Here is a picture of a couple who lived happily ever after in canon to raise our spirits before delving into the depressing fates of many other queer female characters. (art by Bryan Konietzko)
I spent a lot of time trying to decide on a topic for today’s post. But I could really think only of one topic, although I tried to resist it for a while because it’s too sad and frustrating. In the end, I decided to go with it. And so today I want to join the conversation discussing the queer women that have died on our TV screens this year, the Dead Lesbian trope, and the implications of this continuing trend.
Spoilers for Lost Girl, Person of Interest and The 100 below (and of course, don’t look at any of the links if you don’t want to be spoiled about any character deaths anywhere).
When I last left The 100, it seemed like religion was a crutch for those who don’t have the right technology, and spirituality is for everyone (but you get more out of it if you’re from an “advanced” society, of course). Now that we’ve finished the season, I’m both impressed and horrified by the ways in which religion is used this season. Religious symbolism moves beyond suggestion into a strong motif, to great effect. While I’m disappointed that religion remains a tool for our characters to use, the writers thoughtfully employ religious imagery and actions in ways that give us a better, more disturbing story… particularly if you’re an adherent to the religions they draw from.
The easy answer is, of course, to lay the blame at George R. R. Martin and the copious bloodletting which reverberates throughout A Song of Ice and Fire. HBO generated a hit with his story when they put it on TV, and everyone else is trying to imitate him. If they got ratings with Ned Stark’s head on a pike, then goddamn it, the rest of us are going to keep putting heads on pikes until we get an Entertainment Weekly cover of our own.
Violence, death, and despair add a level of gravitas, which is clearly being craved in the newly-prestigious realms of television and superhero movies. But it’s increasingly little more than meaningless trend-following, with story and character sacrificed to appeal to some marketing executive’s belief of what audiences want. It’s destructive and it needs to end.
There aren’t many shows on television anymore that I enjoy as much as CW’s The 100. Ace has been following the series here since it began, and I’m only just getting caught up. The 100 offers a kind of teenage/YA dystopian escapism that my preteen self would have obsessed over, plus an imaginary boyfriend to boot (Hello, Nurse Bellamy!). Who cares if we never figure out how the characters maintain their never-ending supply of mascara when we have issues to tackle like turf wars and privilege and racism and sexuality? Among these, I had hoped that religion would be handled thoughtfully, but the result is pretty meh. Nevertheless, The 100 gives us a pretty good example of some typical science fiction religion tropes, and how religion can function in ways that help (and hurt) the quality of the story.
Spoilers for The 100 through Season 3 Episode 8, “Thirteen.”
I’ve been sitting on the The 100’s most recent episode “Thirteen” for a few days now, trying to wrap my head around what happened. And, well… I’m disappointed, to say the least. The 100has struggled with important issues in the past, such as racial representation, which it continues to struggle with today. However, while it hasn’t always done a good job with depictions of race and characters of color, it’s consistently done well with Clarke’s and Lexa’s plotline. The show has spent the past two seasons excelling at characterization, worldbuilding, and being an inclusive and friendly show for LGBTQ+ people, despite its often violent premise. At least, that was the case until last week.
The second season of The 100 has come to a close, and what a season it was. Numerous characters, including the main male love interest, were killed, Clarke became the CW’s first bisexual lead, and the Grounders and the Skypeople formed an uneasy truce and went to war with the Mountain Men. The entire second season was fun, exciting, and filled with twists and turns. Unfortunately, the last episode wasn’t as strong as it could have been. It wasn’t a bad episode by any means, but there were plenty of things about it that made little to no sense—and I’d already suspected the twist ending involving Jaha and Murphy episodes ago.
For anyone who doesn’t watch The 100, the CW made great strides toward representation when it revealed that its leading character is bisexual. Initially, Clarke came across as the generic cishet white girl we now commonly follow in dystopian societies, and I got on The 100’s case about that a while back. I have never been happier to be wrong. The 100 started off rather campy, but it has really grown into its potential, and it is most certainly one of the better shows on TV right now. The reveal of Clarke’s bisexuality and Lexa’s queerness only added more layers to two already well developed characters—but the writers are also taking another step to show why their sexualities should matter to us.
Last night saw the return of The 100 for its second season. We ended the previous season with just about everything bad that could possibly go wrong, going wrong. Raven was shot, Jaha was trapped in space and running out of oxygen, members of the One Hundred have dwindled to about half, and the ones that did survive were captured by the mysterious Mountain Men. Thankfully, the new season doesn’t waste any time telling us about the fallout of these issues, and judging by the first episode, “48”, it looks as though The 100 is in for another fun season.
I think The 100 has proven that it’s a show worth watching. I wrote a post on it a while back, and sadly, some of the issues that I had hoped the show would address, it never did. However, in other regards, The 100 more than surprised me, and I think that overall, this first season was a great start.
Since I’m taking an extended break from my True Blood reviews for reasons I’m not going to get into right now, I’ve decided to review the new CW show The 100 instead. I’m only four episodes in, and thus far, The 100 is frustratingly predictable, even if it does have a very interesting premise and a lot of potential. The 100 takes place in a future dystopia—which is awesome since I love dystopian societies—but that dystopia so far seems to have similar problems in its portrayal to something like The Hunger Games or Divergent. That is, it comes from a very privileged viewpoint of how dystopias actually work in terms of racism, heteronormativism, and rape culture.
Trigger warning for rape and potential spoilers for The 100, The Hunger Games, and Divergent after the cut.