The fourth episode of The 100 Season 4, “A Lie Guarded,” exposes Clarke’s leadership methods to public scrutiny. In his continued trend of being Kind of The Worst, Jasper finds the list of 100 Skaikru members whom Clarke deems worthy of surviving the impending apocalypse. Although Clarke locks him up before he can read it aloud, Monty takes it into his own hands. The result of that action is a game-changer for how The 100 holds Clarke accountable for her actions.
In previous seasons, Clarke’s most ruthless decisions were not widely known. When she killed Atom in Season 1, only the delinquents were present as witnesses. When she knowingly let Mount Weather bomb Tondc in Season 2 — sacrificing a village in order to save her friends trapped in the Mountain — few were privy to the truth. When she later committed genocide at Mount Weather, only Bellamy, Monty, and Jasper knew what she truly put into her actions.
But in Season 4, there’s no restricting this knowledge to a select few people who understand the nuances of Clarke’s mentality. This list is a physical manifestation of her methods that requires her to answer to the people she intends to harm for the greater good.
To his credit, when the list is made public, Monty understands why he didn’t make the cut — as Clarke is privileging women, children, and people with the most experience as engineers or doctors. People like Riley and Harper are less forgiving, however, when it’s revealed that Clarke didn’t deem Harper worthy because her medical records show she might die of natural causes. Riley angrily proclaims that he wasn’t rescued from imprisonment in the Ice Nation “just to die because you think I’m not good enough.”
As the audience and Monty both know, it’s never about who is good enough to Clarke. After all, she and Bellamy both struggle with the notion that they’re worthy. But as King Roan says earlier in the episode, “Truth is the first casualty of war.” That might as well be Clarke’s personal slogan. Bellamy is perhaps the one person she can be entirely truthful with.
When he’s away, there’s nobody to prevent Clarke from turning into the kind of leader Jaha was in Season 1. The reason Jaha commented on their partnership in “The Four Horsemen” wasn’t because he secretly writes Bellarke fan fiction (though maybe he does). Rather, it’s because Jaha never had his own Bellamy when he was a ruler.
As Clarke learns from the list incident, giving dire information to the masses rarely works out well, either. But neither does playing God, and The 100 is finally holding Clarke accountable for it. She’s been vaguely eighteen-going on-immortal for four seasons now — but Season 4 is finally allowing her to mature.
The 100 is currently airing on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on The CW.