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Performers Of The Month - May Winner: Outstanding Actor - Bob Morley

This article is a collaboration from SpoilerTV writers - DJRiter and Abi Baker

There is a saying about history repeating itself. A little over a year ago, the very first SpoilerTV Performer of the Month articles appeared. The monthly columns were created to give recognition to the work of those actors and actresses that appear in shows that may not receive the kudos or honors they deserve. In some cases, the winners had created characters that had become fan favorites. Sometimes these characters remained for the entire run of a series, others were guest or recurring performers. The actor chosen for the first performer of the month was described in that first article as taking his character from a “pompous jerk of a character to a multidimensional character who always believes he is doing the right thing even if it looks like the wrong thing to those around him.” And now, history has repeated itself in that that actor, Bob Morley has again been chosen as Outstanding Actor for the Month of May. He has again been selected for his portrayal of the complex anti-hero, Bellamy Blake and specially for showing how far that character has come with his performance in the Season Four finale of The 100, (4x13) Praimfaya. Bob Morley has been a strong performer throughout the entire run of The 100, but an episode like this where his character is pushed to the limits and forced to rise up as a beacon of strength allows him to further showcase the subtleties he can bring to the role. He gently shows how his character isn’t two-dimensional, how he has thoughts and feelings that constantly bubble under the surface. Morley is great at switching between being very open, and being very closed off when it comes to what he lets his character show to others during interactions. Some performers can never do that. Some performers ‘overact’ and make everything incredibly obvious in order to get the point across. Bob isn’t that kind of actor, and he’s definitely a huge check in the “pro” column of watching The 100. In Praimfaya, he shows us Bellamy Blake is still a force to be reckoned with and a really interesting character.

The relationship between the two Blake siblings has always been a strong cornerstone of the show and it was really lovely to see Praimfaya open with a scene between the two of them. They weren’t in the same room for this scene, but they still had that chemistry that we’ve seen between them in scenes where they have been able to act opposite each other. It’s a testament to both Morley and Marie Avgeropoulos (Octavia Blake) that they’re able to seem believable and as if they are actually having an incredibly touching conversation when in reality this would have been filmed as two separate scenes where they’re playing off of nothing. A variation of the famous phrase in “we will meet again” along with references to scenes we’ve previously seen between the two, such as flashbacks to their time on the Ark growing up definitely emotionally touching. Their sibling dynamic has always been fascinating - the protective older brother to the sheltered little sister, and the progression of their relationship and development of their characters during their time on Earth. The case can be made that there’s a significant metaphor with Octavia being underground and Bellamy being above, almost as if the story is coming full circle. This is especially true with Bellamy returning to space, as that is where the story really started in the first place.

Even though their relationship has altered over the course of the show, he can still tell when something is wrong with her. They aren’t the people they once were, but there’s still parts of them left, and you can tell that Bellamy is concerned and that he inherently knows Octavia isn’t all herself. The quirk of Bellamy’s smile when he’s trying to instill confidence in Octavia’s successes is a small action, but something that speaks volumes as to the relationship that they have. You were heartbroken for him when he didn’t get to tell Octavia that he loved her back. His desperation to get back in touch with her was clearly evident. His eye movements and the furrow of his mouth were great indications of his dejection, and then we get to hear him say “may we meet again.” It’s a lot to take in, and there’s a lot to process just in that two-minute scene. This is someone who will be separated from someone he loves for five entire years. When you put yourself in his shoes, which is easy to do when you see the decisions Bob Morley makes with his body language and manner of speaking, your heart just breaks and you’re there wanting a few seconds more too.

Bellamy is someone who is always seems very contained. He’s a leader, he needs to be strong for others, but in the aftermath of not being able to say the things he really needs to say to Octavia, we see the walls he’s built up fall down a little. We’re privy to a vulnerability that hasn't been seen often from him, and you can see that in the way he holds Clarke (Eliza Taylor) and closes his eyes after he loses contact with Octavia, and then telling Clarke that the broken connection means she can’t say good-bye to her loved ones. Morley is great at using these slight clenches of his body that convey in spades exactly what his character is feeling. It’s a short scene, but it shows us a lot when it comes to get a deeper understanding of Bellamy’s emotions.

Praimfaya really is a prime episode when it comes to showcasing Bellamy as a character who can make tough decisions in an instant. He has great instincts (most of the time), and he uses these to make almost split-second decisions, such as helping Monty and Murphy, and letting Clarke go to the sat tower alone. He can evaluate things so quickly, and you can see this in the way Morley stands and moves his eyes. He's calculating and he's just innately a leader. He has those essential qualities all leaders must have in order to succeed. Morley is a powerhouse when it comes to projecting the qualities needed to trust his character.

Another great quality that Bellamy Blake has, is his ability to convince people to do the things that they may not want to do, but that they need to do for the overall greater good. He sees the big picture. He knows what needs to be done and he makes sure it gets done in this episode. When he talks Echo down from killing herself, and when he convinces Raven to not give up on finding a way to leave Earth, he does so in a way that's gentle but firm and no-nonsense. The finale was jam-packed, but perhaps more time should've been devoted to the scene with Echo. It's such a huge thing, to both want to commit an act such as that, and to be able to stop someone from doing that, and the scene wasn’t as emotionally mined as it could have been.

