Shipping: Why It Plays an Important Role on The 100

*Note:  This was written before Lexa was introduced, so do not fret when you can’t see anything about her.  Just a heads up!*

Shipping:  Why It Plays an Important Role on The 100

Evelyn Ulrich

Originally published: Early December 2014


The core and structure of the popular CW’s drama, The 100, is keeping up your guard strongly up, sleeping with one eye open, and staying on the sharp precipice of survival.  It’s also about morality, going against what you believed you were, and sacrificing for peace.  This is what makes The 100, unique and does not make romance the focal point like most series.  However, it’s perfectly natural that fans would ‘ship’ off characters, and it makes us feel lighthearted, content.  You think a show with lots of attractive and pretty people, you will get something out of a guilty pleasure romance novel.  WRONG.  These are kids and one adult making rash and immeasurable decisions just so they can inhale their next breath, or appreciate the next morning.  We see Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor), the female protagonist using the earth’s natural and questionable elements for the medicinal healing and treatment of her people, Finn Collins (Thomas McDonell), who is dangerously transitioning from Pacifist to Antagonist, Bellamy Blake (Bob Morley), who puts his whole life on the line for his little sister, Octavia (Marie Avgeropolous), and the kids, and who could forget Raven (Lindsey Morgan), Monty (Christopher Larkin), and Jasper (Devon Bostick), who all worked together last season for constructing ammunition and communication devices.  This season, Raven is adjusting to being newly disabled from a bullet wound, and Monty and Jasper are being held captive at Mt. Weather, a faux paradise at the beginning, and they are soon finding out its deep, and dark secrets.  Each choice that each individual makes on The 100, it can literally mean life and death.  Abby Griffin (Paige Turco) performs emergency surgery on Raven so she has a chance at life without anesthesia, and Kane (Henry Ian Cusick), is having a difficult time adjusting to his new high authority. Through the fighting, brutality, and overall immediate need for vitality, it doesn’t seem there’d be an ounce of light for these souls.  However, the consequences always seem to have a compassionate outlet, whether it results in the unthinkable or not.  For the most part, it what keeps us fans watching and analyzing each twist and turn on the edge of our seats every Wednesday.   The other end of the spectrum, is a little term, called, shipping, and puts a lightness to a dark and surreal show.

So, what exactly is ‘shipping?’  One might define it as the pairing or grouping of people, to establish a relationship, whether it’s romantically or non-mutual, such as working together efficiently to achieve a common ground.  ‘Ship’ is also the short term of relationshipThe 100 has a whole ‘family’ of ships, and throughout the series (thus far) we see them intersperse and blossom. To be frank here, I was completely blasé about shipping.  In fact, I have never heard of it until The 100, and its ever-growing fandom.  I am now quite the neutralist, because everyone and their pairings and interaction is needed.  Without a diverse gathering of people, we would not survive.  Shipping is not like a love triangle, but a tangle of different emotions from a viewer’s perspective.   It creates that hopefulness, which makes human contact needed in a desperate world.  In reality, we feel the same exact feelings, and throughout our lives, those feelings will reciprocate in some form or another.  Can you imagine that having the time of your life with one person, one carefree moment, and then they disappear the next?  It leaves a bit of a void in our hearts as we share the loss, and we can relate to it with them.  We grieve.  It can also create excitement, or that bubble where we finally see our two favorite characters interact.   However, like bubbles, that feeling can burst, and can put everyone on an emotional rollercoaster.   The people are quickly realizing that without their fearless leaders, they have to take matters into their own hands. Whether it is a sensible choice or fatal.

