy, as it was, was largely absent from this season. His total runtime could not have exceeded more than 90 minutes and 90 minutes isn’t enough to believably show a transitional arc where the Bellamy that’s been built over the span of six seasons is whittled away and shaped into a Disciple.
Bellamy’s death stands less as a tragedy and more as a sick joke.
We don’t know how long he was in Etherea. We know he was in the Cave of Ascent for two months. We know he succumbed to prayer (once!) along with Doucette and during it, he had a vision of the Shepherd, of the light beings, of his Mom. Coincidentally, the snowstorm passed during his time and cleared the path to the Anomaly Stone and this one coincidence tipped him over the edge.
Bellamy took this as a sign that the Shepherd is on the right path. That transcendence is key. And so he committed himself to the Shepherd upon reaching Bardo and within minutes, with zero situational information, with zero questions, with zero hesitations, he sold out Clarke.
This is weak. Bellamy has been through a lot worse than his Etherean pilgrimage. He has done worse. He has felt worse. And yet, at no point has he ever so willingly, so thoughtlessly, so uncaringly handed the lives of his friends to someone else. Even when he sided with Pike, even when he plotted against Octavia.
It’s literally the worst case of OOC behavior I’ve ever seen.
Which brings us to Clarke and Octavia. In what world would they not push to find out why Bellamy is acting the way he is? Why would they not seek a moment of solitude to speak with him? Why would they not take one step to find out what the hell happened? And why would Clarke shoot him in the heart? Over a random sketchbook? Why would she not shoot him in the leg, the arm, the shoulder?
Remember when she couldn’t shoot him and let him open the bunker door, even if it meant the human race would perish?
Rothenberg spent 7 seasons building a foundational friendship between Bellamy and Clarke. Time and again, he proved their selfishness for each other, that they’d rather the world burn than watch the other die. In this time, he showed Bellamy to have evolved from his earlier trigger-happy days to a mature, grounded person who, while bearing the burden of his past, is also working toward a better future.
This Bellamy would never sacrifice his loved ones for a faith he’s only had for 10 minutes. FFS, Gabriel’s had meals longer than that.
He deserved better. He deserved a death that had meaning. He deserved to be heard. He deserved a better last moment than standing in front of his best friend with her child’s sketchbook in hand (that she shot him over and didn’t even get as she fleed!), feeding Clarke deluded, utilitarian sentiments, and empty words.
“This is how we do better. This is the only way. I’m sorry.”
He deserved a better chance of explaining himself and his change (however unbelievable) to his loved ones than quasi-philosophical and vague BS like “What do you do when you believe in something with all your heart?”
Over the years, Rothenberg’s repeatedly highlighted the point of the show. To highlight the grimness of survival, to show there is no such thing as inherently good or bad, to show the tough choices survivors must make, and how those choices weigh on the human soul.
“We knew Bellamy’s death had to go to the heart of what the show is all about: survival. Who you’re willing to protect. And who you’re willing to sacrifice,” he tweeted.
But what was the sacrifice here? What do you call a death that serves no purpose? What do you do when a character that’s categorically helped drive narratives for six seasons suddenly becomes a nonentity?
Without a properly fleshed out narrative, Bellamy’s death stands less as a tragedy and more as a sick joke.
And with three episodes left, there’s no telling what’s going to befall the rest of our survivors. I, for one, wouldn’t be shocked if Clarke meets her end next at the edge of Echo’s blade. In fact, let the Shepherd be the last one left. Or Sheidheda. It’s as believable as Bellamy turning into a steadfast Disciple after a two-minute moment of enlightenment that was undoubtedly a result of hypothermia, ketosis, and dehydration.
Earlier this year, ahead of the new season’s premiere, my colleague and I had written a piece on whether Bellarke should happen in S7. Perhaps the more apt discussion would have been on how badly will the showrunners disappoint us?
Thankfully, Bellamy got the happy ending he deserved in the books that the show is based on. Now, excuse me while I re-read them to mend my broken heart.
Get The Tempest in your inbox. Read more exclusives like this in our weekly newsletter!