Show: The 100
Character Status: Main Cast
Current LI: None
Current Season: On Show
Show Status: Still Airing
Tropes: Tortured Bisexual
Introduced in: 2013-2014
Final season: 2016-2017
Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor) is the lead character of sci-fi series The 100. She is an “Arker” sent to a post-apocalyptic Earth where Arkers encountered the Grounders, descendants of humans who survived the nuclear apocalypse, as well as Mountain Men, a group of people who survived sealed inside a bunker.
Though initially reluctant, Clarke became the unofficial leader of the Arkers, and over the course of the seasons she has had to make several life or death decisions, deciding to fight or form alliances, or leading wars. She was portrayed as pragmatic, intelligent, and manipulative, with a keen mind for warfare and strategy.
In Season 1, she started a relationship with Finn, one of the original delinquents, although unbeknownst to her he is also still involved with long-term girlfriend Raven, who had not yet landed on Earth. Although Clarke distanced herself from Finn (who was in love with her) once she found out, the triangle was drawn out until the middle of the second season. After Finn mass-murdered 18 innocent Grounders in a village and was condemned to death and torture as punishment, Clarke was the one who mercy killed him in order to spare him the pain of a long torture and secure the Grounder’s cooperation to fight against the Mountain Men. Just before she stabbed Finn, she told him she loved him.
In the middle of Season 2, Clarke met Lexa, the Grounder Commander, and the two leaders formed an alliance against Mountain Men. Over the rest of the season, they grew personally closer as they planned their war, and in the episode “Bodyguard of Lies” (2×14), Lexa kissed Clarke in a much publicized event. Clarke reciprocated the kiss initially, but then hesitated, telling Lexa [She’s] “not ready to be with anyone. Not yet”. Though they marched to war together in the next episode, Lexa ended up betraying Clarke and their alliance and leaving with the Grounder army, leaving Clarke alone against the Mountain Men. Feeling that she had no choice but to commit genocide to win against the Mountain Men, Clarke wiped them out and following those events she did not return to the Arker camp with the rest of the survivors, and instead, spent three months alone in the wilderness.
In the first episode of Season 3, a now-feral looking Clarke was shown seducing Niylah, a Grounder at a trading post, and they slept together after Niylah protected her from being discovered by bounty hunters looking for Clarke, now known as the infamous Wanheda (Commander of Death). The series producers explained at the time of airing that this same-sex fling was included to “prove” Clarke’s bisexuality to the audience, though they clarified that it was only a physical outlet for her grief. By the second episode, she was captured and reunited with Lexa, and although Clarke was furious with her for her earlier actions, she agreed to cooperate with the Grounder Commander in order to protect both of their people from outside threats. Although the political and personal relationship between Clarke and Lexa was a major plot-line of the show from 3×02 to 3×07, they had very little romantic development until 3×07 when they kissed and were shown in bed together, before 64 seconds later in the following scene Lexa was suddenly killed off.
Though Clarke carried a chip containing Lexa’s consciousness throughout the rest of the season, she did not mention the relationship or the circumstances of Lexa’s death to other characters and both of Clarke’s same-sex relationships remain closeted. Although Clarke is the lead character of the show, in Season 3 her role was unfortunately reduced; she was missing entirely from episode 3×08 and had noticeably reduced screen time compared to other main characters. In contrast to earlier seasons, she seemed to lack agency and was portrayed as apologetic and frequently lacking a moral compass, siding with Arkers in very uncomfortable story-arcs that portrayed racism, xenophobia and mass murder as heroic.
Clarke’s evolving relationship with Lexa was a major part of the storyline from mid-Season 2 and until mid-Season 3. Though Clarke and a virtual (and still dead) Lexa were reunited in a digital reality in the final episode of Season 3, they were only able to hug and kiss briefly before being attacked by an evil AI and fleeing. When Lexa sacrificed herself to allow Clarke to escape, Clarke said “I love you” to Lexa, to which Lexa responded, “I’ll always be with you.”
Actress Eliza Taylor admitted at a fan convention that the “I love you” was not in the script and that she had ad-libbed it during filming; the line is missing entirely from Netflix US (and other countries), the DVDs and the Blue Ray, as well as omitted from several international broadcasts of the show. Despite the producer’s claims that the TV show is “not about romance”, there are a lot of (heterosexual) romances on the show: Octavia and Lincoln, Clarke and Finn, Finn and Raven, Jasper and Maya, all of which exchanged “I love you”s at various points, despite having less development/build-up. About Clarke and Lexa, however, series executive producer Jason Rothenberg felt an “I love you” was “not earned”:
When speaking of Clarke’s bisexuality, Rothenberg, who previously explained the death of a lesbian character with: “I don’t even want to talk about the trope that’s out there about LGBT characters; that is not something that factored into the decision” (TV Insider) appears equally uninformed about portrayals of bisexuality on screen. He stated:
“One of the great things, creatively, when having a bisexual character, when we look at the board in the room where all their faces are, she can be with almost anybody on that board. I mean Abby [her mom] would be a little weird, but everybody else is fair game, really”
— Jason Rothenberg, San Diego Comic Con 2016
Appearances: 45 episodes.
Female love interests:
- Lexa 💀 (Alycia Debnam-Carey, recurring S2 and S3, 16 episodes)
- Niylah (Jessica Harmon, guest, 3 episodes, one night stand in one episode)
Romantic arc with a woman: Yes
Male love interests:
- Finn 💀 (Thomas McDonell, main cast, S1, S2)
Romantic arc with a man: Yes
Storyline during sweeps? Yes, first kiss with Lexa aired during February sweeps
 A romantic arc is defined as explicit, on screen, and lasts 3 episodes or more. It is listed as questionable or subtext if romance is only implied, dream sequences, or otherwise not explicit for the viewer.
 Sweeps episodes air in February, May, July and November, the periods when advertising rates are set. A character is marked as "sweeps" when there is a very limited number of episodes that address their sexuality, all air during sweeps period, and the storyline is otherwise ignore/dropped.