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The 100

The 100’s Clarke Griffin: A Case of Designated Protagonist Syndrome

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More often than not, the main character of a television show isn’t the fan-favorite.

If you look at some of the most popular teen shows of the past decade, the character that got the most media attention and had the biggest fan base is never the protagonist. Elena Gilbert and Scott Mccall from The Vampire Diaries and Teen Wolf, respectively, were overshadowed by characters like Damon Salvatore and Stiles Stilinski. Viewers tend to place certain standards on the main character of a show that snarky, secondary characters can avoid. Their actions aren’t constantly critiqued the same way. Ensemble cast members often become more popular with the audience than the lead due to the amount of time we spend with them and their overall importance to the narrative. It’s much easier to get sick of the character with the most screentime, especially if you don’t find their storylines as compelling as others. One notable case study of what is dubbed as “designated protagonist syndrome” is the leading lady of The 100, Clarke Griffin.

The 100's Clarke Griffin in her prisoner cell.

The 100/The CW

Clarke Griffin is the first character we’re introduced to in the pilot of The 100, yet in my years as a fan of this show, I’ve seen more critiques of her than I have of nearly any other character on the show (male lead, Bellamy Blake gets his own fair share of undeserved hate, but that’s another story).

If you’re unfamiliar with the premise of The 100, it’s a post-apocalyptic sci-fi series on The CW. The CW is known for young adult shows usually characterized by cheesy romances and ridiculously attractive 20-year-olds trying to pass for teenagers. The 100 is definitely a sucker for both of those things, but it also created a revolutionary character in Clarke.

Clarke is one of the most multi-faceted female characters I’ve seen not only on The CW but on television in general. Most of the time teenage girl characters only have storylines centered around male characters and aren’t given the space to develop into their own person. On the other side of the spectrum, you have female characters whose only given attribute is that they’re “tough” and never allowed to show any emotion or empathy. When I started watching The 100 as a young fourteen-year-old girl, Clarke was a breath of fresh air.

Watch all episodes of The 100 right now

I had never gotten to see a character like her before. She became the leader of her people, not through force, but through earned respect. People trusted her because she was honest and kind. However, she wasn’t just some sweet girl that they could walk all over. Clarke’s ultimate goal was always to protect the people she cares about and do things for the greater good, yet she wasn’t afraid to be ruthless to do so. 

The 100 is heavily laced with themes of morality and difficult choices, yet seeing a young woman having all this power to make life or death decisions was incredibly empowering. Throughout the series we see Clarke commit unspeakable acts and we watch her deal with the consequences. Because most of the big decisions lay on her shoulders, she receives the brunt of the blame in the show and in the fandom. 

She gets labeled as “Wanheda”, which means “the commander of death” in the show’s fictional language. In the show, the term is thrown at her constantly to remind her of all the deaths she has caused. In the fandom, she’s consistently labeled selfish or presumptuous. 

Clarke in season 3 when she was known as wanheda.

Clarke as “Wanheda”/The CW

I’d like to argue that while everyone is entitled to their own opinion, that a lot of the hate Clarke receives has to do with the fact that she is the main character of the show, and is mostly unfounded.

Clarke’s actions throughout the show typically have the most repercussions because she’s the lead. She’s had the most opportunities to cause destruction and usually faces more obstacles than most of the ensemble cast does. She never actively chose to be a leader, but she was forced into it by her circumstances in the show. And yet somehow when things go wrong, all the blame automatically falls on her. Of course, that’s the normal struggle of a leader, but when you’re just a young girl forced into the role it seems to be a bit of harsh judgment. 

As seasons progress, more and more people abandon Clarke. A lot of this has to do with several plotlines separating Clarke from the rest of the main cast for extended periods of time, but the ultimate theme the show seems to be reinforcing over and over again is that “leadership is a lonely pursuit”. Her love interests die while most of her friends have decided that she’s no longer apart of their so-called “family”. 

As a dedicated fan for years, the constant critiquing and isolation of the main character gets old. In the most recent season of The 100, John Murphy, a fan-favorite character, actively put Clarke’s life in danger and was ready to let her die for his own selfish reasons. Murphy has been on the show since the beginning and has gained a cult following because of his quick remarks and sharp one-liners. I never had much of a problem with him until this past season.

