The 100 is easily one of my favorite shows currently airing right now (go check out its place on my Top 10 TV Shows of 2015!) and in honor of its super strong season three opening, here are seven incredibly compelling (and incredibly female) reasons to watch it.
- Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor): Clarke is one of the series’ protagonists, and one of the best bisexual characters on TV right now. One of the original 100 teenagers sent to Earth to find out if it was habitable, she immediately assumed a leadership role, and that hasn’t changed. Clarke is the heart of the show; she’s compassionate, capable, and willing to do what needs to be done—even committing a massacre (and the show does not skimp on the moral aftermath of that). She draws followers like a flame, and her relationships drive the show forward, particularly the unrealized tension between her and Bellamy Blake (the other protagonist) and Lexa, the ruthless queen of the Grounders. She’s astounding, and a credit to the show.
- Raven Reyes (Lindsey Morgan): The 100 hits all of my boxes, so of course there’s a wonderfully written, compelling, and proud Latina character, and she is Raven Reyes. She’s a prodigy mechanic and she is fierce and loyal in all her relationships; disappointing Raven is unthinkable. Seasons two and three see Raven struggling with a disability: she is shot and suffers nerve damage to her leg. The writing team shines here; Raven’s disability is not treated as fodder for her character development. Instead, her storyline is treated with respect and realism, which is far more captivating to watch.
- Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey): Lexa is closed-off and distrustful in all the ways that Clarke is open and hopeful, and the foil between them makes for one of the best romantic relationships in the show. Lexa debuted in season two as the new commander of the Grounders (after Anya’s death), and she was immediately placed in conflict with Clarke, culminating in one fleeting kiss and then a massive betrayal. Season three proves Lexa is a fantastic character in her own right. Like Clarke, she would do anything to save her people, but unlike Clarke, her instincts are to wage war first, and watching her learn to trust Clarke enough to attempt peace is incredibly satisfying. Lexa is a force to be reckoned with, and that’s saying something on a show with such a powerhouse cast of characters.
- Octavia Blake (Marie Avgeropoulis): Octavia is Bellamy’s sister, and she spent the first 16 years of her life hidden, as the Ark did not allow more than one child per family, due to resource constraints. As a result, once she is on the ground she longs to find her own place in the world. She does so with the Grounders; after meeting and falling in love with Lincoln, she dedicates herself to Grounder culture, winning the respect of chief Indra and proving herself as a warrior. She, like Raven, is fierce and loyal, and she defiantly dresses in Grounder wear and speaks Trigedasleng, the Grounder language. Octavia is angry, desperate, and yearning, and she’s impossible to look away from.
- Indra (Adina Porter): Indra is a Grounder chief, continuing the tradition of female leaders on this show. She’s smart, proud, and honest, and though she generally doesn’t like the transplants from the Ark, she respects and trusts some of them, and is loyal to Lexa, even when it goes against her instincts. Indra’s relationship with Octavia in season two is an amazing show of female solidarity, support, and empowerment on television. Octavia is desperate to prove herself to Indra, and the two develop an important bond, with Indra eventually asking Octavia to be her second-in-command.
- Anya (Dichen Lachmann): Anya’s run on The 100 was too short; she was the first commander of the Grounders seen on the show. Introduced in season one, when the show was more straightforward and the audience barely knew what a Grounder was, Anya was feral and mysterious. However, she helped establish the strong tradition of female relationships in the show, and the turning point for her character is the death of her young second, Tris, which devastates her. Like many characters, she eventually puts her trust in Clarke when she’s taken prisoner by Mount Weather. She’s killed in the beginning of season two, in what felt like a true disservice to her character.
- Abby Griffin (Paige Turco): Abby is Clarke’s mother; she is also a doctor and former chancellor of the Ark. She is incredibly righteous and butts heads with Clarke, but ultimately loves her. She is familiar with making difficult choices as Clarke is: her husband is executed due to her actions. Abby is special because she is not a leader. She is a doctor, and has complete control in that environment, but she is not a good chancellor and eventually gives up the position. Many of the women on this list are leaders but Abby is not—she is a mother and a doctor and she just wants to heal the world around her, and that’s why she’s so great.