There are television shows that are too dark for television because of the content within its episodes, and then you have the shows that are too dark because they literally need better lighting.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a great example of that, so much so that a feature on Buzzfeed explores specific scenes that just can’t be seen clearly.
Inspired by this take, The 100 came to mind as another show that has trouble showcasing certain events, mostly because there is no way to make them out on our screens. Sometimes the darkness adds to it, the mystery or the inability to make everything out makes it that much more shocking and surprising.
But then there are other moments, death scenes and shocking battles that need to have actual lighting for the audience to realize what happened in front of them.
So here we have a selection of just a few moments throughout The 100 history where the scene in question left a little more light to be desired.
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Bellamy and Clarke’s Interrupted Hug (The 100 Season 3 Episode 13)
During The 100 Season 3 Episode 13 Bellamy and Clarke were having their epic reunion full of feelings and hugs. The only issue was that not everyone was able to picture what was going on, specifically the intruders that were making their way to land.
There is probably no way to miss Bellamy and Clarke, as well as their misinterpreted chemistry because they are quite loud. But the threat that was approaching them wasn’t a threat at all because we couldn’t see it.
Raise your hand if you see Luna’s sea supporters coming for Bellamy and Clarke.
They clearly didn’t.
Adventures in the Woods (The 100 Season 6 Episode 3)
Sanctum was introduced during The 100 Season 6, and it actually did make things lighter on the show. Not in terms of the storytelling maybe, but the color palette and the possibilities grew immensely on this new moon setting.
What didn’t always change was the nighttime scenes, especially those that had important information that couldn’t be established if no one saw it.
The Children of Gabriel played a crucial role in later episodes, yet when they were introduced it was like they didn’t exist. Because as scene-stealing as Gabriel (in Xavier’s body) was, he also at the same time wasn’t even on our screen for some viewers.
Then the episode right after this had a huge moment where Octavia and Rose were trying to survive, only for Rose to get killed.
Maybe the show deserves some credit, watching a child die is hardly fun or entertaining television so maybe the darkness was used to mask that. Or maybe it wasn’t and we just missed some significant moments.
A Friendly Face (The 100 Season 4 Episode 6)
The 100 knows how to introduce a character, and in most cases, some of the most well-received parts of a season include new characters, so it is safe to say that it is all about the vision.
Ilian was introduced to us before this scene, so technically there wasn’t a need to focus on him in a clear cut way. But it was still really strange that this crucial scene was so hard to focus on.
Having a new character in this kind of conflict usually is created to make the audience feel more for him. Ilian didn’t have any allies when he was confined to Arkadia, which made it easier to feel bad when he was in danger.
If only we could see what was going on so that we knew what to worry about, instead of trying to turn off all the lights in our house to catch a glimpse of something. Anything.
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A Death Like No Other (The 100 Season 3 Episode 6)
This was a personal scene that in a way started this whole experiment on how lighting helped, or in some cases didn’t help The 100.
If Monroe dying only added up because the other characters in the scene commented on it after it happened, that means that the moment itself didn’t translate. It isn’t that the storytelling was confusing, it is more the fact that it was impossible to watch what happened and how it all ended.
Maybe in a way, this was a blessing in disguise because who wanted to see Monroe die? Then you start to wonder why this was included if it was so hard to fixate on and then much of Pike and Bellamy’s storyline ended up on the cutting room floor?
A never ending circle of plot related questions.
The City of Light Monster (The 100 Season 2 Episode 16)
There is nothing quite as fun as Murphy thinking he was going on a fun mission with Jaha, only to then see the guy willingly sacrifice someone else on their team to a sea monster.
Sometimes you have to make tough choices, even if it turns into a sacrifice to an unknown sea phenomenon.
This is a good example of an artistic choice that requires lighting that is worse for wear. Having a full-blown sun beaming at them would make it much less mysterious and not as intense when it came to Jaha turning on one of his own for his own safety.
