Ready, Set, Fire: Raven Reyes’ Fresh Start in Love on 'The 100'
At the end of Season 4 of The 100, I was particularly interested in how the character of Raven Reyes, played by Lindsey Morgan, would develop. Would she be a co-leader with Bellamy or would she retreat within herself?
Season 5 showed the audience that she’s back and better than ever. The stand out plotline for me was her relationship and dynamic with a new character, Miles Ezekiel Shaw (played by Jordan Bolger, best known for his role in Peaky Blinders). I got to meet Bolger at a fan convention for The 100, Unity Days, last year and hear how excited he was for us to meet his character and see his dynamic with Raven.
His magnetic chemistry with Lindsey Morgan has been so exciting and exhilarating to watch. Raven Reyes has been unlucky in love and I’m so happy she found Shaw. One of my favorite tropes is the “enemies to lovers” one because it’s interesting to see how two characters’ dynamics evolve. Raven and Shaw started out as enemies, but slowly began to trust one another and found support. Listed below are my favorite moments between them.
1. First Meeting
From their very first meeting, I could tell that Shaw was different and was going to be important to Raven. Bolger is a master at showing emotions through his eyes and doesn’t have to use words to convey his feelings. Shaw stood up for Raven and Murphy when McCreary was torturing them for information, even though he knew his interference would put a target on his back. He was intrigued by Raven’s intelligence and quick wit from the beginning. I loved seeing Shaw and Raven go toe to toe in a battle of wits.
2. Raven’s Betrayal
Echo forces Raven to tell Diyoza the truth about the missile codes — that Shaw was the one who had blocked them. Raven's worried about her family and wants to keep them safe. She sees the consequences of her actions when Shaw comes stumbling in, badly beaten. Her heart breaks that she had to betray another “friend.” She never wanted Shaw to get hurt; she just wanted to ensure her friends’ safety. Echo forced her hand and Raven decided to take a risk. She had formed an alliance with Shaw and decided to risk it for the safety of her friends. Raven saw Shaw as an ally during the trying circumstances. Thankfully, they resolve their difference and make amends.
3. They see each other’s true selves.
Raven sees that Shaw isn’t like the other prisoners. She learns he locked out McCreary from the missile system and is at first angry. Slowly but surely, she learns to trust him and is drawn to him. He doesn’t like the shock collars and tries to protect Raven. He doesn’t want her going alone with Vinson and even protects them when McCreary puts a knife to Murphy’s throat. Even though Raven and Murphy were tortured, he stands up for them. He watches out for Raven and protects her. A great moment between them was the tearful conversation they have after Raven gets shocked-collared by Abby. She’s reeling from Abby’s betrayal and feels lost. She doesn’t like to show vulnerability to others and is quietly crying. Shaw comes up and just sits by her. He knows she’s not great at small talk and just listens. They connect over their rough backgrounds and being betrayed by loved ones. She stops him from leaving and he comforts her. Their walls come down and this tender moment exceeded my expectations.
4. Breaking the stereotypes.
Raven and Shaw gradually build their friendship and fall in love with one another. Shaw is enamored by Raven’s spirit and intelligence. You don’t see many examples of a strong interracial relationship on mainstream TV; Shaw’s and Raven’s relationship solidifies that interracial relationships can be strong and built on trust.
Raven has a disability, but her accomplishments aren’t because of it. Shaw sees that Raven is disabled, but doesn’t treat her differently because of it. He encourages her and asks, “Is there anything you can’t fix?” Raven replies, “Beside my leg, no.” Shaw smiles and loves her tenacity. She’s still a part of the missions and has so much knowledge to offer. Shaw loves her unconditionally and trusts her with his life. Finding someone to love you, especially if you have a disability, is challenging. People are so enamored with the capitalist theory that your worth is based on your productivity. Being a disabled person myself, I have encountered this issue. Guys see me as the “best friend”, but don’t want to have to deal with all my medical issues. I’m a writer, dancer, friend, and an avid movie watcher. I love to see the world and try new activities. My life is still valuable even though I’m disabled. Raven reminds me that I have a lot to offer and my worth isn’t based on my productivity. I hope to one day find someone like Shaw.
5. Shaw stands up to Echo.
Echo decided she was a leader and started bossing around the other Skaikru members. She wanted to kill Shaw, so she could steal his ship. Raven refused to kill Shaw and pointed out his importance. You can see Raven’s true feelings for him shine through. Raven hasn’t been this vulnerable since the death of her father figure, Sinclair. In the cave, Echo threatens to slit Shaw’s throat, and Shaw stands up to her and says, “Stop talking and do it already!” Vindication! Echo talks a lot of trash, but rarely follows through. I was cheering when Shaw stood up to Echo because he was tired of her empty threats. Raven supports Shaw and they walk off together to rescue Madi.
6. Emotional Climax.
Shaw had just saved Raven and her friends from McCreary’s men. Their plan to steal weapons went up in flames and they were cornered by the enemy. Shaw steps in and saves the day. Raven is mad that Shaw would risk his life because she doesn’t want him to get hurt. Raven has been unlucky with relationships. Her childhood best friend, Finn, cheated on her and then was brutally killed by Clarke, because of Lexa’s orders. Her friend Gina died in the Mt. Weather explosion and her mentor/surrogate dad, Sinclair, was killed by Emerson. Raven and Shaw’s feelings come to a head in the forest. Shaw confronts Raven and says that it’s been four days since he saved her life, and that since they are about to head into battle, maybe she should forgive him. Raven lets her guard down and kisses Shaw. Their kiss was amazing and romantic. It tugged at my heart strings and had me cheering. I loved her quote, “I’m not mad at you for saving my life. I’m mad at you for making me care about yours.” Raven doesn’t want to open her heart to love because her past relationships ended in traumatic fashion. Raven trusting Shaw and pursuing love is a huge turning point for her character. They are a great team together and I’m so excited to see where their relationship goes in Season 6.
Things I’d love to see in Season 6 for Raven and Shaw:
Raven and Shaw working together on missions.
Being able to have a quiet, private talk.
Learning more about Raven and Shaw’s backgrounds.
Hand holding and forehead kiss.
Season 6 of The 100 premieres Tuesday, April 30 at 9/8c on The CW.