Our Fight is Not Over
The legacy of Commander Lexa in The 100
by Alessandra Puglisi
On the 30th of September, the fans of The 100 saluted the show for the last time. The CW production, in fact, ended its long run after its seventh season, and, let me say: what a run it has been.
The 100 has been under the spotlight for a good while since it aired on March 2014, but not always for good reasons. As expected from many TV shows that run for a long time , The 100 had its good deal of controversies going from cast members being fired for making racist and homophobic comments, to the death of loved characters.
The peak arrived on March 2016, while season three of the show was airing and thriving, with the death of Lexa Kom Trikru.
The much loved character played by Australian actress Alycia Debnam-Carey suffered a problematic ending that sparked a massive response from fans all over the world, and that followed the show until their last season.
Lexa not only embodied the epitome of powerful and strong-willed woman, but she was also one of the few LGBTQ+ characters of the entire show. She was presented in season two as the ruthless Commander of the Grounders in The 100 universe, but it was soon made clear that Lexa was much more than that. A compassionate and visionary leader, Lexa not only embraced her position as Commander, but she was also unapologetic about her sexuality.
It has been said more than once by producer Jason Rothenberg that labels and sexual orientations were not really a concern in the world of The 100, given that the primary focus of the characters was to ensure the survival of the human race.
However, living in a world were fiction does not equal reality, it was extremely important for fans all over the world to feel represented by a lesbian icon as Lexa and her relationship with bisexual lead character Clarke Griffin.
Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor) was already a groundbreaking figure for being the first bisexual lead on television and when paired up with Commander Lexa it seemed that the dreams of thousands of fans finally came true. Too bad the couple had such a short-lived happiness.
Lexa’s death created one of the biggest reactions a TV show ever faced, with people all over the world reuniting to voice their rage and disappointment over the treatment of LGBTQ+ characters. It is important to remember that fans have been suffering under the “Bury Your Gays” trope for a long time, having to witness their favourite icons dying in traumatic and often unnecessary ways. Lexa’s ending was just the last straw that sparked an entire movement.
Since then, fans have poured their efforts into productive ways to raise awareness around the subject, raising over $155,000 for the Trevor Project (an organization providing intervention and suicide prevention to LGBTQ+ people under 25), creating merchandise to support a number of charities and even creating the ClexaCon (a media and entertainment convention for LGBTQ+ women, trans and non-binary fans and creators).
On the contrary, The 100 lost massive support from his previously large fanbase, constantly being reminded of the ways in which they could have turned the tables, instead of falling into their own trap. The storytelling of the show also suffered from the loss of the Commander, suddenly realizing that it was practically impossible to fill that Lexa-shaped gap, and having to make amends by using mentions and flashbacks.
A beam of light came from actress Alycia Debnam-Carey herself when, during the 2020 San Diego Comic-Com, she reminded The 100 fans that Lexa still lives on through them, assuring that she is aware of the impact her character still has and reinforcing the message Lexa embodied all along: our fight is not over.
credit: alyciaswink on Tumblr