For an updated view on “Thirteen” and my changing thoughts on the real-world issues raised by this episode, please my Season 3 Wrap Up.
Let me say this upfront: I’m a bit scared to write this review. I’m taking a bit of a contrarian stand that won’t please people, especially those that want to condemn this show. So I’m going to get through it using a good friend: scotch. Day drinking, y’all! Lagavulin 16, get in mah belly! Tastes like liquefied Ron Swanson. Ooof.
Disclaimer: This was a heavy episode. It demands more than a cursory or an emotionally inflammatory reaction. Remember, these are only my views, and you may have some very different opinions. I’m doing my best to be analytical. You may feel I’m betraying my own belief system, but my views are nuanced and sometimes conflicted and complicated. I don’t see this episode in black and white. I cannot tell anyone how to react or feel, I can merely present my thoughts and make the best argument possible for my statements and opinions. If you disagree, please engage.
I had to take a more than a day to process the episode, let my emotions calm down and my take is: it was a beautiful, heartbreaking, revelatory, game-changing episode that left me completely drained and shocked. So yeah, it was my jam.
I just want to mention it now: Alycia Debnam-Carey and Eliza Taylor, take all the awards right now for your work together in this episode. All of them. Their acting was raw, emotional, stunning, and moving. I can’t even with these two right now.
I dive deep into the really heavy Lexa and Clarke stuff in the second half of my review, so stick with me folks.
Let’s get into it!
Just Skaikru Doing Skaikru Things
Guess what guys, Skaikru done fucked up again. Yeah, I know, color us surprised.
Octavia is brought before Lexa as a prisoner of war by Semet, who recounts how Skaikru attacked their village. This aggression demands a reaction, and Lexa gives it to them: the 12 clans will assemble their armies and create a blockade to keep Skaikru contained. She places a kill order on any Skaikru found outside the boundary of the blockade. Lexa doesn’t outright declare war because she wants to give Skaikru the chance for a little “regime change” within their own gates. If Pike is removed and the sane people are put back into power, then Skaikru can regain its place as the 13th clan.
This is Lexa trying to find a way to avoid all-out war and keep her promise of peace to herself and Clarke, but something has to be done. This isn’t good enough for Semet, who calls for “death to the Commander” and tries to attack Lexa.
Titus puts a quick stop to this because somehow, Titus is also a shaolin monk and kills Semet for his actions. But this marks an important last straw for Titus. This was a direct attack on Lexa’s life by one of her people, and the stakes are too high for Titus to ignore the danger of Clarke’s influence. He’ll act on his fear of losing the Commander later, to disastrous results.
I Want Octavia To Be My Best Friend, For Realsies
Octavia gets some good screen time this episode, both with Clarke and Indra, going a ways to repair her relationship with Clarke, and giving some tough love to Indra, who is suffering from the effects of her shoulder injury. Octavia is someone, like her brother, who is ruled more by heart than head, but she is usually on the right side of things, lending her strength and support to those who deserve it. I would want Octavia to have my back in a fight. I would want her to slap sense into me during times of self-doubt. I would totally want to drink with her and throw shade at randos.
Octavia is often cited as one of the characters that had the most dramatic transformation throughout the series, from the “we’re back, bitches!” girl in the pilot episode to freakin’ “get knocked down, get back up” ninja warrior. Remember when she challenged a Grounder to a fight and got the shit beat out of her, but kept on coming? Spit blood in his face? That’s fucking character growth. And huge brass balls.
Octavia’s role in “Thirteen” is to light some goddamn fires under the asses of the two people who will be her strongest allies in the fight for Arkadia’s soul: Clarke and Indra.
She confronts Clarke about her trust in Lexa. Now, I’m not quite sure how much Octavia is picking up on the dynamic between Clarke and Lexa. I joked in a previous review that even blind-ass Arya over on The Game of Thrones can see the chemistry between those two, but how much Octavia can sense is up for debate. What she does know is Clarke is needed, desperately needed, on the front lines if they’re going to beat Pike. Octavia knows that Clarke is a leader and a fixer and will do just about anything to help Skaikru survive, but Clarke has been in ambassador/advisor mode to Lexa for so long that Clarke wonders if staying in Polis is the best way to help.
There are a couple things at play here: her pull towards Lexa and her avoidance of any responsibility or leadership role since she murderated everyone in Mount Weather. Clarke has found a role that lets her pull back from bearing the responsibility for all her people’s welfare, even though she strongly argues for sparing Skaikru over and over again. I imagine that Bellamy’s condemnation of her – “it’s a good thing you’re not in charge, because people die when you’re in charge” – is also weighing heavily in the back of her mind.
The other Blake still has faith in Clarke, despite the hard choices that Clarke had to make that put Octavia in harm’s way – most notably not warning anyone about the missile that destroyed Tondc in season 2. Before Octavia goes off to wait for Clarke, she leaves her with this:
“We need you. The kill order goes into effect at dawn. You have an hour to say your goodbyes. If you’re not there, you’re not the person I thought you were.”
I don’t know which way Clarke was leaning before this scene with Octavia, but I do think it helped light that spark that Clarke desperately needs in order to get her head back in the game. To have Octavia tell her that Skaikru needs her is monumental because of the hurt between these two. That Clarke was unable to leave with Octavia in the end because of unforeseen circumstances, unknown by Octavia, breaks my heart because Octavia now thinks Clarke let her down.
I wanted this:
Instead I got this:
Somewhat timely sportsball reference!
Octavia finds Indra in a place of weakness. Her injury has affected her ability to be a warrior. Octavia is there to honor Indra and seek her guidance, but Octavia ends up being the one who gives Indra her swag back.
Octavia: “Indra, please. I’m going back to fight my own people, the people who did this to you! I’ll fight my own brother if I have to, but I can’t do it alone. One word from you and Trikru will…”
They have a little scuffle, and Octavia gets the better of Indra. For once. And Indra is defeated, mentally and emotionally. Her lack of self-confidence is heartbreaking because we’ve only seen her be a B.A.M.F. That’s “bad ass muther fucker” for the record.
Octavia: “We all die. You can either do that here, feeling sorry for yourself, or you come back with me and get your revenge. The choice is yours.”
In the end, the one who joins Octavia to head back to Arkadia before the kill order goes into effect is Indra, not Clarke. And we get this scene: the baddest bitches in all of the world are back in business, y’all!
Murphy’s Continuing Adventures In Titus’
Titus is still holding Murphy hostage. Murphy tries to explain the City of Light and ALIE v1.0 to Titus: “She’s a computer program. But I get that’s hard for you to grasp considering you pray to garbage. No offense, obviously.”
Murphy eventually starts putting the pieces of the story together after seeing the Pol
aris escape pod and the drawings on the walls of the sex dungeon. Murphy explains to Titus that the pod is from Polaris, the 13th station, the one that Skaikru blew out of the sky when it refused to join the other 12 stations. Murphy goes further on to try and explain the drawings on the wall. The mushroom cloud is the end of the world. The woman is likely someone who escaped Polaris. This person that Titus and his people revere is Skaikru, which Titus doesn’t take kindly to. He doesn’t want his faith in any way connected to Skaikru. Murphy gets a bonk on the head for his troubles.
At this point, no one but the audience know who the Polaris survivor is, so if and when Murphy et al. learn it’s Becca is yet to be seen. But we know. Because we learn everything. And everything we thought we knew about the story line of The 100 is completely blown out of the water through the flashbacks and Lexa’s fate.
It’s The End Of The World As We Know It, And It’s Awesome!
Cue up R.E.M. and let’s talk about the end of the world.
Through some really well-used and wonderful flashbacks to 97 years ago, we find out that the 13th station is Polaris, Becca is up on Polaris working on A.L.I.E. v2.0, and oh, A.L.I.E. v1.0 broke out of her containment system and is setting about to “make life better” by solving the problem of “too many people.”
I don’t know if y’all have been waiting to see this moment since day one. I know I wasn’t. To me, the nuclear destruction of the earth was simply the premise the show used to kick off the narrative.
But now that season 3 is in full swing and EVERYTHING is being tied together, this moment is painful and awesome and everything I didn’t know I wanted to see.
Becca is up on Polaris to work on A.L.I.E. v2.0. I’m guessing once she had her “chat” with her AI’s avatar and A.L.I.E. v1.0 dropped the “too many people” bomb (sorry) on Becca that they contained A.L.I.E. v1.0 and Becca went to work on v2.0 in an effort to create an AI that understood humanity a wee bit better and didn’t want to wipe it out. That should be easy.
As we move through the flashbacks, we learn that Becca has been working on something else – an injectable black liquid that presumably protects against the effects of nuclear radiation. The origin of the Nightbloods! What. The. What. Another link in a chain in this expansive narrative.
Commander Cole of Polaris, who learns about A.L.I.E and Becca’s hand in the nuclear strikes, refuses to take A.L.I.E. v2.0 along for the ride as they prepare to join the other 12 stations of the Ark. He will not introduce a genocidal AI to what’s left of the human race. Becca is insistent that this version is different and will save the human race.
Becca: “A.L.I.E. 1 didn’t understand what it meant to be human, yes, but A.L.I.E. 2 will. It’s designed to interface with humanity on a biological level. It will understand the value of life by co-existing with us.”
This doesn’t convince Cole and Becca makes a desperate move, locking herself in her lab to protect the chip that contains A.L.I.E. v2.0. Since Cole is delaying docking maneuvers with the other 12 stations, the Russian and Chinese stations start to get a little antsy and refuse to dock as well. Alpha station threatens to open fire on Polaris to make an example out of them and force all other stations to comply.
Becca packs up her stuff, including vials of the black substance she’s been injecting, heads to an escape pod, and jettisons out towards earth. See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya, bitches! Polaris, unable to meet the timeline to begin docking, is blown the fuck out of the sky.
“Let this be a lesson to all Federation stations. God rest your souls. My God help ours.”
Happy Unity Day guys! Hats and horns!
When Becca lands on earth, she’s in a swampy morass of deadly nuclear fallout. But when she takes off her helmet, she’s just fine. The black blood protects her from the radiation. The camera pulls back a bit, and we see she’s wearing the spacesuit of Polaris’ Commander, so that’s another link in the chain filled in. We then see a group of people in the distance in radiation suits coming to find what fell from the sky, and that’s where Becca’s journey leaves off.
Oh, save for the one huge reveal – a scar at the base of her neck where she implanted A.L.I.E. v2.0. The same scar that we will see on the back of Lexa’s neck.
Now, a couple of my previous theories were incorrect, which I covered in my last review. I thought the black blood WAS the AI, but I was wrong. It’s the way Becca survived earth’s radiation. There’s only one interface with A.L.I.E. v2.0, and that’s the chip that’s implanted in Becca’s neck. The chip that serves as the spirit, or the “flame,” of each Grounder Commander. But I was spot on about Becca being the lone Polaris survivor, being the first Commander, and being a Nightblood.
Were y’all’s minds blown? Mine was.
THIS is the world-building moment that makes The 100 an exemplary program. The mythology of the Grounders is intertwined with the end of the world, Becca, A.L.I.E., and Skaikru. Everything is linked together beautifully, in ways I never expected moving through the first two seasons.
Some folks don’t necessarily like this expanded world, they would prefer we get back to the original 100 (~44? ~43?) delinquents and their stories. But I think there’s limited sand box there to play in and create compelling stories that don’t get feel retread. Do we want another The Walking Dead, where every new conflict is just another slightly different flavor of Rick & Co. versus zombies or Rick & Co. versus other humans?
This AI narrative moves the story forward in exciting ways, opening up tons of possibilities for future story lines, new characters, new conflicts, new moral choices, and an exploration of what it means to be human. I can’t think of a better way to create intrigue than what the writers have done.
Now, in regards to A.L.I.E. v2.0, I see a couple people on the interwebs, that hive of scum and villainy, saying that Lexa wasn’t actually Lexa, but the AI. I don’t buy this for a second. Becca doesn’t seem to be summarily changed by implanting the AI into herself. I firmly believe that A.L.I.E. v2.0 rides shotgun with its host, politely giving some advice on the best route to take and contains some part of the previous Commanders. I would call it “data,” for lack of a better word, but how much of that data transcends mere information and contains the consciousness of previous hosts is unknown at this point. Will Lexa’s desire for peace be instilled in the next Commander? Will any of the feelings Lexa had for Clarke be present in its new host? Freak the fuck out at that thought for a bit.
The Thing Finally Happened!
Lexa and Clarke have been dancing around each other since season 2, with a crackling energy and palpable sexual tension. Their chemistry served as an undercurrent to all of their scenes. Even when Lexa was betraying Clarke at Mount Weather or Clarke was spitting in Lexa’s face and swearing to kill her, their connection drove the depth of their emotions. Love or hate, there was always a thread pulling them towards one another.
The moments between feral Clarke raging at Lexa out of hate and anger to her finally kissing Lexa was a slow burn. And it had to be. Some folks don’t buy it…it wasn’t enough time for Clarke to forgive Lexa for Mount Weather. I don’t know what show they’re watching, but I think plenty of time was given and plenty of progression was shown on Clarke’s part to get her to that kiss.
Clarke’s feelings for Lexa were obvious in “Watch The Thrones,” when she feared Lexa would fall in combat to Roan. Her anger at Lexa’s decision to fight was only matched by her desperation to keep Lexa alive, up to and including her failed attempt to assassinate Queen Nia.
Go back and watch that episode carefully and see if you can spot the moment Clarke realizes the depth of her feelings for Lexa. I’ll give you a hint…she’s got something on her face during the scene I’m talking about. And no, it’s not just a scowl.
But Clarke didn’t necessarily trust Lexa yet. Pledging fealty to treat Clarke’s people as her own is one thing, but following through is another. So, when Lexa decides to not retaliate for the death of 300 warriors at the hands of Pike, declaring “jus nou drein, jus daun” (blood must not have blood), the rubber met the road. That was Lexa searching for the peace Clarke begged her for, going against the Grounder way, and putting her own life on the line.
Declaring a new way of life, and sparing Skaikru, was the gesture that maybe didn’t make up for Mount Weather, but proved to Clarke that Lexa was serious about her pledge. She would do whatever she could to treat Skaikru as her own. And even when Skaikru fucked up – yet again (eye roll) – she did everything she could to not declare all-out war. The barricade and a kill order is Lexa being as merciful as she can be, and I believe she would treat any of her other clans the same if they stepped out of line.
When Clarke goes to tell Lexa she’s leaving and to say goodbye, we get some great dialog between these two. Lexa was totally going to say “I love you.” Totally.
Lexa: “When do you leave?”
Clarke: “Now. I’m sorry.”
Lexa: “Don’t be. You have to go back. They’re your people. That’s why I — that’s why you’re you.”
Clarke: “Maybe someday, you and I will owe nothing more to our people.”
Lexa: “I hope so. May we meet again.”
And then Clarke, who isn’t going to leave like this, steps towards Lexa and kisses her. And Lexa lets a solitary tear run down her cheek. And things progress a bit further and we know where it’s going, but the camera doesn’t linger and cuts to commercial. There was no on-screen sex, and I think that’s an important juxtaposition in regards to Clarke and Niylah earlier in the season, where it was obvious that Clarke was just seeking human contact and that was just sex. Clarke and Lexa share something far deeper and make love, and I’m grateful for the discretion with which this relationship was treated.
It was raw and emotional. Lexa crying made me cry. I mean, if your bottom lip didn’t at least quiver when seeing her so vulnerable and seeing tears for the very first time, I think perhaps you’ve taken one of those City of Light wafers and are hardcore trippin’ on the light fantastic.
When we come back to Clarke and Lexa, Clarke asks about Lexa’s back tattoo and I think we get a huge plot point here. Lexa received it on her Ascendance Day to the Commander role, and the 7 circles represent each Nightblood that died when the Commander’s spirit chose Lexa. But, Clarke points out, there were 9 novitiates in Lexa’s conclave. What happened to number 8?
Okay, let’s unpack some of this info.
First and foremost, it seems that all the Nightbloods that don’t become Commander are killed during Conclave. My guess is the novitiates battle it out to become Commander and kill one another until only one remains. I base this solely on the season 3 preview scene were Ontari is on Lexa’s throne covered in black blood. She will be at the conclave and I’m guessing a grown adult can kill children to become a Commander. Sorry Aden, but your time is limited on this earth.
But, if this theory is correct, how then does the Commander’s “spirit” choose the next Commander? So wait, new theory.
What if the A.L.I.E. v2.0 chip is implanted in each Nightblood and it either accepts or rejects that Nightblood. Rejection = death. If a Nightblood is accepted and there are others still remaining, then they are killed. It’s plausible, but it also doesn’t jive with A.L.I.E. v2.0 understanding the value of human life.
And now theories as to who the 8th novitiate could have been:
- Emori (not likely) – a mutant with a lobster claw for a hand would not even be a part of the Conclave because mutants are cast out. But her statement about “being a stain on the blood line” stands out a bit to me.
- Ontari (not likely) – Lexa and Titus didn’t even know about Ontari since Nia was hiding her away in the Ice Nation, so she’s off the table.
- Costia (
unlikelylikely – see edit) – we know Costia was captured, tortured, and killed by Queen Nia to learn Lexa’s secrets. This would only be after Lexa ascended to Commander, therefore post-tattoo, so the timing of it is all off. Nor does it make sense because Costia would have been killed along with the other 7 novitiates during Conclave. But Lexa wanting to not talk about the 8th novitiate makes people think it was Costia. EDIT: My logic is flawed. Costia could have been spared, which eliminates the timing issues with the tattoo and her death. So upgrading her to likely.
- Luna (likely) – could Lexa have spared Luna since they are (presumably) friends? This could also explain why Luna is in hiding. Although it’s hard to imagine how one person could survive the Conclave without Titus wanting him or her dead.
- Person X (likely) – the 8th novitiate could be someone we haven’t even met yet (other than Luna), and I’m always hyped to meet new people in this world.
I have no doubt we’ll find out either this season or the next who lucky Novitiate Number 8 was. This was another Chekhov’s gun we’ll be looking forward to turning up again in the future.
Now, Let’s Get Into The Real Meat Of The Episode – Lexa’s Death
The most shocking moment of “Thirteen,” and the moment that set the internet aflame, was Lexa’s death.
Angry statement alert: if you have participated at all with the death threats or exposing of personal information of any of the writers or actors of The 100, or you’ve been hateful towards LGBT individuals who don’t agree with you, you can go eat a bag of dicks. Get the fuck off the internet and take a long, deep, hard look at what a fucking cunt you are. There, off my chest. I’m constantly amazed at the depravity of idiots on social media. There are real human beings at the other end of your abuse.
Let me preface what I’m about to write with a little insight into my state of mind and emotions this week and what’s behind my analysis this part of the story, because I entered “Thirteen” already knee-deep in some emotional turmoil.
Monday, I learned my mother from another brother, Mama Faye, died after a long battle with cancer. So, I was already pretty broken emotionally by the time Thursday rolled around and I watched “Thirteen.”
Let me also expose this weakness about myself: I’m a bit of an emotional mirror when other people’s emotions are running high. Instead of taking a breather and letting myself process my own thoughts, I tend to get caught up in the moment and reflect what others are feeling. That’s not necessarily a good way to process things. I hope to stay off of social media while watching in the future so I can be in my own head.
I had also convinced myself that Lexa wasn’t dying this season. I was naive and hopeful. I became Pangloss from Voltaire’s “Candide,” the myopic optimist: “All is for the best, in this, the best of all possible worlds.” There’s a reason why that book is a satire and a scathing rebuttal of Leibnizian optimism.
When her death happened, I yelled “this is bullshit!” at my TV screen and waited for the 11th hour save. Apparently, I had learned nothing from my previous experiences of watching this show, which made me create this as a reminder to us all:
Let’s not forget, ever, the world that Jason Rothenberg and his writers have created and how high-stakes and heartbreaking it can be. I took an extra day to really think about Lexa’s death, the person she was portrayed to be on the show, and the harsh reality of the world in this show.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
Lexa’s death has been decried as a just another example of the “kill the lesbian” trope that has been repeated again and again across entertainment. As soon as a queer person finds happiness, their death soon follows, which sends a message that queers will not find lasting happiness.
To me, Lexa’s sexuality is one portion of who she is and not defined by it. She is also: a leader, a warrior, a visionary, a strong woman, ruthless yet merciful, driven by duty, driven by her love for her people, driven by her love for Clarke, intelligent, willing to make sacrifices, willful, independent, pragmatic, passionate.
She the unstoppable force to Clarke’s immovable object. Both women are a force of nature and to narrow either of them down to one aspect of their characters and make it the most representative thing ABOUT their character is complete bullshit. Lexa was a complex person who happened to be a lesbian.
It does this character a great dishonor to make her death just about her sexuality.
Additionally, would you just rather not have Lexa and everything she became to us all in the story? Just write her out after season 2, or was is the show better for having had her in season 3? Are we grateful for the time we got with this fantastic character? I can’t imagine Polis without her, or Clarke’s journey to this point as Wanheda/Ambassador without her. She was a vital and necessary part of the narrative.
What show y’all watching again?
The 100 is a show where very few people are safe. The “kill everyone” trope is very much a part of this show, and to ignore the death of Anya, Wells, Finn, and many others to decry Lexa’s death as just another example of the “kill the lesbian” trope is ignoring the rules that have been established for this show.
I don’t believe that one trope trumps or erases the existence of another trope, that’s too reductive for me, but if you’re watching this show and paying even the slightest attention, you must admit that this is a cruel world. The writers cannot shy away from killing anyone because of the perception it will create.
Lexa had to die
Alycia Debnam-Carey is a main character on another show. She would simply not be available to work on The 100. They had to beg, borrow, and steal to get her for 7 episodes (and you’ll note, she’s only appeared in 6). Those are the facts of the business. Writing her off would have felt awkward – how does one “write off” the Commander of the Grounders, the single most important person of the 12 clans? In a season where Skaikru starts thoughtlessly murdering Grounders?
Moreover, her death was necessary to reveal that the Commander’s spirit isn’t spiritual at all, but a chip containing an AI that moves from one Commander to the next. Lexa’s death didn’t move one story along. It put the whole show on it’s back and moved the entire narrative forward. Her death wasn’t small or meaningless, it was the crux of a much larger story. It is one of the single, most important moments of the whole show.
The options available to the writers concerning her character were removed from the table because of Fear The Walking Dead, and what they gave to us was extraordinary. We got more of her backstory, we got her kicking ass, we got her as a cunning politician, we got her as a visionary seeking peace. I got exactly what I wanted to see, and while I wish Fear The Walking Dead never existed and Lexa could continue to live on, I’m grateful for getting one of the most complex, interesting, and compelling characters to ever grace our TV screens.
The inglorious banality of death
To the folks upset with the manner of her death, let me drop this one on you again:
Many people wanted Lexa to die gloriously – in battle, saving her people, or saving Clarke. Instead, she got hit by a stray bullet from a gun fired from her mentor and closest advisor, Titus. So, basically, people wanted the stereotypical heroic death trope. Not some “meaningless” death by accident.
Her death was tragic because it came about because of fear and jealousy and hate from Titus towards Clarke. The one thing Titus feared most – Lexa dying – came to pass at his own hands. I can’t be the only one picking up on how heartbreaking and hopelessly tragic and self-fulfilling this death was because Titus was unable to do the one thing Lexa could: trust in another person. There is a tragic lesson in Lexa’s death, far greater and more important than fanfic-ing her into a glorious death in battle.
People want to search for meaning in death. But most of us will die ingloriously. Some of us will die in accidents, or by dropping dead on the spot, or wasting away from disease, or from the inevitable march of time. We’ll shuffle off this mortal coil, not with a shout, but a whimper. And this bugs the ever-loving crap out of us. We don’t want this for ourselves and certainly not for our fictional heroes.
Don’t try to find meaning through death. Find meaning through life. Lexa’s legacy cannot and should not be defined by dying by accident. Her life was bigger than that. She was the Commander and she lived a Commander’s life. She was a BOSS. She changed the world immeasurably, and affected those around her deeply. If death by a stray bullet defines Lexa for you, or lessens her, then I simply don’t know what to say.
And now onto that elephant in the room
Now, to tackle the “kill the lesbian” trope.
I was initially very angry at the timing of her death, not minutes after making love to Clarke. This was the textbook definition of the “kill the lesbian” trope. I tweeted that I would feel like a fraud, being a straight woman, trying to tackle this because I can’t fully articulate what it means to be LGBT and see another lesbian die on TV.
And now, I’m sure people will call me a fraud and not a supporter of the LGBT community because I can’t condemn her death the way so many others have.
Let me be very clear: I do not believe, not for one second, that the writers of this show or of this episode are homophobic. I don’t think they are queer baiters. And if you are accusing them of this on social media: shame the fuck on you. Because it appears that you haven’t been paying attention to the show at all and are merely focused on the last 15 minutes of this particular episode. Context is everything, and this show has 2 1/2 seasons of context to deeply consider.
The 100 is set in a world where labels don’t matter – race, gender, sexuality, physical ability. It doesn’t raise up banners and call attention to people who are not straight white males, it simply plops them in this world and gives them a prime directive: survive or suffer.
And because they’ve given us this world and layered characters of all different types, we’ve given them kudos and have said “thank you for the representation” for having some of the most well-written characters on TV.
But the moment something happens that doesn’t conform to our social agendas, things go completely sideways in the fan community. Like fucking tits-up sideways. Social media was a goddamned goat rodeo after the episode aired.
I in no way feel killing Lexa off in the manner they did, with the timing they did, was a malicious or thoughtless choice. I think there were a number of issues that backed them into this 15-minute corner of time that gave Lexa both happiness and her fate.
We’ve already talked about the issue of ADC’s availability. So, given she has 7 episodes – 6 now, one later – and given that Clarke’s movement back towards Lexa needed time and space to breathe, when would have been a good time for the sex? When would have been a good time to kill Lexa?
The pacing of certain story lines have been an issue this season. Bellamy and Pike are prime examples of this, and I think many fans and critics have been quite vocal in how brief characters get from point A to point B, especially when huge shifts in motives are needed.
Now, Clarke and Lexa’s story needed time to make it believable that Clarke would trust Lexa again, would fall in love with her, and give in to her feelings. Six episodes between “I’ll kill you!” and finally reciprocating Lexa’s feelings. Six episodes.
I think the timing of the death was unfortunate and again, a pacing issue. I can completely see how it is the definition of the trope. I don’t know how that was navigated in the writer’s room. I don’t know how they walked out of there feeling that they weren’t playing into fears that the LGBT community is hardly ever treated fairly on TV when it comes to their happiness. They probably did fear that something like this couldn’t be avoided, with the way the story was laid out across six episodes, Lexa’s death having to occur within a certain time period, with Clarke’s progression to lay in around that arc.
But I don’t think any of it was done cavalierly. I think it was a tough choice and my takeaway from this is simply: creating anything, especially something that takes great risks, is difficult and comes sometimes with a great cost.
Burn it all down
I’ve seen a number of people on social media swearing off the show forever.
So, basically, let’s ignore everything good the show has given us and throw it all away because of one scene. Makes perfect sense.
There’s also people saying they’ll keep watching the show, they just won’t watch it live or promote it on social media. Again, makes perfect sense. Is that spider dead yet?
Look, you don’t have to agree with me, and I’m certain I’ve lost some respect from people I don’t even know because I’m seemingly tone deaf to the concerns of the LGBT community. But looking at the show from a larger perspective and its role in telling the hard stories with high stakes with people who aren’t defined by their physical or sexual characteristics is rare.
This show has offered me far more than debatably falling into a regrettable trope. I’ve found role models, moral crevasses to explore, leadership philosophies to debate, crazy scifi theories to ruminate over, and incredible performances by a largely unknown cast to be in awe over. I can’t ignore what I’ve gained by watching The 100. It’s up to everyone to decide what they do moving forward, but I’m deathly afraid of spiders and my house is still standing.
So, I’m a bad supporter of LGBT issues, right?
I can’t possibly know what it’s like to go through life as a LGBT individual. I know it hasn’t been easy for a lot of people. I firmly support LGBT rights. My older…much much older…brother came out to me in the 80’s when I was still in junior high. My response to him, not really knowing what all of it meant: “do whatever makes you happy.” So, I’ve got skin in the game. Because of loved ones, dear friends, and because it’s the right thing.
I may now be “part of the problem” because I’m not as outraged as a lot of people are over this whole “kill the lesbian” trope. People may think that I simply don’t get it because I’m “the other.” Or because I refuse to draw battle lines.
If I’m going to pick a hill to die on, it’s going to be marriage equality or non-discrimination acts or anti-hate crime laws or voting for progressive candidates.
This trope simply isn’t my hill to die on, folks. I’ve thought about it. I’ve analyzed it, and I’ve put a little trust in a writing team that has shown much more sensitivity than not about issues surrounding gays, women, men, physical limitations, and race. I’m grateful for how challenging this show can be. Many of the choices they make are heart wrenching and they invoke strong emotions from the fans.
To me, the scales are overwhelming weighted towards the positive – they’ve done a ton of good by introducing these characters to the world.
Truthfully, we would not have such strong reactions if they gave us paint-by-numbers characters or story lines. They’ve created a deep, rich world filled with complicated and nuanced characters. I can’t kick The 100 to the curb when the voice in the back of my head tells me this isn’t the hill for me to die on.
So, make your judgments about the show and about me, but I beg of you: heart AND head. Find the nuance in your feelings, consider the contrary opinion. And most importantly, get out of those echo chambers that merely re-enforce your point of view. Nothing kills intellectual pursuits and debate and nuance more than surrounding yourself with those that parrot your beliefs right back at you.
My Heart Breaks For Clarke – But We Need Her To Rub Some Windex On It And Dig Deep And Get Back In The Game
Clarke is, and always will be, my favorite character on The 100. But this season, she hasn’t really been herself. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. She doesn’t have that Wanheda swagger that comes from being a leader and doing all the heavy-lifting when it comes to making the hard choices.
She came to Polis a broken person from what she did at Mount Weather and is now completely destroyed and heartbroken from Lexa’s death. How does she navigate her way from here, especially considering she and Murphy are now essentially prisoners in Polis and in danger from the kill order against Skaikru? And how does she regain her strength and will to fight on? When does Dark Clarke come back and start kicking asses for – say it with me kids – her people?
