1:00 pm EST, February 24, 2017

Jasper’s arc on ‘The 100’ is real, raw, and underrated

Can everyone just give Jasper a break already?

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No longer the happy kid we saw in The 100 season 1, Jasper has deteriorated before our eyes, becoming a hollow shell of his former self.

It’s a real shame how Jasper’s popularity on The 100 has diminished over the seasons. He’s had some of the most dramatic development, ultimately becoming one of the most complex characters. Yet Jasper is frequently labeled as annoying, and people are tired of his antics. This attitude stems from a complete lack of understanding, and a dismissal of what he’s been through. As frustrating as he can be, his decline is a realistic reaction a teen in his circumstances would have.

Jasper has gone from happy goof to depressed, and then suicidal to acerbic goof. However, nothing about his trajectory has been sudden or random. It’s easy to map out how and why he’s changed, and it’s the most realistic development out of every character on The 100.

First, we must recount Jasper’s history. As you do, think about how you might react to these situations, and how it might change your perception of the world.

For a start, he’s arrested for stealing “pharmaceuticals,” and thusly becomes one of the 100 to be forced down to Earth to see if it’s habitable. Essentially he’s sent to die. It’s not exactly a situation that would sit well with anybody. Upon landing on Earth, though, he’s delighted to not be vaporized by radiation, and have freedom and fresh air. However, this elation is short lived, as he gets stabbed in the gut and almost dies (again). Oh yeah, did I mention that’s all in episode 1?

While recovering from his near fatal spearing, Murphy takes a turn at trying to kill Jasper himself. Remember that violent Murphy you hated in season 1? How can you forgive him for everything he’s done, but not forgive Jasper his shortcomings?

Then there are the times he’s been taken hostage, once by Murphy (oh, look at that, another strike on Murphy’s character), and another time by Luna’s people. While in Luna’s custody, he takes the chip in a desperate attempt for happiness, and becomes another puppet of ALIE’s. Brainwashed, he tries to kill his friends. Can you imagine what it would do to your psyche when you realized you almost killed your friends?

But we can’t forget the biggest tragedy for Jasper: losing Maya. He found someone he loved, and she was collateral damage at the hands of his friends. Clarke and Bellamy ‘pulled the trigger’ on Maya, and in doing so, they saved their own loved ones (Abby and Octavia). Of course Jasper would be devastated by this, and it’s easy to see how he could interpret their action as selfish. Maya’s death is another shot to the gut, but this time it breaks him.

Now, at the prospect of dying in a couple of months’ time, Jasper is seemingly back to his jokey self, except this time his humor is darker. It’s tragic to see that the happiest someone has been in months is because they’ve found out they’re going to die soon. In fact, this is the clearest and most sensible Jasper has been in ages. He’s quick to point out how worrisome it is that Clarke respects Jaha of all people, and perhaps she’s leading people the way she previously deemed wrong.

It’s true everyone in The 100 has suffered, and they’ve not turned out like Jasper, but it’s also true that everyone deals with grief and trauma differently. As it happens, Jasper doesn’t bottle his emotions. He’s too sensitive to suppress his feelings in a way that someone like Clarke can. Perhaps Clarke is able to function because she has so many responsibilities and people who rely on her. In that case, maybe people should give Jasper more responsibilities, instead of not trusting him with anything.

While Jasper’s downward spiral indirectly impacts those around him, he is far more self-destructive than someone like Finn, who impulsively massacred Grounders. Despite causing harm to other people, we give Finn sympathy. His actions aren’t justifiable, but we feel bad for him because he’s been through a lot and just can’t handle it. Why can’t we do the same for Jasper?

Jasper is suffering from PTSD, and the cure is most certainly not telling him to “snap out of it.” He needs proper therapy, which, unfortunately for him, nobody has the time for, and even worse, few seem to care. His friends are far more capable of coping with everything that has happened to them and what they’ve done, so it’s difficult for them to understand his breakdown. In turn, he can’t grasp how they’re not crippled by their own grief and trauma. Jasper may be physically surrounded by his people, but he’s emotionally alone.

Not everyone can rise to the occasion like Clarke or Monty. Not everyone can channel their grief and fear to become a warrior like Octavia (although that’s turning into another story). Not everyone can turn over a new leaf for the better like Murphy. Sometimes people crumble over the weight of a situation they weren’t prepared for, and without proper assistance to help them through it, they’ll never bounce back.

What do you think of Jasper’s development?

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