Friday, March 13, 2015

Jenn's Pick: My Top 10 Bellamy/Clarke Moments


I became hooked on The 100 pretty quickly. I shouldn't have been surprised at that, really, given my proclivity for obsessing over shows on The CW recently (Arrow, Jane the Virgin, The Flash). When I first began marathoning the series on Netflix -- which took barely any time at all because, you know, hooked -- I compared the show to a Lord of the Flies-esque story of survival. And really, in the beginning, it was just that. The 100 started as a show about teenage delinquents sent to earth who decided to make their own rules, live by their own standards, and survive however they wanted. In those beginnings, I loathed Bellamy Blake because he was a bully and a self-centered, self-appointed leader who cared more about the idea of freedom and doing whatever he wanted than of surviving beyond that day or that week. I loved Clarke Griffin from the moment she appeared on screen, though. I loved how she was this perfect blend of compassion and intellect and sass and leadership. She was always the mother of those on earth. In the drop ship, she tried to warn everyone to stay in their seats, and those who didn't heed her warnings and advice soon found themselves suffering life-altering consequences. Clarke was everything Bellamy was not in those early episodes. She was level-headed, focused more on surviving and protecting everyone than serving her own agenda. The funny thing is that Clarke never stepped into the role as the leader of her people -- she just always was. Leadership and sacrifice have always been such inherent traits in Clarke Griffin. She uses her compassion to make decisions and her strength to stand behind those decisions and convictions. So she clashed with Bellamy a lot when the show began because Clarke could see the kids in the drop ship for what they were -- people. People who needed to be protected, not people who needed -- necessarily -- to be led.

That changed, of course, and so did Bellamy and Clarke's relationship. While Clarke was always a leader, it took a while for Bellamy to accept her as such -- to listen to her ideas and step out of his self-appointed role as leader of the 100 long enough to allow her to step into the role she always possessed. When Bellamy was able to soften and learn to compromise -- when he was humbled -- that is when the two began to trust each other. Moreover, they actually began to rely on one another to make decisions for the good of the group. But even more important than that, Bellamy and Clarke have always reminded each other of their humanity. Bellamy supports Clarke, constantly, and is always there to tell her the things she needs to believe about herself but can't bear because they're too difficult, too heavy. And Clarke has always been this light for Bellamy. She's the one who consistently reminds him that he's not too far gone and that she needs him; that they all do. As these two characters grew closer to one another, I found myself in the position where I find myself a lot in television shows: I found myself warming (rather quickly) to the idea of a Bellamy/Clarke pairing.

And so, below, it's time to detail ten of my favorite Bellamy/Clarke moments throughout the two seasons of The 100. Hopefully this will hold us all over until the series returns again, right?

10. Bellamy saves Clarke from falling. ("Earth Skills")


Bellamy Blake could pretend all he wants that he's heartless and cold and calloused and focused on survival. He could pretend that he would do whatever it takes to prevent himself from being located by the Ark. And he could pretend that it would be easy to let someone who annoys him and irritates him and is completely, totally, 110% against his own agenda... but that would be a lie. Because in "Earth Skills," the group is searching for Jasper and Clarke falls into a trap. And, instinctively, Bellamy reaches out to grab her hand and save her. At this point, Bellamy and Clarke hate one another. If Clarke died, she would take her bracelet from the Ark with her and then the Ark would stop looking for them and stop caring about them all (about him, really, and the fact that he shot the chancellor). 

But Bellamy doesn't let Clarke die. And you can see in his face and her face that he almost does. He realizes that he has a choice and in that moment, he chooses to save her. It's a startling moment for both of them -- for Clarke realizing that Bellamy was dangerously close to letting her go and for Bellamy realizing that he actually had the opportunity to do so -- but I love that this is the first evidence we had that Bellamy wasn't heartless and he wasn't entirely self-serving.

