No one can deny that Bellamy (Bob Morley) is going down a dark path on The 100.
After two seasons of positive character growth and evolution, the leader of the titular 100 juvenile delinquents has lost everything he had gained. His former co-leader Clarke (Eliza Taylor) chose to stay with the Grounders in Polis rather than facing what they both had done in Mount Weather. His sister Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) told him she’d ditch him and the rest of Arkadia as soon as she and Lincoln (Ricky Whittle) could. His new girlfriend Gina (Leah Gibson) died in the second Mount Weather massacre when an Ice Nation assassin broke in and activated the self destruct sequence, killing 35 other Arkers in the blast. He’s lost countless other friends and loved ones, all because of the war on the ground.
So in the final moments of last week’s episode, “Watch the Thrones,” Bellamy decided that enough was enough. He sided with the new Chancellor of Arkadia, Pike (Michael Beach), and the two armed themselves and a small group to attack the peacekeeping Grounder force stationed just outside their walls intended to protect them. Make no mistake: the Grounders that have just welcomed Arkadia/Skaikru into their peace treaty coalition after months of bloodshed will take this as an act of war. So is Bellamy making a mistake?
“Bellamy, for me, is always the trickiest character to get right as far as the writing of that character goes,” executive producer Jason Rothenberg tells Nerdist. “Bellamy is so complicated. There are so many levels. And Bob Morley is so good that it’s a challenge that I embrace fully to try and find stories for him and journeys for him that play on multiple levels at multiple times. Obviously his story is taking a dark turn. But it is nothing like he’s back to being Bellamy from season one where he was just selfishly motivated to save his own ass.”
While there has been some criticism about whether or not this is true to the Bellamy we know, Rothenberg explains that the decision is coming from the same place that all of the complicated character’s choices have in the past.
“He is always motivated in a big way to save his people,” Rothenberg says. “He’s just swayed in the wrong direction by all the events that unfolded early in the season. Something really terrible has happened—his girlfriend was murdered—and he chooses to deal with it in a way that many people will look at as negative, for sure. They’ll probably think he’s wrong. But his argument is good all along.”
Bellamy has come a long way since the beginning of season one when he tried to cut off all communication with the Ark to save his own butt. According to Rothenberg, this is just another step in his character evolution, albeit a dark one.
“Ultimately, there’s always an explanation for what he’s doing. He’s not a bad guy,” Rothenberg says. “He’s just doing what has to be done. Sometimes, that looks bad. If you look at what Clarke did in season two—irradiating Mount Weather—from the Mount Weather perspective, she’s the devil. But from our perspective, she’s the hero who did something really hard.”
He continues, “I think that Bellamy is going to be judged negatively by many for what he does this season because we’re going to be looking at it from the perspective of our heroes, a group of people we have come to root for. But ultimately, perspective is what counts. If you can see the story from his perspective, I don’t think Bellamy is an antagonist. He’s just making hard choices and doing what he has to do, which is what he’s always done.”
But Bellamy and Pike’s attack on the Grounders isn’t the only major event happening in tonight’s episode, “Hakeldama.”
“There are a few big returns happening,” Rothenberg says. “Jaha [Isaiah Washington] finally comes back to what used to be Camp Jaha, but now is Arkadia. Not sure how he’d feel about that name change. But he’s not alone: he’s returned with his new ‘friend’ A.L.I.E. [Erica Cerra] who hitched a ride in that high-tech backpack. He’s got his own views and plans for how he can save his people, and they are vastly different from Kane [Henry Ian Cusick], Abby [Paige Turco] and Pike’s [Michael Beach] plans. Everyone has a different opinion on how to best save their people, including Clarke, who also returns to Arkadia in [this episode]. She also has a very different idea on how to lead the people of the Ark, but each idea directly clashes with someone else’s.”
And according to Rothenberg, each view is the right one for that person. “It’s all about perspective,” he says.
Something that surprised Rothenberg and the rest of The 100 writers was how much the show’s audience grew during the nine-month break in between seasons two and three.
“It was a long break, I know,” Rothenberg says with a laugh. “That’s how I feel about Game of Thrones every year, and all those cable shows I like. Those hiatuses are really rough. But we survive! And they usually make the show better. And more fans have gotten to find the show. That’s kind of why [The CW] did it like this. Strategically it pays off. It feels like, just by judging Twitter, which is obviously kind of a very finite subset of the world…I’m getting the sense that a lot of people are finding it and binge-ing it. Season two being on Netflix has been a big win for us.”
Waiting to premiere season three until after Netflix began streaming all of seasons one and two allowed the underrated show to gain a social media following that continues to dominate other, more mainstream shows.
“I’m so grateful for the existence of a platform like Netflix, to be able to keep something growing when the show is not actually airing,” Rothenberg says. “I mean, think about it: it’s a totally new phenomenon. We’ll see if the Breaking Bad effect that Mark Pedowitz referred to when he announced we’d be on the midseason schedule, if it’s a real thing. It certainly was real for Breaking Bad. We will see if it’s real for us and if it does anything for us.”
He continues, “But even if it doesn’t and even if the numbers of those who watch live don’t change, there are so many more people consuming this show and enjoying this show. That all factors in to decision making when it comes to additional seasons. CW looks at everything. They don’t just look at the overnight ratings. And that’s actually true. That’s not bullshit. That’s something I have now come to firmly believe, maybe delusionally, but that’s what I choose to believe.”
What do you think of Bellamy’s controversial decision to side with Pike? Tweet me your thoughts at @SydneyBucksbaum!
Images: The CW
The 100 airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.