I think she may have some involvement in the Conclave since it doesn’t seem she’s leaving Polis for another couple of episodes. I cannot wait to see what comes of that, and if my guess is correct, Ontari rises to the top of that novitiate class. Now, remember Ontari stopped Clarke from killing Nia and likely doesn’t have any warm fuzzies for Clarke considering she’s Azgeda and they are the most warriory of all the warrior clans. Skaikru is the enemy…or was when Nia was alive. Does Ontari swear allegiance to Roan now that he’s the Ice King, or will she go rogue? I can’t wait for this.
More importantly, how much of Lexa’s “spirit” will move on to Ontari through A.L.I.E. v2.0? Trying not to ship here, people, but…Contari? LOL…shipping already and the body’s not even cold. Jesus. This is so wrong of me, considering I’m so against Clarke with anyone for the next 30 seasons. I’m weak.
And what of that shady rat bastard Titus? Will he keep his word to Lexa and protect Clarke? Is he on this way to a Redemption ArcTM? This is another dynamic I can’t wait to see play out.
Clarke And Lexa And The Ultimate Weapon – Love
I firmly believe, based on what Jason Rothenberg has said in interviews, that love will win the day. It is the ultimate power this season. Clarke will make her way into the City of Light, driven by her love of her people and the need to save them. It will also help her navigate that place and defeat it – with Lexa’s help.
That’s my ultimate take-away. Don’t give up hope on these two formidable women ever meeting again. A.L.I.E. v1.0 destroyed the world once, and she’ll imprison all of humanity if she can to “make life better.” I will repeat my phrase regarding the City of Light: it is existence without authenticity.
Clarke could become the City of Light’s ultimate victim, its most prized possession – the woman who fights tirelessly to save people, to fix things, to make things right. Someone who will do anything for her friends and family. If there’s anyone filled with more pain for the CoL to take away, it’s Clarke. The CoL could take all of that away…and take away her reason for fighting. It might even make her forget Lexa, which would be repeating the heartbreak of this episode all over again.
But she’ll see Lexa again. Perhaps for the last time in any tangible way when the two of them unite for one more battle. This time, no betrayals. No questions. Nothing but scratching and clawing and wielding their strength and wits to free their people and themselves from this fake reality that destroys the things that make us human. These two are going to kick some ass.
One last ride.
In peace, may you leave this shore.
In love, may you find the next.
Safe passage on your travels, until our final journey to the ground.
May we meet again.
- My ship, Slarke (soap + Clarke): unbent, unbroken. Unlike my heart right now.
- Did you high-five yourself when Clarke called Murphy “my friend”? Because I did. I’m so looking forward to this pair in Polis. Please don’t revert to your shitbird ways, Murphy. I need you to be Clarke’s Flamekeeper right now. You’re the only one who saw her heart break. She need you, bro.
- I wrote this review with my The 100 playlist from Spotify playing all damn day. It’s got music from the whole series plus some curated stuff that reminds me of the show. If you’d like to take a peek, you can find it right here.
- How many vials of the black substance did Becca bring down to earth with her? Did she use them all to create the Nightbloods? Or is the some left for anyone else to use to become a Nightblood? (Staring really hard at Clarke right now…my head cannon has her become fucking Muad’Dib by series end).
- Notice that “what have I done?” is spoken by both Becca, as she watches the destruction of the earth, and Titus, after he shot Lexa, and destroyed Clarke’s world.
- I had to rewatch parts of this episode a lot for this review. I cried every time. EVERY TIME. Day drinking is perhaps not my thing. It makes all the feels more feelier.
- David Peterson, creator of Trigedasleng, has translated the Traveler’s Blessing:
Kom chilnes yu na ban sishou-de au,
Kom hodnes yu na hon neson op.
Gouthru klir hashta yu soujon, Kom taim oso fali kom daun gon graun-de.
Mebi oso na hit choda op nodotaim.
- I use “y’all” a lot. Truth be told, I’m a yankee. Born and raised in the ‘burbs of Chicago. But when I moved down to Houston 22 years ago after college, they issued me the word “y’all” at the Texas border and I’ve been using it ever since.
- This was my longest review yet. Thanks for sticking around and reading it. I’m doing this for the love of the game, I’m just here so I don’t get fined, and I’m just trying to be the best teammate I can be. (Houston will miss you Arian Foster!)
“Thirteen”: 9.5 out of 10 Beccas falling from space
There are some The 100 bloggers you should absolutely be reading, and I offer them up for your enjoyment; I have no affiliation with any of them, save for being a fan:
- Jo Garfein – doing some great intellectual lifting when analyzing the show, and check out her The 100 podcast with AJ Mass, also found on Scifi Mafia at this link.
- Erin Brown – unfairly beautiful writing. Like seriously, stop being so good.
- Toni_watches – piss your goddamn pants funny photo recaps.
If you’re a fan of the show, join us on Reddit for deep discussions, wacky shenanigans, Trigedasleng lessons, and our weekly Breadheda-watch. Bread drein, bread daun.
Breadheda is gone, folks. Fuck Breadheda, we don’t need her anyway. I’m going to cry into my sexy beardy Kane body pillow now.
I thank your scotch and you for putting a funny note on the wake of Lexacatomb. It is a -as usual- very insightful analysis. I share most of it, except I do have an issue with pacing and consistency and decisions that have sent me on a spin – but not just about Lexa (shared them in my own blog, if at all interested). I liked your take that the manner of death is quite The100ish. Again, I don’t see it The 100ish for a couple of reasons, but hey, it’s all about perspectives!.
I really want to see where all this is headed. I have new theories in my head, but I think that, unlike you, I need the motion sickness from the über compression of timeframes and Gforce speed the show has taken, at critical times rolling over important stuff like a Panzer tank on steroid.
Again, thanks for pulling off such a great analysis out of the very noisy Lexacatomb 😉
Thank you. This was a tough review to write. It took all day. Like 12 hours. And lots of scotch. Reading your blog now.
Well written…funny…passionate…and believable on all accounts except one…they didn’t have to KILL her!!!! For Pete’s sake, Anyah chewed some kind of chip out of her own arm!!! You don’t think they could’ve removed the “tiny octopus” (a reference used by another blogger) from a live and ass-kicking Lexa and succeeded in moving the story line forward? Sure they could’ve…but chose not to. And will our last glimpse of Lexa in the season/series finale be the same type of interaction Clarke had with Finn…peeking out of the bushes????
You are a wonderful and talented writer and I thank you for expressing yourself so eloquently…but…this bears repeating…THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO KILL HER!!! (All caps represent passion, not anger.) 😭
So, Lexa just rides off into the sunset, never to be seen again? She can’t work on two shows with FTWD now 16 episodes long and shooting in Mexico. We were lucky to have ADC for the time we did. I wish she was still alive too, but the reality of the situation demanded closure.
How about this scenerio…Chipless Lexa slips away from Polis, since her Commander skills are no longer needed, and Clarke stashes her in the underground bunker that she and peek-a-boo Finn copulated in once upon a time. She is a stay at home bunkerwife spending the day making scented candles (cause I hear there’s a big demand for them in nearby Polis) while Clarke kicks ass and takes names above ground. When the daytime job whistle blows (like on The Flintstones) Clarke comes home and they spoon feed each other 97 year old canned corn. Problem Solved…BOOM! drop the mic…Peace Out!
or…Lexa heads for the border and uses Skype. 💯💻😉
I have to agree with the OP. They didn’t have to kill Lexa. Chipless Lexa could go away & hide into the woods (just as Clarke did for 3 months & would do for even more if Lexa hadn’t sent anyone to get her..) ’cause now, Lexa, would’ve lost herself, her meaning in life & would need time to process everything. And If Alycia’s schedule would ever allow her to be in the 100 again she could do it… There were so many things about Lexa that we could explore and didn’t have the time. It’s a shame to lose such a briliant and well written character
I feel oddly defensive of Becca… maybe that’s just my newfound love for Erica Cerra talking, but I dunno. I was almost ready to forgive her for creating ALIE and basically killing everyone. I’m still really excited about those flashbacks #UnityDay #FuckAlphaStation
I still have mixed feelings about Lexa’s death. On one hand, I saw it coming a mile away because of exactly what JR said in an interview recently. You don’t name drop reincarnation and not follow through with the process. The whole “technological reincarnation” stuff we’re getting with the Conclave will be worth it. On the other hand, the fandom took it really badly. I’m glad that the anger isn’t between ships, but if that means that means it’s directed toward the creators/actors then idk.. I wish there didn’t have to be anger at all, I guess.
For the record, I don’t think you’re a bad LGBT supporter. But hey, what do I know? 😛
Clarke continues to frustrate me and we’re approaching midseason. I love how O finally called her out, though. I’m hoping spending some time with Murphy will help her. I want them to gtfo of Polis, but I also want a POV at the Conclave so…. I guess no Clarke/Raven+Monty+Jasper any time soon #ClarkeComeHome
9/10 from me. I’m a sucker for flashbacks, science fiction, and John Murphy.
Here’s hoping Arkadia improves next week :)))) Save us, Marcus! Take back the pin!
I kinda fucking love Becca too. She recognized what she had created and went and tried to do better. Unfortunately, her monster got loose and destroyed everything. What ALIE v1.0 does next is going to be fascinating and utterly frightening because it will be out of an AI’s “good intentions” and not knowing how to actually do good.
Clarke will come around. Don’t lose faith. I want Murphy to so be there for her and get her back up on that horse. Like I wrote, he’s the only one that saw her heart break into a million pieces. I believe he’s a good guy down deep. C’mon Murphy! Be that guy.
I love your articles, and I can’t say I really disagree with anything you’ve written. My HEAD gets it. But my poor little queer heart is down-trodden, beaten, and just really almost unspeakably sad.
I’ve been watching TV for a long time. I love scifi and I’ve probably consumed every form of media that has a scrap of lesbian content in it. I’ve watched characters that were meant to “represent” me die time and time again, even inexplicably in content created by lesbians for lesbians. I’ve NEVER had a fictional relationship resonate with me the way Clarke and Lexa’s did. And that is a credit to the show and the writers, it really is.
Factoring in all that you mentioned and I know to be true as well, if I could change one thing about the way the story unfolded, it would be the juxtaposition of the love and death scenes. Blend 7 + 8 to get some separation, some time to be happy, some time to process. I can honestly say I’ve never gone from such elation to such utter despondency in such a short period of time. Based on the degree of my reaction, it must have tapped previous trauma experienced by my little gay self because it’s been a while since I’ve cried that hard for that long and literally never abt a freaking TV show. It was too much, too fast, and deserved a little more care.
Consider this, please. I’m in my mid-30s, my wife and I have 3 perfect daughters. I am a living, breathing representation of the It Gets Better meme bc 15 years ago I literally thought I would die alone in a cabin w my 50 dogs, and now? I couldn’t dream of a better life for myself. And yet, I still was reduced to a quivering wreck, all those old feelings of worthlessness and never finding love resurfacing. I think abt all those young queer kids who looked up to Lexa and Clarke, who thought this would be their time to have the happy ending, and the utter devastation that Lexa’s death has wrought upon them, and my HEART shatters for them because a lot of them don’t know yet that It Gets Better. They are still in the struggle, the battle to be seen, heard, and validated that their lives matter as much as anyone else’s.
I do not condone the bullying and harassment. It’s beyond reprehensible. But people are upset and I guess grieving is an appropriate word for it (although I don’t want to diminish your current personal loss). Many are doing it in appropriate ways, trending statements of solidarity on Twitter, consoling each other on tumblr. Others are not, and that is unfortunate. I do not plan to boycott the show, but I can understand why others would. It’s their way of exerting their control, their agency over something that they have NO control over, but so desperately yearn for, positive queer representation. Our queer kids NEED that. Heck, I need that.
However, I know it’s not specifically The 100’s burden to bear. It’s a trope for a reason, many shows have gone this route. And in the case of this show, I do feel her death was “earned” for the most part, so I can get past it b/c I’m an adult who’s lived in the real world for a loooong time. Here’s the part I really take issue with. The creators and writers consciously engaged fans, specifically about this story and relationship. They asked for their feedback, their trust, and their support. And they got it…in spades. The queer community (esp the younger demographic) did their part. They tweeted, they promoted the show, they wrote fic, they had HOPE. And whether they should have or not, b/c I do know what show we are all watching, the fact is, they did. Because the creator, and to a lesser extent the writers and actors, asked them to, told them that they could trust them, they understood, that they deserved respect and representation. And I’m sorry, to almost every LGBTQ person I know that means we are not going to kill your favorite queer character using the same damn tired trope.
I knew Lexa was going to die. The actresses’ schedule demanded it; the story demanded it. But reading everything that was being championed on social media, even I had a sliver of some small…maybe this will be OUR story, where we get the happy ending. Even knowing Lexa would likely die, I just really didn’t expect it in this episode…for reasons, like lots of them. I think people are in shock. They were not prepared. I know I wasn’t. We were told to watch live, told not to spoil, and now I realize it was so they could maximize the amount of social media attention they were getting before everyone found out Lexa was just another dead queer woman.
I don’t think the creators or writers are homophobic, but also to my knowledge, none of them are LGBTQ. And I’m sorry, if you are a straight person writing queer stories you just have to do better, educate yourself more, and learn how damaging this is to our community. When you are in the majority, you can never KNOW what it’s like to walk in the shoes of the minority. They could have asked any gay person how this would go down, and they would have said the same…badly. I would have told you it would be like shooting a flaming arrow into a poisonous mutant sapwood tree.
I’m white. I would never to presume to know the experience of a POC. I certainly wouldn’t try to tell them their feeling about feeling hurt and betrayed were invalid. An actual apology would have gone a long way probably, but instead the creator is more concerned with defending himself and telling people they are wrong for how they feel, that it’s not what he intended. Well, when you create content for public it doesn’t matter what you intend, what matters is how you make people feel. You can stand by your story and your work and still show sympathy and remorse. It’s beyond demeaning to just retweet tweets from the one or two queer media outlets that have kinda/sorta supported or come to terms with what you did. Javier’s response has been exemplary. I love what he’s doing. He’s giving people a voice. I have a lot of respect for the writers and I am as appalled at the hate as anyone. No one deserves that, but I do sort of feel like they had a hand in creating the monster.
I do hope you don’t take this as a personal attack. I don’t mean it to be. This probably isn’t even the appropriate forum, but I’ve been emotional about this for days and I’m tired, and my heart is weary. I just wanted to try to explain (not justify vile actions) why people are so, so hurt and angry. I am a lesbian and this death cut me deeply, and it has ramifications to our community, that a straight person just can’t understand. Even if they are our staunchest ally (and I believe you when you say you are), they just can’t, so they shouldn’t presume to.
That’s it; that’s my beef with the show and my only quibble with your otherwise excellent post. I can appreciate the actual story. It was deeply tragic and beautifully written. But the baiting on social media prior to her death and the apparent lack of getting it after are just really, really distasteful to me. I can’t say enough how much I respect your writing and your analysis of the show. You are truly brilliant. Feel free to delete this post if you find it the least bit hurtful or objectionable. I assure you that is not my intent. If you tell me I hurt your feelings, I will apologize 🙂
I will continue to watch the show. I enjoyed it before Lexa, and I hope I can enjoy it after. There’s enough there to keep me coming back for now: badass ladies, mythology, Clarke, Clarke, Clarke. But here’s the difference, now I’m only offering my head, before Lexa’s death, The 100 had my heart.