He spends the first two episodes complaining to the rest of the ensemble cast about how Clarke is selfish, makes bad choices and is dangerous. However, when you fast forward to the middle of the season, he is completely capable of saving Clarke from a life or death scenario and chooses not to for a chance at immortality. This is far from the first time Clarke has ever been in danger on this show, yet I found this betrayal especially cutting. Clarke and Murphy had never really been friends, but always kept each other alive when they could. Now, it’s been shown that nearly everyone Clarke has had any kind of relationship with on the show considers her to be disposable. 

Clarke and Murphy standing together.

Clarke and Murphy/The CW

Frankly, Clarke Griffin deserves better. She’s called selfish when time after time she has sacrificed herself and her happiness for the safety of others, even leaving herself to what she believed would be certain death in the finale of season 4. Her former friends and allies treat her with no respect and no gratitude for saving their asses multiple times. The fandom still complains that she’s annoying or hypocritical when all she’s done is try her best to keep the most people alive that she can.

Clarke is such a complex, enjoyable character that I find it so hard to believe so many people don’t like her. She cares deeply about the people she loves and isn’t afraid to go to bat for them. She’s incredibly intelligent and diplomatic, helping create essential alliances that no other character in the show could have achieved. Whenever there are brief moments of happiness on The 100 we get a glimpse at her fun side, who’s able to relax and enjoy herself with the people she loves. Yet almost immediately, that glimpse of happiness and hope always slips through her fingers.

Unfortunately, Clarke doesn’t always get back what she puts out into the world. She does have a few strong relationships still, but she has by far experienced the most loss on this show and been given the least amount of time to grieve. She’s lost her best friend from childhood, her parents, two romantic partners, and several other friends. Yet somehow she’s still supposed to be an all-knowing leader who never makes any mistakes.

One important aspect that cannot go unmentioned when talking about Clarke Griffin is the groundbreaking representation she provides. In season 2 of the show, it was revealed that Clarke is bisexual. This shocked viewers, specifically fans of the book series the show was based on since she wasn’t bisexual in the novels. However, the choice to include this aspect of her in the show lead to one of the best examples of a bisexual woman on television. She became the first LGBTQ+ lead on The CW network and the first bisexual lead on major network television. How can people not love someone breaking down boundaries for bisexuals everywhere?

Clarke and Lexa/The CW

Fans have expressed how Clarke’s bisexuality on-screen has helped them figure out their own sexualities. Although The 100 is guilty of falling into problematic LGBTQ+ tropes on television with the infamous death of the character Lexa, Clarke and the representation she provides has always been a bright spot in the show.

Clarke Griffin is a dynamic character who makes hard choices and will always do what needs to be done to protect her people. She’s committed unspeakable acts and she owns that. But she’s also the person who sacrifices herself to save her friends on more than one occasion. She’s also the girl who stepped up to take care of a group of 100 teenagers when they were dropped on a new planet. She’s the girl who took in a six-year-old girl to raise when she was still a kid herself. Impossible choices are forced onto her and no matter how she handles it, she’s always the one blamed in the end, on the show and off.

I don’t know why Clarke isn’t a fan-favorite character. Usually, the Designated Protagonist Syndrome occurs when the ensemble cast is made up of such captivating characters that you get sick of the main one you’re forced to spend the most time with. But from my perspective, there would be no The 100 without Clarke. She has the most interesting storylines (besides that long stretch in season three when the whole show hit a rut), has the most compelling relationships, and has had a real-world impact on LGBTQ+ viewers. Clarke Griffin has been carrying this show since it premiered in 2014.

She bears it, so they don’t have to.


2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Melanie Mayes

    January 21, 2020 at 9:38 am

    I for one love the character of Clarke. I agree with your observations about how she is always condemned for everything she does. No one ever seems to have complete loyalty to her; however, they’d all be dead long ago if not for her and the things she’s had to do to keep “her people” alive.

    I hate the way the Lexa character was killed off on the show. She and Clarke were equals, and Lexa is the only person who was always on Clarke’s side and understood the choices and decisions she was forced to make. I know, I know ADC had a contract for Fear the Walking Dead; however, that whole situation could have been handled so much better. But it wasn’t, so again Clarke had to suffer needlessly while trying to do the right thing for her people.

