This weekend I noticed one of my friends has a DVD of TSN on her shelf and I had to remind myself it’s a movie lots of regular people saw and liked and then moved on with their lives and haven’t spent the last two years reading fanfiction about it and crying
-someone challenging Vanitas’ long-hel beliefs that he will never be anything more than a monster/shadow -Vanitas desperately clinging to said beliefs b/c it’s all he knows and, well, Ventus didn’t exactly help alter that -Vanitas having a total breakdown, causing a complete loss of control of the Unversed that makes them go berserk and attack anyone nearby -Good guy having no choice but to defend themselves from the Unversed despite the obvious pain it causes Vanitas -Pretty much that scene from the novels where Vanitas tortures himself to near-death through the Unversed but with a good guy there instead of Xehanort -Good guys reinforcing Vanitas’ beliefs that he is a monster b/c they have no reason to think he could be anything else -Vanitas losing to Heartless, badly, and needing help because he’s fucking terrified of dying again so much it literally paralyzes him -Vanitas torturing alternates because they’re monsters, too, and he’ll be damned if they prove any of them could be better -really just VanitasXAngst hardcore okay
The reason why The 100 is problematic is because life is problematic, and despite being a make-believe, post apocalyptic, fantasy/science fiction show, this show uses realism to portray it’s characters and their lives. It isn’t a soap opera, it isn’t a fairy tale, it isn’t a disney show. The characters are intentionally portrayed as multi dimensional, neither good nor bad, with understandable motivations of their own. Because that is how real life works. Even bad guys love their families and have vulnerabilities, and even good guys make bad choices and are assholes sometimes.
LOVE IS PROBLEMATIC
We want our ships to get together because it’s just so clear that they are meant for each other because there is real love between them. Except instead, our characters are doing things that hurt each other. And it makes us angry, because all the other stories show love as conquering all. But in life, along with love comes pain. There is no one who can hurt you as much as someone that you truly love. And sometimes love does not conquer all. Love should never be an excuse for abuse. We are still responsible for how we treat people, no matter our level of love for them. And we should not put up with maltreatment because of love. Sometimes the feelings of love do not conquer the reality of the world that we live in, because there is more to consider than just how we feel about somebody. The 100 is not showing the fairy tale of love. It’s showing something much more realistic, and it is sometimes ugly, and always problematic.
PAIN IS PROBLEMATIC
I hear a lot about how certain characters are not allowed to feel their pain, or express the trauma that they’ve gone through and have to remain responsible and stoic, and how that is just not fair.
It’s true. And this also is how pain works in the real world. You have responsibilities and when life beats you up, your responsibilities do not go away. Sometimes you are safe enough that you get to hide away and just be sad, but sometimes you just have to keep going, putting one foot in front of the other and take care of business. Sometimes you put aside your bad feelings so that you can do what needs to be done. This is not a bad thing. Is it problematic? Yes. But so is running away from your pain, or having a tantrum and breaking things, drinking too much, pushing away people who are trying to help. Clarke got her people to a place of safety which allowed her to bow out of the world and be with herself for three months. We will see if that has allowed her deal with it or not. It’s a toss up.
Eventually, we all have to find a way to deal with our pain or it leaks out in not so good ways. This is and will be happening to the characters on The 100. This is part of the story they are telling. They explore the ways in which each of the delinquents is dealing with their trauma. We still have to see which ones will conquer their trauma, like Bellamy in season 1, and which ones will fold like Finn in season 2. Oh, yeah, and just because they handled their last wave of pain does not mean they don’t have to suffer again. Sadly, this is the way life works, and it is problematic as hell.
XENOPHOBIA IS PROBLEMATIC
Hell yes it’s problematic.
I see a lot of people complain about racism in The 100. About how the Sky People think of the Grounders as lower beings. Of how the Ark treated the lower classes as expendable. Of how the Mountain literally enslaved the Grounders. Of how one group is always dehumanizing another. Of how the Sky People seem to think they get to take over the Grounder’s land as if they deserved it. About how minorities are treated unfairly and made to suffer more.
This is LITERALLY what this show is about. In no uncertain terms. The reason why you are seeing these things over and over again on The 100 is because this is what they want you to think about and talk about and consider.
One of the purposes of science fiction is that it gets to take our current real world problems and put them in a fantastical landscape so that we can see them with a bit more perspective. In this case, we are looking at today’s racism, sexism, homophobia, colonialism and xenophobia.
Yes. You are seeing these injustices. But it does not mean The 100 is racist. It means The 100 is TALKING ABOUT RACISM. But because it’s a fiction world, they do not lecture or make speeches, they have characters doing something unjust, so that you can witness the xenophobia and make that connection to the racism in your own world and come up with the conclusion on your own that RACISM IS BAD. Why are your favorite characters treating the grounders as subhuman??? Because Xenophobia is problematic, and we must be on the look out for it within our own lives and in our own heads.
DEATH IS PROBLEMATIC
And this one is a big one after All Ye Who Enter, because sweet Gina was offed.
And here’s the thing about this. Yes. Death is problematic. OF COURSE it’s problematic. It hurts. A lot. This whole show should have a warning–“people are going to die.” Oh wait. Maybe it did. It was called “Earth Kills.” They killed off Atom and the killed off Wells, and if that wasn’t a clue to you that even the good characters, even the one’s you loved, could die, then I don’t know what to tell you.
Someone was going to die in that control room and when people die in this show, they want you to feel it. Death matters on this show. They want it to matter and in order for it to matter, they have to give the dead humanity. There’s a long list of people they made us care about and then killed. Starting with Wells and Atom and ending (for now, you know there’s more) with Gina. There’s Tor Lemkin, Fox, Maya, Sterling, Artigas, Gustus, and so on. Why wouldn’t they just sacrifice some redshirt, instead of introducing a character to love and then fridging them?
Because they want the sacrifices and deaths to mean something. Compare to the village that burned to the ground when the delinquents set off the flares. What? What village? Who? Oh right, they were only a device to cause war between the delinquents and the grounders, we don’t care about them at all. Does that mean their deaths were unimportant because we we couldn’t put a face on them? In terms of story telling, yes. That’s what it means.
This show does not want death to be meaningless. It wants you to remember that death kills real people. So we get a Tor Lemkin to personalize the deaths in the Culling, or Artigas to make us feel for those who die in Finn’s massacre, or Gina to make us give a damn about those 30 Farm Station dudes we never met in the mountain. That’s not fridging. It’s humanizing death, because death is problematic, and it should matter to us.
THE 100 IS PROBLEMATIC
It wants you to face the problems. It is showing them to you and making you care and then ripping your heart out of your chest. Love doesn’t solve our problems. Pain hurts and there is nothing you can do about it but go through it. The world is unfair and we have to stop pretending it’s supposed to be that way. And everyone dies and every death hurts because someone’s promise has just been snuffed out.
It is problematic and it wants you to question those problems and maybe come up with some answers for them in the real world.