By Shelby Slifer
A little over a month has passed since ‘The 100’ buried a fanfavorite character, Commander Lexa. But the effects of that moment still continue to ripple on the sea of social media. The sudden, unexpected death caused an immediate outcry from fans, creating a social media explosion.
After the fatal episode aired on March 3, 2016, the producer, Jason Rothenberg, lost over 40 million of his approximate 150 million Twitter follower count. Ratings for the following episode, the mid-season finale, slid down 20 percent of its viewers from the prior episode and are one of the lowest rated episodes among the season.
What caused such an outrage? Why was one character’s death such an important event? What made her so different? Answer: Commander Lexa was a lesbian.
Moments before her final breath, the long-anticipated relationship between herself and the main female lead, Clarke Griffin, had boiled over into a love-scene.
Fast-forward just a few minutes and Lexa is fatally shot by a stray bullet from her advisor and father figure, Titus. This supported an old Hollywood trope of a queer character finding happiness and then having it ripped away.
This alone has been pointed out several times by a myriad of various social media goers as disturbing as it is furthering an old cliché: Titus was not okay with Clarke and Lexa’s relationship and turns to violence in order to correct the situation.
His main goal was to shoot Clarke, to kill off the lover, the “problem.”
Taking into account of the love-making scene preceding the event, and now the father figure stepping in, this blossoming story which provided hope for so many individuals came to violent end, a suggestion that LGBTQA+ individuals should stay silent and that their happiness is ultimately doomed.
It is unlikely the writers had intentions of such a horrific doing, however, the facts were there of the limited representation as well as how much this character and the relationship, which fans have dubbed as “Clexa,” meant for this community.
Reasons for this choice have been unclear. In the beginning, Jason Rothenberg had pinned the decision on schedule conflicts with Alycia Debnam-Carey’s (who plays Lexa) other show, AMC’s ‘Fear the Walking Dead’. Although, Rubén Blades, Debnam-Carey’s fellow co-star on Fear, had mentioned at the Paleyfest panel just a few short weeks ago that AMC was being gracious in allowing him time for his music career.
Since then, words and stories have changed and the true reason remains up to the interpretation of the reader. If scheduling was indeed the conflict, there are plenty other ways to have wrapped up the character’s arc for the season without the bloodshed.
What is known is that within the following weeks, AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ also proceeded in killing off their lesbian character, Denise, in a similar manner––but she was taken a stray arrow instead of a bullet.
CW’s ‘Jane the Virgin’ and Scyfy’s ‘The Magicians’ have have killed of their queer female characters as well. In the Australian show ‘Janet King’, the character Ashleigh joined Lexa in receiving a stray bullet as her end. And Delphine Cormier’s fate lies in the balance as a preview for BBC’s ‘Orphan Black’ season 4 showed her also getting shot in a parking garage.
These happenings occurred within the last two months. Shows few and far between seem to have a happy
ending for a same-sex couple, particularly with females. Films like ‘Imagine Me & You’ (Luce and Rachel) and ‘D.E.B.S.’ (Lucy and Amy) and the Brazilian soap opera ‘Em Familia’ (Clara and Marina, “Clarina”) are rare gems in which the girl winds up happily with another girl by the end, without cheating.
Though the beloved Commander makes her return for the season 3 finale in May, it is quite possibly her last physical appearance as ‘The 100’ currently seems to show no intentions of bringing her back like its CW counterpart ‘Arrow’ and the bisexual character, Sara Lance.
Until then, her death has blown open this issue of lesbians and bisexual females being disposable; an entire list comprising of a staggering 144 LGBTQA+ character deaths before hers having been created by fans courtesy of audostraddle.com.
Maybe someday there will be another way in which these epic love stories will be told and we won’t have to watch characters get killed off anymore.