The majority of The 100 fandom has an ‘OTP’ or ‘one true ship,’ and that is that pairing of Bellamy and Clarke, or Bellarke.  While they are a couple in the books, and not on the drama, the one thing that both versions possess is mutual respect for one another.  Of course, this was a gradual accumulation.  From the very episode, the pilot, Bellamy and Clarke did not see eye-to-eye, or agreed on anything.  They went from nearly hating one another to hugging tightly in Human Trials.  They were and still are two very different people, and yet, they evolved so much during the first season, and beginning of the second, that their leadership proved to be immensely needed.  Without the combined leadership powers of Bellamy and Clarke, the group would not have prevailed and survived.  Bellamy is still a little hard, but working and connecting with Clarke, things can be accomplished.  Such an example was when the monstrous (not so much now) Murphy (Richard Harmon) went irrational in season one, episode four, Murphy’s Law, and Bellamy was very livid with him, after the suicide of Charlotte, that he was beating him.  Clarke stops Bellamy, and explains to him that they do not have the power to decide who lives and who dies.  Without any kind of law, nothing or nobody’s safe, and the outcome will be most severe.  They decided by making the rules, it will not only benefit their well-being, but the others’ as well.  It was because of Bellamy that the majority of the group survived, and he and Clarke shown a strong and true leadership.  As for fans’ reactions, through certain glances and touches, it created a belief of true love.  There is nothing stronger than true love, or so they say.  Now, I am not going to say that I am a Bellarker, (yet, it’s growing on me) because I am quite the neutralist when it comes down to shipping, but I do completely respect it.   In my view, I more see Bellarke appreciating and respecting one another, a strong friendship, more so than a couple. Bellamy can be bullheaded, while Clarke is more practical, but she can be as well.  They work amazingly as leaders, with their opposite personas.  In my mind, if they did get together romantically, it might make it or break it.   Is the risk worth it though?  Time will tell, as it seems to be a more gradual build-up.  Their relationship is more than love, more than physical interaction, it is a WHOLENESS.  I am sure that Clarke could lead just fine without Bellamy, but they work better together, and making sure what is right for their friends.  Then, what about the glances, the touches you wonder?  Everyone has a different thought on this.    My thought is that it is a deep respect, and empathy.  The expressionism between them goes a lot farther than jumping in the hay, so to speak. The writers done an incredible job executing this ship, as well as the others, but it’s natural and human to look at another person, or even touching when you went through so much.  You understand and know what people been through, you share your experiences, and you’re not afraid to pour out emotion.  You feel the compassion, and support.  Another prime example of a Bellarke moment is when Bellamy saved Clarke’s life in episode eight, Day Trip, and they both realized that need to face their problems, rather than running away from them.  It was a real character turn of Bellamy for me because he let out his true feelings of what he done, that he believed that he was a monster.  Watching him make mistake after mistake without learning, either tells me that he was stubborn, or that he was so guilt ridden that he lost concept of who he was.  After that, Bellamy expressed more of his softer side, rather than bottling up the frustrations and turmoil.  He soon understood that inner demons can be a dangerous outlet.  So, with that, he becomes a better and stronger individual for the rest of season one and now into season two.  Bellamy is still our rebel king, but with better decision making, and thinking before he acts.  Clarke also recognizes that in order to survive, you cannot let your guard down, no matter the circumstance.  You have to fight in order to live in a beautiful, yet savage world.

Finn Collins, in my belief is a very lost and pained individual.  Here we see this peaceful and sweet guy trying to make the best of things, and suddenly went the polar opposite.  Which is incredibly wretched because Finn can be loveable and caring.  When I first seen Finn with Clarke, it seemed right, almost perfect.  They seem to synchronize, wanting the same level of harmony for the kids, and among the Grounders. In addition, they understood one another at the time being. They share a bond together, and not because they slept together, but they understand what is needed to achieve amenity in the brave new world.  After all, they and the rest of the 100 were sent down to earth to die, and now they’re trying their hardest to make it.  In addition, they also need to prove themselves that they are not some spoiled kids, but resilient and unbreakable to the ARK.  Even though Finn did commit infidelity, Clarke still needed him (this is an undeniable fact), and she still cares for him.  It is uncertain if she has forgave him, but her face did crumbled when she found out that Finn was still out there after her reunion with Bellamy.  However, she is greatly dismayed when she witnessed Finn mass murdered innocent lives, and tries to figure out of why he would do such an unfathomable act.  The answer can be simple as PTSD, or the thought of losing everything and everyone, especially Clarke, made him snapped.  Keep in mind that this act was inexcusable, and nothing will ever amend for it.  It can be a much deeper problem that hopefully can be explored, and here’s to the writers fulfilling this.  Finn needs to resolve his issues before he commits himself in a relationship.  How can you live with yourself though after what you had done?  So many are devastated, lost, and hurt because of his actions, and I can’t imagine how he feels and thinks about them.  Unless, he has absolute no remorse, than that will be immoral, and inhumane.  I completely understand that it may be an act of war, that Finn thought that they were going to attack him or Murphy.  Even Murphy told him though that they had to leave, and when that comes from a guy like Murphy, you know that you have a problem.  I am not saying that he is a horrible person, because he really isn’t, although many do think this way.  Again, I am being neutral about every interaction because all relations (romantic and platonic) are interesting and realistic. Nevertheless, in Many Happy Returns, he was arguing with Bellamy about his shooting of the Grounder in the bunker, how he wanted didn’t want to, but then it was hypocritical that he wanted to leave behind Mel (Tanaya Beatty) because ‘they don’t have the time.’  Who would want to leave a helpless and injured girl behind?  Again, love and war has conflicted him in indisputable ways, ways that are unimaginable. Finn is just a character, like the lot of them, with a complicated psychological profile.  His acts crushed everyone he knows and loves, especially Clarke, and I am greatly hoping that there is hope for him for the sake of everyone.