    I’m hoping she’ll get a happy ending in the final season, but certainly not counting on that happening!!

    • Jillian Pugliese

      January 26, 2020 at 7:27 pm

      Fingers crossed for that happy ending!

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The 100

The 100 Review- From The Ashes, He Did Rise (7×07)

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The 100 The Queen's Gambit Season 7 Episode 7 Review

I’ve been a fan of The 100 for quite some time now. I’ve rewatched the first few seasons more times than I can count. But, this season, it’s become increasingly frustrating to watch this show turn into something unrecognizable.

It’s not that this episode was entirely bad, but it feels like it’s from a completely different show. The pacing is off, characters’ actions aren’t making sense, and our time is spent with newer characters that the audience hasn’t been given a reason to care about. It’s shaping up to be a very unsatisfying final season.

Lindsey Morgan’s directorial debut “The Queen’s Gambit” was the seventh installment in The 100’s final chapter. Emori hosts a unification ceremony for the Children of Gabriel while Octavia, Echo, Hope, and Diyoza are locked up on Bardo. Once again, an episode barely featuring either of the two leads.

For what she was given to work with, Lindsey did a great job. I particularly liked the way the fight scene between Hope and Diyoza was shot, as well as the zoom-in on Clarke’s face after finding out Bellamy’s “dead.” It was a great way to reinforce the fact that Clarke is going to be the one most affected by Bellamy’s “death.” Raven knew him just as long as Clarke and spent even more time with him on The Ring, but we focus on Clarke’s reaction to the news. The show will probably never delve into this further, considering how many times we’ve been reminded of Bellamy’s importance to Clarke only for nothing to ever come of it. But it was still nice to see.

Octavia and Echo are also shown grieving Bellamy in their shared prison cell. Remind me again why Bellamy’s sister has to comfort his girlfriend instead of dealing with her own grief? Echo and Bellamy’s relationship took place entirely off-screen and was received very poorly by the audience. It didn’t even make narrative sense for either of their characters. So, why would Bob Morley’s “limited filming availability” be used for a flashback scene to their first kiss two seasons too late?

It’s very strange. It would make so much more sense to focus on Octavia’s reaction to the news. A flashback on the bond between the siblings would’ve fit into the show much better. Both Bellamy and Octavia’s narrative arcs have centered around their relationship to each other. Spending time developing a forced romance between characters without chemistry is a waste of the time the show has left. Imagine how powerful it would be to see Octavia actually grieving her brother. She’s spent the past few years changing into a better person because of him. She was inspired to change her ways and stop acting in her own self-interest all of the time.

This new, mature version of Octavia shouldn’t be an emotionless robot comforting the girl who tried to kill her a few years prior. She deserves the chance to react to her brother’s death and figure out what that means for her going forward.

I’m glad the show addressed the abusive behavior she exhibited towards him in season three. It was brushed off at the time because she was mourning Lincoln, but it was a defining moment between the Blakes. Their relationship had never been more clearly imbalanced. Bellamy let himself be a punching bag for Octavia for years before learning to stand up for himself. He’s always been more than just Octavia’s brother, but ignoring their relationship after his “death” in favor of another one felt very off.

Especially considering that Echo reiterated that Octavia is Bellamy’s strength in that flashback. It’s weird that Octavia has to take care of Echo in this moment. They should be taking care of each other, but Echo’s having a hard time even being civil with Octavia.

The more they show us of Echo, the less believable it becomes that Bellamy would be in love with her. If they ever reunite, I’m sure he’s going to want to talk to her about how she ignored everything he said about being loyal to a fault. Hopefully, the series is working towards a break-up between these two because they have become impossible to root for.

Also, shouldn’t Echo be hiding her nightblood? Having nightblood puts a target on your back in two of the previous worlds she lived on, so maybe this time, it would’ve been okay to skip the war ritual!

I really enjoyed the moments between Hope and Diyoza in their shared cell. Shelby Flannery and Ivana Miličević play off each other very well. Their relationship felt very realistic. Diyoza wanted to be the one to save Hope, not the other way around. She wanted to protect her daughter and keep her from turning into a killer. But, Hope just wanted to get her mom back. She didn’t care about the risks. Between all of the new relationship dynamics introduced in this season, this one’s by far my favorite.

