number one: fights like a girl

Ethical Decision Making & The 100

Let's start with my feminist rant: Clarke has made some questionable leadership decisions in The 100, but so has everyone else. Bellamy selfishly tried to prevent the Ark from learning the Earth was habitable, and a lot of people died as a consequence of those actions. Kane suffocated three hundred people and probably executed at least that number. Murphy and Finn...well, it's obvious what they did wrong. There's nothing fandom loves quite like a man who needs redemption. Bring on the man pain fic, please! And failing that, anger tends to be directed at the writers ("You ruined my favorite character!") rather than the characters themselves. But when Clarke fucks up, the hatred is directed at her. That's sexism. I think a lot of it is unconscious sexism, but it's sexism nonetheless. Women typically don't get story arcs where they make bad decisions and need redemption. Women don't usually get to be this complex. Doing bad things is usually men's work, and sympathetic women hang out in the background to be attracted to their moral ambiguity and heal them with their love. And yeah, a lot of the people hating on Clarke love Raven and Octavia, but the thing is, they don't have to make the kind of choices that Clarke makes. Clarke is taking the burden of making the hard choices, and sometimes she chooses wrongly, but we should celebrate her for being a real person and not some made-up moral paragon.

Ethical dilemmas are one of my favorite things about The 100. In my debate class, we talk a lot about how you decide if an action is right or wrong. If you care most about the consequences, you'll make a very different decision than if you care about the underlying principles. When Lexa and Clarke have to decide what to do about the missile, they have to make a choice between staying true to their moral code or winning the war against the Mountain Men. Although their decision to sacrifice the village is unpalatable, I think it was the right one - especially from Lexa's point of view.

Lexa has the most justifiable need to win the war against the Mountain Men. By kidnapping, enslaving, bleeding, and dehumanizing her people, they pose an existential threat to the existence of her society. If she evacuates the village, the Mountain Men know Bellamy is inside, and they hunt him down and kill him. He doesn't get to release the captive Grounders, and the Mountain Men won't be defeated. When Lexa sacrifices the village, innocent people die -- but innocent people are dying inside the mountain, and innocent people are being turned into Reapers. Probably there's a whole village worth of Grounders suffering inside the mountain right now, plus the uncountable number who will be killed by the Mountain Men in the future. If you have to choose between saving two populations of innocent people, saving the greatest number makes the most sense.

Clarke's decision is not ethically defensible because her motivation is poor. She isn't thinking about military strategy or the greatest good for the greatest number; she wants to save her friends. Period. The lives of her people in the village are just as valuable as the lives of the people in the mountain, so sacrificing one to save the other is not morally correct (although I do understand it on a personal level - it's really not any different from the mom being willing to risk everything to protect her child).

But, while I don't think she made the decision for the right reasons, I still think she made the right choice. The alliance with the Grounders is the only thing keeping her people alive, and Lexa makes it pretty clear that the price for maintaining that alliance is sacrificing the village. If you look at the very big ethical picture, in which the lives of Sky People and Grounders are all equally valuable, the right thing to do is save the most innocent people -- and that means making sure that Mount Weather is destroyed.
Thank you for articulating my frustration with Abby! You're right - she doesn't want to make tough choices. She vacillates over turning Finn over to the Grounders, even though he deserves to be punished and it will protect everyone else. As much as she likes to sit on her high horse, one of her very first leadership decisions is to imprison Jaha because he threatens her power. And yeah, it's totally hypocritical for her to insist that Clarke is too young to lead. She (along with Jaha and Kane) sent 100 teenagers to Earth, probably to die. After you do that, you don't get to be like "MOM'S HERE" and demand that they become obedient children again.

I like what you said about Raven too. I feel like if any character were thrust into Clarke's role, they would end up making the same painful, flawed choices -- or they'd end up like Abby, who hurts people with her indecision.

I'm really enjoying Octavia's story so far. I was worried that Indra was going to force her to make some terrible choice between the Sky People and the Grounders, but so far, it seems that she's becoming a symbol for the integration of their two communities. I'm excited to see how her story develops in the future.
We don't have the same premise (and have no way of knowing which one is true), it seems to me that there were more people in the village than in Mount Weather, so I think the episode was horrible and made very little sense. I also think that Clarke and Lexa could have faked an argument and everybody would have left (okay, that might have provoked some fighting between Clarke's people and Lexa's, but at least they would have TRIED!).

But I still love them, even though I love Octavia even more, and the latest episode was good in the aftermath of that terrible decision.
It looked to me like there were a lot of Grounders locked up in Mount Weather (enough for Clarke to think they could take the compound), but even if it's a smaller number, I think we still have to count all the Grounders who will be preyed on in the future. I can see the other side too though - I think a show is good when the characters' decisions are debatable!

Ugh, so much this. I made a post a bit ago defending Clarke too because the anti-Clarke hate was pissing me off, but it wasn't as thoughtful as this, lol! I think Clarke is an amazing character, full of complexities, and her arc over the series is so interesting. She's doing the best she can, and what else was she supposed to do? If the Mountain Men had found out they had a spy, they would have found Bellamy and almost certainly killed him, and their best shot at defeating Mount Weather and saving all those people would have died with him.

If the 100 stopped doing things like this, all the complicated scenarios and hard choices, it would stop being such a good show.

I think there is very much a double standard where it comes to the reception of male vs female characters. We love our male anti-heroes, and our angsty man!pain (preferably with the Single Tear), and male characters being complete jackasses fills up TV and film, but somehow if a female character acts questionably it's a different story. I'm also reminded of Sleepy Hollow. I don't know if you're familiar with it, but the character Katrina gets SO MUCH hate, rather than fans acknowledging that the writers have done an exceptionally crummy job with their portrayal of her over the course of the series.
I think a lot of people overlook that this was an emergency situation as well. Lexa and Clarke had maybe ten minutes to decide what to do. In that short time frame, Lexa's reasoning and her confidence were very compelling. If there had been a day to debate what to do, the outcome might have been very different.

I gave up on Sleepy Hollow earlier this season, but I agree, the writing for Katrina has always been terrible. I think part of the problem was that the writers didn't want to acknowledge that she *had* complexities and flaws. That made it tough to see why Ichabod loved her, and also tough to understand why she would have kept so much from her husband. They wasted a lot of potential there.