❤👏 Well put!
Well said, thank you!
yup, I honestly think it was one of the best episodes of the series, even though how they orchestrated the whole thing (sex-death) was…well bring back bad memories. It was little bit cheap..
But the thing that bothers me the most, is how they interacted with LGBT community on social media, when they knew how this story is going to end and when.
There are people like you and me, who are able to approach the whole thing in a more reasonable way, maybe because we are a little bit older than most kids on twitter.
But again, it is a very thin line between promotion and manipulation and I think they crossed that line.
Sure, honesty is not something that is required in marketing, but they should be more careful.
Aw, you catched what I cannot put into words very-very well -> “now I’m only offering my head, before Lexa’s death, The 100 had my heart.”
I’m not in the LGBT segment, I lost a role model, what this world would need: women can be heros on their on right, women can be strong, wise, powerful, brave, they can be leaders and warriors, and they can be lovers the same time. The way as she died is a lame, at that what pisses me. At least give her some respect saving her lover, if not her people.
She was a hero, a warrior, the Commander, the Heda, an idea. And ideas fall in glory, not in accidents.
I’m crying for Lexa, the lost idea, and I’m crying for myself, that maybe it is said, but a tiny part, waht wanted to show feelings in art, died too. And that is the greatest loss what you can have.
When it is told it is just a character, just a show, then keep in mind. How many great acts have been done under influence of ideas, philosophy morals? These are told in stories like Iliad. These stories shapes our thinking, so even a tv show has this effect. And yes, someone hast to be responsible what is told and how.
The morals, the impressions of “bad” and “good”, the layers of human soul, the greatest and worst acts are told by books, verses, pictures, arts, and nowadays in tv shows and movie. If you say it is “just a tv show”, you say everyhting ever written and been rad is “just fiction” which doesn’t effect humans. And it is NOT TRUE!
Personally, the groundbreaking storytelling what I miss. We got clichés in S3, and bad pacing, editing and story telling.
I want to be back, just I don’t know if I can’t. TheoryKru is still strong, but FunKru and ArtKru died in me.
This is one of the best commentaries I have read anywhere during this aftermath. It felt like I was reading my own feelings and thoughts and backstory to a tee! My wife and I are also in our thirties and are quite astounded by how much this has affected us. That in turn has made our hearts hurt and worry even more for all the mini-gays out there who will be profoundly affected by this, and who don’t have the best support systems in place. I agree with everything you have said and feel like the irresponsibility that has been wielded with this turn of events cannot be overstated. I said this morning that I have to hold on to some hope that the one benefit that might come from this happening, and the ferocious backlash (of which the abusive side of it I wholeheartedly condemn), is that it might trickle through to future stories and showrunner’s consciousnesses, and that one day we might be treated with equality, fairness and respect. Kudos to you. If you haven’t already I highly recommend you post your comments on Tumblr or Twitter or somewhere where people can read them, share them, and take comfort from them. Also, I would love to see you share this with JRoth, as it would be good for him to consider ALL measured views, not just ones that agree with him!
I’m glad my post resonated. When I was writing it last night at 1 am, it felt a lot more like the deranged ramblings of a lesbian on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
I don’t really have a presence on social media. I use Twitter and tumblr to follow the shows I like, laugh at memes, and look at pretty gifs.
However if anyone wants to take any part of my post and share it with others on any medium you desire, please feel free if you think it will help someone find a tiny sliver of relief.
As for Jason, I just really don’t think he’s listening.
If you need a friendly ear, someone to vent to, or just someone to need out about television with, you can find me at pinksasquatch24 on tumblr. Please, please care of yourselves, everyone, and if you can’t, please ask for help.
I’m gay and an adult so like you I’ve been in this world long enough to be…jaded enough to handle this blow. But I was also once a 15 year old (unbeknownst to me then, already bipolar) kid watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer when Tara was shot by a random stray bullet after finally having sex with her girlfriend again whom she had been estranged for a while.
Deja vu never felt this painful.
I hope the gay kids out there hang in there. The pain WILL lessen.
What a fantastic response to a fantastic analysis! I too am in my 30s, and my partner and I have been having ongoing conversations about not only the episode and our feelings on it, but the quite amazing social discourse that has taken place afterwards.
I agree with most everything Jennifer has written. It took me a beat to arrive at those conclusions as well. It’s been over 48 hours of internal analysis, critical reading, and observation of what’s been going on in the social media realm. I’ve made peace with losing possibly my favorite fictional character of all time, I’m excited to see the storyline progress because I do still enjoy the show and I know the memory of Lexa is not lost and is still integral to the storyline, and my only real qualms about what happened lie in the pacing of the storyline, regardless of the constraints the production team had in working with ADC. (all hail ADC!!) It was too much for many to take in one sitting.
But I think what CD said in their response is key; while there is never any excuse for hate speech or tasteless disrespectful behavior, I’m not sure that the powers behind The 100 realized that they were building up a fragile and largely very YOUNG queer audience before this episode. Who remembers how they felt and acted as a teenager? Emotional reaction is pretty much all you know. The 100 team presented us with a seriously heavy episode – it had deep emotional affects, even on us adults, and a lot of these young fans aren’t capable of processing these very intense feelings – especially when for many, their only support system and community are other friends and fans online.
So, I will still be watching The 100 because I respect the show as a whole for what it is. But I seriously hope that someone out there in TV-making-land is watching the social dialogue that is going on right now and realizes that the LGBT community is desperately hungry for another story like Lexa’s, and can give it to us in a way that is as meaningful and ultimately satisfying as it *almost* was on this show.
This is so beautifully written and I can’t really come up with the response it deserves. But others are reading your comment and giving it and you the love it deserves.
I do hope that The 100 captures your heart again. I think it has many more stories, empowering for everyone, to tell before it’s over. With great risk comes great reward, and sometimes even greater heartbreak.
Thank you so much, almost exactly my thoughts all the way through, perfectly articulated, as well. Nothing else to add.
To Jennifer: first: Lagavullin 16j is THE best choice for THAT! Had one myself last night. second: still love your reviews ALOT.
Lagavulin is on the complete opposite side of the malt map where I usually play, so it was a shock. But oh my god, so smooth. I may learn to like the peat funk after all.
I agree with you, this is what I take most offense with. The false hope and engagement from the team. That is why it is referred to as queerbaiting. They reaped the benefits from giving a marginalized group false hope. I’m a bit older, but still it felt like 15 year old me watching Tara all over again.
What she said…..wow!! This may be the best articulated thing I’ve read about why the uproar from fans and the why behind the emotions. Bravo and kudos CD. *slow clap
I love the way you put this into words. I agree with a lot of what the author wrote, and for a few days after 307 I couldn’t put my feelings into words. I will continue to finish season 3. I followed the 100 before Lexa came onto the show, and I will continue to do so after she’s gone. I am grateful to have experienced this magnificent character, and I believe Lexa will continue to exist in our minds. It’s sad that they focused so much attention and effort in developing a character for 6 episodes out of the 7 so far in Season 3, knowing full well they will be writing her out. Alycia Debnam-Carey certain has shined in this role, brilliant actress. Like you said… The difference is… Now I’m only offering my head. Before Lexa’s death, The 100 had my heart as well. Beautifully said.
Thank you for your comment! You say everything that I think in this, straight people don’t understand they can’t (and I hope that they never literally understand I don’t wish this for anybody) our hurt, but they can ask, educate themselves, and be more carefull with who/what they deal. And this is as people in Twitter say “We deserved better” and I still have hope that someday we will have so much better.
And I totally agree with —> “now I’m only offering my head, before Lexa’s death, The 100 had my heart.”
PS: English is not my first language sorry for any mistakes
Just a random thought while reading this. Didn’t we see the briefcase Becca came down with when Murphy was exploring? What if it still has the syringes with the black stuff in them, or at least one, and Clarke takes it? Theoretically then, wouldn’t she be considered a Nightblood and an option to become Heda?
Yes! We didn’t see if any vials of the black substance was left, though. Becca could have used it all to create the original nightbloods. But she had a ton of vials, so doing the math and assuming the blood is passed down through children, there would be a ton of nightbloods running around. But conclave sizes are small. Makes you wonder. Are any vials left?
I am a woman in a same-sex marriage. I grew up in an age where I saw no same-sex couples on tv, but managed to maneuver myself into a successful and happy life with much love that includes three beautiful children. That being said, I completely understand where some of the fandom is coming from (including my own wife), but I don’t agree with them. I have always been anti-label (again, much to the aggravation of my wife who claims I am the worst lesbian ever. My point is that I don’t see myself as a lesbian, just me, who loves who I love). I completely agree with your take on Lexa’s death; even the issue of timing. Do I wish it had been different? Yes. Did I cry my eyes out for hours after and if I’m being truthful am still heartbroken over 2 days later? Hell yes! Do I wish with all my heart that they had more time to be happy, than the commercial break? Yes, but I understand. Do I wish it didn’t almost mirror exactly the lesbian death in Buffy? More than I can possibly say, but again, I understand and respect the need for it to have been Titus.Most importantly – am I going to keep watching? Double to the HELL YES! I started watching this show in S1, and I fell in love with it for all the reasons you mentioned. It got more exciting for me and I certainly got more invested and obsessed with the show through Lexa, but the show and the other characters I love are still there. All of the elements are still there, and that is enough to keep me interested. I will miss Lexa and I have nothing but respect and admiration for ADC’s portrayal of her. She is excellent and brought such depth to Lexa that I think made her so much more than what was written, and I look forward to more time with her in the season finale. Thank you for writing and eloquent post and sharing your very real feelings and thoughts with us.
could Novitiate Number 8 be Roan?! Probably not, but it would answer a lot of the questions surrounding him. Why he was a prisoner, why he was such a disappointment to his mother, why he seemed to have a bond/allegiance toward Lexa over his own mother. He seems about the right age, just a bit older than Lexa.
Im probably way off, but I like that as an option.
Roan bleeds red, so he would not be eligible to be Commander.
I appreciate your analysis into why we in the LGBT community are down trodden at Lexa’s death. You’re right, it’s partly because most lesbian tv characters die, and it’s partly because it was so soon after Lexa and Clarke finally came together. But what everybody seems to not understand is, the main reason for the anger, despair, and sadness expressed by fans is because we were lead to believe we would stay alive. We were told and encouraged by Jason, by all the writers that Clexa was special, was important, that the message of this season was love. How many times did Jason retweet something praising Lexa? How many fan interactions did he have supporting Lexa? I’m sorry, but for whatever way you look at that as a young queer girl who has only seen sad representations of herself in the media, that is a bright ass shining star of hope the heads at the 100 seemed to know we would cling to. And they were so happy to let us live in blissful ignorance. They were fine with us telling all our friends to follow Jason on twitter so we could maybe see some more Clexa, they were fine with us praising the 100 ALL over social media about how progressive it was. They knew what was coming, and they let us have hope. It’s bad when your entire media representation growing up has died in front of your eyes. But it’s absolutely traumatising when you have been tricked into believing that this time maybe, maybe it would be different.
Analyse the show and the reason for Lexa’s death all you want. You’re right, it was about the plot, and it was about schedules. But what we young (and old) girls are the most devastated with, is how we were used. And that, no matter how much you try to, is something you will never understand if you are an underrepresented minority.
I’m sorry if this felt like an attack. It’s not at all. I did enjoy your analysis, especially the Becca part. I felt like I just had to comment though, because you seem rational, and I hope that this explanation has given you some insight into one of the biggest reasons why we are all so hurt. Try to imagine walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. Thanks for your time.
What if Novitiate Number 8 is Roan??! Probably not, but it would answer a lot of questions surrounding him. Like why he was a prisoner of Lexa’s, why his mother banished him, why he seems to maybe have a better relationship/allegiance toward Lexa than his own mother. He seems about the right age, just a bit older than Lexa.
Like probably isn’t, but wouldn’t that be interesting?! I like it
Also UGH this review was amazing, you get 10 out of 10 Beccas haha. But really, I wish everyone (especial certain angsty ppl on social media) would read this and see the episode form this point of view. I cried when watching this episode, but only a few cheek tears when the little girls voice cut out and the world i know and love was destroyed in one foul swoop. I was too caught up in what Titus was doing during Lexas death to be emotionally effected by it, but I have watched it a dozen times now and it is beautiful and heart wrenching. I am still too fascinated by Alie 2.0 to fully commit to the sadness of the scene, and maybe that why i find the general fan reaction to be so shocking.Like seriously, so much hate and its still going days later.
I really wish every fan of the show would read this review, i will be back next week to see how your theories are panning out.
This review was like it came straight from my own mind, it hit all the right points. Personally i am a part of the Lgbt commuinty and found nothing offensive in the episode. My one complaint would be the struturing of the episode, they should have had at least one scene between the sex scene and death scene. Lexa was my favourite character since the moment she came on screen pretending to be a harmless little girl and i have never been so emontially exhausted than after this episode. But i understand the story and the outside forces that made her death neccessry. I do not hold that there was queer baiting, clarke and lexa’s relationship was firmly established. it wasn’t consummated until the twelve hour but that doesn’t mark the begining of their relationship. It sucks that she’s dead and i wish FTWD didn’t exist but i’m very glad the writers didn’t let a limited time scale effect how they portrayed the clarke and lexa relationship. I’m going to continuing watching this show cos of clarke, raven, octavia, abby, murphy..etc.
Your review so completely articulates my own reaction to the episode. This is one where time is needed to let everything settle before being able to reflect properly. It was an emotional rollercoaster, that is for sure.
A lot of people seem to be upset that Lexa’s death happened basically straight after the love scene but I actually think it was better. Maybe, I’m in the minority here with my opinion, but if only everyone could have a moment of pure happiness just before death. Might make it easier to face. Also, if Lexa died a so called ‘heroic’ death then it would have been difficult to have the beautiful and quiet deathbed scene that followed.
And you are right, the death (as much as I hate losing one of my all time favourite characters) is one of the most important moments of the show that ties everything together and sends it hurtling forward. And now I can’t wait to see where it goes and who will get control of ALIE2 . I’ll just be heartbroken in the meantime.
Great review but I think your a bit off in the 8th night blood. You said Costia was unlikely but they way Lexa didn’t want to talk about it makes it seem it is her
Actually, my logic is off on Costia too, so I need to go back in and make a correction. It is entirely possible that Costia was part of the novitiate class with Lexa, Costia was spared (so no circle on the tattoo), then Nia killed her.
Ur just awesome! And hey, my money for the next Heda is all-in for Clarke. It is so obvious, she came from the sky (so no need for nightblood) and is all in for the peacefull world.
I hate that they had to kill Lexa off because obvious productional problems but what I also think is, this was just too important for the whole story for not to happen. My heart bleeds for Lexa, and Clarke, and Lexa and Clarke BUT this is not a show about relationships. This is one hell of a story of humankind and politics and shit and I for one love how writers and Jason doesn’t sacrifice the story for making soap that pleases everyone. Like that shitty romance drama Quantico. A show about FBI novitiates and terrorist attack my ass!!
I’m LGBT person and u know…I agree with e-ve-ry-thing you wrote. So thanks!