Everyone’s favorite theory turned out to be right when Bill Cadogan himself turned out to be the mysterious “Shepherd” of Bardo. How long has this guy been on ice?

It’s a cool way to tie the seasons together, so there’s a lot of potential for this storyline. I’m excited to see how Clarke fits into it. Why is she the key? Is it because she shut down the City of Light? Or because she’s a nightblood? What is she going to do to end the final war?

Back on Sanctum, Emori finally got her fair share of screentime and made me wish she became the new pseudo-lead of the show instead of Echo. Luisa D’Oliveira is such a talented performer, and Emori has a very compelling backstory. The actual plot of the unification party wasn’t super interesting, but I loved the sentiment behind it. Emori wanted to give people what she never had, a chance to reconnect with the parents who left her. But, nothing good can ever happen in Sanctum. Sheidheda and Nikki have turned Emori’s healing process into a hostage situation. Boo.

She should’ve just gone to therapy with Dr. Jackson.

He was able to help Madi work through things without a body count. Good for them! All of our other heroes have been hardened by years war and tough choices, but she’s still young. She deserves a chance at a normal life. Let her play soccer in peace!

What did you think of the episode?

Were you surprised to see Cadogan?

How is Clarke going to save humankind?

Let us know your thoughts and predictions in the comments below!


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The 100

The 100 Review- The Return of Princess Mechanic (7×06)

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The 100 Nakara Season 7 Episode 6 Review

The sixth episode of The 100‘s final season takes us on a journey through three different worlds: Sanctum, Bardo, and Nakara.

As expected, there was sadly no sign of Bellamy on any of the planets. But besides that, “Nakara” was one of the stronger episodes this season.

We get to learn what Diyoza’s been up to, Raven and Clarke have an important conversation, and Indra finally gets her time to shine.

Bardo

First, let’s talk about what happened on Bardo. The beginning sequence showing Diyoza’s time in captivity was really well-done. The pacing was great, the music perfectly built up the tension, and Ivana Milicevic was as talented as ever.

Diyoza’s always been a fighter, so it’s no surprise she escaped. But, what she wasn’t expecting was that the person she was running back to was already there for her. Diyoza reunited with a now 25-year-old Hope right after throwing a knife at her face. The sweet moment is undercut by Echo’s refusal to be happy for anyone else, even if she had just spent five years bonding with them.

First, she compromised the mission by killing someone who could’ve helped them save Diyoza last episode, and now that they were lucky enough to find her anyway, Echo shows no sign of relief or happiness for Hope. And we’re supposed to believe Bellamy would love someone who treats people like that? Come on.

The first time Echo formed a “family” off-screen, she became very attached to them. So, why would this be any different? Why is her so-called “loyalty” selective?

If you’re going to focus the last season of the show on characters who aren’t the leads your audience has grown to care for over the years, at least keep them consistent.

Octavia reunites with Levitt, who’s now a janitor, and helps them find a way to escape. There’s definitely chemistry between the two of them, but I’m not sure if anything will ever come of it. The 100 has a pattern of throwing in love interests for Octavia who end up only lasting for a few episodes (a.k.a. Ilian, Atom). There’s not much time to build something substantial in the final season anyway.

The group ends up not escaping upon hearing that the atmosphere outside the compound isn’t survivable. We’ve heard that one before.

But, Gabriel intervenes, and everyone gets captured. I don’t think he’s doing it just so he can get more answers like Echo said, I think he genuinely thought he was doing what’s best. If not, he could’ve let them go and stayed behind himself. But it’s very telling how quickly Echo’s opinion of him changed as soon as he stood in her way.

I think Gabriel spoke for all of us when he asked what the hell is wrong with her after killing another innocent person without blinking an eye. It’s becoming more and more apparent that Echo never really changed on the Ring.

Sanctum

The Sanctum storyline has been dragging throughout the beginning of the season, but if it was all to get Indra to this moment, it was worth it.

Indra’s always been one of the best characters on the show, but she’s never been in a real position of power before. There was always someone higher up than her. But, everyone’s gone now. She’s the only one who can lead Wonkru and protect Sanctum from itself.

