Now that some time has passed since The 100 brutally ripped out our hearts with the shocking events of “Thirteen,” let’s take a closer look at why that major death had to happen. (Warning: major spoilers ahead! If you haven’t watched last night’s episode, avert your eyes now. You’ve been warned!)
Commander Lexa of Trikru, your fight is over. That’s right, The 100 did the unthinkable and killed off one of the series’ most beloved characters when her advisor Titus tried to do away with Clarke and frame Murphy for her death by using a gun. One of the bullets accidentally hit Lexa instead, killing her. But the shocks didn’t end there: after Lexa died, Titus cut open the back of her neck to retrieve the “spirit of the Commander,” a.k.a. the A.I. that had been inside Lexa this whole time: A.L.I.E. 2!
Series creator and executive producer Jason Rothenberg already broke down the mythology behind that revelation and what it means for the show going forward in his Q&A with Nerdist (and check out a recap of the episode here). But why did Lexa have to die, especially so soon after she and Clarke finally gave in to their feelings for each other? Couldn’t they have slept together in an earlier episode, or had some time together before Lexa’s inevitable passing?
“That’s a good question. We do tell stories quickly, but that’s not the answer,” Rothenberg tells Nerdist. “I didn’t want to force that relationship. I didn’t want to get them into bed, for lack of a more sensitive way to talk about it, too soon. But I also didn’t want it to never happen.”
Since Lexa’s portrayer Alycia Debnam-Carey is a series regular on another TV show, AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead, she was only available for a finite number of episodes this season.
“I knew how many episodes we had Alycia for this season and I knew that we were losing her,” Rothenberg says. “She joined another show as a series regular. So my hands were tied to a certain extent as far as that was concerned. I wanted to make sure that we told the love story, that these two women were clearly in love with each other and that they were saying goodbye. The death that was about to happen, obviously they don’t know that. They’re just separating, being forced apart by political circumstances. God knows when they’ll see each other again. That goodbye turns into a very emotional love scene, which I think it beautiful and brilliantly portrayed by both actors and the director Dean White.”
As for why Lexa died at the hands of Titus, someone she trusted with her life (and who had saved her life only hours before in the throne room), Rothenberg explained that it was 100 percent an accident.
“Titus would obviously not try to kill Lexa but he was definitely trying to eliminate Clarke,” Rothenberg says. “Politically, he’s afraid of what Clarke’s involvement with Lexa has spawned, and he was afraid that she would continue to take Lexa down that path that would only lead to her death. The tragedy of that is something that appealed to me as a storyteller.”
Before you pick up your pitchfork and start a mob over Lexa’s death, remember that this isn’t the end for Lexa… in a manner of speaking.
“I understand that it’s going to be very, very difficult to watch, and emotional,” Rothenberg says. “But unfortunately, that’s the kind of world that this show is. We will see that, although Lexa is gone from the physical world, her spirit is in the Flame—if in fact that is to be believed as reality. And she’s in Clarke’s heart. She’s never going to be far from Clarke’s mind, for sure, I would say forever.”
Although the two strong leaders weren’t together for very long before Lexa was killed, Rothenberg promises that Clarke will be forever changed by their relationship.
“This is someone who is going to leave an impact on our hero for the rest of her life. Ultimately, she’s going to need to compartmentalize and move on,” Rothenberg says. “The reason people die on our show is not because we’re trying to be dramatic or force intensity onto the show. It’s because that’s the way life is. People leave us tragically and abruptly and we never plan that, but you have to move on. And that’s what our hero has to do now. She has to figure out a way to still be our hero. She can’t fall apart. After season two, she didn’t fall apart but she certainly needed to run away. She’s not going to be able to do that now. Lexa wouldn’t want her to. The memory of Lexa is in some way going to bolster Clarke going forward.”
And don’t read into the fact that Lexa died immediately after sleeping with Clarke. The episode just moved fast, as the show always has.
“To me, the two events aren’t connected in any way,” Rothenberg says. “We’re not trying to make any type of connection other than the fact that Titus had other plans.”
While it is a dark day to be a “Clexa” fan, know that you’re not alone when it comes to grieving Lexa’s death. The tragedy means something huge for the show going forward.
“I have that same passionate, emotional response to Lexa’s death,” Rothenberg says. “Hopefully, when we realize what that meant, in other words, that the bigger story that’s being told, for that bigger story to be told, that had to happen. You can’t get to technological reincarnation without that happening. You can’t be reincarnated until you die. That’s the reason for it. There’s no other reason why we did it. Except, of course, when we were trying to break this season, we had an actor who was starring in another television show.”
The writers know that Lexa’s death is going to be one of the most heartbreaking and gut-wrenching deaths of the entire series, but urge fans to continue watching.
“I hope people have faith that the story is going to be incredible going forward and they won’t want to miss where it’s going,” Rothenberg says. “Lexa’s ghost will haunt the show for sure, both emotionally in Clarke’s heart and within the Flame, going forward.”
The 100 airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.
Images: The CW