The 100 series finale: Did the show get a satisfying conclusion?

The 100 -- "The Last War" -- Image Number: HU716c_0453r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Marie Avgeropoulos as Octavia and Eliza Taylor as Clarke -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The 100 -- "The Last War" -- Image Number: HU716c_0453r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Marie Avgeropoulos as Octavia and Eliza Taylor as Clarke -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved. /

It’s finally over. The 100’s series finale aired last night, bringing the delinquents’ story to a close. Was it a satisfying conclusion? Yes and no.

Well, we’ve done it. We’ve made it through the series finale of The 100.

As Bellamy might say, “I think we deserve a drink.”

It’s been a wild ride over these past seven seasons, grappling with multiple wars, multiple apocalypses, heartbreaking character deaths, and a few character moments that made it all feel worthwhile.

It’s no secret that the show’s final season has been lacking some of the things we loved about its earlier days. But one thing the last episodes haven’t lacked is the dedication put in by the actors and actresses, many of whom have spent years of their lives playing these characters. If anyone carried the finale, it’s the show’s stars.

That said, did last night’s series finale actually give the show a satisfying conclusion? Well, like so many things with The 100, it’s complicated…

The Test

One of the earliest scenes in “The Last War” shows Cadogan finally getting to take the last test, and it’s a satisfying moment when he realizes that Jordan had been right all along. John Pyper-Ferguson plays the scene well, particularly when he gets to see his daughter again. As much as we hate him, he makes it difficult, because the guy is so painstakingly (and hypocritically) human, and the actor drives that point home through facial expressions alone.

The test, which is administered by a higher being taking the form of a teacher, someone you love, or someone you’ve failed — in Cadogan’s case, Callie is all three — begins with a simple question: Why has Cadogan attempted to erase the gift of love from human nature? Unfortunately, he never gets to answer. Clarke, already on a quest for revenge, barges in and shoots him mid-test.

Truthfully, Clarke’s interruption is one of the highlights of the episode because it’s just so Clarke. It’ll elicit a laugh, for sure, though what follows certainly won’t.

Cadogan’s scene with Callie also has me begrudgingly considering whether I’ll watch a prequel if it’s greenlit. There’s no denying the pair has chemistry, and a few moments onscreen will have viewers wanting to know more.

Anyway, back to Clarke…

Lexa’s Return

Once Clarke enters the test, fans already have a pretty good idea of whose form the greater being will take. Naturally, Clarke sees her greatest love, the former Grounder commander.

That’s right, The 100 brought Lexa back for its series finale, and I won’t lie to you — it was a pretty cool cameo to include. As showrunner Jason Rothenberg and Alycia Debham-Carey pointed out on Twitter, it was also a nice way to honor the love Clarke and Lexa had for one another. (Plus, seeing Debham-Carey suited up one last time was a nice touch.)

Still, as exciting as Lexa’s “return” is, it does ring a bit hollow. Because it’s not actually Lexa behind that war-paint-covered face, is it?

And that becomes painstakingly clear when Clarke rushes to the former commander and hugs her, only to receive no reaction. There’s something cruel about having Clarke’s greatest love recite her greatest sins back to her before affirming what fans already guessed: If Clarke is representative of humanity, transcendence is a no go. Ouch.

There’s also something fitting about Lexa being present when Clarke’s fight finally ends — when they “owe nothing more to their people,” if you will. Lexa may not have been present for that many seasons, but her character has impacted so much of Clarke’s storyline.

When Clarke is given the bad news, she returns to Bardo to say her goodbyes to Madi. Her scene admitting that she failed everyone was another emotional win for Eliza Taylor, though it is getting harder and harder to summon emotions for a character who seems doomed to perpetually suffer.

The War

And so we come to the Last War that wasn’t actually supposed to be. Since Cadogan’s followers aren’t there to witness his revelation about the test, they’ve been waiting patiently to fight their enemies on Bardo soil. And when Raven arrives in Sanctum and the Bunker to bring their people to Bardo, it’s the signal our Bardoans have been waiting for. Only Jordan manages to put off the fighting with a plan that would, as he admits, make Monty proud.

The united group of people from Earth and Sanctum quickly pull to one side, and the two armies wait to engage one another. It’s clear neither one wants to, but that’s never stopped our characters from going to war before.

And now we know why Sheidheda was given such solid plot armor for all of season seven. He needed to be around to stir up trouble one last time, and he manages it to an extent. (Was anyone else extremely satisfied when Indra blasted him to dust?)

The armies do start shooting at one another, and we almost have some very tragic character deaths, Levitt and Echo included. Luckily, Octavia steps in and demands that everyone drop their weapons. Marie Avgeropoulos nails her plea for peace — another one of the episode’s highlights — and convinces humanity to stand down.

There’s something satisfying about Octavia, who’s caused so much pain — but unlike Clarke, has actually learned and grown from it — save humanity one last time. Even if one can’t help but wonder if Octavia and Raven’s roles should have been Clarke and Bellamy’s, seeing Octavia and Raven take centerstage manages to make up for some of the finale’s flaws.

And speaking of Raven…


While Octavia is giving her speech, Raven and the greater being — now suited up as Abby Griffin — are watching the whole thing play out. After Clarke fails the test, Raven goes in to beg the eternal being to reconsider. And although I’m not 100-percent convinced it would take on Abby’s form, it’s nice to see Lindsey Morgan and Paige Turco together again.

Their whole conversation is very meta, pointing out the flaws of humanity, which pseudo-Abby is convinced is beyond saving. Raven, however, disagrees — and luckily, Octavia is well-timed in proving her correct.

There’s a lot of great acting and one-liners leading up to humanity’s transcendence. (Octavia’s “Bellamy was right” really stands out.) There’s still something a tad off-putting about humanity only being worthy as little balls of light, but… that’s a whole other conversation.


So, yes, Bellamy was right and the human race transcends — except the person who spent seven seasons fighting to keep them all alive. Clarke is left alone on Bardo as her friends become little balls of light, and it would almost seem a fitting punishment if Clarke being hurt wasn’t so overdone at this point. Show us something that isn’t Clarke in pain! you’ll want to scream at the television scream. (I’m not speaking from experience here or anything.)

Free to traverse the universe as she pleases, Clarke picks up a helmet and heads back to Sanctum. Of course, there’s no one there except Picasso — a fitting companion for Clarke given the golden retriever’s relationship to Madi. The two head to Earth, and this is where the controversial final scene takes place. As Clarke tries to keep up with Picasso, she admits something reminiscent of season four: She doesn’t want to be alone.

I’m not sure what I’d have found more frustrating at this point, Clarke actually winding up alone or the series pulling some weird retcon stuff to give her a happy ending. It does the latter, though, having Lexa-who’s-not-Lexa arrive to update her on how humanity’s faring. And to reveal that, apparently, transcendence is a choice and people can return from it.

Guess what? Clarke’s friends came back for her. They gave up transcendence to live out the rest of their days on Earth. Sweet, isn’t it? Eh, maybe…

(Can we also talk about how Madi didn’t come back? Nope. Nope, I’m not going there.)

What’s Missing

So, our delinquents got a happy ending. But truthfully, this final scene, which could have been strange and beautiful (and in some ways still was), is tainted by the very thing that poisons every fiber of this season: Bellamy Blake’s death.

Watching Clarke reunite with her friends, who can now live peacefully on Earth, feels empty without Bellamy there. There’s so clearly a gaping hole in this scene, one that should have been filled by one of the other OG characters, and it’s made even worse by the fact that Clarke never even acknowledges her closest friend again. Even a line about how Bellamy should have been there would have taken a huge step toward solving this problem (I’d still be complaining though), but The 100 completely retcons Bellamy’s importance to the show and to Clarke. It’s weird and uncomfortable and a surefire way to kill the moment.

It’s not just Bellamy that poses a problem, either. Although this uncharacteristically religious message of human transcendence is meant to be hopeful, it doesn’t fully come off that way. Because, apparently, the entire human race that didn’t survive to see Clarke and Raven take the test wasn’t worthy of anything after death. And I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but that message leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

I could have dealt with a bleak ending to The 100. It was always a pretty bleak series, and a hopeful and happy conclusion wasn’t what most of us were expecting. In some ways, a tragic finale would have been more fitting.

But if you’re going to create a peaceful afterlife that humanity can reach when it’s worthy, why wouldn’t you include the people who came before? Not just Bellamy, but Monty. Harper. Kane. Abby. Jasper. Lincoln. Wells. Actual Lexa.

Given that this show is a sci-fi series, it could have — it just didn’t. They didn’t even have to return onscreen. A note that the rest of humanity was able to transcend would have been nice. (Okay, Bellamy obviously would have come back, but still.)

Better luck next species, I suppose.

On the bright side, the fans are now as free of the series as that whole list of characters. We don’t need to worry about survival or transcendence anymore, and it’s a bit sad, but it’s also a bit of a relief.

May we meet again.

The 100 missed an opportunity with its younger generation. dark. Next

What did you think of The 100‘s final episode? Did you think it was a worthy conclusion?