This is a very good review, thank you for sharing.
Lagavulin is in it s own league, true. Which is what it qualifies it to be the right choice for a moment like this. As written above so eloquently from CD my head is still with The 100, my heart is not. It will be very difficult for them to get it back!
My head though still wants to know about AI and AI2 and the other elements of the story moreover i sort of HAVE TO follow Clarke, who once again has to deal with a mossive blow …
The treatment of POC on this show opens a whole other can of worms, so I’ll keep my comments geared towards the LGBTQ issue.
“This trope simply isn’t my hill to die on, folks. I’ve thought about it. I’ve analyzed it, and I’ve put a little trust in a writing team that has shown much more sensitivity than not about issues surrounding gays, women, men, physical limitations, and race. I’m grateful for how challenging this show can be. Many of the choices they make are heart wrenching and they invoke strong emotions from the fans.”
I was okay with your review until I read this paragraph. As an LGBT POC, I was pretty offended by these words. It’s not your place to tell LBGTQ folks what “their hill to die on is.” Media representation is one of the biggest battlefronts for the LGBTQ community in gaining acceptance in the mainstream audience. The fact that the “Dead Lesbian Trope” and “Queerbaiting” and “LGBTQ Villain” still exists in popular TV shows in 2016 affects the community, and should not be relegated as less important than “same-sex marriage, etc.”
Changing representation of LGBTQ individuals in the media (what reaches middle America and Donald Trump voters) is all a part of the larger role in ending discrimination against these people. Just like the representation of minorities/POC in general in the media. See #oscarssowhite
So I appreciate the fact that you admit that you are not LGBTQ but you can’t diminish the importance that people who are a member of that community and want to change the way we are represented in the media give to these “hills” in defeating damaging tropes.
I wrote that this trope isn’t MY hill to die on. I appreciate that people want to go battle the show creators over how Lexa died, but I won’t be in that army. I cannot and will not tell you what you should fight for and I hope I didn’t come across as doing that. I’m simply stating my point of view and what battles I personally am willing to fight. I appreciate your comments and take them to heart.
By discussing “marriage equality or non-discrimination acts or anti-hate crime laws or voting for progressive candidates” as more important than battling these tropes, you did pass judgment – my point is that it’s all part of the larger issue of non-discrimination and that words matter.
I appreciate you clarifying your position that that’s not what you meant.
“To me, the scales are overwhelming weighted towards the positive – they’ve done a ton of good by introducing these characters to the world.”
What’s the point of introducing characters if the endings do more harm than good? LGBTQ characters have been around for a while now in the media – but the majority of these representations are negative. Here, with queer women, we are left with:
1. Costia – dead
2. Lexa – dead
3. Niylah – beaten for protecting Clarke
4. Clarke – tragic hero – enough said
(5. Bonus Monroe – Katie Stuart played her as gay though not officially canon – dead).
So, yes, we had four queer women introduced on the show – but the way they are represented matters. What good is the representation in the first place if the outcome is negative? And what does that say to LGBTQ individuals about their representation?
Again, my hills to die on are my own. I’m not passing judgment on anyone who chooses different things to prioritize, I can only explain MY reasoning behind my opinions.
I guess I also don’t view the representation of the queer women/men in this show as negative. I don’t put their deaths in the “mistreatment” of gays category because, to me, at least, they represent more than their deaths. They are all women to admire and celebrate. But again, my opinion.
And my filter is the reality of the world in which The 100 is set. Outcomes are often negative, for ALL people, not just those you focus on. And to me, that’s the larger theme of the story. I can’t presume to tell you how to view the world, the people in it, their lives or their deaths. I can only express my opinions and I’m not trying to be malicious or downplay the personal reactions of anyone else. I just felt I was rationalizing and justifying my take on the whole episode as I was processing my feelings. I can appreciate the disagreement, but I stand by my take. As you stand by yours.
Nice writeup, filled with points I firmly agree with (yay), and points that I don’t (also yay, difference of opinion is fine right).
I am a Lexa fan, a non straight person and an overall fan of The 100 show. I am one of those people that started watching because of Lexa. I have never seen season 1, and only started watching season 2 when a picture of a girl with really big mascara/eyeliner mishap flashed up and appeared on my cyber radar. I thought, “this girl has over egged the makeup, but yet she looks quite hot!” Further pondering ensues. “Who is she, what is this image that I’m seeing”…. Click, click, click…., “oh this is a tv show, and she is, wait…., a bloody thirsty commander of some group of people called the grounders”. Eyes zoom in, interest builds up! So, I basically do a quick hunt for earlier episodes (through the wonder of youtube) to see what her backstory is, and I’m sold! This ALL BEFORE I learn that she’s a big gay, and before that kiss in the marquee.
I started watching because of Lexa, and by the end of series 2 I was watching for EVERYONE on the show. My TV love for this young female warrior had struck a chord with me, but other storylines and characters (obv to varying degrees) had locked me in for good too. So I am one of those Lexa fans that can’t be stereotyped as only watching something just because there is a hot lesbian character in it. Lexa steals scenes, but no doubt all the characters have their worth and I am not so deprived of gay characters on tv that I will only watch something crap just so I can soak up a bit of representation. If The 100 was a boring but had a gay character in it, I wouldn’t waste my time watching it. This general idea that gay people can only watch gay stories and gay characters has always irked me, because as if that luxury actually exists for non straight people. Anyway, luckily The 100 has a spread of stories and character intrigue that can offer something to everyone. Characters are male, female, straight, gay, young (lots of them obv), but older too and of different ethnic background too. I know there is some worry about the treatment of POC cropping up, but I will reserve judgement on that for now.
So, fast forward to season 3, episode Thirteen. Was my heart beating at a fast rate, yes! Were my lips quivering like Lexa’s, yes, and did I cry a river when my beloved Commander died, YES! Do I think that the show released Lexa into the heavens because her character was gay, NO! Do I think the timing of the BEAUTIFUL love making scene and then very quick (and almost equally beautiful) very SAD death scene felt somewhat ill timed, YES! But do I still think Lexa died more because of who she was in the overall sense rather than just because she was gay, YES, yes and yes!
Her death PAINS me, and I wish she was still alive. I wish the writers had found a way to extend her reign, but I will fully accept (even if disagree or have reservations) the writers’ and creators’ right to take any character where they see fit. One of the 100 writers has actually said the scheduling of Alycia’s FTWD vs The 100 schedule was not actually the main reason she was written out, but more because Lexa’s death had to happen to progress the wheels of change in the story. Do I wish they had found another way that didn’t involve Heda’s death in order to push the plot forward, yes of course I do. But again, do I respect that the writers and creators have a wider plan to stick to and execute, yes I do. Do I understand that some fans (gay and straight alike) feel it was cheap, lazy and easy, yes I do! Death can change a landscape of things, and tv uses this a lot. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Do I think it takes a brave and creative person to find a way to bring change to a landscape whilst still keeping someone important alive (like say a Heda figure), yes, I do, but I know that isn’t always easy, depending on lots of factors during the course of a season’s production (and in between). Ultimately the story is ours to digest as a viewer, but still the baby of the writers and overall creative team to nurture and look after as they please (whether we like it or not).
The writers do the showrunner’s bidding, so any personal attack on them that is not constructively targeted in an adult and fair minded manner, is ridiculous. Hell, even attacking Jason is pointless, not because your opinions don’t matter, they do, but because he will retain he has his own reasons for wanting what he wants and that can’t be changed, no matter what level of disappointment is expressed. He has brought us this show, so only loving him when he gives us what he wants, but then turning on him when he doesn’t is silly, imo. I understand the pain, but the forms of how some are channelling it, I don’t.
Now, this general idea that the only people sad at Lexa’s death are gay, is not true. I watched this episode with 3 other people, one male and two female and none of them are gay, but were bummed like hell that she had been killed. My nearest company on the sofa said to me “she’s died, wtf, what a waste, she’s more interesting than any of them Sky fallers”.. so, Lexa doesn’t just enchant us so called desperate and deprived gays, she reeled others in too. Her character was interesting enough (all layers, angles and aspects) to appeal to anyone that found a connection to her. Even some closeted Bellarke fans liked her as a individual on her own, just not within Clexa, haha.
Not all Lexa/Clexa fans are bad people, some spewing hateful drivel I’d suspect are trolls that have hijacked the fandom to use for their own agenda, esp when certain individuals quickly open and close accounts and say very little to back up their real knowledge of the actual show within the time that they’re commenting. It is not the first time that non fans of something adopt a fandom as an outlet to be rather strange. Of course that is NOT to ignore the ones that are real and not articulating themselves well, like AT ALL. Those individuals absolutely need to take a stand back, breath and then try again. I recommend tea/coffee and cuddling! Some of these angry filled individuals I’ve talked to (in response to angered filled posts) and, after some lines of deep discussion, you can unearth the person that knows/realises they are being unreasonable. Sometimes, certain individuals don’t recognise what they say and I try and quote the Oasis song to them “don’t look back in anger” and, most of the time, a guard of darkness falls and the anger is stripped away and all you are then left with is the sadness and regret of a human that just deeply loved and invested into a character that connected with them beyond what they had ever expected.
I do not condone any overly harsh or personal things that have been bounded around post episode thirteen. I, as a non straight person, recognise that some percentage of the gay part of the Lexa/Clexa fandom are perhaps projecting more of their own personal pain/issues in their own lives onto the show and collective creators. There should be a separation, it is unfair, and guilty thanks to the writers for absorbing it, even though they shouldn’t have to. I think, or guess, that most of them, despite knowing they are bearing the brunt for some fans personal unrelated real-life feelings, know and accept a lot of it because they recognise it’s hard for some viewers (for whatever reason) and just want to try and sympathise with them, even whilst know they are being treated unfairly. I suspect as professionals they are trying to rationalise some various comments coming back at them, and can prob recognise that not all of them hate as much as they seem to. Hate in itself is a word being far to over-used by lots of sides, and I don’t think, or so hope, that it is not actually being used with the real intent that a word of its enormity should be used for. The writers are just doing a tv job, in basic form, but for a greater purpose, trying to also tell stories that will evoke and stir the senses, so, that is prob why they understand that their writing is doing the job that they want, even if unrelated feelings come in to reactive play. Tv is just tv at times, but for some it’s vital communication too, even from those of fiction to those watching in reality. It’s a strange, weird and beautiful relationship at times. I felt uncomfortable with some of the writers feeling like they had to share some personal info to prove that they understand and feel the impact this episode has had on some gay people (via sharing issues that hurt and pained them in their own past or present). This whole social media outpouring seems like some strange spilling of tangents that were all evoked from one hurt. Pain is a strange thing, the way it stays within us and is stirred through things we see and do. Writers just have to articulate the show runners vision, so maybe by revealing their own pain to some fans, they were in some way trying to say they didn’t intend for it, it was just their job, but if they had a choice to write their own story, things would be different.
I know Lexa was special and important to people (whether gay, straight, bi, etc, young, older, etc). I just want to express my own take on the gay girl connection though, as it’s a more spread one than some think. Just like straight people, gay people and gay/bi girls in particular are diverse too. We are the same sometimes, but also different. We all all non straight, but we are individuals and, even within our group, we can conflict as well as conjoin. While I loved Lexa and want her back, I don’t necessarily share all the opinions of some other gay girls that feel they have been used with this storyline. I get it, it feels for some like it was just a stepping stone for ratings or to strengthen the arc of Bellarke. But eitherway, one, the other or none, it doesn’t excuse some views that are too personally involved. I understand FULLY the pain of being closeted and looking around and not knowing who to talk to as yourself, and how then watching tv and reading certain types of literature becomes ever SO IMPORTANT an outlet to try and release the real you, without having to actually say it or admit it to anyone outloud. So I understand how Lexa might have made you feel good, feel right and feel like you, even just as a fictional character, but that does mean you can bog someone else real down with your pain just because they took it away from you, no not really. Be constructively disappointed, but not more. It’s sad, it hurts and now you (and me) have to find something else to find comfort in, but you/me can do so, without hurting others (and ourselves in that process). Some disgruntled gay female voices do not speak for all of us, and I hope most 100 fans, the writers and other creators know that. We are individuals, and it’s best to just us as that, just as I judge others as individuals.
In general I think if we had more shows with more lesbians/bi females represented in them (as the luxury goes with shows that have an endless conveyor belt of good straight roles) maybe the feeling of another lost lesbian character wouldn’t feel so big, for some. The loss feels big, because the number thereafter (for further other escapism/relating to) is less. With straight portrayals, the sadness is not less because the number is more, but the period in between the grief of one ‘loss’ to the next ‘find’ might not be so long. The length and time in between investment of particularly gay characters (and good solid ones with substance), is longer (it seems), therefore the wait becomes more tedious and then the hope of times changing (regarding society and it’s reflection in media forms), feeling less and less. Of course Heda will be loved and the pain the same even if there were 100 gay females on tv, but, generally, more numbers offer people more chocies and outlets. It seems dramatic, hell it is dramatic, but it is the way it is, for now.
Anwyay, Lexa died, I didn’t like it, but I accept it! Alyica, Heda, the Commander will stay with me forever in my non straight beating heart. When this season ends and time has passed, I think we’ll all find our perspective again, I hope, for the sake of this show that has given us all something (at least for some time).
‘I firmly support LGBT rights. My older…much much older…brother came out to me in the 80’s when I was still in junior high. My response to him, not really knowing what all of it meant: “do whatever makes you happy.” So, I’ve got skin in the game.’ I am really glad you are an ally and thank you for supporting us and continuing to do so, this 100% isn’t a personal attack but with all due respect it really is not possible to fully understand what its like to be LGBTQIA+ unless you are a member of this community and having a friend or a relative dosen’t make much difference, its just the old ‘I’m not homophobic/heteronormative because I have a gay friend’ cookie. Society influences you in ways you will never understand. Just as I, a white person will never fully understand the privilege I experience just because of the colour of my skin, all the things I don’t have to think about that they do on a daily basis, we have to naviagate an experience that will be fundamentally different to yours asa straight person. Again thats not your fault and I’m not trying to box you as the other nor say you are somehow devoid of empathy, its just the reality of experience.
But relating to the issue at hand I am a young, queer and in the closest because of a deeply homophobic homelife situation and like many others in this situation tv representation is the only thing we have to hold onto, to get us through a day where we face hate from those around us and honestly from ourselves too, because we are told the essence of what we are is wrong. To have someone tell us ‘look here we have a lesbian/bi-sexual character and we WONT mistreat them, look here they are at the end of the season perfectly fine (they deliberately invited fans to vancouver to watch the clexa finale scenes if you are wondering what i’m referring to because they knew we would be deeply suspicious otherwise, look at how wary people were during s2, everyone expected lexa to die at that point then they lulled us out in s3 of that so godamn effectively it hurts to think about)’ and for them to constantly reassure us on twitter that it wasn’t going to be treated like every other LGBT ship on tv and then KILL LEXA, a lesbian character and also thus damage Clarke,a bisexual character irreparably JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER SHIP is honestly the most cold, callous example of queerbaiting I’ve ever witnessed. Thats what I’m mad about. I’m mad that they dangled this in front of our faces and then snatched it back, I’d rather not have this representation at all than have it for a few brief moments then taken away. Not that we have basically any other representation on tv to turn to now- can you name one other f/f LGBT couple on Live-action TV within the last ten years that has a happy ending because I really can’t?’ (If you can thank you, I’ll be running to watch it!) Which is also why the arguments that Lexa’s death is the same as a character like Finn’s/ doesn’t have implications as much because nearly everyone dies in this show ultimately doesn’t hold weight. There are hundreds of Finn like characters on TV, how many ones like Lexa are there? Almost none, I’d wager.
