Saturday, December 27, 2014

In Defense of Bellamy Blake (Part One)

Most of you know that about a year and a half ago, my sister and I began watching The 100. We were hooked from the pilot - if not for gripping characters, for the plot and the way the writing dealt with human nature. However, my affections quickly latch on to one character - and Bellamy Blake was it. At first, he fixes himself as the 'leader' of the teens on the ground, and you would think he's 100% an egotistical jerk, if it wasn't his love for his baby sister, Octavia. He got himself arrested and sent down on the dropship to earth, with a high possibility of death, so she wouldn't be alone. It's illegal for a family to have more than one child aboard the Ark, as they don't have enough life support; and he's spent his whole life keeping his sister a secret. If your heart didn't backflip with that discovery, you probably didn't have one.

Also, it helped that Bellamy went from looking like this in the Pilot... looking like this in the second episode.

Earth did great things for the man.

However, Clarke, the main character, and Bellamy don't really get along. Bellamy urges everyone to cut off their tracking bracelets so the Ark thinks they're dead. Once the Ark is convinced they can never come to earth, the teens will be free to live life and do 'whatever the hell they want!' He came from the 'wrong side of the ship', while Clarke is, as he puts it, 'one of the privileged.' His mindset is socialist, and socialism tends to sound pretty great to a bunch of teenagers with no more parental rule. Plus, Bellamy is 23 and great at making rousing speeches - two points in his favor. Plus he's one of the best-looking guys God ever created.

Clarke, however, isn't going for 'Whatever the hell we want.' She insists they need structure, order, and rules. If they don't have those, they aren't going to survive. I love the juxtaposition of Clarke and Bellamy. They both make a compelling case, but Clarke is the logical Brain while Bellamy is the emotional Heart of the group. (If it shows that I ship Bellarke more than any other ship, that's perfectly okay. Bellarke for life.)

Bellamy finds his sister making out with a cute guy named Atom, and he and the henchmen who have decided to follow him around take Atom away. We're 99% certain he's going to kill him. Instead, when we find him next, we see Bellamy has only tied him up for the night as a warning, and Atom is still very much alive. Okay, so...Bellamy isn't so bad, he just has more issues than Vogue.

Also, he has a very adorable conversation with his sister in which he tells her, "He (Atom) is a criminal." She says, "They're all criminals!" and he gives her the Brother Face.

But we're still worried for Clarke. She tells Bellamy he can't have her tracker. "The only way the Ark is going to think I'm dead," she tells him, "is if I'm dead." Bellamy then tells his henchmen -

And then we get a beautiful parallel. I confess, the parallels are one of my absolute favorite things about The 100. They're so excellent at writing moments where a character says something, and then later they have to prove themselves wrong, or that they've changed, in the most poignant of ways. Clarke, Bellamy and a few others go to rescue Jasper, and Clarke falls into a trap. Who is there to catch her? Bellamy Bloody Blake, that's who. And here's what I love about this moment -

