The 100 season 3, episode 7 shook up the world again. I’m here to review the big twist, the flashback reveals, and to address the furious fandom.
I just… You guys.
I’m so upset. But I’m also oddly at peace with it. It had to happen, and the next chapter of The 100 is about to begin.
NO WORDS TO WASTE! I’m already over my limit. Sorry editors, desperate times.
Want more The 100 analysis and discussion? Listen to our Hype Podcast’s special episode all about “Thirteen,” where we dissect the flashback, react to Lexa’s death, and look ahead to the rest of season 3.
But… ‘Death is not the end’, right? Guys?
Let’s get right to it: The 100 killed off Lexa last night. After focusing almost exclusively on her for a chunk of episodes and making sure we loved her unconditionally — and finally letting Clarke and Lexa consummate their love for each other — her demise was structurally inevitable.
On an emotional level, I am devastated. I have been very transparent in my love for Lexa; she was a rational, smart, and truly good person on a show full of pain and hate, and with her visions of peace, she felt like these warring clans’ best chance of a happy resolution. She was the light in Clarke’s life, to the point where the camera literally panned to a frame of the sun when they made love. (Clexa = sunlight, guys, it’s canon.)
For all these reasons, Lexa had to die. From a storytelling perspective, there was absolutely no way The 100 could remain The 100 with her there to fix everyone’s problems; it was The Lexa Show there for a while, and you’ll hear absolutely no complaints about that from me, but it was time to move on.
Speaking in terms of only the story now, I think killing her off (not the way in which they killed her though) was probably the most logical way to move the story forward, because Lexa had become a safety net not just for Clarke, but for the show overall. Having a character who will not only always do the right thing, but who actually has the power to do so served as a wonderful reprieve for Clarke (and the audience), but honestly, we were veering on the edge of complacency.
My Inside Out-style emotions are screaming at me right now, because one of my favorite characters just died, my ship just crashed, and I am very conflicted about the way she went out, but objectively it had to happen. And having this fearsome Commander who just won a mêlée against the King of Asgard (no wait, Azgeda. Easy mistake, Roan does kinda look like Thor) die in such a banal way — by a stray bullet, fired by her friend who was aiming for her lover — just serves to remind us that she was only human. Or, mostly human, I guess?
(Sidenote: I was a big Lost fan, and something about Lexa’s death felt super familiar. I looked it up, and yes, Javier Grillo-Marxuach did write “Collision,” the episode in which Shannon is killed in exactly the same way, after sex, by a stray bullet. This is probably a coincidence, since it was also a character-killing device used on Buffy, but damn.)
Lexa is dead, and my soul is crushed, but I’m not going to lie: A part of me is relieved. Because I’ve missed the other characters. I’ve missed Clarke taking charge, I’ve missed Octavia (who was brilliant this week), I’ve missed Kane, I’ve missed Lincoln, and I’ve missed Raven. These are the characters that drew me in to The 100 in the first place, and however much Lexa commanded our attention (too soon?), I cannot wait to get back to some of the other characters’ stories.
So to the writers I say: Thank you for Lexa, thank you for Clexa, and thank you for allowing Lexa to be all she could be before her inevitable demise. May we meet her again — which it seems like we actually will, via the tiny octopus that served as my spoiler-free review title, which may or may not hold an imprint of her “spirit.”
The First Commander
In “Thirteen,” we were treated to a very rare set of flashbacks. Again, remember that Javi used to write for Lost? (Btw: ALL the praise to both him and director Dean White. Beautifully done.)
On the Polaris station, Becca, her assistant, and the “Commander” all watched as ALIE 1.0 launched nukes at the United States. Now, I know it’s been said that a nuclear war broke out on Earth and that life was wiped out everywhere, but a) we know that’s bullshit, Earth is clearly crawling with life, and b) didn’t it look like most of the nukes hit the U.S.? I’m very curious about the state of the rest of the world.
The Commander — whose phone call with his family marked the first time during this episode I cried — demanded that ALIE 2.0 be destroyed, but Becca insisted that it would save the Ark. As Polaris was shot out of the sky, thanks to Becca’s refusal to hand over the tech, Becca took a pod to Earth.
In present day, as Lexa dies, we see flashbacks to Becca, wearing the “Commander” spacesuit and greeting hazmat-clad apocalypse survivors. We learn that Becca implanted herself with the tiny octopus, aka. ALIE 2.0, and that this implant has been passed down from Commander to Commander ever since. We also see Becca injecting herself with a dark substance, likely the Nightblood that determines Grounders’ compatibility with the implant.
The Grounders with Nightblood (who are AI compatible) must be the descendants of the people that greeted Becca; the ones lucky enough to get one of her injections (we saw her take a whole case of syringes). To the Grounders today, the Nightblood “selection” must seem random, but in fact it’s all genetics. And it’s all Skaikru. How brilliant and full-circly that the woman upon whom the entire Grounder mythology is founded is a Sky Person, huh?