I feel there’s a bit of an undercurrent in the response by many people that fans are just over-reacting or ‘projecting their own issues’ firstly this might be an something people such as yourself you can rationalise and be level-headed about but consider mental illness has a much higher precedence among members of our community, for obvious reasons and so the effects are felt in ways you may not be able to understand. Again many of us having nothing and no-one else to turn to for support (for the record several people I know have resorted to self-harming again because they have nothing else now and someone in the fandom commited sucide yesterday) I have also seen posts, half-joking but also have serious that Alycia’s character in FTWD must not be made LGBT because we don’t want her to die, thats very very sad. Thats a community who has broken trust in story-tellers as a whole, not just on this show which I think shows how far-reaching this goes. I for one am not getting my hopes up again. Its not really hysteria of WHAT THAT HAPPENED, its a weary anger of of WHAT THAT HAPPENED AGAIN?
Is everything/all the reaction the writers fault? No, but nobody’s actions exist in a vacuum and the tragedy is that they would introduce this kind of plotline/ending without thinking about the implications it would have on a community which has suffered a lot already. But I can see why some people are calm as well. Ultimately its the more stable people, and the straight people who carry blithely on while we, the most vulnerable and the least supported parts of the community are left to pick up the pieces. Also I think its lazy writing but thats another issu. Thanks for the review though and have a nice day
(NO I DONT EXPECT ANYONE TO READ THIS, NOR DO I THINK ANY OF THE WRITERS WILL ACKNOWLEDGE IT OR CARE, I mean jason is still patting himself on the back by reblogging reviews like yours that boost his ego but i had to get it off my chest)
I read this and appreciate it. I admire people like you who have the strength to explain the point-of-view of our community. I’ve tried to several times but… I can’t. I’m exhausted, and what I do is not gonna make a difference- At the end of the day the pile of dead LGBT people, both fictional and real, is still going to get taller.
Explaining what our marginalization feels like to people who can’t understand it is emotionally draining, so… Thank you for taking the time and effort to write this.
No, no thank you 0.5x A inaras (@Ainara_Saiz) for taking the time and effort to read this, like I said I wasn’t expecting anyone to so I’m really touched you did and glad that something I wrote articulated at least to some degree what you felt about our marginalisation/experiences, I tried (although I’m not under the delusion I am a spokesperson for everyone either, people are entitled to their own reactions and views and its different for each person) I’ve seen the phrase ‘I’m exhausted’ used by many people and I’m so sorry you are feeling that way as well. It hurts me that of so many of us are this tired, jaded and demoralised. I’ve got so much more I want to say but can’t, I have the feeling many of my arguments have been said already and will be said again. Not just regarding this issue but in the past too. I think that plays into the powerlessness you mentioned, that we are tired and feel we won’t ‘make a difference’ not merely because lexa died but because this is part of a cycle we believed we were breaking out of and again our views are being dismissed largely. I hope someday our representation will be better (although I am sad now just thinking that I’m sure people in the past did hope for us, In 2002 there were another people like me who watched Tara die in much the same way and hoped things will be better for us as I now hope for the people of future.) thanks again and know that I, and many others within our community are with you
Excellent points and your final comment was particularly insightful. Unfortunately, the problem may be the old adage…”I’ll scratch your back, if you’ll scratch mine”….aka Symbiosis. I hope it doesn’t drive a wedge between a group of people who were peacefully sharing a mutual love for a wonderful show that was in fact bringing us closer together. 😯 I really want to be wrong.
So, I keep hearing the same excuse – well, the 100 isn’t a happy show, people die all the time, etc. But really, what major characters have died so far? Most of the deaths have been nameless, mass killings. The “heroes” have been left intact, aside from:
1. Wells (does it count if he’s only in 3 episodes period?!)
Rather, most of the cast has survived pretty harrowing circumstances:
1. Jasper is speared;
2. Raven shot/blown up/tortured;
3. Lincoln tortured/revived from being a reaper;
4. Kane buried alive;
5. Jaha sent down to Earth;
6. Murphy beaten up and tortured;
7. Abby tortured
The 100 aren’t killing left and right like Game of Thrones, so I don’t buy the “Oh, we had to kill Lexa because this show kills people all the time” – the other characters have suffered worse and lived to tell the tale.
ADC’s availability left the show little choice, unless everyone is just fine with writing the leader of the 12 clans off likely never to be seen again. Unless Fear the Walking Dead is cancelled, and that’s a franchise that will never die.
Not liking something doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have happened, especially given the realities around casting and contractual obligations.
Add Anya to your list of deaths…I consider hers a major loss. And I’m sure Lexa isn’t the only one we lose this season. I can’t wait to see the shit storm when Lincoln dies.
I think ADC’s character has a pretty good shot of getting killed on FWTD. Now that’s another show like GoT that kills people all the time.
Wow, if Lincoln dies (and I’ve also heard rumors about Indra), the minority community is going to be up in arms. That’s not good.
I forgot about Anya – who is also a minority character.
LOL…after the goat rodeo that Lexa’s death has stirred up? I think ADC will have plenty of plot armor on FTWD. I just wish that franchise wasn’t so middle of the road.
Yeah Lincoln is probably going to die and soon. Sounds like Ricky Whittle and Jason Rothenberg didn’t part under the best of circumstances so Ricky may have wanted out. Even all the more obvious he will be gone because of his HUGE starring role in American Gods on Starz. So looking forward to that, perfectly cast as Shadow Moon.
As for Alycia’s contract there was just no way around it. She only had a seasonal contract with CW for The 100 and then AMC hired her for FTWD it was a main cast member contract and they could’ve told CW to shove off if they wanted when they asked for Alycia for more episodes. AMC allowed them 7 and the CW used all of them. So considering all the story compression they had to do to make it work, what options would people have wanted instead? No Season 3 Lexa? Or Lexa’s death in Watch the Thrones with no confirmation of Clarke’s love? They were really in a damned if you and damned if you don’t situation. No matter what they decided to do. So in the words of S2 finale Clarke “Then help me come up with a better plan” You have 7 episodes with Lexa’s character…how do you tell that story that satisfies everyone and makes sense in the overall narrative?
I agree with a lot of what you said, but – I must strongly disagree with you when you say ‘shame the fuck on you if you think this was queerbaiting.’
You, as you’ve already expressed yourself, albeit in a sarcastic note, do not understand. The producer of the show has received a huge huge push from the lgbt community, and has been basking in that praise, and has been continuously placating the people that feared this would happen. ‘Trust me.’ ‘I hear you guys never get representation.’
It’s not the fact that Lexa died, believe me – we were prepared for that. We always are. But it’s the false hope we were given that this time would be truly different. Jason’s behaviour towards the fans has been named the most insidious queerbait of all history by a number of other reviewers, so I wouldn’t be so quick as to say ‘shame on you’ to those that feel that way.
Let’s not forget, ever, the world that Jason Rothenberg and his writers have created and how high-stakes and heartbreaking it can be. I took an extra day to really think about Lexa’s death, the person she was portrayed to be on the show, and the harsh reality of the world in this show.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
Lexa’s death has been decried as a just another example of the “kill the lesbian” trope that has been repeated again and again across entertainment. As soon as a queer person finds happiness, their death soon follows, which sends a message that queers will not find lasting happiness.
Then there is this:
‘To me, Lexa’s sexuality is one portion of who she is and not defined by it. She is also: a leader, a warrior, a visionary, a strong woman, ruthless yet merciful, driven by duty, driven by her love for her people, driven by her love for Clarke, intelligent, willing to make sacrifices, willful, independent, pragmatic, passionate.
She the unstoppable force to Clarke’s immovable object. Both women are a force of nature and to narrow either of them down to one aspect of their characters and make it the most representative thing ABOUT their character is complete bullshit. Lexa was a complex person who happened to be a lesbian.’
It’s funny, because before her death, the producers were all too keen on carrying a torch about the fact that she was a lesbian, and that they were doing something amazing there. The minute she dies, that suddenly falls away as a point of interest about her. It /is/ important. Maybe not in the universe Lexa lives in, but it is important in this one. It is important that she was BOTH amazing, ánd lesbian. Because that is new. That doesn’t happen a lot. Lesbians in modern media are often either sexualized, reduced to the creepy friend, or they die.
‘It does this character a great dishonor to make her death just about her sexuality.’
And not being allowed to talk about her sexuality does us a great dishonour. I understand that it makes sense in the universe of the 100. I do not disagree with you on that. But like Jason himself said – his show doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
And the way he was hyping up a very vulnerable audience for this through social media warrants anger. Not death threats and aggression, but anger. Because there are a lot of very young closeted teens watching this show, that felt tricked by a showrunner who said he understood their need to be represented. They mirrored themselves to Lexa, and they held on to their own ‘maybe someday’ while their homophobic parents sat beside them on the couch. They tuned in to that episode with Jason’s placation in their minds, and were rewarded with the idea that love indeed is weakness.
I mean no disrespect to you, but I do feel like your review is lacking context, and your tone towards this marginalized community is unwarranted.
I agree with you!! It basically ‘as a straight person I don’t see this as queer baiting so fuck all of you lgbt who do’
It’s a pretty shitty think to say from someone who claims to be ‘ally’. If you don’t advocate the believes of the minority you are claiming to support than are you really an ally?
It just like ‘all lives matter’ or ‘not all men’
It’s basically saying – ‘I get you feel sad but some straight white people are feeling kinda bullied so go fuck yourself’
Sorry, im still bitter and I will continue to be until straight people actually get it, lesbian lived a happy life on TV, or I die. What ever comes first.
Find me on tumblr; @baenemy. I’m there okay. I know it will get better. Jason did us dirty, but I’m certain if anything good comes out of this it’s a whole generation of youth rising up and deciding to get into media because it’s time we start representing ourselves.
The thing about privileged groups is they’re not used to listening. They’re not used to hearing their opinion on certain matters does not carry weight. A straight person never get’s to decide what’s injustice to the lgbt community. Just like I wouldn’t dare tell a poc something isn’t racist. In that case, it is my job to resist the urge to defend myself and to listen for once.
Again, Jennifer, you did a wonderful job in your review. And I agree with many of your sentiments. So many others have already articulated much of what I wanted to say so I will keep this short. Just wanted to say excellent review. And I am definitely convinced that Costia is the one spared at Lexa’s conclave. My head canon says that Costia and Lexa fell for each other while training in their youth to be Commander and I am sticking to it until the show proves me otherwise! I am loving that Clarke and Murphy will be paired up for this portion of the story moving forward…boy does he have some information to share with her. Murphy being the key to all knowledge is my favorite turn of events right now.
I, actually, agree with everything you said here. Everything. Are we soulmates? Maybe. Are you my spirit animal? Hell-to-the-yes!
Unlike you, I didn’t drink scotch to get through this episode, or every other times I’ve rewatched it. Though I did cry. Every damn time.
Alycia Debnam-Carey & Eliza Taylor should get all the awards, for their raw & amazing performance this episode. How do we go about doing that. Just tell me how, and I’ll be the fifth person there. Hey. There are some hardcore fans out there. To assume otherwise would be arrogant.
For The 100 & Jason Rothenberg to beg, plea, and steal ADC for 7 episodes could not have been easy, but the 6 episodes that did have Lexa, were nothing short of spectacular. It really allowed the character Lexa, and ADC as an actress, to really shine – especially in ‘Watch the Thrones’.
Again. Love the review.
PS: Now that I’ve professed my spirit-animal love for you, can I get that drink now?
Thank you! What type of animal am I if I’m your spirit animal?
You can get that drink. I have beer, scotch, bourbon, and gin.
um can you not not use the phrase ‘spirit animal’ pls its cultural appropriation of a native american term and you shouldn’t use things that are sacred to people’s culture in this way please eduate yourself here (http://givemeunicorns.tumblr.com/post/52500361240/why-you-shouldnt-use-the-term-spirit-animal) or here (http://aquariusmoonrising.tumblr.com/post/58763812891/why-you-shouldnt-use-the-term-spirit-animal) or if you are one of the people who don’t want to take actual people from this culture on tumblr as a valid source bc you think dfalesely everyone on the website are just sjw then I advise you google it there are tons of scholarly articles. ‘My Patronus’ is a good alternative term
I can’t even right now.
Love the review and I think it’s spot on. I don’t think you’re a bad supporter of the LGBT community at all for it. One of the things I’ve noticed in the polarity of reactions is kind of a generation (read: maturity/experience) gap. The writers and reviewers who are in their late 20s, 30s (or like you and I, 40s) are more easily able to a) put larger distance between fiction and reality, and b) not set fire to a house to kill a spider. We can appreciate the bigger picture, the other 30 or so minutes of the episode and its context in 2+ seasons overall and say, “holy fuck! mind=blown!” and still feel all the feels for the other 12 minutes that became the spider. Yes, the pacing of the show dictated some unfortunate timing that likely exacerbated the response to the Nth degree and made it feel more like it was shoved into the lesbian death trope with some KY and a shoehorn. But you make very salient points about Lexa’s character arc overall and her impact on the show, including the impact her death will have in moving things forward. But that’s coming from a gay woman in her 40s who tends to be more a sum-of-its-parts kind of thinker.
What wasn’t anticipated in the response, I think, was the sheer volume of YOUNG gays that were heavily invested (perhaps too heavily) in that particular tree and lost sight of the forest. The CW is a young-gearing network. They’re thankfully raising the stakes and making some smarter shows (like the 100 and others). The first few eps of S1 fell into their general demo/format, but then the show seemed to find some feet and grew up. It matured, it became smarter and guttier and braver than many shows on television. The teens/early 20s came along for that ride and got invested. And while I appreciate their passion (ah, youth) and absolutely love that they have far more resources and examples than I ever did, their emotional maturity isn’t quite on par with those even half a generation older and wiser.
From what I’ve seen of them interacting with each other and fans, I don’t believe anyone in the writer’s room would have blatantly or intentionally set up the death scene the way they did out of spite, or to make a mockery of the trope. I think that they may have, for a moment, forgotten that their audience isn’t all 30something critical thinkers; that the way young people are watching and engaging is a much more visceral act than any of us know. I also think the cast and staff have been incredibly respectful since the ep aired. In spite of the grossly out of line threatening attacks, they have been respectful and have listened and taken this response to heart. This entire season has already been written and filmed. Nothing can change from what they’ve already completed. But I think the impact of the response WILL be felt in the future by all involved. Whatever the future of The 100, the writers involved in this particular experience will carry this with them moving forward and maybe, just maybe, it will inform future shows and eventually that corner will be turned. In the meantime, the reality is that Lexa will still be part of this show in some form or another for a very long time. I think there will be shades of Lexa in the next commander (don’t show me that free ticket on the Clarke/Ontari ship, I am weak), I think everything that’s happened is vital to who Clarke is going forward, and obviously we still have another ep with ADC to look forward to. Truth is, I fucking love this show, even when I hate what they do with characters (sometimes especially when they make me hate what they do with characters). So I’ll order tissues in bulk from costco.com and pull the seat belt a little tighter and keep watching.
