On the seventh episode of the third season of The CW’s “The 100” that aired in the beginning of March, Commander Lexa, who is played by Australian actress Alycia Debnam-Carey, died after finally getting together with long-time love interest Clarke, played by Eliza Taylor. Fans of the couple, who have been given the ship name “Clexa,” have long-awaited the union of these two, and were happy when it finally happened.
Fan’s happiness were quickly dismissed when Lexa died in the scene right after their getting together, and even worse, she died by a stray bullet, which has become a trope in the lesbian community after Tara Maclay’s death in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
It has become so common for lesbian characters to die in shows and movies that “bury the gays” is a trope, as well as “dead lesbian syndrome.” Female/female relationships that end happily in the media are so rare that the community basically expects any f/f relationship to just not work out.
Fans were outraged after this, to the point where they have had multiple hashtags trending on Twitter over the last few weeks. One of the hashtags was #LGBTFansDeserveBetter, with one fan tweeting, “LGBT fans deserve better because after some time, it starts being hard to see ourselves die/never get a happy ending.”
Another trending hashtag was #CWStopJasonRotherberg, aimed at the show’s creator. While it is upsetting to lose a favorite character, most fans are angry at Rotherberg’s queerbaiting the community. To queerbait is something that shows do to reel in LGBT+ viewers, without actually doing the community any justice. Rothenberg has shown support over the Clexa relationship since it first started in season two, and has given hope that their show would not follow into the dead lesbian trope.
“The 100” used to be praised for its openness with its queer characters and how they were treated, but that praise quickly turned to rage when the lesbian character was killed right after having relations with another female character.
Fans believe that this is a classic thing for shows to do, and it is immensely harmful to the community. The relationship between Clarke and Lexa was one of the best female/female relationship ever represented in the media, and fans are outraged at the disrespectful ending they received.
Fans tweeted for the show to be cancelled and encouraged others not to watch the next episode live so that the ratings would plummet. The first six episodes of season three were all rated between an eight and 10 on IMDb, but the seventh episode where Lexa was killed was rated a 4.9, while the eighth episode was rated a 5.1.
Fans did much more than use Twitter and IMDb in their campaign. They have made a page dedicated to Lexa for The Trevor Project, which is a suicide prevention charity aimed at LGBT+ youth. Fans have raised close to $50,000 in these few weeks.
“This is not something ‘sorry’ can fix. Anyone with any creative control and a literary background has a responsibility to the audience they are so carefully trying to reach,” the fundraising page reads. “There is not much we can do in the way of changing what’s already been written. What we can do however, is unite to help those who are hurting and despondent through this.”
Rothenberg defends his decision to kill off Lexa, saying that Debnam-Carey is a lead on “Fear the Walking Dead” and that there were scheduling conflicts. Some fans found this hard to believe when Debnam-Carey stated that she had hoped to still be in season four of the show. Fans also have reason to distrust Rothenberg when actors who are working with him on the show have spoken out about his mistreatment of them. Despite if Rothenberg is telling the truth or not, fans still believe that he could have gone about Lexa’s death in a better way.
She was a strong female character who happened to be the leader of 12 clans, so fans found it hard to believe that a stray bullet, shot by her somewhat father figure, would have killed her. Many other characters in the show have suffered far worse injuries than her and survived them, so the show could have done a better job at creating a more likely death for the great commander. But fans believe that the LGBT+ community is simply not treated with enough respect, and that is why the show gave Lexa, the great commander who wanted nothing but peace, who fearlessly gripped a sword’s blade in her hands during a fight, who selflessly loved Clarke and respected her boundaries unlike anyone else, died a disrespectful death from a stray bullet.
Dana Perkiss is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at DP785965@wcupa.edu.