9. Clarke mercy kills Atom as Bellamy watches. ("Earth Kills")



This may not seem like an important moment because it might not seem like a romantic moment. And okay, you're right about that. There's nothing romantic about a mercy killing (sorry, Finn/Clarke fans). And there's nothing really romantic about this scene either but it's one of my favorites. Because it laid the foundation for the respect that Bellamy began to have for Clarke after he could not mercy-kill Atom himself. For all of his talk and all of his touting of leadership, Bellamy isn't (as I said above) heartless by any means. He cares about people. He just doesn't let many people see that, because it denotes vulnerability. And Bellamy has difficulty with that. But Clarke does not, in the early episodes of this show. Clarke Griffin believes that compassion is what makes you strong because it's what makes you human. And so, when Atom begs for her to kill him because he's suffering too much... she does. She does so in the most tender way possible, singing to him while she painlessly puts him to sleep. In that moment, you can see just how much this is affecting Bellamy -- how he mocked Clarke for caring about people, essentially, and then realized that she was more courageous than he was because she was able to do something he could not do. The Bellamy/Clarke relationship is based on a lot of things -- mutual trust and respect, protecting each other, etc. -- and one of the most important things is the idea that even though they appear fundamentally different, Bellamy and Clarke are really similar and their compassion for people is what makes them good leaders. This moment is the moment Bellamy realized that he couldn't do this alone; he was going to need Clarke and she was a lot stronger than he once believed.

8. Bellamy and Clarke joke/Clarke trusts Bellamy to protect her. ("Unity Day")



I loved a lot of things about "Unity Day," chief of which was the fact that we actually had the opportunity to see Bellamy and Clarke smile and joke with one another. Look, post-apocalyptic earth is serious business. I get that. But it's especially nice when we have the opportunity to see some levity injected into the severity of the 100's circumstances (that's why characters like Jasper and Monty were so critical early on and why Murphy -- who I could write an entire post about -- is so critical in the second season). In a rare moment, Bellamy and Clarke actually get to experience a party and he tells her that she should enjoy herself and get a drink -- to take a few minutes off from being the woman who carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. And here's what I love about this scene: it perfectly parallels something that happens in "Blood Must Have Blood, Part 2": here, Bellamy tells Clarke that she deserves a drink; in the most recent episode, he tells her that they deserve a drink. A simple pronoun shift is enough to remind us all that when Bellamy looks at Clarke, he sees his partner. What she suffers, he suffers. What he suffers, she does, too. They're a team.

But back in "Unity Day," though they had made amazing strides in their trust and reliance on each other, they weren't quite the team we see in season two. Still, when Finn tells Clarke of his plan to initiate peace with the Grounders... Clarke chooses to trust Bellamy. She approaches him and asks him to follow them with guns in case anything goes wrong. She relies on him and relies on him to protect her and all of the other Sky People. I love that The 100 was able to show us both sides of this Bellamy/Clarke relationship in "Unity Day" -- their ability to joke and laugh with each other, but also their ultimate decisions to protect one another at all costs.

7. "Our princess has that effect."/"Brave princess"/"Looking to you, princess"



I know, I know: technically Bellamy wasn't the first person to use the term "princess" to sarcastically describe Clarke; Finn was. But I feel like Bellamy took the nickname back and instead of making it something insulting (like he initially did and like Finn initially did), he turned it into a term of not just endearment but also of respect. In "We Are Grounders, Part 2," Bellamy looks at Clarke in a moment of crisis and decision -- when Finn and Jasper and Octavia all have their own opinions -- and literally is looking up at her whilst saying: "Looking to you, princess." That's not a nickname dripping with disdain or mockery anymore. That is Bellamy Blake acknowledging, genuinely, that he's looking to Clarke for guidance and that he considers her to be their leader. Isn't that kind of amazing? A nickname that was supposed to be something to cut down Clarke ended up being taken back by Bellamy and utilized as a way to remind her that she's a leader -- to show her utmost respect. In "Unity Day," when Raven notes that Anya looks upset at Clarke, Bellamy notes: "our princess has that effect." This is extremely significant because he's placing himself under Clarke's leadership, again. He's noting that she is the person they look to and that she is their leader. He's expressing the fact that she's theirs and that's really kind of beautiful. A nickname by Finn initially meant to isolate Clarke was turned around by Bellamy and used to remind her of her power and her compassion and her leadership.

