A lot happened in Season 3. We defeated an rogue A.I. We saved the world again. We uncovered some even bigger problems that we’ll have to deal with next season.
Per usual, Clarke Griffin & Co. watched a fair amount of shit hit the fan. But let’s take a moment to reflect on what went right and what went wrong in Season 3.
The season was ambitious. It gave us new locations and characters and expanded the world of the show dramatically. It took advantage of the fact that we’re on a big and very different planet. One of the most interesting questions that the show poses is “what stuck around after the nuclear apocalypse?”
We saw remnants of a city in Polis, we saw an oil rig-turned-floating village, and we saw more of the Grounder camps. The world-building work done in this season was really impressive; the mythology of The 100 was expanded and deepened and the exploration of new places kept the show’s world feeling fresh.
It also set up opportunities to see even more of the world next season. Considering the many possibilities that a post-nuclear Earth might provide, we’re looking forward to Season 4.
Clarke remains one of the show’s strongest assets and, in the first half of the season, we saw some memorable character moments for her, along with several other key characters. Her time in Polis was compelling and her interactions with her people after having been gone for months felt true and considered. As it’s been since the first season, Clarke Griffin is where The 100 can almost always find a win.
Though this season was ambitious, that ambition did come at a cost. Because the many new locations and the threat of Alie were so involved and took so much time and effort to tackle, the show’s characters suffered. Development was stunted as Alie took center stage. While it was a compelling plot, it separated us from the characters that make the show worth watching.
Beyond that, it forced plot lines that probably needed and deserved more exploration into single episodes, which made the season feel like it was hurtling toward the conclusion. Alie ended up taking the entire show hostage to the point where it didnt feel like we were even watching the same show anymore. While ambitious, it mightve ultimately been too much to tackle in a single season.
The biggest problem with this season wasn’t about narrative structure, but about character death and, more specifically, who was doing the dying.
We’ve talked numerous times about representation and trope, particularly as it pertains to the deaths of Lexa and Lincoln. Once lauded for its inclusivity, The 100 killed one of the best representative queer characters on television and several people of color this season. It was a blow to representation and one that resonated far beyond The 100 fandom.
These deaths made one thing very clear: television needs to change. Representation has to be more than just guest star stints and half-realized arcs. This season saw a lot of controversy, but perhaps the most important thing it did was show us just how much things need to improve.