Judaism and the 100

So I was reading a meta by the brilliant Anne here about faith and how it influences the show, and I was thinking about how the 100 is influenced by Judaism and Jewish Values. I was also talking about how the 100 season 3 will end with the exodus of the delinquents, which I wrote about here with Cams.

Background info: I am Jewish, I went to Jewish School for nine years and currently go to a Catholic High School where I am senior. Jason Rothenberg, the creator and executive producer of the 100 is also Jewish.

Forgiveness and Repentance in the 100 and in Judaism

Forgiveness in both Christianity and Judaism is often unearned by the wrongdoer, it is something we do because humans are made in the image of God and thus are worthy of respect, understanding and dignity. This concept is shown multiple times in the 100 through both words and actions. Bellamy and Clarke say to each other “If you need forgiveness I’ll give that to you” in both 1×08 and 2×16 where the person hearing the words feels like a monster. In 3×13 Clarke tells Bellamy “I forgive you but the question is will you forgive yourself”. Another example is after Kane realizes that Culling was not actually needed and his mother, Vera tells him that “God will forgive you”. Kane and Abby forgive each other with actions after the shock lashing, Abby still trusts him later in the season. Clarke and Lexa also experience this where in 3×04, Clarke bandages Lexa’s hands after the fight with Roan, implicitly forgiving her.

Now it is the concept of repentance that differs between Jewish and Christian traditions. For many Christians the act of repentance is often as simple as giving money to the church or taking confession because they believe that Jesus died for their sins and thus they are absolved already, however there does have to be regret. Both Jewish and Christian Traditions require the person to regret their actions. In Jewish culture, repentance requires a change in behavior, it is a choice to reflect on your mistakes and try do better. This is the essence of repentance on the 100. Both Kane and Bellamy are forgiven for their wrongdoing but they only truly become heroes in the eyes of the viewer because they change their behavior, they only succeed in their respective redemptions arc because they actively become better people. Bellamy and Kane both work to create a better world, to protect their people, and in terms of Bellamy being less chaotic and in terms of Kane being less rigid. Yes, they do both fall back into their antagonistic roles at times but that is what the active choice of the idea of repentance is.

This is why the Lexa repentance/hero arc didn’t feel like it happened to me. Because Lexa would bow to Clarke and say “I vow to treat your people as my people” in 3×03 while forcing the Sky People to stay within a border and not allowing them to gain justice for the murder of several of their citizens when Mount Weather blew up. In the aftermath of the massacre, Lexa ordered a siege of Arkadia wherein they poisoned the river and created a kill order on all of the Sky People, despite Clarke wanting to convince Lexa otherwise. Her promises to Clarke fell short of influencing her actions, she never changed from wanting to subjugate and punish the Sky people. Pretty words are not repentance. She also implied that Clarke was right to blame herself for the action Lexa’s betrayal forced her to commit in 3×03, let me repeat: LEXA’S BETRAYAL CAUSED CLARKE, BELLAMY AND MONTY TO BECOME COMMITTERS OF GENOCIDE – SHE IS DIRECTLY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THAT OCCURRING AND SHE NEVER ONCE APOLOGIZES OR SEEMS TO CHANGE HER BEHAVIOR. This is exactly why I understand Clarke’s forgiveness because forgiveness is healing to the person giving it, but I don’t understand anyone calling Lexa a hero because she hadn’t changed. I do believe that the writers know that Lexa never actually had an onscreen apology/change in her actions, which is why they are bringing her back in the Finale, so instead of forcing Clarke to stay, she can tell Clarke to leave which would be a change.

The Mourning Prayers

Now the first time we hear the words May We Meet Again on the show are in the context of a mourning prayer, The Traveller’s Blessing, and despite the term being used a lot on the show, it is almost always as a goodbye or alternatively sometimes as a promise that they will see the person they are speaking to again, see Abby using it with Clarke in 2×14 and Bellamy and Clarke using it in 2×16 at the end before Clarke walks off. The mourning prayer/epitaph in Judaism is May Your Memory Be Blessing. Both have very similar wording and the incredibly similar of meaning of “I will keep you with me after you leave”, “You will not forgotten” and “I will act as you would want me to act”.

The Exodus Story

In the meta referenced above, Anne talks about how Allie is a false god, which as I was talking with Cams about our predictions for the season finale, I realized could possibly mean that season 3 is a parallel to the Exodus Story.

Because after the revelation of God as the true God, the Israelites are sent away in part because of the 10th plague, the death of the first born, which I believe will parallel the delinquents being exiled after Clarke destroys the City of Light in finale that results in the death of almost everyone in it. The death of firstborn is as tragic as the death that will occur in finale, and it will destroy Grounder society in the same it destroyed Egyptian society in the Bible that the delinquents, like the Jews, will have to be exiled. Also, The delinquents/Sky People were treated terribly by the grounders – the siege, the limits of where they could go, the fact that they couldn’t use Mount Weather despite it being theirs by conquest, the lack of trade with the other grounders, and that’s just season 3.  However just like the Jews, they never lost hope that someday they would find a place of belonging, but like the Jews, the remaining Sky People must go through a journey, they must go out and face trials and be tested and doubt in order for them to  truly find their promised land.

The reason I believe that Kane, Abby, Clarke and the delinquents that enter the City of Light in next few episodes will be saved is because when the Jews were told of the tenth plague, they placed Lamb’s blood above their doors to tell the angel of death to pass over. I believe that this action of the Lamb’s blood is paralleled with Kane and Abby, especially because they both entered the City of Light to spare the lives of other people that they love, Kane for Abby in 3×13 and Abby for Raven in 3×10.

Allie and Jaha also represent an interesting parallel to the Pharaoh and God relationship where God hardens Pharaoh’s heart and then allows greater and greater harm to happen because of the plagues. Jaha convinces Allie that she can supersede free will and, as a result,  Allie forces people to commit horrific actions. Allie’s first act after forcing Raven to submit, thus overriding free will,  is making Raven cut herself until she would have bled out which is a parallel to the first plague being God turning the Nile River, the life source of Egypt, to blood.

Also after Moses kills the slaver, he runs away just as Clarke after slaying the Mountain Men runs away because both Moses and Clarke are afraid of their power. Moses also encounters God in a burning bush just as Clarke reconnects with Bellamy, the man she has the most faith in, by Lincoln’s pyre where they both address their demons and become a team again (3×12). In addition there are several times throughout the story where the Israelites lose faith in God, just as the Delinquents lose faith in Bellamy (3×05-3×010) but Moses never loses faith in God just as Clarke despite hearing about Bellamy seemingly going off his rocker never loses faith in Bellamy (3×05).

 

Abby is a fangirl, writer and poet from California. You can contact her on tumblr at the-ships-to-rule-them-all.

Tirade Tuesday: When Fandom Throws a Hissy Fit

I have had it. I’m not very vocal in The 100 fandom. I mainly stay in my corner and post poetry, but I need to speak out. On twitter, William Shatner, Captain Kirk of Star Trek, a show that had the first interracial kiss on TV, is defending the 100 and getting attacked by a continent of Clexa fans. (x)

In the last month since Lexa’s Death, you [Clexa fans] have run the cast and the writers and Jason [Rothenberg, creator of The 100] off twitter. You have turned on the cast for them asking you to stick with their friends. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if when Eliza [Taylor, who plays The 100’s main protagonist, Clarke Griffin] comes back and livetweets she gets horrible vitriol from you guys.

The amount of times I have seen stuff from your side of the fandom that has made me ill, that has made me want to cry, that has made me rant for hours is way too many. I have seen you saying that Bellarke shippers should die, that Clarke should die and Eliza should lose her job because she “hates” working on a show with some of her best friends where she is the lead and playing a complicated role. I have seen people I respect and adore get so much hate from some toxic members of the Clexa fandom that they’ve had panic attacks, they’ve stopped volunteering to write for sites they love, they have cried because you have told them that they are worthless.  I have seen rampant biphobia, antisemitism – the Hilter video really??? and racism.

Now many of you are justifiably angry about the timing of Lexa’s death and her sex scene with Clarke, about how the writers supported you on Twitter – they were excited about having Lexa, they loved her too which is something that many of you seem to have forgotten – about how Lexa’s death bears a lot of similarities to the way lesbians have been killed before. And many of you have dropped the show. Many of you went into it for Lexa and you left with Lexa, and that is fine. I’ve dropped shows before, sometimes just because they stopped interesting me, and that’s fine, too. You shouldn’t have to spill your past to explain why you’re dropping a show. Some of you are amazing people and you ship and let ship, but unfortunately, the assholes in your fandom are loud.

Similarly, I and others like me shouldn’t have to feel guilty for sticking with a show that we love, that has characters that represent us and matter to us. Television exists to make us feel, and The 100 exists to make us think and make us look at the world in different ways and realize there are no good guys in this world or in the world of The 100. We are all just trying to live our lives.

By trying to cancel the show you are saying that the representation it provides for other people does not matter. Many of you loved Lexa because she was a leader, because she was not defined by her sexuality, because she was powerful and most importantly because she gave you hope for a better world. Now, I am bisexual and Clarke is representation unlike any other on television. Clarke’s bisexuality is introduced mid season two, which means that we will get to watch her fall in love/lust with both women and men, something that is so rare on television. Her bisexuality is just another reason why people love Clarke Griffin and her bisexuality being treated as normal gives me hope that one day I won’t have to choose which community to belong to.

Raven Reyes is an incredible character. I almost always bring her up when I talk about The 100 and what the show does well. Why is that? Because I am disabled and Raven fails and struggles and she gets back up in a way I have never seen on television; in a way that represents the pain that people with Chronic Pain and with disabilities deal with every day. Raven Reyes is intelligent, powerful, loving, longing, brave and badass and she’s also disabled. When I feel like I want to give up, when not being able to be normal gets to be too much, I look to Raven. I look to her power, to her strength, to the way she never gives up, and I am inspired to try again. Raven Reyes empowers me unlike any other character on television.

Do I deserve to lose that? Do others who relate to Bellamy’s role as leader and PoC (people of color) deserve to lose him? Do those that relate to Kane’s learning deserve to lose an example of how sometimes mistakes are needed? Do people who relate to Octavia’s struggle to belong deserve to lose watching her struggle to find her place? Do people who relate to Abby’s role as a mother deserve to lose seeing her find balance between letting your child go and loving them?

You saying that we deserve to lose this show, these characters, these relationships because a guest star who happened to play a badass lesbian commander died. That is utterly unfair and wrong.

When did lesbians become the gatekeepers of representation?  When did lesbians become the gatekeepers of LGBTQ+ representation? When did lesbians become the gatekeepers of disabled representation?

Lexa died because she wanted to change the system. She died because she believed in the idea that “Blood Must Not Have Blood”. Ask yourselves if canceling the show is something your idol would support. I don’t think she would. People are human. They do not have the knowledge and experiences of every other person who walked the earth, and they make mistakes.

HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT MINORITIES MATTER WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO TAKE AWAY OUR REPRESENTATION. HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT LGBTQ+ DESERVES BETTER WHEN YOU ADVOCATE FOR THE MOST PROMINENT BISEXUAL CHARACTER TO BE KILLED OFF!!
HOW DARE YOU TELL ME THAT I DON’T MATTER AS MUCH A DEAD FICTIONAL CHARACTER!