As the kiddos on the internet would say: #shippingit

6. "I can't lose you, too, okay?" ("Remember Me")



When Clarke has to kill Finn, it changes her. You can tell that it does. The guilt of it all, the pain that she's forced to carry is the first of many things that sends Clarke on a spiral where she attempts to place distance between herself and her instinct for compassion. Post-"Remember Me," Clarke Griffin tries to be a warrior: she tries to not feel, to just act and do whatever is necessary to save her people. But she can't do that at the beginning of  "Remember Me." In this episode, we see clearly just how much Bellamy means to Clarke. We don't see that often -- we see him telling her that she made the right call, constantly supporting and encouraging her. But it's rare that we have the opportunity to see Clarke vocalize how much she needs Bellamy and what he means to her.

But in this episode, when Bellamy notes that they can't trust the Grounders and what they really need to get their friends out is someone on the inside, insinuating that he needs to go in, Clarke vehemently disagrees and forbids him. Bellamy, in his typical fashion, tells her that since he doesn't take orders from her (ha, ha, you totally do Bellamy), he'll need a better reason than that. And the reason that Clarke gives him is that she can't lose him, too. It's Clarke at her most vulnerable, essentially confessing that she needs Bellamy and the thought of losing him isn't an option for her right now or ever. And you can tell, in this moment, that Bellamy won't bring this up again. Because for him, that's a good enough reason. It's more than a good enough reason, really. See, the thing is that Bellamy constantly believes he's a leader and will do whatever it takes to win. But he doesn't realize that people need him and rely on him. That people actually CARE about him. That Clarke -- a woman he would do anything for, even if he can't admit it -- needs him and cares about him so much that the thought of losing him is too much for her to bear.

This moment is so important because it was a real indication of what Clarke feels for Bellamy and, conversely, what Bellamy is willing to do for a woman he really and truly cares for.

5. Bellamy and Clarke hear each others' voices again. ("Coup De GrĂ¢ce")




Leading armies as a teenager in a post-apocalyptic world doesn't leave much time for you to smile or to laugh. But when Clarke hears Bellamy's voice -- that he is alive and okay in Mount Weather -- she cannot help but smile and be overjoyed. Let's talk about this moment though and why it's one of my favorites: the complete and utter desperation with which Clarke and Bellamy call to each other on the radios is such a heartbreakingly beautiful moment because this is the first communication they have since she coldly sent him away. And Clarke doesn't know whether to laugh or to cry because Bellamy made it and is safe and she doesn't have to endure any more guilt for her actions. She allows herself to do what Lexa told her not to -- to love and to have a moment just revel in the fact that Bellamy is alive and he's okay.

I absolutely love this moment because of how well-acted it was: Bob Morley and Eliza Taylor both perfectly communicated the trepidation and ultimate joy in Bellamy and Clarke's voices when they heard that the other was okay. You can feel their happiness, even though they're separated. And Eliza Taylor did an amazing job with Clarke's response after that -- her eyes begin to well up with tears and she smiles and tries to hold onto the happiness of this moment just a bit longer because it may be the only thing that fills her with that warmth for a long time (and really, when you think about it, this pretty much is Clarke's last moment of angst-free introspection for the remainder of the season). It's such a beautiful, powerful little moment and the conversation that follows is important but not -- in my opinion -- as important as these two finally able to hope again.

4. Bellamy's not-so-subtle indication that he cares for Clarke/Clarke sends Bellamy to Mount Weather ("Remember Me")



"Remember Me" is such an important episode for Bellamy and Clarke, and the scene I noted above is super integral, especially given what happens at the episode's end. Throughout the episode, there's a shift in which Clarke decides to embrace Lexa's (flawed) ideal: "Love is weakness." She loves Bellamy and it's evident throughout the episode that he loves her. Whether or not you interpret that love as romantic is up to you but make no mistake, they love each other just the same. And there's this parallelism between Gustus and Lexa and Bellamy and Clarke that's extremely evident: Gustus protected Lexa, whatever the cost. And that cost... was his life. Similarly, at the fire, Bellamy tells Lincoln that the reason he knew it was Gustus who poisoned the cup, not Raven, was because Gustus would do anything for Lexa, to protect her. He says that to him, it just made sense. And you can tell, because of Octavia's next words ("Yeah, look at where that got him") and Bellamy's reaction that they both know he would do anything for Clarke. He listened to her when she told him she couldn't let him go to Mount Weather. Just as Gustus would do anything to protect Lexa because he loved her and was bound to her, so Bellamy would do anything for Clarke.