She’s constantly one step ahead of everyone, knows the most about Wonkru of anyone currently in Sanctum, and can beat just about anybody in a fight. When Murphy suggested Indra step up to the plate, the only thing I could think of was why hadn’t it happened sooner?

And now, that responsibility is off Madi’s shoulders. She can just be a kid. She can play soccer and have friends without worrying about how to keep everyone alive all the time. When Clarke gets back, she’ll be thrilled. That’s all she ever wanted for her.

Sidenote: why is Murphy now suddenly the protector of all children? It’s two episodes in a row that he’s actively tried to save kids from harm, which is great, but a bit odd coming from the guy who chased Charlotte off a cliff in season one.

Murphy’s a better villain than he is a hero, but we seem to be getting a pretty watered-down version of him these days.

Nakara

Nakara is a freezing cold planet full of dead bodies being fed to a cave-like living organism. Maybe next time, don’t just pick the planet that looked like fun, Raven.

Clarke, Miller, Niylah, Raven, and Jordan set off to find the next Anomaly stone after realizing their friends aren’t on this planet.

So, they head into a cave that Raven’s helmet leads them to and unwittingly enter into the digestive system of the planet. To make matters worse, spiderlike creatures are crawling around, waiting to attack. Raven’s suit gets damaged, almost trapping them there, which brings up the question of why she’s the only one wearing one. Before they left Sanctum, Raven killed eight more of the disciples. They all should’ve stolen a suit for safety.

Luckily, Raven’s suit isn’t totally destroyed, so she can still lead them to the stone. And then, The 100 invoked one of my favorite television tropes, locking two characters with unresolved issues in a room where they finally have the important conversation they need to.

It was more of a digestive tract than a room, but it still worked the same.

The scene between Clarke and Raven in this episode is already one of my favorite scenes of the entire show.

The 100 hasn’t always been the best with female friendships. Both of Clarke’s relationships with the other two main female characters on the show have been completely sidelined in favor of introducing new character dynamics and relationships.

It’s frustrating as a viewer because the heart of the show has always been the bond between the delinquents, but we’ve lost that over the years. Clarke and Raven’s relationship, in particular, was a big loss.

Clarke and Raven, or “Princess Mechanic” as fans call them, had the potential to form a really strong relationship in the early seasons. It was awesome to watch them subvert the trope that two girls interested in the same guy can’t be friends. After Finn screwed them both over, they eventually formed a genuine friendship or at least a sense of respect for one another towards the end of season one. But shortly afterward, that was lost.

Clarke kept being put in positions of power where she was forced to make difficult choices that Raven didn’t always agree with. So, they grew apart. Raven started harboring resentment towards Clarke, which was only magnified in seasons five and six.

But, now, after her actions in 7×03, she’s dealing with the same trauma and guilt that Clarke has been dealing with for years. I already spoke about how it’s weird that the show acts like Raven has never done anything wrong before in that episode’s review, but at least she’s realizing that things haven’t always been as black and white as she had thought.

It’s interesting how Raven perceives Clarke as an unbreakable, finely-tuned engine. It goes to show how little she actually knows her. All of Clarke’s choices and actions weigh heavily on her. She may be one of the stronger leaders on the show, but she’s never been the heartless “wanheda” everyone thinks she is. Bellamy knows that. Raven’s known Clarke for just as long, so why would she see her that way?

She tells Clarke about how bad she feels about what she’s done, and even though Raven’s spent the past two seasons criticizing Clarke and refusing to make amends, Clarke tells her she might be the best person she knows. She comforts her and forgives her instinctively.

The 100 Nakara Season 7 Episode 6 Review

The 100 Nakara Season 7 Episode 6 Review

Because Clarke’s always cared for Raven, even when she didn’t care for her. She’d pick her first then, and she’d probably pick her first now.

Raven is finally addressing how wrong she was about Clarke. They understand each other now more than ever before, so hopefully, in the episodes we have left, we get more of this friendship before we have to say goodbye.

