"The 100" 3x07: Safe passage on your travels... May we meet again.
This weeks episode of The 100, "Thirteen", was game changing to say the least. The AI storyline finally collided with the Grounders and the Arkadians. I love where they’re going with the AI storyline now that we get this melding of worlds, but I really want to share my feelings on Lexa.
I’ve seen tons of different reactions to the unfortunate death of Lexa. These ranged from joyful, hateful, neutral, and heartbroken. What’s bothered me is the hostility that’s been present. I’m by no means unbiased here. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I’m one of the biggest Clarke, Lexa, and Clexa fans you can find. A lot of hostility has been thrown my way and in the way of many disappointed Lexa fans. It’s uncalled for. We’re all entitled to our own feelings and just because you don’t understand why we’re upset doesn’t mean the way we feel about the episode is invalid. When somebody says they’re hurt it’s not anyone’s right to try and invalidate that. When someone’s hurt that’s their emotion and it’s a fact.
Anyways… Clarke and Lexa’s entire relationship from the moment Clarke walked into Lexa’s tent begging for an alliance to their kiss as Lexa took her last breath has been amazing. It was a love story of two strong, powerful women thrust into roles they’d never have chosen for themselves in a million years. They started out as enemies and slowly grew to understand, respect, and love each other. As a member of the LGBTQ community it’s the love story I’ve been waiting for my whole life.
Aside from the love story, The 100 gifted us with Lexa, the person. The strong, stubborn, pragmatic, queer leader who beat the odds and brought 12 warring clans together. She knew love, she knew loss, she knew the dangers of dropping your guard for even a moment, and most of all she knew the line you walk when trying to appease both your head and your heart. For us queer folks this is a character we NEVER get and it was wonderful. Lexa’s helped countless queer women, myself included, come to know and accept who they are. Lexa’s mattered for so many reasons outside of her relationship to Clarke and her death is devastating. There are barely any queer women on TV and they’re generally not the most fleshed out characters, often treated as easily sacrificed pawns in the chessboard of a show's storyline. So much so that it's classified as an overused trope, “Bury Your Gays”. The hostility I’ve seen and received about “getting over Lexa’s death since people die on the show all the time” only adds to the hurt. I understand people die all the time, but when it’s one of a handful of fully developed queer characters on TV today it’s devastating.
I knew Lexa was going to die, all the signs were there. Aiden/Ontari were basically Chekhov's Natblidas. Alycia’s a lead on another show. Lexa mentioned her death as often as humanly possible. So yeah, her death wasn’t a surprise. The pain in my heart comes from how they dealt the final blow. They finally brought Clarke and Lexa together in a bittersweet goodbye as Clarke had to go be the leader Arkadia needs but doesn’t deserve (in my opinion). Not even a minute after the show gave us the moment we’ve been waiting for since Lexa kissed Clarke in her tent just over a year ago, they pulled the rug out from under us and took it all away. We didn’t get time to enjoy that we FINALLY got a queer couple that found happiness despite the world working against them. That moment meant more to the LGBTQ community than any other moment of this show. Less than one minute later Lexa was on her deathbed. Her death was a grave injustice to who Lexa was as a person. Getting shot by a stray bullet robbed her of her agency in her final minutes. Had Lexa died shoving Clarke out of the way it would have been her decision to put herself in the way of a bullet. Had Roan killed her in the battle she agreed to, it would have been a warrior’s death. Hell, if Clarke had slit her throat in episode 3 it’d have been her decision to let Clarke do that. But she accidentally got shot by a stray bullet and she deserved better than that.
Despite everyone’s reactions and feelings toward the episode I’d like to remind the fandom that it’s not fair to be hateful toward a storyteller for not telling the story you want. It’s their story to tell. The emotions you’re feeling say more about you than anything else. If you find yourself projecting hate toward the storyteller, pause and take a second to look at yourself and ponder “Why am I feeling this way? What about this story has resonated with me so deeply that I’m feeling these emotions?”
That by no means lets the creators of The 100 off the hook. In the post-apocalyptic world they’ve created sexual orientation isn’t a thing, you love who you love. It’s fantastic. In that world killing off a character is just somebody dying. It’s not the straight, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender character, it’s just a person. But we’re not in that world, we’re here in this world. A world where gay marriage just became legal, where there are homophobic people preaching genocide against the LGBTQ community, where people are still struggling to accept their sexuality for fear of how the world will react and treat them. In this world, killing off Lexa the way they did was hurtful, insensitive, and ignorant. For that there are no excuses.
The 100 is a show that’s stolen my heart in many ways and I’ll continue to watch it. Aside from the grievous mishandling of a beloved queer character, the stories they’re telling are fantastic. The commentary they provide on humanity is profound. This week the show hurt me in ways I didn’t think a story could and much like Lexa’s betrayal it’s going to take a lot for the writers to gain back my trust. But I’m going to take a page out of Clarke’s book and try to move past it.
In peace, may you leave the shore. In love, may you find the next. Safe passage on your travels until our final journey on the ground. May we meet again.