I’ll go halfsies with you on that Costco tissue order.
Thanks for your very well thought-out response. I’ve been slightly beat up by folks who have kept it largely civil, but at times a bit marginalized because of my opinions, but hey, I put my thoughts out there and welcome the discourse.
I really hope we’re not raising a generation of kids that aren’t engaging with real people and real support systems that can help them in tough times or give them real role models. Being glued to a screen 24/7 is not healthy and putting a great burden on creators to be their parent/friend/mentor instead of live human beings. And we’re also so obviously creating an environment in this country (the US) that only sees things in black and white, with little critical thought given to a lot of issues. The political arena alone is downright frightening, with Trump basically insulting and smugly laughing his way through his campaign, signaling that it’s okay to be a complete jackhole simply because you can.
I would really hate to be anyone involved in the show right now because of this goat rodeo. This series has offered far more to me than 15 minutes can ever take away. I wish others felt the same way, but I can’t force my opinions and feelings on anyone else, I can simply try to enjoy the show and write about it and curate more annoying gifs to use in future reviews.
“I really hope we’re not raising a generation of kids that aren’t engaging with real people and real support systems that can help them in tough times or give them real role models. Being glued to a screen 24/7 is not healthy and putting a great burden on creators to be their parent/friend/mentor instead of live human beings. ”
Well, that’s the issue. There are many LGBTQ youth out there that don’t have any “real life” support and many that depend on depictions in media for comfort because they don’t have anyone around them. Also, there is the issue of coming out. It’s not easy to come out, so people, especially youth, turn online and to media as a way to cope. Many kids today suffer the real fear of being kicked out of their homes, churches, and communities.
Being gay is still not widely accepted – the recent resurgence of RFRA bills across states (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) as a way to carve out exceptions to strides in same-sex marriage and nondiscrimination should give people pause.
So media matters. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and it certainly plays a role in shaping people’s views on various minority groups.
Sigh. Firstly I’m not saying the anyone is bad for having a different point of view or that is makes them a bad ally/supporter. With that out of the way (I previously mentioned) a young queer person I’m asking you to please don’t speak for our maturity or blame our reactions on our age/teenaged hysteria. Age is not an indicator of maturity anyway much as people like to use it to dismiss us. How long you’ve lived is not always equivalent to how much you’ve lived.
I do agree about the difference in reaction based on age, although I’d contend its not as clear cut as you suggest. But regardless consider that as young people we don’t GET to review in the same way, we aren’t part of large professional review sites or contributors to critical magazines because of our age and if indeed our reaction is different maybe our sense of disenfranchisement, our lack of proper platforms to speak out about our reactions is contributing to or fueling more general vehemence. I don’t ever, ever condone or endorse death/violence threats but I also understand so many people my age are doing things like sending twitter messages to the writers because we simply AREN’T HEARD any other way. Maybe we are trying to burn the house down because that’s the only way we get noticed? A bit ironic when you think that as you yourself noticed we are supposed to be the target audience. I myself have seen so many reviews published and very few which have reflected how I felt about the episode and how I’ve seen others my age feel, largely because they were written by much older people, from different positions in life. You are entitled to your own opinion. We are entitled to ours. But whats also problematic is that older’s people’s reviews are almost solely what the writers are reblogging. Which isn’t the whole picture, one side of it. See why we might be a bit frustrated?
‘What wasn’t anticipated in the response, I think, was the sheer volume of YOUNG gays that were heavily invested (perhaps too heavily) in that particular tree and lost sight of the forest.’ But the show was pitched as a teen show? And they made a big thing about about their inclusion of LBGT rep, part of what lulled so many of us into a false sense of security, so they should have been prepared. They did know about at least some of us, I’m convinced considering a lot of the younger generation were very actively involved on the things like the afermentioned twitter which the writers encouraged us to talk loudly about clexa, to reblog and trend hashtags and follow for BTS photos ect. That may also be why we were more devastated when it occurred, we were more immersed. And i’ve mentioned it in my previous comment but I’ll re-iterate, pherhaps slightly older members of the LGBTQIA community- including as you as mentioned you are a gay woman your 40’s (hey nice to meet you :)! ) – aren’t as devastated and able to be more ‘objective’ and level headed because you have perspective: you have experienced that it does get better, that there are good stories in real life, that you can get out and lead fulfilling happy lives. But many younger members of the community like are only told this, many of us haven’t lived it-
And there’s also that old adage isn’t there? ‘seeing is believing.’
…and where are we, the so called ‘young gays’ seeing it?
Not in most films, most books and most certainly not on television shows like the 100. (Or buffy, or orphan black or any of the others) Consider that for some of us, STILL UNDER THE CONTROL OF OUR GUARDIANS/PARENTS who may have oppressive or homophobic views. I mentioned above that how long you’ve lived is not always equivalent to how much you’ve lived but its more likely that for some of us these media forms are the only access we have because under our parents influneces some of us can’t go openly to pride festivals or marches, or gatherings for LGBTQIA+ people without being at risk so where else are we supposed hear the good stories about the ones who had happy endings, who made it out of tough situations and went to lead fulfilling lives in real life except said media? (Just thank god for the internet, I can’t imagine what it must have been like before we had it to share like this, its hard enough now.) Maybe that’s why we had more of a reaction maybe thats why we got too ‘heavily’ invested, because its all we have to hold onto, all we had as an example.
Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and I fully respect yours, just a few points I wanted to make.
And to OP below thats also why we some of us are ‘glued to our screens.’ as you put it.
I absolutely am with you there. I’m 25 myself and what I’ve seen is also the difference in response being age correlated has had a lot to do with the fact that those of us that are older are /used/ to this. We’ve been through this with our favorite lgbt characters before. That’s why it’s so insidious. I can’t speak for everyone of course, but I’ve noticed a lot of the older people that have been reaching out deflect with wry humor and a ‘oh well,’ – but that stems from bitterness on having to endure this time and time again. I’m kind of in the middle generation when it comes to this, but somebody so openly backing the lgbt community as Jason did was pretty new. He gave his young audience hope through the way he engaged in them, and they – still wide eyed and optimistic – believed him. I’ve seen these young people reach out to older members with this show, advising them to watch with full faith that Jason would keep his promises.
As for Alycia’s schedule – she actually had a 2 month hiatus in between her last shooting day for the 100 and beginning shooting for FTWD, and AMC had already acknowledged willingness to work with the 100 several times. To blame her and AMC is a bit of a cheap cop out. Chris Pratt managed to combine shooting Guardians of the Galaxy with Parks and Rec, and Dylan O’Brien managed the Maze Runner along with Teen Wolf.
hey thanks for your thoughts, I put a few of mine in response below. 🙂
Thanks for the reply. It was not my intent to dismiss or invalidate any reactions to the ep or the show in any way. I have certainly known some in their late teens/early 20s who are far more mature and better critical thinkers than those twice their age. But as you pointed out, and I was trying to note as my own observation (though maybe not clearly enough), the people involved in making the show, and the vast majority of those in a position to post higher profile critical reviews are, by and large, 30+, and yes, have a different perspective than the younger audience. Not better, just different. Just as the fact that the majority of them are (likely) straight also informs things differently, as many of them have learned this week. I absolutely get where you’re coming from in the lack of platform for young voices. Personally I think Layne Morgan has done a phenomenal job of helping those voices be heard after this ep. And while, like you, I would never condone the threats and violence that have been thrown around, there is some pride to be taken in just how vocal the generations behind me have become on every possible platform. You have the ability, especially with this specific show and these specific writers, to engage in ways we never dreamed of. That’s also come at a cost for both sides, I think.
You are absolutely right about perspective of the “slightly older” members of the community. As much as I may be “plugged in” and aware (I’ve raised two daughters with my partner of 18 years), I cannot truly know what it’s like for you having grown up with the kinds of technology we have today, to have the Internet and twitter and everything else as your constant, your touchstone, your outlet, your validation in some cases. My formative years were spent losing people I knew to AIDS, having “groundbreaking” movies like Boys Don’t Cry and the Matthew Sheppard story be the only mainstream media available to us. I don’t want to make this a cliche “when I was your age” thing. I have had fortunate and unfortunate experiences. I’ve had love and support. I’ve also had conflict and rejection. Maybe I was lucky that there were only limited options in media for me, so that I wasn’t as invested in them as I was in life, in seeing that they weren’t the only options or the sole inevitable outcome of being gay. I’m not sure which could be said to be the “better” way to go. My youth and yours were just different.
I find it immeasurably sad that the death trope is still around. But I’m an optimistic cynic: the glass is half full, we just don’t always know what it’s half full OF. When Ellen’s character came out on her show almost 20 years ago, she was on the cover of every newspaper and magazine in the universe because of it. Personally I take at least some comfort in the fact that media has moved forward enough that characters like Lexa were there to begin with, and that Clarke continues to be a leading character. That more characters will come, that one day – soon, I believe – they won’t be relegated to the background or the butt of the joke, and it won’t end with the trope death. That, as I mentioned, these specific writers who have been so deeply and generously engaged with the fans, have taken this reaction to heart and can’t help but remember it moving forward in their careers. Hollywood and television are brutal industries, and these writers can’t speak out as loudly as we may want them to without effectively killing their careers. But they can take it forward with them, which, I think, is even better. It also means that I have hope that this younger generation who has been so heavily invested, who have grown up more connected than any before them, who have been so astoundingly and bravely vocal, are the next generation of media content producers, and that this very specific instance in their lives will motivate some of them to be the change they want to see. And when they’re engaging with fans on whatever platforms there are at the time, they’ll point back to this moment as the point when they said ‘no more.’
Again, thank you for replying. I absolutely respect your opinion and the points you’ve made, and I don’t disagree. I’ve seen the progress we’ve made in media, and also how far we have yet to go. I still have hope.
Thanks Jen, I think we are in agreement then 😀 I just really wanted to say thank you for listening and replying! Also I agree about Layne Morgan, she’s been so great about this, all the respect for that lady! Also agree about the writers and their inability to speak up in places like Hollywood without risking their careers, I hope someday we have more people of minorities of all types behind the camera as well as on it, that is really how we will get better representation I think for LGBTQIA+, POC and other people belonging to marginalized groups.
I didn’t want you to think that I was trying to say at that older generations hadn’t suffered, to dis-invalidate YOUR experience or suggest you had had it easier at all, although I would never pretend to fully understand anyone’s experience because I am not them I am nonetheless aware you had bad experiences and good ones and that it was/is just as hard for you! I’m also sorry that you lost people to the the AIDs epidemic (I know that doesn’t really help at all I just don’t know what to say other than I am so sorry) and that you had such limited representation in your youth; like I said at least the current generation has the internet now and mindsets are moving forward, however slowly! Like you mentioned having the internet is as a aplatform does have a cost for both sides, in ways I’m not really able to articulate but I do see the effects of.
And for the record I myself I am optimistic too, I think I am just also simultaneously really tired and sad that I have to be optimistic/hold out for good representation in the future because I thought falsely we’d reached the point it it was happening/good in the present. But someday, someday 🙂 (Also like I said its good to hear more positive stories – I was really happy when I read that you had had a partner for 18 years and raised two daughters. ^_^ I hope that someday I will get to have something like that too) What I’m aiming to do now is become a media content producer/writer in some capacity so that I can not just talk about it but try to work towards making better representation happen, I think thats the mindset that has grown out of this incident for many of us and something you also picked up on. Anyway thank you again for your insight and discourse, I also absolutely respect you opinion and I wish you the best!
Even though I may be seen by some as an asshole because of my opinions, at least y’all are having a great discussion with each other. This type of communication is important, even when talking about opposing viewpoints.
I hope in the future, if you continue watching this show and ever wonder “hey, is that asshole with that blog still around,” you’ll come back and maybe have a chuckle at my overuse of gifs.
D – I absolutely love smart kids. I saw something on tumblr earlier today, not sure where it was from, but the quote on it was “You don’t have to throw people under the bus. You can just BE the bus.” There’s a lot of the former happening right now, but enough of the latter is coming, thanks to people like you. Be the bus, kiddo. Be the best goddamn bus you can be. If your folks aren’t behind you, let me internetadopt you. 😉
Indeed a fascinating idea you came up with…”letmeinternetadoptyou”! 🙂 Totally with you on that!
I can’t pay for college, and I totally failed the whole gay agenda since both my kids are straight (so far, at least). But I’m more than happy to be a sounding board so that they know tragedy isn’t the only possible outcome. There is love, there is acceptance, there is community, and they’re not alone. Bring me the gaybies 🙂
I enjoyed reading your blog post about the show, and I giggled at several statements – thanks very much for those!
After reading about some of the backlash, I wrote a blog entry about it as well, and here’s the link:
Thank you for your review. I always look forward to them because in addition to give me an thorough analysis of the episode, you are also able to make it with a funny twist and it cheers me up in some way or the other – and thats just what the doctor prescribed after experiencing episode 7.
Before I continue I just want to excuse my most likely typos, misspellings or what ever as a result of English not being my mother language. And for those who believe that you need to be in the lgbt community to fully understand that aspect – I am.
I agree with you that I dont think for a second that Lexas death had anything with her being a lesbian. I hadnt really thought about the possibility until I started to read about ppls reactions about killing off yet another lesbian character. I dont see the point of introducing her as gay if that was the reason they would kill her off later and if i did get anything out of episode 7, is that this is a character they (writers, producers etc) really cared about. It would have been so easy (and prolly cheaper) to write her off in a short verison where she either died momentarily or died offscreen. We could still get the chip scene because Im sure Titus would go to the end of the world to find her dead body to cut out the flame in here neck. But they gave us instead a very emotionally, raw and heartbreaking goodbye and let Lexa go in peace knowing she was loved by the woman she had loved for even longer. You dont do that to characters you dont care about. So thank you for that. Lexa had to leave for production reasons so story wise there was no way to keep her on the show. If the best option was to kill her off (even tho I hate it, I trust writers know more about a good story line than I do) do we really want gay characters to be treated any other way than str8 just because they are gay? If the best way was to kill her, do we want to keep her just because she was gay? Treat us equally with straight ppl. That has been our mantra the last 50 years and to be treated equally also means that favourite lesbian characters will die on tv just because they are mortal too.
Im not 100% convinced that its just because Lexa is gay that she has such a huge fan base in the lgbt community. I think its just as much about what she represent. A strong ,fiers, bad ass female leader with brains and compassion. For those who remember the movie G.I Jane. There was never any question about her str8 orientation and still she became “every” lesbian’s wet dream. You either wanted to date her or be like her. So a straight character can become a lesbian icon and a lesbian character can become a straight icon and politics were never involved.
Im gonna miss Lexa alot. But to me its not so much about orientation (even tho it didnt diminish my interest) but what her character represented and watching ADC outstanding performance bringing Heda to life with all her complexity has been a pleasure from day one. That it what Im gonna miss.
