Warning: The 100 spoilers ahead
In “Thirteen,” everyone said goodbye to Lexa kom Tri Kru, Heda (commander) of the 12 clans. People then took to the internet to voice their pain at such a thorough betrayal. Why? Because in a show that promotes itself by saying that they refuse to fall prey to clichés and TV tropes, they used one of the most tired and harmful tropes of all: bury your gays.
Yes, mere seconds after a tender and loving scene between Lexa and protagonist Clarke Griffin, Lexa is accidentally shot and bleeds out. I, and many others, have several issues with this upsetting development.
Firstly, showrunner Jason Rothenberg knew about this outcome before the show even aired in January. He spent his time from “Wanheda” to “Thirteen” building up a relationship between Clarke and Lexa, and selling it on Twitter. “Maybe someday” became the beacon of hope to the fan-base, and we were naïve enough to believe that it could actually happen — a loving, respectful, happy LGBTQ+ relationship on cable.
That hope evaporated the moment that bullet hit Lexa. Once again, a show had linked a happy LGBTQ+ scene with an LGBTQ+ character death, providing the subtext that these relationships are wrong and negative and that LGBTQ+ people deserve the same end on- and off-screen. The entire writing team at The 100 knew that they were looked up to mostly by LGBTQ+ youth, since, in the post-nuclear apocalypse world of The 100, sexuality doesn’t matter. Survival is everyone’s number one priority. Then they kill Lexa off seconds after showing her happily in bed with Clarke, killing any hope these youth had.
There are four confirmed women who love women on this show: Clarke, Lexa, Niylah, and Costia. Three of them have faced violence for loving a woman. Lexa was killed after sleeping with Clarke. Niylah was brutally beaten after sleeping with Clarke. Costia was decapitated for loving Lexa. So maybe we should have seen it coming, but we shouldn’t have to fear an LGBTQ+ death just because the character is happy.
Secondly, Rothenberg said in an interview with AccessHollywood.com that killing Lexa off was necessary because of scheduling conflicts. Offhand, that’s fair. If you can’t get an actress, she can’t be on-screen. But these conflicts only dealt with this season. It might have been possible to get Alycia Debnam-Carey (Lexa) back next season. The point is that killing her off was in no way necessary. Clarke was leaving Lexa in the city of Polis to return to Arkadia. Lexa could have been out of the picture without killing off such a complex, interesting character.
Rothenberg also stated in the same interview that killing Lexa gave him the opportunity to bring together the storylines surrounding the Grounders’ religion and Jaha’s City of Light. The computer AI that makes the City of Light possible is the predecessor of the AI implanted in the back of Lexa’s neck (and every commander pre-Lexa), which gets passed on to the new commander when the old one dies. With Lexa’s death, we got to watch how the two stories connected. It just didn’t need to happen this way.
If only there had been a scene before Lexa was shot, where Clarke asks about Lexa’s back tattoos. . . Oh wait, there was. That would’ve been a great opportunity to show the implant scar on the back of Lexa’s neck and have the storylines combine that way.
Lastly, okay, let’s say Lexa’s death was necessary to the plot development. Why kill her off with a stray bullet? That isn’t a fitting death for the woman who united the 12 Grounder clans under one banner, the commander who always puts her people first. How is a stray bullet a worthy death? More than that, Clarke Griffin is right there beside her. Clarke who is basically a doctor. Clarke who saved Jasper when he had a spear through his chest. How is Clarke not saving Lexa in any way true to her character?
Now I understand if this upsets you, because it upsets me. By all means, contact some of the writers and make your voices heard.
The reaction from writers like Kim Shumway and Javier Grillo-Marxuach, who have taken the time to listen to the overall disappointment of fans, is an encouraging step in the healing process. We can only hope that moving forward, they and Rothenberg can recognize another mistake before it happens to someone else.