And he does. When Clarke tells him, coldly, that he needs to go to Mount Weather, he obeys... but not without questioning her decision. What changed, since earlier, when she hated the plan and the thought of him being killed? Clarke's response is that she was being weak. ("Love is weakness") This, again, is such a clear example of the fact that Clarke loves Bellamy, but she's trying to protect herself from being hurt again. And the way she's doing that is by listening to someone who is guarded and jaded and calloused (Lexa) because SHE was hurt. The reason that Clarke is so cold in this scene is because losing Finn -- someone she loved -- was so painful because it was the fact that she loved him that really tore her apart. And it would be the same with Bellamy, she reasons: if she allows herself to love him, she will crumble when something happens to him. So instead she sets up a wall between her and Bellamy, choosing to treat him like a soldier and not her partner.

The reactions of Lincoln, Octavia, and Raven in the scene give the clear indication that they know how much  Bellamy cares for Clarke and vice versa (their utter shock at Clarke's cold attitude is amusing), but Clarke walks away from Bellamy without even saying goodbye to him. And that stings, obviously, them both: all she wants to do is keep him safe but in order to be stronger, she believes she has to stop herself from loving other people; all he wants to do is support her and lead beside her, but he cares about her too much to disobey (see, you DO take orders from her, Bellamy).

3. The entirety of "Day Trip."


When I watched "Day Trip," I knew -- officially -- that I was a fan of the Bellamy/Clarke pairing. The episode highlighted everything that was special about them: their banter, their clashing personalities, their individual demons, their chemistry (that scene where he teaches her how to shoot a gun was so great because you can tell he's starting to feel things for her then), and their conversation after she saves his life (and he saves hers). This episode was the first indication, I think, that Bellamy and Clarke could have a partnership -- that they work best when they are together. They need each other and hearing Clarke admit that she needs Bellamy, demons and mistakes and ego and all, was so utterly refreshing and it was so integral to their relationship. The entire episode isolated Bellamy and Clarke from the rest of the group. And when the two were isolated, they were forced to confront the demons that plague them while on earth: the things they did while they were on the Ark and the things they do and think on the ground.

Bellamy is completely vulnerable at the end of the episode with Clarke and tells her that he believes he's a monster, not just for shooting Jaha but also for everything he's done. And this is where Clarke is amazing because she extends forgiveness to him. And she extends kindness. And she reminds him that they all need him, and that SHE needs him. He can't isolate himself and he can't run away from his problems. He has to face them. But she'll be there beside him to help. He's not alone and he doesn't have to ever feel like he is. Isn't this an amazing display of growth on both of their parts? And isn't this an amazing parallel for what's to come in the second season? The reason I love Bellamy/Clarke so much is because their relationship has always been grounded on mutual respect and support of each other. She's there for him even when he wants to be alone; he tells her she did the right thing even when she doesn't believe it. They need each other. They make each other better. They help each other heal. And they're so beautiful to me in "Day Trip" because of that.

2. The reunion hug. ("Human Trials")


 

I'm just going to never stop talking about the fact that Clarke literally runs into Bellamy's arms, throws her arms around his neck desperately, and refuses to let go until she's had enough time to process the fact that he's alive and he's really there. (As an aside: Octavia's response to their hug is hilarious and solidifies why she's one of my favorite characters on this series.) Why does this rank so high on my list of top Bellamy/Clarke moments? Well, first of all... watch Clarke. She's happier and more relieved than we have ever seen her. And the only way she can properly express how overjoyed she is? By clinging tightly to Bellamy. But I think my favorite part of this hug is Bellamy's response. We remember Bellamy Blake, right? Stoic leader. Commander and fighter. In this moment though, we see the most amazing display of character progression ever. Bellamy barely wanted to hold onto Clarke to keep her alive in the beginning of the series. He didn't like her. He didn't want her around. He contemplated letting her fall.

