I remember the exact moment I decided to watch The 100. Back in Season 1, when I came across that gif of Clarke’s reaction to Octavia in the water and I was so moved by Eliza’s acting, I thought “no way this girl isn’t bi” and I watched religiously ever since. I watched before there were any established LGBT characters at all, back when the plot was good, the actors so endearing, the character development off the charts, and everything was so promising. I never actually thought Clarke would be bisexual. She was a main character on prime time television. I hoped with all my heart inside, but never let myself actually, REALLY hope.
I remember in Season 2 when Lexa’s character was introduced and I thought she was so badass and loved that these strong female characters, many of them woc just kept flooding into this show. Before long Lexa was officially a queer (later confirmed lesbian) character, and I felt elated. I thought, “ok, here’s the One Gay Character, maybe she’ll have a couple minor character love interests throughout the show… A great show with a great character representing my community and what I’m about, LOVE IT” She was so unlike any other girl-liking-girl character out there. She spoke to me.
Clarke and Lexa’s relationship began to develop, and they played so well off of each other, characters and actors alike. The raw chemistry was so real, I felt it. But I still didn’t let the hope consume me. I remember that night in February vividly, almost exactly a year ago when the Clexa kiss was leaked. I had gone to bed early, but there was a freeze on the east coast and my roof had started leaking. My mom was trying to fix it, right outside of my bedroom and I couldn’t sleep. Of course I went on tumblr, and I couldn’t believe what had happened. The seconds-long video taken on a phone was spreading like wildfire, grainy gifsets popping up every other minute of the kiss. It was such a feeling that I really can’t describe by any word but ethereal. I didn’t go back to bed that night. I remember hearing about ADC’s contract with Fear the Walking Dead, and the possibility of her death was suddenly so real and looming. Watching every episode of Season 2 after was so nerve wracking. My mantra seemed to become “this is it, this is the episode she dies in, this was good while it lasted”. But she didn’t die. And Jason announced ADC would in fact be returning for Season 3. I thought that maybe the two show’s producers had come up with a way to share her, and that maybe she would be able to live after all. My other thought went back to my old way of thinking: This is it, this was good while it lasted, she’ll either be killed or have some other finality to her character.
I remember seeing Jason’s tweet, that 3×07 must be watched live. I reblogged it with tags about being scared of Lexa dying. I remember watching the episode, a week and a half ago. I can’t say I didn’t see Lexa’s death coming, but I wasn’t any less shocked. That episode was so NOT the show I had come to love. I had never considered how downhill it could have gone so quickly. Everything about it felt foreign. It took me a few days to really come to terms with my thoughts on what happened through tumblr, articles, conversations, and personal reflection. (Goodbye, Lexa)
We were led on. I’ve never been an optimist, but Jason Rothenberg kept promising us that this was different. That the show was so progressive and LGBTQ understanding. I absolutely don’t think he was out to spite anyone when he signed off on how Lexa would die, and every queer moment before and after that. But the thing you have to consider is that when you’re dealing with minorities of any kind is that the standards ARE higher. The stakes ARE raised. When only .6% of characters in television represent a far larger population in reality, you have an obligation to be more thoughtful about decisions and how they could impact the people you’re writing about. We have seen this time and time again, the lesbians are always tragic, the deaths always even more so. Lesbian couples don’t get the happy ending or the ride off into the sunset.
The Lesbian Death Trope has been an issue for so long, luckily writers and producers are catching on. But this was such a huge fuckup of writing, I feel like we traveled back in time 20 years. Why does it matter? To me, and others already at peace with their identity who know lesbians have the capability of being just as happy, loved and content as anyone else, it doesn’t matter remotely as much as it does to queer viewers who are younger, awakening, or simply trying to be content with who they are and will always be. When the only representation ends in tragedy, it can make you wonder whether there really is ever happiness for queer women. While I may know how grossly inaccurate the majority of queer womens’ representation in the media is, not everyone does, especially younger girls. It’s nearly impossible to accept yourself when time and time again it’s only shown as being a disadvantage and certain to lead to a lifetime of unhappiness. (Queer women are happy, loved, and content. Really.) I choose to speak out against this.
While JRoth wasn’t actively trying to offend, he was far too thoughtless and flippant with the power he has over how he portrays his minorities. And he has not so much as acknowledged this fact since the controversy began. I cringe at some of what has resulted from this: death threats, hating on actors, guilt tripping actors, jumping the gun with Bob Morley and Bellamy/Blarke shippers the other day on Twitter (please understand Lexa/Clexa supporters are feeling very hurt and defensive, and really just didn’t understand all of what was going on before attacking you guys, it was our bad). I also rejoice at other things that have come of this: supportive and empathetic actors, blarkes and clexa supporters uniting in disdain for what has happened, public outcry calling for this not to be swept under the rug, SO MUCH BEAUTIFUL ARTWORK (my personal favorite, thank all you creative people, I think that is what’s helping get me through this most of all) (But) I can’t find it within me to support and watch the show after this, in addition to the increasing frequency of poc being associated with villainy in contrast to the whites generally being “good”, and the many wrongful things Jason Rothenberg has done being rightfully called out by many members of the cast (Ricky, Lindsey and Isaiah particularly) as racist, sexist, and homophobic, as well as his injustices towards them personally. Goodbye, The 100 (We deserve better.)