The 100 season 6 is presenting Eliza Taylor with one of her biggest acting challenges to date. What does that mean for Clarke Griffin?
At NYCC 2018 earlier this year, Eliza Taylor revealed that she’s facing one of her biggest challenges yet as an actress in The 100 season 6.
Taylor thinks fans will be “shocked” by the direction of Clarke’s journey, telling reporters that, “Clarke definitely changes a lot, so I’m kind of freaking out. But it’s gonna be really cool for people to watch.”
This is an incredibly vague, but nonetheless intriguing teaser, since there isn’t much Clarke Griffin hasn’t already been made to endure on The 100.
After being thrust into leadership in season 1, becoming the Commander of Death in season 2, committing genocide and ostracizing herself, only to see everything she loves come crumbling down and enter a virtual reality in season 3; facing an inevitable apocalypse in season 4 and becoming a mother in season 5, how can season 6 possibly offer up an even bigger challenge for Eliza Taylor’s Clarke than what we’ve already seen?!
What could season 6 possibly have in store for this tortured, burdened, aggrieved survivor who’s been through hell and back and skinned the devil himself to wear as a hat? What form does she have left to change into?
Ahh, I’m glad I asked myself that question, because I of course have many theories, one more outlandish than the next.
As attentive The 100 fans will have noticed, very little information about season 6 has actually been revealed.
We know they go to a new planet, we know there is some form of peaceful civilization there, and we know our heroes are at least going to try being the good guys.
But as to what and who they encounter in the new world, we really have no idea. Thus, we have no way of knowing how Clarke will be affected by the planet and its people; what choices she’ll have to make; what she’ll lose and what she’ll gain in the process.
Still, hilariously, most fans seem united in their belief that Taylor’s new challenge will involve Clarke being happy in one way or another since, really, that’s the only spectrum of emotion Taylor hasn’t yet had a chance to explore.
We’ve seen her do devastated, fierce, determined, angry, scared, self-sacrificial, ruthless, hopeless, and all combinations of the above. Of course she could always take it further, and we know Taylor would be capable of wringing even more devastation out of Clarke than what we’ve already seen. But would that really change her?
Wouldn’t it instead be genuinely interesting and different to see her be care-free for once? Or hopeful? Or… maybe even laugh?
So allow me to propose a few different scenarios in which we might see Clarke change into a happier version of herself in season 6. (And a few in which she doesn’t, because… well, you know.)
Theory 1: Clarke gets high
I find it hilarious that my first instinct when imagining Clarke happy is that some form of fake-out must be involved, but I mean, let’s be real. It’s Clarke Griffin we’re talking about.
Based on the vague hints and teases about the new planet we’ve gotten, we can kind of gather that something trippy will be going on down there as our heroes set out exploring.
It sounds like the planet might be affecting them in some way, Annihilation style, which means we might see the initial landing squad (Clarke, Bellamy, Murphy, Emori, Echo, Jackson, Miller and Shaw) dealing with hallucinations and reality-warps of some form of another.
And, honestly, I really hope that happens. We’ve been overdue another jobi nut episode for a long time. (I’m still salty about the ‘end of the world party’ in The 100 season 4. These kids have no concept of what it means to have fun.)
I almost don’t dare to imagine how glorious it would be to see these eight characters forced to let loose with each other and talk honestly about things they haven’t otherwise been able to, and do such unnatural things as smile and laugh with each other.
And as far as this presenting an acting challenge, they do say that comedy can be more difficult to play than tragedy, especially when you’re playing a character who has been very, very, very serious for the past five years.
What would it be like for Taylor to have to dig into a Clarke without the weight of the world on her shoulders? What would a cheerful, funny, silly version of Clarke Griffin even look like? And how would a few care-free, honest, happy moments spent with her estranged friends change her going forward? I can’t even imagine. It would, certainly, be different than anything we’d seen before.
Theory 2: We meet an alternate reality Clarke
Again, hilariously, ‘happy Clarke’ = ‘this cannot possibly be real’ in my head. (Super ready to be proven wrong though.) And yes, this is kind of the same theory as the above, but much more unlikely, as The 100 isn’t really the type of show that could realistically pull off an alternate reality episode — to my everlasting dismay.
AU episodes are my absolute favorite thing in the world (way better than musical episodes, shhh don’t tell the internet), because it’s the best way to get to know your characters: by seeing them through the lens of everything they could have been.
