The death of the noble Commander Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) was no doubt one of the most controversial things to hit TV in 2016. Fans’ love for her was only trumped by their despair at her death, leaving “The 100” with a pretty impossible task for Season 4: How to honor her character while staying true to their story.
When all is said and done, most fans agree that the storytelling method and tone of the show — not to mention the actress’s limited availability — called for Lexa’s death in Season 3. However, now that Clarke (Eliza Taylor) is having to deal with the aftermath of that loss in a real way, Season 4 has done a pretty faithful job of paying tribute to both Lexa as a character, and “Clexa” as a relationship.
It would have been all too easy to kickstart Season 4 with action and suspense, and leave the death of Clarke’s former love in the past. It’s what most shows tend to do after a long hiatus, and it’s even what “The 100” did after Finn (Thomas McDonnell) died in Season 2. With such a short season to tell so many important stories, it’s not a great use of time to endlessly reflect on things that happened in seasons past.
“The 100” avoided that pitfall this year, though, choosing to keep Lexa’s memory (and her significance to Clarke) in the narrative in subtle but appreciated ways.
Clarke breaking down to her mother about her love for Lexa in the premiere felt very true and organic. It was a very raw way to show us the depth of Clarke’s grief — even after saving the world from ALIE and restoring all her friends to their rightful state, Clarke couldn’t enjoy the victory knowing that she’d lost Lexa along the way. And now that she’s facing this new nuclear problem, she seems adrift without Lexa there to help guide her through the problem.
The former Heda was mentioned again just recently, at a tipping point where Clarke probably needed her most. Her loyalty to Skaikru has always been Clarke’s first priority, which has previously been a very noble part of her character. Now though, it’s the one thing keeping her from making the right choice for everyone, which is perhaps why Roan brought Lexa (and her unwavering loyalty to all Grounders and not just Trikru) up in the first place.
Lexa will get one more shoutout in Wednesday’s (March 14) episode, which fans will no doubt appreciate. With the way things have been going so far, we don’t imagine it will be the last.
This subtle — but ever so important — reminder that Lexa continues to be an integral part in Clarke’s story, even if she can’t be an active part of it, is the kind of stuff fans live for after losing a beloved character. It’s also a great way for “The 100” to stress her importance and the affect her life and death had on so many characters in the show. From Clarke to Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) to Indra (Adina Porter), to the thousands of Grounders who looked to her for leadership, Lexa made her mark on too many lives to be ignored.
Regardless of which side of the Lexa debate you fall on, we can all agree she’ll always be a part of Clarke, and a part of “The 100” as a whole.
“The 100” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.