He doesn't hesitate. You can see the fear in her eyes, wondering if he's going to drop her; but he didn't hesitate to save her because, while he probably would cut off her wrist if he had to, he isn't a murderer. I was already head over heels for Bellamy, but now I was jumping the moon. A bit farther on, there's a little girl named Charlotte, twelve or thirteen, and Bellamy takes her under his wing. He takes her out hunting with him.
Which is Bellamy's way of saying, 'you go, girl.' Something in Charlotte reminds him of Octavia, and we see all his parental/brother instincts out in full force. The hunting party gets separated - Clarke, Finn and Wells get stuck in a car and Bellamy and Charlotte get stuck in a cave while poison fog fills the air with acid. Charlotte has a nightmare which awakens Bellamy, and she tells him her parents got floated by the Ark Chancellor. ('Floated' meaning they got released off the Ark to float into space.) He gives her a knife and tells her there's nothing to be afraid of, to metaphorically 'slay her demons.'
When the poison fog lifts, the hunting party meets up and they discover Atom wasn't able to find shelter in time. He's been fatally injured, eaten up by acid, and Bellamy tells the others to get Charlotte away from the scene. Atom begs Bellamy to kill him. Here we see, again, that while Bellamy is many things, a killer isn't one of them. Atom is dying, there's no way to save him, and he can't bring himself to do it. Clarke walks up and sees what's happened. She pulls out a knife, tells Atom everything will be fine, and painlessly finishes him off, humming softly. This is the first time we get The Look. What look? The Bellamy Blake Is In Love With Clarke Griffin look.
Unfortunately, Charlotte snuck back to watch. Bellamy told her to 'slay her demons' and so she does. That night, she finds Wells, the son of the Ark's Chancellor and Clarke's best friend. Then, using Clarke's technique, she quickly kills him. Here we get another beautiful parallel - Bellamy told her she might be good at killing. Turns out, she is.
In the next episode, cleverly titled Murphy's Law, Well's death is discovered Clarke goes behind Bellamy's back and tells everyone, insisting they have a right to know. The thing is, all evidence points toward Murhpy, Bellamy's lead henchman. The guy is a class A scumbag, and since nobody knows who the real killer is, they decide to kill Murphy. For the first time, we see Bellamy feel really helpless - the crowd is overpowering and if one person doesn't die, a lot more are going to. Clarke shoves her way into the lynch mob and tells Bellamy, "I know you're not a killer!" Bellamy screams, "This is on you, princess! You should have kept your mouth shut!"
Charlotte, who has been watching everything, comes forward as they hoist Murphy, and tells everyone she did it. Bellamy's face says everything.
Murphy is let down, and now Murphy cries for Charlotte's death. The only thing is, Bellamy feels partially responsible and he can't watch a small girl die, and so he takes Charlotte and runs (because he's a wonderful dad/brother figure and I have a lot of emotions over him).
Charlotte tells him, "I'm not your sister! Please stop protecting me!"
But they can't run forever - they're discovered. Murphy puts a knife to Clarke and tells Bellamy he'll kill her if he doesn't hand over Charlotte.
Charlotte tells Bellamy he has to let her give herself up. Bellamy is torn but he's not about to hand Charlotte over. Murphy says, "You can't fight all of us," and Bellamy says, "Maybe not, but I guarantee I'll take a few of you with me." Then Charlotte does the unthinkable. She jumps off the cliff. The one good thing that comes out of this? Clarke and Bellamy come to an agreement about how they need to handle structure and order, and they decide what to do with Murphy.
In episode five, Abby Griffin (Clarke's mom) finds out that the acting Chancellor is planning a culling of people on the Ark to preserve oxygen. She conspires with Raven, an 18-year-old mechanic and Finn (Clarke's sorta-boyfriend)'s ex girlfriend, to fix up a small pod and send her down. Raven crashes on earth and Octavia wakes Bellamy up, telling him something from the Ark just landed. He does, but isn’t happy when he realizes it’s something from the Ark. He tells everyone to wait until sunrise to investigate, but when Clarke and Finn arrive back at camp and look for him, he’s already gone. Octavia follows him into the woods and learns about how he shot Jaha to get on board the dropship.
Bellamy reaches the pod before anyone and finds the radio, which he cuts and then throws into the water. Clarke finds the pod and discovers Raven is alive, and is then shocked when Raven sees Finn and runs into his arms. Er, awkward. They can't find the radio, and they quickly realize what's happened. The three set off after Bellamy, while Octavia, angry at Bellamy, wanders off into the woods, falls, and gets knocked out. (Oh, Octavia. Sometimes.)