In the middle of season one, we were introduced to a new, and unexpected love interest for Octavia.  She has the small reputation of wrapping boys around her finger.  Of course, brother Bellamy has made sure that NO boys would cross Octavia’s path.  Well, almost.  He couldn’t stop her from Lincoln (Ricky Whittle).  At first, I honestly believed Octavia was developing a strong case of Stockholm Syndrome (Where you develop positivity to your captor), and how she was really showing empathy.  But, that was not the case, the Stockholm Syndrome that is.  This was one Grounder who was actually a good guy.  I enjoyed the way Lincoln was presented on the show, mysterious, but somewhat sweet, but a little dangerous.  This is one of the stronger ships of The 100 because these are two people from two different dimensions.  The more that I think about it, Lincoln and Octavia are not so different.  Yes, he comes from a dangerous tribe, and she had a dangerous childhood with the fear of being caught.  They learn from one another, each bringing out opposite traits.  Lincoln learns that the Sky People are not a dangerous threat, and really wants amenity with them.  When you are literally the only Grounder with this wish, it’s a more difficult completion.  He became a traitor of his tribe just to be with the girl he loves.  Octavia also learns that she has an inner Grounder within herself, and is learning the language and skills to execute it.  It proves to be essential for her survival because she becomes separated from Lincoln, and is alone until she reunited with Bellamy and the others from Camp Jaha.   What she goes through and what she has to do to protect Lincoln and her own people is remarkable.  Remember, this was a girl who hid under a floor for nearly sixteen years, had a true carefree, I don’t give a damn attitude when she dropped from the sky, and wanted to be a full free spirit. Now, we see her be this strong woman, fighting Grounders left and right, and fighting alongside with Bellamy to free the rest of their people and Lincoln from the evil confines of Mt. Weather.  Octavia developed the tools with the help from Lincoln, and Lincoln became a soldier for her.  So, far that is.  Things are getting rough this season for Lincoln as he goes through a total transformation, thanks to Mt. Weather.  Will Octavia turn him back to the man she loves?  We shall soon see.

As we know, shipping does not have to involve romance.  It can be a rock solid friendship, one tested throughout time.  When we think of ‘friends’ on The 100, automatically what comes to our minds is the quirky, but intelligent duo, Jasper Jordan and Monty Green.  Now, these two guys are close as brothers, and having each other’s back since on the ARK.  What makes their ‘bromance’ unique?  For starters, one is rarely seen without the other.  Both of their personalities are light-hearted, fun, and complimentary, and they do an excellent job working together.  From the time when Monty was aiding Clarke to mend Jasper’s spear wound, to the point where he was having a difficult making the shot on the bridge, and Monty was right there with an extra rifle and words of encouragement.  This season though, their friendship is being tried due to the conflicts and suspicions of Mt. Weather.  Jasper is developing anxiety, quickly taking in trusts of his new surroundings, and believes that he is finally ‘safe.’   Monty is quickly seeing past the charade, and gets alarmed.   Maya also jeopardizes them, creating tensions that can easily be felt and seen.  This is perfectly understandable, but not considerate.  You can’t let a member of the opposite sex come in between your lifelong friendship.  It was unlike Jasper to dismiss Clarke because he was so smitten by the dark haired girl.  Another thing, you can’t dismiss Clarke!  However, I was relieved that Jasper seen his behavior on that, and wanted to find out her whereabouts.  Even though Monty wasn’t fully supportive on Jasper’s decision to save Maya’s life from the premeditated containment breach, he was right there at his bedside, analyzing every move and reaction.  No matter what they do or agree on, they will always have each other’s back.  Here is to more Jonty love on the way!