Stray Thoughts:

  • “Tell Raven I said bang bang.” Seriously?
  • I loved the transition from the shot of the queen chess piece to the shot of Clarke.
  • It seems like everyone’s theory about the Anomaly being connected to the Second Dawn is coming true. We might have to rewatch season four for a refresher!

What did you think of Nakara?

How do you feel about Princess Mechanic?

Do you think Clarke & co. are headed to Bardo next?

Let us know in the comments below!


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7 Sci-Fi TV Dads We Love

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With Father’s day coming up this weekend, it’s time to show some appreciation for the fathers that go above and beyond.

The worlds of science fiction are difficult to navigate as they push our minds to think and imagine in complex ways, and fatherhood in these worlds is no easy task. Many stories in these worlds, sometimes optimistic and sometimes pessimistic, stem from broken childhoods and a need to persevere beyond unavoidable circumstances. Still, these stories can also bring a spotlight to loving, supporting relationships.

So here’s to the Dads!

BENJAMIN SISKO

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Commanding Officer. Captain. Emissary to the Prophets. Husband. Father. Benjamin Sisko experiences his fair share of trials and tribulations throughout his time on Deep Space Nine, but despite the heavy load on his plate, he never failed as a role model to his son, Jake. The relationship between Jake and Benjamin still resonates today, as Ben guided Jake with a gentle hand, existing as a support system for his son, while still allowing Jake to make his own decisions and his own mistakes. Unlike many fathers may have, Ben didn’t push Jake into following his footsteps to become a Starfleet officer, but he supported him as Jake found his calling as a writer.

While Benjamin Sisko acted strong, steadfast, and bold as Captain of Deep Space Nine, Jake (as well as Benjamin’s other friends among the crew) elicited a softer, gentler side of the captain. Benjamin’s Sisko’s familial relationships display the different layers of healthy masculinity and outstanding representation between a son and father. His heavily-reciprocated love manifests in Jake’s lengths to rescue his father in one of Deep Space Nine’s best episodes, “The Visitor.” And although Benjamin had to leave his family behind ultimately to answer a higher calling with the Prophets, he left Jake as a fully-realized individual, strong and good-hearted, capable of carrying out his father’s legacy until his return.

MONTY GREEN

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Monty Green left behind a legacy too important to ignore. Although willing to do sometimes drastic things to help save their people, Monty always looked for another way to do things. He aspired to refrain from violence and preached peace. Despite Monty’s limited time as a father during The 100, his son, Jordan, exists as his legacy, and a culmination of all the things Monty and Harper held dearly. Jordan continues to try to follow his father’s wishes and morals, reminding Clarke and the others in charge of what his father was about. He doesn’t only exhibit Monty’s moral system, but he also displays curiosity and playfulness passed down.

Jordan is smart, caring, determined, and kind, things that only his parents could have taught him considering Monty and Harper were the only people he met throughout the first two decades of his life. Even though Monty’s time as a father wasn’t explored on-screen, Jordan’s standing as a good-hearted and passionate man is all the proof needed to see exactly the type of father Monty was.

JAMES COLE

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12 Monkeys doesn’t always ring a bell to science-fiction fanatics, but the time-travel stories that the show tells regarding love and dedication should resonate with any audience. James and Cassie are the parents of Athan, who later is revealed to them as The Witness, a being responsible for the apocalypse and end of the world as they know it. Despite this revelation, James Cole sacrifices his life over and over again for his family, even as he knows that his son could bring about the end of the world. James never stops looking for Athan, and when it comes down to it, his connection to his son prohibits him from committing an act that would take Athan’s life, even if it could potentially save the world. James knows that the end goal should be to stop his son, but instead, he still pushes to save him.

What James Cole actually and desperately wants is to live a regular life with Cassie and their child, and this complex relationship between knowing what is best for the world and what his heart desires makes for a compelling conflict. In the end, Athan ends up creating his own path separate from the seeming destiny implied to James and Cassie and sacrifices himself for his family and the world. James Cole is a loving and passionate character. Although he wasn’t able to rescue Athan, his complicated relationship with his son once again showcases the undue burdens placed upon heroes and how personal love is powerful enough to affect the world on apocalyptic-level scales.

Due to James and Athan’s actions, however, James gets another shot when everything is said and done — he gets the opportunity to be a husband, a father, and a person. He even defies the laws of nature to retain his memories of his past life, and most importantly, the family he managed to create throughout it.

