Yes, friends. Spoilers. Big ones.
Go read something else if necessary.
Okay? You’re prepared?
Right. The spoilers start now.
From a story perspective, it’s obvious why they did it. Killing Lexa hurts Clarke, destabilizes the political situation for grounders and Skaikru alike, and allows the writers to bring the second AI into play. Furthermore, the show has made it clear in the past that none of the characters are safe. The writers have killed series regulars alongside recurring characters like Lexa, and I don’t doubt they’ll continue to do so.
In this case, though, Lexa’s death also plays into harmful tropes surrounding fictional queer women; something you can read more about on this list of 146 (and counting) dead queer women on TV.
Even if the whole dead queer women thing wasn’t troubling, character deaths of all sorts have become normal and expected in today’s television landscape. Death is rarely the most brutal thing a writer can do to a character, or the most creative, but it’s often treated as The Most Shocking Twist Of AllTM.
So, let’s say we’re writing The 100 and we want to do something actually shocking. We also want to hurt Clarke, make the political situation even more tense, and demonstrate that Allie ain’t the only AI in the game, because we’ve got definite goals for this show.
This season has established that Lexa’s position is far from stable. We’ve seen votes of no confidence, coups, and assassination attempts against her. She may be Commander by what her society sees as divine right and we contemporary viewers recognize as an ability to effectively interface with the AI implanted in her spine, but being Commander doesn't necessarily equate with staying Commander.
So we let one of the no-confidence votes, or perhaps one of the coups, succeed. The viewer expects Lexa to be executed, this show being what it is, but instead the conspirators divest her of the AI without killing her and install it in their Commander of choice.
We have to be really careful how we film this, because it’s conceivably a metaphor for rape.
Lexa’s exiled instead of killed; a much harsher fate, since she's forced to live on without a piece of herself. Because Lexa doesn’t think of the AI as a machine. It’s her soul.
Think of the possibilities. Lexa, mourning her soul. Clarke, helping Lexa see she should keep on fighting, because the AI aided her but didn’t determine her worth. Lexa, learning how to navigate the world without the extra benefits the AI provided. Lexa, drawing people to her. Lexa, regaining her position with or without the AI because fuck you, she’s the fucking Commander and like hell are you gonna keep her from performing her duty to her people.
Go further afield. Look at Raven, herself infected with a malicious AI she’s desperate to get rid of, taking Lexa’s struggle as a model for her own way forward as she engineers a way to get Allie out of her head (and survive the aftermath). Look at Titus, loyal to the Commander’s office and to Lexa, deeply troubled politically, religiously, and personally. Look at Clarke, desperate to help her people survive on this world and forced to rethink her entire strategy because her most powerful ally, in whom she’s also invested her heart, is suddenly on a different part of the gameboard.
And, okay, look at Clarke and Lexa making out a lot because this situation is really fucking tense and they need a release.
But unless the writers have one hell of a twist up their sleeves, we won’t get this.
Doesn’t change how much I want it, so I’m hoping someone steps in and writes some seriously good fic. If you know of any, please share.