Teamwork is another crucial aspect on The 100.  In fact, it is greatly depended on because when you all work together, goals are achieved more quickly and efficiently.  Time is not an option when it comes down to your survival.  Every second is depended on, a struggle for the next minute.  How does teamwork collaborate with shipping?  Well, for instance, you have a quirky engineer by the names of Wick (Steve Talley) and bad-ass mechanic, Raven.  Their playful and sweet banter while constructing a radio beam for contact is refreshing.  Raven, still grasping the fact that she is now disabled, stubbornly refuses to wear the leg brace Wick designed for her.  However, she straps it on, and is relieved that she no longer has to suffer.  Wick is the kind of guy that you can share a drink with, but is still serious about hard work.  I do think Raven needs a good man at her side (though not needed), after all the tragedy she has been through.  They bring out each other’s inner-child, and also their talents are accelerated when they’re together.  Without their scientific powers, Clarke would never have found her way back to camp.  And without Clarke, how would the rest of their people be rescued?

It seems like Raven is greatly depended on and her intellect is not in vain.  You take her and Clarke, mix them together, and what do you get?  The answer is: Full woman dominance.  They may have had their differences in the beginning with the whole Finn situation, and what teenage girl doesn’t?  We’ve been there, done that, wish we hadn’t, but we did.  But, rest assured, these two, if anything, besides Bellamy, are the sole backbone. Without these two gritty girls, no one would have survived.  The idea of blasting and barbecuing the Grounders, and working together to make it happen, was purely phenomenal.  It was heartbreaking though when Raven had to guide Clarke to rewire the dropship’s mechanical interior because of Murphy.  I’d pick Raven first by the way to help me out.  Why?  Because we all know that she is awesome! And despite her tough appearance, she really has a good heart.  Again, she and Clarke make a mad powerhouse as they find radio components in the bomb shelter, for ARK communication after Bellamy tossed the pod’s radio into the river.  Poor act on his part, by the way, but I digress.   They are successful at what they do, and even working together to save Finn’s life proven how much that ‘Clarven,’ is counted on The 100.    It had to be awkward though, because they both had Finn, and the guy’s obviously very confused because he has two great gals to choose from.  Their emotions are at war with one another, but a human’s life is at stake here.  Well, he pretty much wrecked that, and it turns out that Clarke and Raven don’t need him romantically.  Best rest put your personal feelings aside, and hurry up to save the world.  Once more I am not sinking the Flarke and Faven ships, but that is how I view it.  That is one of the things I love about this show, which romance is not the primary focus, but self resilience and walking on glass is.  I still can’t get over the strong bonds and relationships these people created among themselves and all establish a near satisfied medium at the end of the day.  Now, if only the real leaders of our world can work problems out, and try to prevent violence.   You don’t have to like one another, but perhaps find a way to agree on something positive for your people.  One could only wish!

The death of Sterling (Keenan Tracey) was heroic and not at all like most of the deaths.  He died while trying to save Mel, his friend on the ARK.  It was Monroe that suggested that they should try to save the girl.  So, Bellamy climbs down the cliff with supports made from the safety belts of the fallen ARK.  The group works together to hold and pull Bellamy in place, but it was a very difficult task.  Yet, through it all, they managed to safely pull Bellamel (my ship name for Bellamy and Mel) to the top.  Guess who was at the front of the line of the pulling?  Yep, it was Murphy.  He went from having total vehemence and vengeance towards the guy to saving his life.  A complete 360° turn, and his arc from bad to good looks quite promising.  Even when the Grounders were arching at the kids and Monroe got hit, they kept dedicated on saving Bellamy and Mel.  After everything was calm and situated, they decided to continue to search for Clarke, and Bellamy, reunited with Octavia, and Monroe will head back to camp.  Before they disband, Bellamy tosses a rifle to Murphy, a gesture of truce, perhaps?  Or safety against the unknown?  Murphy never did use the gun, and again he shocked me.  It really shows how teamwork is quite the necessity and the outcomes that it can create.

I am briefly going to skim over to the less mentioned, but still important ships.  There are three more, well, actually there are possibly be thousands more, but I am going with three here.  All three though have one amazing lady. Medical queen Abby Griffin and her cool assistant, Jackson (Sachin Sahel) nurture the sick, and wounded, and they have one another’s back, like the majority of everyone that I gave mention to.  While Abby bravely goes against the ARK’s crucial laws to save Chancellor Jaha (Isaiah Washington), and Jackson is quite distraught about the act, she consoles him and takes full blame.  Then we see Jackson in tears as he watched Abby get lashed by the orders of Kane and Major Guard Byrne (Kendall Cross) (At this point, taking her punishment in full alliance.  Smooth move there Abby, as any true leader would do.  I couldn’t watch as they done this though, wholly, because I can’t stand torture to any person or creature.  Afterwards, Jackson is disinfecting her wounds, and gives her words of strength.  She done what she had to do for the finding and bringing her child home.  Any devout parent would do the same.  Even though Abby can be stubborn like her daughter, she is only trying to do what is best for her people.  Turns out without the extra anesthesia and blood, Jaha would have passed, and the whole ARK would collapse and shatter.  However, that happened anyway with the party of ex-chancellor Diana Sidney (Kate Vernon), who was just power hungry.  Anyways, Jaha and Abby want the same thing for their people, no matter what the sacrifice may be.  Whether it’s leaving yourself behind on the doomed ARK to save your citizens, or risking your life to save your child and her friends (But leaving Finn and Murphy behind?  Not cool). Abby and Jaha exemplify along with Clarke and Bellamy of what a leader should be.  Tough, strong, unbreakable.   Gaining the admiration and trust of everyone, including your arch enemy.   The third ship is a bit of a puzzle to me, as these two seem to be either in disagreement or agreement.  Kane is a confusing guy to me, he desires power, but when given authority, he doesn’t know how to handle it.  Abby can see that he could be a compassionate individual, but she always tends to get on his bad side.   They have different ideas of how the human race should be saved, and Kane is coming to terms that punishment is not always necessary.  He shows great remorse after the culling, because he should’ve listened to Abby.  Then, he was willing to sacrifice his life for the ARK’s descend.  Such a contrast from the pilot, because Kane was one of those ill-tempered kind of guys.  He can still be that way.  Now for Bellamy’s arrest, okay, I thought it was cruel and unjustifiable.   Bellamy’s reaction to Murphy was perfectly natural, as he is the cockroach.  Murphy done some horrid things and betrayed the kids in the past.  Kane didn’t question him and get an explanation.  He didn’t want to hear any of it nor cared.  On the contrary, great lawmen needs explanations for the motives. Finn tried to give him the logic, but Kane was just so arrogant that he dismissed him.  See what I mean about confusion?  Giving Abby the role of Chancellor was one of the better things that he had done.  Kabby might not be a ship that I can fully agree with because of mass differences, but like all ships on The 100, it is needed.  They seem to balance one another out, and without balance, nothing works.  This goes for everyone, and how we all correspond with one another with either makes us stronger, or bring out our worst.

So, there you have it.  This is why ‘shipping’ is important on the show.  It omits different emotions and reactions from a viewer’s stand point, and whether it is intentional or unintentional, we could relate and feel with the characters.  There is no wrong or right ship, as each fan has their own favorite, and like I stated before, everyone is needed in order to survive.  No ship in my opinion, is better than the other, and we can all agree that we don’t need romance to enjoy and indulge The 100.  We all enjoy it because it is one awesome and quite gripping TV series, and the edginess is just the tip of the iceberg.