PRAXIDEKE MENG

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When the disaster on Ganymede occurs, Prax’s life is uprooted, with his daughter seemingly killed or lost. In a journey that leads him back to Ganymede, Prax will stop at nothing to find his daughter after receiving hope that she’s alive in the form of a security feed. The search brings them to Io, where Prax finally locates his daughter. However, even as Prax believed he could do anything to rescue Mei, he still cannot execute the man responsible for her suffering, and instead, leaves his good friend, Amos, to do the deed.

The world of The Expanse remains enormous as one of the most fleshed-out universes on television. Prax, willing to go to many lengths to rescue his daughter, even when all of the odds seem against him, is admirable. Even though his goals don’t exactly line up with the Rocinante crew, he adds value to the team, albeit he still leaves his new crew after rescuing his daughter But that’s what makes Prax both a hero and a dedicated father: the ability to face the world when his daughter needs it, and the ability to let it go when finally reunited with Mei.

PETER BISHOP

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Peter Bishop underwent significant development over the run of Fringe, but perhaps one of the most interesting changes is his journey from a typical nomad bad-boy to a husband and father. Like many other science fiction stories, Peter’s time with his daughter, Henrietta, is cut short when the Observers invade, and Henrietta must live out her life, while Peter is frozen in amber. When ‘Etta’ frees him in 2036, he finally is reunited with her, and they team up in attempts to restore the world to what it should be.

But with a story like this comes more tragedy, and Etta’s ill-timed death sends Peter into a spiral of grief, pushing himself to great lengths to avenge her death. Olivia, however, convinces him to return to himself. In the end, it’s the power of his love for his family and the loss he experienced when the Observers invaded that drives him and the others to defeat the Observers, correcting the timeline and piecing his family back together. The connection between him and his daughter (and also him and his father) was what ultimately gave Team Fringe the ability to persevere even despite the short time Etta was in Peter’s life. And because of that love, Peter can raise Etta without the grief of losing her time and time again.

DANNY FROM MANIFEST

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While Danny isn’t Olive’s biological father, he plays a vital role in her life with the absence of her brother, Cal, and her father, Ben. Danny comes into the picture after bonding with Grace, experiencing a similar loss of his wife, but the relationship he develops with Olive goes above and beyond expectations of the boyfriend of her mother. He steps in and becomes someone Olive can count on, as she grieves in a way different from Grace. Even as Ben and Cal come back into the picture, Olive still feels that she can count on Danny, calling him and speaking to him, even when his relationship with Grace changes due to the reemergence of Ben.

Danny never appears to act selfishly, but with understanding and concern for Olive. He doesn’t attempt to replace Ben, but rather be a person that Olive can depend on for understanding and guidance. Danny and Olive’s relationship and the love Danny gave Olive deserved more than a quick write-off, especially considering little consideration given to him by Grace after she figures out she’s pregnant and not by Danny. Even if he wasn’t Olive’s biological Dad, he still deserved a place in Olive’s life too. But unfortunately, Danny all but vanishes from the narrative left to grieve another loss of family.

JOHN ROBINSON

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John Robinson isn’t the perfect father, but the connection he has to his family is unbreakable, despite his mistakes in the past. Not unlike the previously mentioned, Danny, he didn’t birth Judy but became the only father figure she knows. Even when things became complicated with his wife, his dedication to his children never waned. The decision made by the family to participate in the colonist program brought them back together and gave him the chance to mend the bonds damaged by his desire to serve.

But despite their rocky past on Earth, John is essential for the family’s dynamic, and through his absence, he was still able to teach his children, most evident in the strong bond and skills that Judy possesses as she takes after her step-father more than her mother. Despite adopting Judy, John always showed his pride in her, and never tried to erase the existence of her father, who also became lost in space. John shows the different ways people can love their children, by blood or not, and how this love can drive them to improve, even when so much time and conflict has passed. For more on John and Judy’s relationship, I would recommend watching the second season episode “Run,” perhaps the most beautiful frame and compelling episode of the rebooted series.

Who are your favorite sci-fi Dads? Let us know below in the comments or tweet us at @craveyoutv!


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