But as always, a little light could go a long way in a scene like this. It doesn’t need to be blasting, but to maybe exist long enough that the audience gets a good look at the twist that is about to come.
Tag Team Bunker Search (The 100 Season 4 Episode 3)
Bellamy and Clarke (and Jaha) going on a night trip together opened up plenty of possibilities – except the ones that included lighting up their adventures for the audience.
They had flashlights, which helped at least illuminate the people in the scene, but not much else.
It did get brighter as they actually found their way to the bunker, and yet for some the most memorable moment here is the stuff that wasn’t seen.
Did these three actually find the bunker if we didn’t see it happen?
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Making New Friends (The 100 Season 1 Episode 11)
The people struggling on the Ark to make their way to Earth was a storyline worth its screentime. It was even more chaotic when all hell was unleashed, leaving characters like Kane to pick up the pieces.
Except those pieces were hard to witness when all the lights were off.
Kane waking up and trying to find the others, all while making friends with Wick, was a scene that still requires making our screen as bright as it can be.
It is worth the hard work to experience the conclusion to the separate storyline of Season 1, and yet what if we didn’t have to do all that?
Breaking Barriers (The 100 Season 5 Episode 2)
An episode like The 100 Season 6 Episode 2 was built almost entirely off of flashbacks, clueing the audience into the descturction that went down to make the current bunker enviroment possible.
One of the scenes was Octavia having to take the lead, trying to calm down a situation before it escalated and things took a turn for the worst.
But while Octavia and Jaha were trying to get an idea of what was going on in the bunker, we were stuck wondering if we had any idea what was going on in general.
To be fair, the bunker turned out to be a popular opinion when it came down to places that didn’t have the best lighting. Many scenes in the bunker turned out harder to spot, and this is the introduction of what was to come later on in the season.
Night Horrors (The 100 Season 1 Episode 13)
There is nothing like the first time you find out about the Reapers, whether visually or through the characters discussing it with one another.
While Clarke watching them gather in the tunnels was chilling, it at the same time was a puzzle as well. Clarke, Lincoln, and Finn were trying to escape when they stumbled upon this horrible sight, and the whole time the audience was focused on what exactly they even needed to be focused on.
To give credit where credit is due though, this kind of reveal could not have been pulled off any other way. The dark setting and the inability to see everything as it was happening was what made this scene what it now is.
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Necessary Disappearence (The 100 Season 5 Episode 6)
There is the audience not wanting to see something. There is the lead character not wanting to see something. Then there is the show not wanting anyone to see something.
Clarke ended up the unlucky audience member that got a front-row seat to the Bellamy and Echo goodbye moment. Plenty of fans were too busy misinterpreting that look on her face to notice how dimly lit that scene was.
Or maybe we politely accepted it because it wasn’t like anyone wanted to see that in better lighting.
Sometimes The 100 goes out of its way to utilize the darkness to hide what no one is ready to experience for themselves.
Christmas Surprise (The 100 Season 2 Episode 6)
This is an iconic scene, a “holiday” coined episode because of its scary take on Christmas music and its horror movie type reveal at the end.
Octavia and Bellamy teaming up, only to find a Reaper Lincoln in front of them was something no one will ever forget. It was terrifying, it was emotional, and most importantly it was truly a twist.
This was the worst-case scenario for the Blake siblings, and it was a heartbreaking experience for the fans. And while the dark setting helped create the illusion, the show was going for, a little more light would have helped illuminate the basic reveal.
Having Lincoln in the dark was the approach the show should have went for, but it also needed to remember that we still needed to see even just the simple outlines of the people in the scene to keep up with what was being explained.
Lasting Shock (The 100 Season 5 Episode 4)
The Octavia and Diyoza struggle was seen from a mile away, yet it all came to it’s first dramatic conclusion when Octavia pushed her boundaries too far.
She didn’t like the situation that Bellamy and Clarke signed them all up for with Diyoza and the others. Instead, she chose to stir up some trouble, causing a destructive collision that turned into injuries and an unclear future for everyone on Earth.
The issue though is how hard it was to picture some of it. A short term battle like that one couldn’t happen during the day, that still doesn’t mean no one should see it.
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Locked In (The 100 Season 1 Episode 6)
Worrying about Octavia’s safety after she was taken and Bellamy found out felt fitting.
What wasn’t fitting was our first look at her after an episode of flashbacks and questions along the way. Now we know that Lincoln had her, and it is all fine and swell. They were just starting their love story, even if at first it felt more like a kidnapping situation gone horribly wrong.
Back then though, Octavia was waking up in an unknown location, and we witnessed it while trying to get clues about what was yet to come.
Except it was practically impossible because there was nothing to see. The episode leaned on its nighttime shoot to capture anything but enough illumination on Octavia and the situation she ended up in.
Even finding her was a challenge at times, with some squinting at the screen to even catch a shadow.
Reunions Within Reunions (The 100 Season 6 Episode 10)
Before The 100 Season 6 Episode 10 delivered one of the best scenes of all time, it first needed to bring around some reunions to make that magic happen.
Gabriel and Octavia had to find Clarke who was Josephine, all of which turned into a bit of an awkward introduction circle. Most of which we could see.
Since Clarke hid so that Josephine’s guards couldn’t track them down, she also toned down our ability to see everything that would then happen. First, their body turned on them, making it impossible even to see the condition she was in.
That wasn’t a problem when Josephine and Clarke just retreated into their mind space, that is until Gabriel, and Octavia found them.
The close cut camera work helped show what was happening, but then if you backed up even a little bit a lot would get lost in the translation.
It was kind of visually pleasing to experience this group of people both up close and from afar and yet the distance couldn’t always be appreciated when it took our sight with it.
Lasting Return To The Water (The 100 Season 4 Episode 10)
Another death scene to highlight seems to be the Roan into Luna transition that the conclave gave us.
While Luna killing Roan is one of my favorite scenes of the entire show for personal creative reasons, that doesn’t mean it appealed to others.
Many were initially (and still are) upset that Roan even had to die, with this episode taking the lives of several characters that had longlasting power on The 100.
There was also the question of if Roan even died, with some fans still questioning it years later because the lack of lighting gave them the chance to wonder.
So many of the details weren’t clear enough to confirm that Roan died, and it works in favor of those that believe that he will come back at the last minute to save everyone.
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Final Countdown (The 100 Season 6 Episode 13)
There is just something about The 100 and the final battle of a season that leaves a little more to be desired each time. It is worth mentioning that the battle in Sanctum was different, with an exceptional color palette playing off the usual darkness of each scene.
The way the green impacted the urgency before people had to divide to fight different demons, or the way the fire highlighted the destruction of choosing to believe something just to be able to follow something was exceptional.
But there were still times that it isn’t clear whether it was worth it. Getting momentary shots like these still ended up clouding over the other parts of the scene, because it was impossible to make out what was going on at times.
Even seeing all of these shots that are just too dark, it is still worth noting how amazing the sights can be. When The 100 uses light and the beautiful Vancouver location that it films in, the results are beautiful and truly something worth appreciating more.
Selina Wilken from Hypable actually cast a spotlight on the success of the directing team during Season 6, with this feature highlighting that Sanctum was a rare setting because when it used it’s color pallette it really utilized it.
It isn’t that the show has nothing to offer when it comes to it’s cinematography, it is the exact opposite. There is so much potential that sometimes there is that wish to see the show acknowledge that more instead of hiding behind the literal darkness.
Are there any other scenes that you remember being so dark that you couldn’t see anything as it was airing? What scenes do you think needed for the lighting to be darker? Which scenes do you wish were lighter? What is your favorite disappearing scene? What is your favorite clear as day moment?
Let us know what you think below!
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Yana Grebenyuk is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.