There are 5 stages of grief and I think what we see in alot of fans is after the initially shock is stage 2 – anger. As some here mentioned, they werent prepared. I have read alot of fan sites for clexa and lexa and ppl have invested so much emotions into these two heros. I have to admit that I sometimes feel its been on the border of scary obsession on a clinical level, but if I am right, this is mostly the younger demographic and thats what they do. They feel alot. I dont think the network was prepared either tbh. If they were, things might have been done in a different way – at least I hope so. I would never defend or support any of the harrasment or threats made online last few days, but when you give the fans the highlight of 2 seasons just to serve them their worst nightmare for dessert 5 minutes later, you shouldnt be surprised that many fans will react in a very bad way. It makes me sad to see all that love for the show turning into something negative and none acceptable behaviour.
My first reaction to Lexas death was “Im finished with the show”. I have been a huge Lexa fan ever since she was introduced in season 2 and her story line has been the one interesting for me. I have been prepared for her departure since episode 4 so it didnt really come as a shock. Now I have actually started to think beyond Lexa and wonder more about the a.l.i.e. story line that i payed no attention to earlier. In terms of version 2 chip and make Clarke nightblood so she can become Commander I hope not. That will be too weird for me since some of Lexas legacy will be embedded into that chip as well. “I love you, I love me as well.” Now I just need to do some reading so I understand what COL is (tbh I have not understood what that place is at all) and I am looking forward to see what this great show have to offer now with my new wide angle glasses on.
I get that it trying to be an LGBT advocate. Trying in the same way ‘all lives matter’ and ‘not all men’ people are trying.
But some of the writers of this show were literally re-blogging suicide hotlines and self-harm care sites on tumblr the last few days. I’ve seen post saying they want to cut themselves and go back to drugs. And that will sound totally dramatic too you. Like we are to invested in TV show. That they were already mentally ill.
But don’t ignore that LGBT women are more likely to have anxiety, paranoia, and mental health issues.
So when these young queer girls see someone like lexa. A wonderfully complex, strong, beautiful women they see some hope. They see themselves.
As a straight women you see yourself everywhere. If you die you flip the channel. We can’t do that. Less than 1.5 percent of all TV characters are lesbians. And of that many of them die in gruesome ways. Shay, Delphine, Tara, Maya, Rose, Marisa, Sophie Anne, and so many more.
So when queer girls find a new character and such a brilliant character they get excited and hopeful. But they are still cautious. We know we die. We always die. Better not to get attached.
But this felt different. Jason was retweeting things about how lexa helped a young girl come out, about how lexa made a girl feel brave, how lexa made a girl feel she could finally get the princess. He promised he was different. That he was revolutionary. He asked us to trust him. And we let our guard down.
He also invited people to finale filming in Vancouver. Where lexa is ‘alive’ in the city of life but not in real life. we were so excited. We thought lexa would live. We thought we were being treated well.
But lexa was killed. Because she walked into a room at the wrong time. She didn’t die in battle, or for her people, or even for Clarke. But because of bad luck.
And now spoiler have come out that say in the city of light lexa tells Clarke ‘life is about more than just surviving’ and then she wakes up in bellamys arms. And you will call me petty but that’s awful. The straight boy can murder 400 people and still get the girl but the revolutionary lesbian dies.
‘ADC is on the walking dead’ – she has said lexa is her favorite character. Jason said he had contacts at AMC. Jason lied about her film schedule in a interveiw (to cover his ass). And AMC was willing to negotiate. She didn’t have to be in every episode. She didn’t even need to stay with Clarke. But she didn’t have to die. He used her death because it was a ‘cool’ way to show a plot twist.
So yeah, I understand why you would defend the show. You’re straight and because you have gay brother you kinda think it validates you.
But please don’t speak for us. Don’t tell us what to think about our representation. Because I’m tired of seeing myself never allowed happiness. Tired of seeing myself as a plot twist. Tired of seeing my self never get the girl. Tired of seeing myself not even allowed to live.
I’m not speaking for anyone other than myself in my review. You can disagree all you want, but I’m in no way trying to be the voice for anyone other than myself while trying to unpack some very complex considerations while examining the episode.
“Let me be very clear: I do not believe, not for one second, that the writers of this show or of this episode are homophobic. I don’t think they are queer baiters. And if you are accusing them of this on social media: shame the fuck on you. Because it appears that you haven’t been paying attention to the show at all and are merely focused on the last 15 minutes of this particular episode. Context is everything, and this show has 2 1/2 seasons of context to deeply consider.”
Is very much doing just that, in an unnecessary rude tone as well. When a community is as starved for representation as ours is, we’re happy with everything we get. What we get -we love fiercely, intensely. We blog, we make art, we write. We engage others to also start watching. There are a lot of people that really don’t care about the story of the 100, but that willingly tuned in to this show every thursday because other people convinced them there was hope here. That hope wasn’t built on anything other than promised and interactions of the writer, who promised people that this time it would be different.
It wasn’t different. We’ve /seen/ this before. He was well aware of all his moves in social media. His fanbase grew, and he slapped them in the face with it. That is queerbaiting too. You dangle something in front of a representation starved group to get their support, and then take it away in a manner that is cruel beyond /anything/ the 100 has ever done, isn’t fair. People have a right to confront him on this behaviour. Not through death threats, but they should be allowed to voice their frustration at being manipulated. And you, by saying ‘shame the fuck on you’ are sort of invalidating their right to be frustrated.
Look, I appreciate your thoughts and sorry if I offended you in any way. I have opinions. Sometimes strong ones. I encourage people to tell me I’m a fucking asshole. I may be. I don’t know. Perhaps I don’t have a valid viewpoint because I had the unfortunate fate of being born this way, preferring the peen, and I should be shuffled off into a filing cabinet under “straight white girl,” and that’s fine.
If you ever choose to watch the show in the future and ever wonder, “hey, what’s that asshole with that blog saying now,” maybe you’ll come back and maybe get a chuckle from my overuse of annoying gifs or something funny I might say. Maybe you’ll see I’m not all bad.
I never said you were an asshole, nor do I want to. I’m just explaining why the interactions of the producers with the fans /are/ queerbaiting. Textbook queerbaiting. I’m not here to paint you as an ignorant straight girl, but the matter of the fact is that when I kindly explain the problem with that particular part of what you wrote to you, you act defensive and turn the conversation into a different direction. I have no ill wishes towards you. I’m not calling you an asshole at all, and acting like you are demonized for being straight is not really necessary in my opinion. It’s not bad thing not to understand something, just as long as that goes with a willingness to learn. Pulling up your walls and saying ‘oh well i’m just an asshole,’ is not something I understand.
Ignorance is a choice. In this case I’m just going to assume that’s the one you’re making.
Thank you for this review! I am a lesbian and I think this is the one of the LEAST sexist/homophobic/racist shows that I have ever seen! The straight up (heh) INSANITY of Twitter and tumblr made me cringe. Being gay should not be synonymous with being irrational, abusive and (irony alert) hate-filled! But the last few days of Twitter and tumblr have made me embarrassed for my fellow women! If you need to mourn, well I get that, we have all mourned literary or television characters; but the sheer tonnage of abuse was appalling. Be a freakin’ candle! Stop cursing, especially erroneously, the darkness!
Young girls were literally considering suicide. Show writers were re-blogging suicide hotlines. A lot of them young and living with homophobic parents in un-safe environments.
It just interesting that people support the straight white man because they think he is being bullied but don’t support these young queer girls because you label them ‘irrational.’.
If that’s truly what you took away from my review, then I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to express myself any clearer than I did.
Fantastic review! Though wallowing in my heartbreak, Assassin’s Creed Clarke made me choke-laugh on my tears.
I’m also grateful for how the love scene was treated – it wasn’t for titillation or teaser trailer bait. It was emotional and the perfect release for weeks (seasons?) of slow burning tension. Lexa’s tears and her sitting on the bed with her shoulders bared, looking for confirmation in Clarke’s eyes, completely vulnerable, and utterly in love. So. Goddamn. Beautiful.
I agree that the 8th novitiate could have been Costia, but does that then mean that Lexa has a “type”? Would we find that Clarke and Costia are, in fact, eerily similar?
In regards to the trope, I do believe that Lexa’s death fits the description, but the treatment of Lexa’s character is what redeems this decision. She was written as a complex, layered, whole character, whose love for Clarke has driven much of S3’s events. Her death has been the biggest clue to deciphering the mysteries introduced in S2. She is not on the periphery and is not killed off without wide-ranging repercussions for the characters or direction of the story.
As a lesbian, I can understand much of the anger and pain this has caused the LGBT community, particularly younger queer persons. But I am also thankful that The 100 team created a character so compelling and real and so reflective of us that her demise can be so deeply affecting. Seriously, I haven’t been this heartbroken since Blue Is The Warmest Colour. But I’m putting some faith in the creators’ that they have done / will do justice to her character. Surely they love her as much as we do. What if they hadn’t included her in S3 and her story ended with the betrayal at Mount Weather: a short-lived kiss with the lead actress and then never seen again? I would have felt that was much more exploitative than her death in 307.
I’m actually dreading Lexa and Clarke’s reunion in the CoL. Clarke will have to say goodbye to Lexa a second time, and I really don’t think my heart can take that. And thanks for ending the review with the Traveller’s Blessing. There I was, happily reading away with chuckles and ponderings… and then… STAB. Right in the feels. Eugh.
And I don’t think you’re a bad LGBT supporter. You sound like a lovely, funny person that acknowledges that our individual experience is not the whole truth, but is just as valid. I reckon you’re alright.
So ugh, I think I might love you.
Best. Review. So far.
I especially liked it when you called the spades, spades… or more to point: cunts.
Agree to all of the things!
Well done and drink more scotch next week please.
One thing to keep in mind about the Lesbian Death Trope is that it’s actually a collection of tropes that are lumped together. The trope about the lesbian being evil, cold or pathetic; the trope about the lesbian deciding that men are the more compelling option; other characters being allowed to slur and defame the lesbian to her face or behind her back without consequence; lesbian sex as the basis for jokes and visual gags; and yes…a quick post-coital demise. As LGBT representation slowly increases on TV, I think I’m seeing more shows where the overall attitude toward the lesbian is positive; shows where the lesbian has agency to defend herself and the homophobe loses the argument. Over time, I can sniff out if a writer has a big gay blindspot — usually if more than one of the above tropes shows up. My spidey-sense hasn’t gone off with The 100 as a whole or with this episode. Devastating that Lexa died and in a truncated fashion (the whole season has that problem IMO), and despicable if the producers trolled lesbians for viewers and followers in a misleading way. But then, I’m one of those ‘older’ lesbians who has been to this rodeo before.
Thanks a lot for this review. I can hardly tell you how much I agree and how much I appreciate your intelligent attitude to the whole thing. Thanks again!
Thank you for the review! I wish everyone out there lashing against the producers, read this.
This is written so well and clearly, but it’s also the straightest thing I’ve ever read. It kind of seems like you’re speaking over the lgbt community. If non-straight people (esp. lesbians and other wlw) are saying it was queerbaiting and a bad move on the show’s part then speaking over them isn’t the greatest thing to be doing, and it really just leads to more queer erasure.
Also, just as a note, (not to be a prick or anything) but it’d be really great if you didn’t use the q slur if you’re straight/cis. (I’m not trying to make any assumptions – if you’re not feel free to delete this comment.)
Thanks for your reply. So I can’t use “Q”…I didn’t know that it was still a slur. I’ve read it in so many places that it seems to be part of the lexicon now. I certainly don’t mean it as a slur.
As far as “Q” baiting, I realize that’s how it appears. I didn’t read a lot of the run up to the season and what the writers had promised about this relationship. They said it would be a different depiction, and apparently it wasn’t in the eyes of a great many people. I thought people were meaning Q baiting because they simply showed two women together, not because of the writers talking about it so much. So I apologize.
Again, this review was just my opinion, and as you may know, opinions change. I’m trying to be empathetic, I really am. But as many people have pointed out, straights can only “get it” up to a point. I stand by my review and my thoughts, but promise to be a better listener. I’m still a huge fan of this show and hope that the creators do right by everyone, or at least show they understand the ramifications of their choices outside of this piece of fiction.
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I appreciate this review very much. I was devastated, in the truest sense of the word, at Lexa’s death. Probably only my father’said death made me more upset. I have been waiting for a LONG time for representation in film and TV and it is so hard to come by. For the reasons we all know, this was heartbreaking and I am still embarrassingly sad every time I think of it.
That being said, I understand the reasons it had to happen–and I do want to know how Clarke survives this. For that reason, I have to continue watching and just rely on fanfiction to help me heal emotionally from the grief and disappointment of losing my favorite character of all time.
Thanks again for writing this.
Lexa was a legendary character. I will miss her immensely. Words cannot even express how devastated I was after her death. I was in genuine DISBELIEF. I honestly did NOT see the death coming, particularly because EVERYONE saw it coming, so I thought “Pssh, the writers are not falling into that cliche! The 100 has been such a progressive show, I really doubt they would just up and kill–” *gets shot by accident*
I’m glad I’m not the Lone Ranger…I, too, never thought for one second that she’d be killed off. My thinking was that only an idiot would let that treasure go. Looks like I seriously underestimated somebody! They should’ve moved Heaven and Earth to keep her storyline active. What bothers me even more than her being written off, is how bothered I am…STILL! 😕
Hello! I just want to say that I don’t agree with you in your analysis of Lexa’s death. I believe you are a LGBT supporter, but I AM LGBT and this show was the only one that showed a gay realatioship without anyone giving a damn about it. Let me explain: in Glee, everything revolves around being gay or not gay and it is a discussed topic. Same goes for Faking it. But The 100 was the FIRST show after Buffy that had a gay realionship with no judgement, no talking about it, no coming out, as if it were a straight relationship. As you may see, the two TV shows I’ve mentioned above had a lesbian-bisexual relationship, which is even rarer, and both lesbians, Lexa and Tara were killed by a stray bullet. Of course I believe Lexa is not only gay but many other things, but so am I, and the message I’m getting is “you’re never going to fins your happy ending”. Look, I don’t think anyone is homophobic amongst the writers, but they killed off the little PROPER representation we had. And trust me, it’s really difficult to be gay in a world where the message you consantly get is hate and pain EVERYWHERE. Tara and Lexa were both examples of how it’s supposed to be. I want a show that’s not The L Word, Glee, Faking It, The Real O’Neals and so on….these here are LGBT CENTRIC. And I want a show non LGTB centric where a gay relatinship happens without anyone giving a damn about it. That’s why Lexa’s death hurt, because we though this show was a game-changer, that would give us hope, but, as always, we were fools. If you can find a show that’s not LGTB centric and that has a normal and natural gay relationship tell me please, because I need one.
Please don’t take this tect the wrong way, I just wanted to express my opinion as a member of the LGBT community.
Sarah, thanks for the comment. I’ve changed my opinion quite a bit since I wrote this review and I’m coming down more on your side of the argument than you would think based on my take in my review. Losing Lexa sucked for so many people and it was handled so poorly…I just didn’t have all the information at the time, and I will not go back and retcon my review to make myself seem more “enlightened” or whatever.
I hope we do get to see more shows where differences aren’t called out, played for laughs, or played for “oh, look at how diverse we are” and are treated as just an everyday thing. I think that’s TRUE representation and what entertainment should strive for instead of treating LGBTs or PoC as novelties to shine a spotlight on all the time to make ourselves feel progressive.
Thank you so much for your comment and I hope you continue reading!
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