And in this moment, Bellamy hesitates for a moment because he's so surprised at what is happening that he's mentally trying to process it all but can't. He's been through hell and back and it's made him a stronger person, sure, but it's also made him a BETTER person. It's made him more compassionate, like Clarke. Everything that the 100 went through on earth changed him and reminded him that it's okay to feel again; it's okay to need another person. It's okay to care and to express how much you care. So after a second of bewilderment and hesitation, Bellamy hugs Clarke tighter than he's probably hugged anyone before (so hard that he nearly lifts her up). And yet, even THAT isn't my favorite part of this hug.

No, my favorite part is Bellamy's face as he's hugging her. It transitions from complete and utter shock to complete and utter relief and delight. He closes his eyes and holds onto Clarke because he's so relieved she's alive and so relieved that he found her again. Literally, this is the most relaxed and happy these two characters are. Why? All of their walls are down. They're completely uninhibited with each other. And we find that when they're uninhibited, they are raw and vulnerable and those emotions reveal themselves through this hug. Honestly, it's one of the best hugs that I've seen in recent years on television because it's such a simple gesture -- a hug -- but in this case it's SO layered and it conveys SO much not just about Bellamy and Clarke as individuals and their growth, but also their growth together.

1. "Together"/"You're forgiven"/the goodbye. ("Blood Must Have Blood, Part 2")




And now we've reached what I think is the best Bellamy/Clarke moment we've had thus far. First off, "Blood Must Have Blood, Part 2" is such an important episode for both of these characters as leaders and individuals. When Clarke makes the decision to eradicate the Mountain Men (geez, this show is heavy), she struggles down to the last second on her decision. After all, Clarke knew about the missile. Clarke didn't warn others. Clarke killed Finn. Clarke Griffin carries a lot around on her shoulders. She bears the burden of guilt and pain because she doesn't want her own people to. She wants them to be free, to be safe, and to be happy. And in order for them to be that way, she makes decisions that cause HER anguish and pain and life-long consequences. She suffers so they do not have to.

But right before Clarke pulls the lever, Bellamy realizes something: he doesn't want Clarke to be alone. She doesn't deserve to bear that burden by herself. And so he takes his hand and places it over hers on the lever. And he tells her: "Together." He's not going to let her face this decision alone. He will share her burden. He will help carry it. She doesn't have to suffer by herself. Let's pause and reflect on how utterly amazing that is, shall we? This is partnership and love in every sense of the word. This is devotion. This is sacrifice. This is everything that Clarke needs and Bellamy is there, beside her, giving it to her freely. So they pull the lever together; they make the decision together. She's not alone. But at the end of the episode, Clarke steps outside of the camp and when Bellamy urges her to come inside, she tells him that she cannot. And he does what she did for him in "Day Trip" -- he tells her she is forgiven. He tells her she's not a monster. He tells her that he needs her. And when Clarke tells him that she has to live with the consequences of the choice she made, he corrects her: Bellamy reminds her that HE pulled that lever too. And he did it precisely so Clarke would not feel alone. He did it because he loves her and whatever decisions she makes, however difficult, he will be beside her making them too.

Clarke can't bear to let Bellamy share the burden because she believes she's still a monster and too far gone, even if he doesn't believe that about her. So she kisses his cheek, tells him to look after their people, and tells him she needs to leave. It's such a gut-wrenching moment (made absolutely perfect by the version of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" that plays over the scene) because it exemplifies the depth and breadth of which Bellamy loves Clarke and the way Clarke cannot love herself. I just found this moment to be so powerful because it's such an example of how much these characters have grown to to trust and rely on and care for each other. Bellamy is there for Clarke -- he began this series as someone who wanted nothing to do with her and now? Now he's CHOOSING to stand beside her throughout it all: throughout war and pain and victory and loss. These two characters have come so far in their reliance and dependence upon one another that it's really quite beautiful. And watching Bellamy echo Clarke's: "May we meet again" gives me hope that he'll never give up on her and that she will learn to never give up on herself, either.

