Just when it appears that The 100 has run out of ways to make Raven Reyes’ life miserable, they find another way. In addition to her permanent crippling and all the other toils that have been put on her body in season 4, Raven has discovered that she has likely fatal brain damage. This brain damage, courtesy of her time with ALIE, has given Raven enhanced thinking capabilities but it also could become the nail in her coffin. Raven was always one of the more abused characters on The 100 but this is too much suffering for one person, even if they are fictional.
That’s So (Much for) Raven
The idea of Raven’s brain damage leading to the salvation of mankind is a compelling one. There is a real tragedy but also power to the idea that Raven, who has done so much for her people already, will make the ultimate sacrifice to save all humanity. It’s about as heroic an end as you can imagine not only for Raven but any character.
It also would give some real weight to an eventual victory on The 100. It’s unlikely that the second nuclear meltdown will happen and everyone on The 100 will die. The show is dark but it’s not that dark. If everyone lives and is turned into Nightbloods that is too easy a fix. One or several major characters should die before the current story arc reaches its end. Raven is a universally loved character and she could be the real emotional gut punch the arc needs for its finale.
Raven has had so much bad happen, though, that everything new is just overkill. Raven, just like any character on the show, shouldn’t be untouchable, but making her suffer has become too convenient. It seems like the easiest way The 100 has found to drum up sympathy is to just put Raven in danger. The ALIE plot became serious when Raven was taken over and was trying to kill herself on ALIE’s orders. Raven being crippled is the big outcome of the season 1 finale. Finn’s death in season 2 hurt Raven as much, or more, than it hurt Clarke. Now Raven is the linchpin for saving the entire world and she may end up having a seizure and dying instantly.
It’s ridiculous that for any ailment that can befall a person without killing them in the world of The 100, Raven is the one who has it. She is physically limited by her spinal injury. Now that she has brain damage, the character can’t even freely use the one power left to her, her mind. Raven pretty much only has her sight and hearing left for The 100 to ruin in some tragic circumstances. It’s supposed to be tragic, and it is, but it is also getting dangerously close to farce.
Spread the Pain Around
The most disappointing thing is that The 100 doesn’t need to focus on Raven’s brain damage as much as they are currently. In the same episode that Raven’s issues were revealed, it was also heavily implied that Abby has the same affliction. Yet it is really only Raven’s issues that are being focused on, for no other obvious reason than she is The 100‘s favorite punching bag.
If Raven and Abby’s brain damage were being equally explored it wouldn’t feel as if the show is once more ganging up on Raven. It might even lead to a cure for them, since Abby has much more medical knowledge than Raven. At the very least it would mean that Raven and Abby might have more scenes together and something to bond over which is always a good thing. The 100 can never have too much of Abby and Raven being together as theirs is a relationship that is arguably much more interesting than the one Abby has with her actual daughter, Clarke.
Ultimately though, the problem isn’t that The 100 gave Raven another life-threatening condition. It is just the way it has been handled. Splitting or sharing attention with Abby would do a lot to help. The real goal is to make it feel like the brain damage is adding to Raven’s story. There is potential there, with her maybe sacrificing herself for humanity, but it is theoretical. Right now the brain damage is just another load to put on Raven’s shoulders — shoulders that are already carrying way, way too much.
So what do you make of Raven’s suffering? Is the brain damage too much? Do you see a problem with Raven having all these medical issues? Do you think Raven might eventually die from this brain damage?
The 100 season 4 airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on The CW. Want more news? Like our The 100 Facebook page!
(Image courtesy of The CW)