Abby, horrified by the idea of killing 300 people, goes rogue and broadcasts her late husband’s message about the Ark’s systems failing. The message inspires people to sacrifice their lives, and three hundred volunteers go into a chamber and are quietly suffocated. On earth, Clarke tries to convince Bellamy to help them find the radio. "You always did what you had to do to protect your sister," she tells him. "That’s who you are. And you can do it again. By protecting 300 of your people."
They find the radio, but it would take too long to fix. Raven comes up with the idea to send rockets into the sky to serve as flares, so the kids rush around trying to set them up. They’re too late, sadly, and the 300 volunteers die peacefully, leaving Bellamy saddled with guilt. Down on the ground, Clarke watches the rockets go up and asks Bellamy, "Can you wish on this kind of shooting star?"
Gazing up at the sky, he replies sadly, "I wouldn't even know what to wish for."
In the episode His Sister's Keeper, we see the story of Bellamy and Octavia. Bellamy's father is nowhere to be seen (is he absent? Dead? Did he get floated? Is Bellamy illegitimate?) and Bellamy is a little boy having to help his mother give birth to his sister. Bellamy names the baby after Caesar Augustus's sister, Octavia. We see Bellamy caring for Octavia through the years, keeping her hidden  under the floor, suffering false character slurs because his mother is willing to barter sexual favors to get enough food and supplies for two children. Bellamy is accepted into the guards, and years later we see Octavia as a teenager. Bellamy wants to give his sister a glimpse of the world outside their room and sneaks her into a masquerade party. Just as she starts to have the time of her life, there's a solar flare alert. Everyone is required to remove their masks, and Octavia is dragged away. Bellamy is demoted to janitor, but he gets on the dropship with his sister by shooting the Chancellor.
look at baby pre-ground Bellamy, being all young and innocent and adorable.
In the present, Bellamy discovers that Octavia is missing, and he sets out to find her, berating himself for ever getting her sent down to earth in the first place.
Octavia, meanwhile, wakes up in the cave of the Grounder, who - instead of killing her - heals her leg! Bellamy finds Octavia, who had knocked her captor out, but the Grounder wakes up and stabs Finn. They make it back to their camp, but siblings know how to hurt each other. Bellamy and Octavia have one of the most painful verbal falling-outs I've ever witnessed.
Bellamy and a few others return with the Grounder who kidnapped/saved Octavia. Bellamy is seriously regretting his harshness toward Octavia, but he's also avoiding her. Still, when he finds the Grounder's sketchbook full of drawings of Octavia, his brother-instincts flare up. He disliked the Grounder from the start - now he dislikes him even more. As if that wasn't enough, he finds a list of the teenagers - with the names of the dead crossed off.
there's nothing more attractive than a handsome man who reads.
Then we get an interesting look at the way different people react to different things - Bellamy ties up the Grounder and beats him up for information (naturally, without telling Clarke, who would be against such things). Finn isn't doing so hot, and they need a cure and information. Bellamy's protective instincts toward those he cares about are unrivalled - he has come to care for everyone in the camp, and as the oldest, he views himself as the most responsible. He's not a willing murderer, but he's willing to get his hands dirty to protect his loved ones.
Octavia and Clarke discover what's happening to the Grounder, and while Clarke doesn't like it, she feels they don't have a choice. (Also, Bellamy puts a hand on her shoulder. POINTS!) Octavia, however, has a slightly more hands-on tactic - she stabs herself with the poisoned knife that cut Finn. The Grounder, shocked, finally gives them the cure. After, Bellamy and Clarke are getting a breath of fresh air and trying to pull their wits together. (I love it when the Prince and the Princess bond.)
So, as we come to the middle of Season One, we can already see that Bellamy is beginning to change and mature. Instead of 'Whatever the hell we want,' he's attempting to make tough decisions. Instead of caring only for his sister, he now cares for the entire camp. He's been forced into a situation where he has to be someone everyone looks up to, and he's trying to do it the best he can. I love Bellamy for many reasons, but especially because he learns. Slowly, painfully, even; but when he makes a mistake, he takes it to heart. We're beginning to see some of that, and in the next part, we'll see exactly how much the ground changes him, and how he deals with the next big issues that comes up: war.


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