And who knows? Maybe it could be a part of the planet’s ‘magic’: Clarke hallucinates an alternate version of herself, living the life she might secretly have wished she’d had, causing her to reflect on her own life and her own self.
This would be a version of Clarke who smiled and laughed and didn’t constantly worry about saving the world, her friends, and her family. She might even have a living breathing romantic interest in this reality. That would be a welcome change.
(AND HEY, if they ever wanted to bring Wells back, this’d be the way to do it! Free idea! You’re welcome!)
Theory 3: We see Clarke inside the Flame
A variation of the alternate reality Clarke theory, and perhaps even less feasible, if only because the Flame doesn’t appear to actually contain physical manifestations of past Commanders (I think we were meant to understand Lexa and Clarke in the City of Light as an exception?).
But then again, there’s a lot we don’t yet know about the Flame, right? And we do know Clarke had it in her head once, which means she might well be one of the imprints feeding Madi memories. There’s even a hint to this in season 5, when Madi quotes Clarke’s “I bear it so they don’t have to” back to her (as Lexa never heard her say this).
Since we’ll be learning more about the Flame in The 100 season 6, it is entirely possible that we’ll see some form of Clarke in there, communicating with Madi — a Madi who Flame!Clarke wouldn’t necessarily feel personally connected to, since Madi wasn’t in her life when her consciousness was downloaded.
Logistically, it makes a lot of sense for it to be Clarke’s imprint that ‘guides’ Madi in her quest to understand the Flame, not only because she’s the one Madi knows and trusts, but because the only (known) alternatives are played by actresses not necessarily available to make guest appearances in season 6.
Flame!Clarke seems to me the most obvious way of giving the Flame a ‘voice’ of its own, and it would serve the dual purpose of giving Madi new insight into pre-Praimfaya Clarke, which could in turn shed some new light on who Clarke has become versus who she used to be and/or wishes she was.
Theory 4: Clarke finds real (!) happiness
Whoa, whoa, SLOW DOWN, right? Let’s not get too crazy!
But hey, unlikely as it is, there is a real chance that Clarke might actually reach a turning point in season 6 and strive for some kind of genuine personal fulfillment either in or outside of her leadership role.
She’ll be bonding with ‘peaceful leader’ Russell (J.R. Bourne) after all, right? While I still don’t think there’s romance in the cards there, it’s very possible that Russell could have an instrumental role in helping Clarke heal some of her many, many war wounds.
If Clarke spends some time in his peaceful society, it might begin to convince her that there is a potential alternative to the human suffering she’s encountered at every turn since landing on the ground.
Perhaps if she sees potential for Madi to be safe and have a real future there (whether or not Madi herself has any inclination to fall in line), it’ll allow Clarke to loosen up and start to consider what she herself might want and strive for in a world that isn’t constantly at war.
(Of course if this were to happen, her reprieve must be temporary — such is the rule of The 100 — but it would nonetheless be a breath of fresh air to see Clarke trusting, open to assimilating herself into a new society and pursuing activities just because she wants to.)
Theory 5: Clarke becomes the ‘big bad’ of season 6
It’s all fun and games imagining a happy Clarke Griffin, but this is still The 100, and I am nothing if not a realist.
There is no denying that Marie Avgeropoulos was far and away the standout performer of The 100 season 5, exactly because she got to give into Blodreina with vicious abandon.
Octavia had been dark before, but Blodreina was something else entirely, and it was glorious. So who’s to say Clarke couldn’t go on a similar journey in season 6, affording Taylor the same opportunities as a performer?
We’ve seen Clarke be ruthless and cold, and fully commit to her mama beary ‘there are no good guys’ mentality — to the extent that she left Bellamy to die at Octavia’s hand, which felt like the lowest point of her arc. We’re all hoping/expecting her to rise from those ashes, but then again, that was the hope for Octavia post-Conclave, too.
It would certainly be more in line with The 100’s usual fare to have Clarke go even lower after season 5, and have her become a genuine threat to the supposedly peaceful society they encounter.
Especially since we know she starts out genuinely wanting to ‘do better’ and live up to Monty’s legacy; how tragic it would be for Clarke to find out that peace is not in her DNA — that she might be a big part of the problem on the new planet, just like Octavia became a big part of the problem she’d initially set out to solve in the bunker.
It could happen. It very well might. But, for all that we’ve heard about The 100 season 6 being different from ‘book 1’, I think I’m gonna choose to hold onto my happier Clarke theories for the time being.
Whatever happens, I’m excited to see what’s next for one of my all-time favorite TV characters.