Such a bleak conclusion is par for the course for this show, which loves to remind us that every joy can only be achieved through the application of intense pain. And, to be honest, this finale is probably the best ending we could have expected for most of these characters. It’s peace, of a sort, even if The 100 doesn’t do much in the way of interrogating or explaining why the characters who chose to reject apparent eternal peace in a hive mind consciousness in favor of one last lifetime on Earth.
But it’s also a final condemnation of Clarke Griffin, which feels deeply wrong – and quite frankly, cruel – after her journey thus far. Her character honestly deserves better than this, and so do the fans that love her. Clarke’s seven-season arc doesn’t really conclude so much as just stop, and her pseudo-happy ending only comes about because the other characters recognize the breadth of her sacrifice rather than the show itself. Clarke herself is, once again, denied anything like real interiority in the show’s final hour, and other than a line about not wanting to be alone we have precious little insight into her final decisions or feelings about anything.
Season 7, as a whole, has struggled to figure out what to do with Clarke in this final run of episodes, frequently forcing her character to the sidelines of the narrative and generally ignoring her perspective. We still don’t really have a clear idea of the fallout from all her various traumas in Season 6 – Sanctum, Josephine, the Primes, Abby’s death – let alone how everything that’s happened this season (Bellamy, Madi, dooming all of humanity to die) has impacted her. (Will I be bitter forever that we got roughly four minutes of screen time dedicated to her decision to kill Bellamy? Yes. Yes, I will.)
Instead, it feels as though The 100 simply gives up on her character entirely and, let me be clear: I hate it.
On paper, the idea of Clarke as a Biblical-type figure, a Moses who fights to get her people to the promised land but who is barred from entering it herself makes a certain amount of sense. But in actuality, it feels as though Clarke is being punished in ways that others in the same universe are not, and her final judgment is just one more heaping dose of suffering dumped on a woman who’s already seen more than her fair share.