So there you have it, friends! Whew. So much amazing stuff has happened between Bellamy and Clarke over the course of two seasons. What is your favorite moment? Did I miss anything critical? Hit up the comments below and let me know your thoughts. Until then. :)

7 comments:

  1. First, your blog is amazing- I've been looking through it these last couple weeks when I had time -- I love your Arrow articles! (plus Suits! New Girl!) You're a talented writer and your enthusiasm for the material really shines through :D Definitely makes your stuff enjoyable to read!

    So, moving on... THIS POST. IS. THE. BEST.

    You mentioned everything that I love about the two and gosh #1 and #2 are two of my favourite moments of the entire show (and of all my shows, recently, and trust me I have MANY). All the growth they go through on the ground together is so well done, and Eliza Taylor's acting is anchoring this show like nobody's business. I didn't really expect much from this show when I started watching, like at what point DID IT JUST START CLAWING AT MY HEART??

    They MUST meet again. I ship them both with happiness, but if they get together, it's just a cherry on top. Fabulous post :)

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    1. Hi there Audrey. First of all, thank you so much for being a faithful reader at this site! I'm so glad you enjoy the Arrow, Suits, and New Girl reviews. I absolutely love writing them. :) And that is such a sweet thing to say to me about my enthusiasm for the material. I love writing about television and characterization so much, so I'm thrilled it shows.

      I just really and truly love Bellamy/Clarke because they've grown SO much and their relationship is based on their mutual protection of each other and respect for one another. All of the work Bob and Eliza do is absolutely stellar on this show. And you can totally tell that they are partners and equals in every sense of the word as Bellamy and Clarke. UGH, SO BEAUTIFUL.

      I honestly did not expect to really like The 100 at all but MAN THIS SHOW IS SO GOOD AND SO WELL DONE.

      Bellamy and Clarke will definitely meet again and though I ship them romantically, I just want Clarke to love herself like Bellamy clearly loves and admires her. She needs to forgive herself before she can ever really move on.

      Thank you again so much for your comments and for reading, Audrey! :)

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  2. So for some reason my first comment didn't go through??

    Just, oh my gosh, this post is perfect, and like I told you on Twitter, it was enough to make me legitimately tear up, it was so spot on. I have no idea how I would even pick a favorite moment between these two, because their chemistry is just so amazing, I get emotional just thinking about any of their scenes, especially the ones listed above. I can't remember the last time I've shipped a pairing so hard.

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    1. 1) THANK YOU BB!!!! Ugh, I just have fallen in love with them so much. My weaknesses are OTPs who have partnerships and protect each other. 2) They seriously do have amazing chemistry and you can tell that it's not forced at all -- it has such a natural easiness to it which I love.

      THANK YOU AGAIN. This post made me happy to write. :)

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  3. Hey, I stumbled upon your blog due to a craving for a charachter breakdown and review of Bellamy and Clarke's relationship and interactions. THANK YOU for scratching that terrible itch! Lol, you really have a talent for writing and an insight to interpersonal relationships. You've even given me the inspiration to try my hand at expressing things I notice or feel are significant and why. Great list! Can we have an honorable mention though?

    The fireside scene where the Blake siblings and Clarke were out looking for Finn and hoping to cross paths with Lincoln, Bellamy was watching Clarke as she slept. When she opened her eyes and acknowledged him, he said that the last time he saw her, she was closing the dropship door. When her face fell, he was quick to reassure her that it had to be done. :D If you have time, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it! Thanks!

    Rae

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  4. Jenn I love this. It's just what I needed. I know you're friends with Jenn @jbuffyangel and let me just say - you both have such a knack for interpreting what shows are trying to get across. This pairing reminds me so much of Olicity and their partnership and their need to protect one another. Brava, sista! I hope to read more good things to come on Bellamy and Clarke from season three.

    Ps. I, too, did not expect much from The 100 and found myself captivated very quickly. I'm currently reading the book and it's rather different from the show, although, Bellamy and Clarke are a couple (at least headed that way). I just hope the writers don't screw up what they developed thus far with their characters together and as individuals, especially with something as nonsensical as Clarke and Lexa.

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  5. Amazing post! I was reading this post with pleasure! I'd like to add that ALL people need a relationship and a love! https://kovla.com/blog/relationship-is-a-need-too/ it made me sure! Read it too, I know that you will find in it smth you are looking for! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete