Dear writers of The 100: you’re better than this.
When Bellamy’s new girlfriend appeared out of nowhere in the first episode of the new season of The 100, it was fairly obvious that she’d come to an unfortunate end.
I hoped that she wouldn’t, but a new female character that a male protagonist is suddenly in love with? One with no introduction or characteristics of her own? The tropes are pretty clear.
But it was still incredibly disappointing to watch when it happened this week. The show usually has such well developed and interesting female characters, and its conflicts usually have a lot of moral complexity. Creating a female character just to shove her in the murder fridge doesn’t seem like the show’s style.
But The 100‘s treatment of Gina was basically a checklist from Lazy, Misogynstic Writing 101: Fridging Females and Maintaining Manpain.
First, she was introduced not as a character in her own right, but as “Bellamy’s Girlfriend.” She didn’t exist in any of the previous two seasons, despite the fact that we’re working with a fairly limited population here, and then was thrown among the protagonists after a three-month time jump with no time for us to really get to know her.
Then the show made an effort to give her a little personality, by allowing her to banter with familiar characters, but didn’t actually fill in any information about who she is, what she wants, or what her life has been like, meaning she left such a small impression outside of her role as “Bellamy’s Girlfriend” that I literally had to look up her name to write this.
After only two episodes of existence, she’s killed off, and, unlike the other Red Shirts on the show, her tie to Bellamy means that we now get to see his angst over losing her. We don’t get to share in his angst, because that would be good writing and we had no idea who this character was. But we get to see it, and know he feels super bad about how his girlfriend is dead.
And to add insult to injury, she’s not just killed; she’s Red Wedding-ed. She’s stabbed in the stomach and left to bleed out on the floor, like Talisa’s death on Game of Thrones, including the fact that she only died to create more shock-value drama but missing the pregnancy part (we think). It’s not good to invoke that sort of misogynistic violence on your otherwise generally progressive show. It really underlines how messed up the whole plotline is.
Because really, what have they achieved? They haven’t shocked the audience in any meaningful way, because we had no connection to her. We can’t even be invested in Bellamy’s pain, because we haven’t seen any foundation for his feelings. It’s problematic writing, but it doesn’t even achieve fridging’s usual goal of shocking the audience and providing emotional motivation for the male protagonist. She only existed to die, and that’s all her character achieved.
Not cool, The 100. Really not cool.