The complex relationship and trust between Bellamy and Clarke is a highlight of the show, so much so that it's hard to sum it up in a few words. He knows what needs to be done, even if it's not what he might want to do, and we can see that in the way Morley portrays Bellamy’s reluctance to leave. The bond between Clarke and Bellamy has always been a strong one. Together they make the ideal leader. Him, led in his actions by his heart and her, led by her brain and thinking before acting. It’s a highly prophetic scene when they discuss survival and leadership and what might happen after the Death Wave. Clarke tells him he needs to lead more with his head and not his heart. He responds that, that was why he had her, essentially, she was the brains of the outfit. However, Clarke is also the pragmatic one and knew there was a very good chance one of them might not survive, and had a feeling it might me her. She tries to prepare him for that possibility by trying to give him the “if I don’t make it” speech, but he doesn’t want to hear it. It was an emotionally wrenching scene, conveying a self-sacrificing message. It was extremely well-acted and struck a deep emotional core with the fans.

Is Bellamy too much of an optimist this episode? Probably, but isn't a good trait of a power figure someone who does try to see the positives in a crisis and make sure the largest amount of people are able to get through it successfully. He wants to believe Clarke will make it back in time before the death wave hits so that she can escape with them. The way he's turned towards the door, how he holds on as long as possible, and how his face slightly falls when he realizes she isn't going to make it. It's the little things that Bob Morley puts into his performance that speak volumes. He lets us see the heartbreaking mix between hope and bitter acceptance, and how one slowly fades into the other. He doesn't want to leave anyone behind, but he knows that Clarke wouldn't want them to die just because she might have to.

Bellamy is a protector. It’s in his nature not to want to leave anyone behind, but he had to make that call when it came to leaving Clarke behind on Earth, because surely sacrificing one person instead of eight is the better deal. We really see him struggle with this once he’s in the pod though. You can visibly see the hope disappearing from his face, as he sees Raven (Lindsay Morgan) unable to gain access to the Ring. Morley lets his face entirely sag, lets anger seep into his voice at the thought of letting Clarke sacrifice herself in order to save them, and having that be all in vain. He’s desperate to cling onto hope, but Bellamy has always been a person who feels responsible for those around him. Morley knows exactly who his character is and acts accordingly. He knows the best ways to make the audience see exactly what his character is thinking and feeling, and the fact he’s sometimes able to do this without words is just outstanding.

Raven’s efforts, and Bellamy’s decision to not wait for Clarke seem to be enough to get onto the Ring, but then the hard work actually starts and the odds are stacked against them. Morley shined again as effectively portraying someone who was willing to take charge and willing to put everyone else’s needs above his own. Morley is somehow rushed and composed, frightened yet strong, and it’s great that we can see the juxtaposition of his emotions and actions simply in the way that he moves. He gets the job done, but it’s a really close call, and one can imagine fans of the show were on the edge of their seats whilst watching this scene.

In the end, as Bellamy and Raven stand looking down at Earth from the Ring and the Death Wave fully envelops the planet, they talk about how Clarke has saved them again. They wonder how they’re going to survive and lead their rag-tag team without her. Morley shows us just how much Bellamy has grown and become that fully-rounded leader when he tells Raven, that “if we don’t she died in vain, and I’m not going to let that happen.”

And then we end the episode, and Bellamy is nowhere in sight. It's hard to believe a character like Bellamy will be lost in space. With Raven at his side, they will have been able to survive the past six years, but it is interesting that Clarke hasn't been able to contact him at all within the time jump. It definitely sets things up for season 5, and more great performances by all of the cast.

While this article has touched on the most outstanding moments of Bob Morley’s performance in The 100 (4x13) Praimfaya there were many more throughout the episode that contributed to Bob Morley’s being voted by fans as SpoilerTV Performer of the Month, Outstanding Actor for May 2017. Discuss your favorites in the comments below.

Aimee’s Note: Most of you may have noticed that this article wasn’t written by me and I wanted to take just a moment to acknowledge that. Performers of the Month was birthed from a tiny idea that I had that took off far beyond what I imagined. Each and every article requires many countless hours to ensure that the winners are properly honored. Unfortunately, due to other responsibilities, I wasn’t able to give the May articles the time they deserved. With that in mind, I took to the writing team and recruited a few fellow writers to help out. This month I wasn’t able to contribute anything to the articles, that won’t always be the case. However, this month, I felt confident in handing over control of the articles to my editor, DJRiter, who has edited every POTM article since November. There is no one that I trust more to ensure my vision for these articles than her. Make no mistake, I still had a hand in the articles and each one is being posted with my utmost support. I couldn’t be more proud of how they turned out and I have the highest level of gratitude for the teams that took the time to make these articles. It is our hope that we will be able to continue with these collaborative articles that allow many more observations to be made beyond what one person alone could see or highlight. This is a new chapter for POTM where we can provide even higher quality winner articles that highlight more and honor the winners more thoroughly. I will still be contributing to the articles as my own schedule allows and the managing of POTM remains firmly in my hands. Even if I don’t contribute to the writing I will still review every article before they post. Though, with these articles I only requested minor adjustments because they came out pretty darn near perfect. This is still a feature I’m committed to and with some big changes on the horizon for the 2018 cycle, I think this feature is only going to keep growing. Thank you to each and every single one of you for your participation in nominating and voting. For you, we will continue doing our very best to produce high-quality winner articles.

PLEASE READ: Please keep comments on topic and just discussing the performance of the winner

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