Now of course the big question remains: How much of Lexa remains in the imprint? How much of Lexa was, in fact, ALIE 2.0? It’d be a very educated guess to assume that this “spirit” implant and the City of Light storylines will intertwine at some point later in the season.
The next Commander must now be chosen, via a conclave, and I guess the whole Nightblood prerequisite disqualifies Clarke (or another Sky Person) from being chosen by Lexa’s spirit. But I wonder if the implant will ever pass on to a new Commander. The more I think about it, the more sure I am that Clarke or Murphy will try to steal it.
Octavia and Indra together again! Rejoice!
Okay, yes, it’s hard to focus on anything other than Lexa this week. But we must, because a glorious thing happened: Octavia convinced Indra to come with her to Arkadia, and the pair’s epic frenemyship is back on track.
About halfway through the episode I actually made a note saying how I wish the narrative had more time for Octavia. Careful what you wish for, I guess, but again, this is one of the benefits of the show having to trudge on without its scene-stealer. Octavia is one of the characters that still has so far to go, hovering between her birth and her destiny, and I’m so ready to see her become the Grounder she was always meant to be.
Here’s this lost girl who was never meant to exist, and who’s finally found a way of life she understands, and that’s why the role-reversal between Octavia and Indra here is so brilliant. Indra has been crushed, but Octavia is as strong-willed as ever, and the two can find common ground in a way they never could before. There’s a new respect there, but Octavia still needs Indra’s teachings. That shot of them marching out of Polis together promised all kinds of epicness that I hope the show follows through with.
A note for everyone fuming with rage right now
Look. There is a lot to be angry about right now, and we should be. It’s a mark of a good TV show that it inspires such loyalty, and such strong emotional responses. Lexa was a brilliant character; the Clexa relationship was groundbreaking… and we can’t ignore the fact that Lexa’s death unfortunately perpetuates the TV trend of killing off one half of a queer relationship. The fact that LGBTQ+ ships never get happy endings is a very valid problem, and we should be talking about it.
At the same time, it would be doing the show a disservice to pretend like there was ever a realistic chance for Clexa, or any relationship, to have a happy ending. With the possible (though unlikely, at this point) exception of Linctavia, every relationship on The 100 has ended in tragedy.
Should Clexa have been the exception? Arguably yes, if The 100 wanted to make a statement with them. I would certainly have been happier right now if that had been the case, but how could it have been? The Lexa-Clarke relationship was never meant to happen in the first place. Lexa was never meant to survive this long. The writers saw a potential for Clarke/Lexa and they went with it, letting it play out and letting Lexa steal the show for a while.
But allowing them to be together meant allowing Lexa to become a crutch for Clarke, our hero. Lexa was too awesome, in the archaic sense of the word; Clarke was literally standing in Lexa’s shadow, and as upset as I am at the way Lexa died, I love Clarke too much to be angry about the fact that she’s once again going to take center stage in her own story.
Lexa’s death will continue to have consequences for Clarke and the others going forward; the death of this strong, compassionate leader whose sexuality never defined her will send the world spiraling into chaos, and I truly consider that a powerful thing.
And let’s not forget what they keep telling us: Death is not the end. We all know the tiny octopus will come into play sooner or later. We all know Lexa “will live on,” as she kept saying, in one form or another. We’re judging a story before it’s been allowed to resolve itself, and that doesn’t invalidate the criticism, but it does mean we should give the writers a break. Allow them to show us the full picture before we condemn the strokes.
As much as I love it, The 100 is not mine to dictate. I’m not a writer on the show, and I don’t know their story better than they do. And I’m going to trust the ones who actually brought me Lexa in the first place to tell the story they want to tell.
For your consideration
- When Clarke called Murphy “my friend,” my heart melted. Forever Team Murphy. “You pray to garbage,” lol. Who would have thought that he’d be the bright spot in an otherwise tragic episode?
- I know this has been said about Linctavia too, but Clarke and Lexa really were the Romeo and Juliet of The 100. Lovers from warring clans that didn’t want them to be together, desperately clinging to each other when all around them was madness. But obviously now that Lexa is dead (with the potential of resurfacing via the AI), we don’t expect Clarke to follow her, right?!
- Becca landed where Polis is now, and likely became the Heda of that people. What about the other tribes? Do they share the Nightblood mythology, or is that just Trikru?
- “You have to go back, they’re your people. That’s why I lo– that’s why you’re you.” Oh Lexa. All the tears. :(
Make sure you check out our Hype Podcast’s The 100 special for more in-depth reactions and analysis!
Next week on ‘The 100’
It’s back to Arkadia (and my girl Harper) in The 100 season 3, episode 8, “Terms and Conditions.” Check out the promo below: