Spoiler warning: This post contains plot details for “The 100” Season 3, Episode 7, “Thirteen,” and “The Walking Dead” Season 6, Episode 14, “Twice as Far.”
Fans are still reeling over the death of Grounder Commander Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) in the March 3 episode of “The 100,” and the actress who played her is well aware of the impact Lexa’s death has had on a portion of the show’s fanbase — especially because it came so soon after Lexa consummated her relationship with the show’s protagonist Clarke (Eliza Taylor), further perpetuating the recurring trope of lesbian characters dying on primetime TV, particularly following moments of happiness or fulfillment.
(Coincidentally, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” just killed one of its two lesbian characters in another situation where the shooter was aiming for someone else, while said character was in the midst of a rousing monologue about her newfound self-actualization.)
At the PaleyFest panel for AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead,” the series that necessitated her exit from “The 100,” Debnam-Carey weighed in on the fan reaction to Lexa’s untimely demise.
“It’s incredible how passionate the fans are, and that’s really why the show is doing so well and why I have so much faith and passion for it in the first place,” she told Variety on the red carpet. “I think what’s important to note on my behalf is that the death of Lexa came out of a place of creative freedom and positivity. [For] everyone on board, Lexa was a character that we created together and collaborated on and were fond of.”
Debnam-Carey reiterated that her series regular role on “Fear” meant that she couldn’t commit to an extended arc on The CW drama. “I obviously had other obligations in my work life and I hope that people know that this wasn’t a social attack on anyone or any social movement,” she said. “It’s a difficult thing, but as long as people love the show and are passionate about Lexa, I think that’s really what matters.”
When told that a number of fans have announced their intention to stop watching “The 100” and start following “Fear the Walking Dead” in the wake of Lexa’s death, the Australian actress insisted that both shows are worthy of viewers’ time.
“I mean, watch ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ because we’d love your support, but I think ‘The 100’ is such a great show; it was a great show before I got there, it’s only getting better and I’m so lucky I got to be a part of it,” she insisted. “I think it deserves that support. Getting a reaction like that out of people, for good or for bad, I think is an incredible thing, so if it can make you feel that way, why stop watching it? It’s an amazing group of people and I don’t think they deserve to be deserted, because they are so great at what they do.”
“The 100” creator Jason Rothenberg also addressed the fan backlash in an interview with TV Insider, admitting “for the last two weeks, I’ve pretty much thought about nothing else except for this. It’s taken me some time to process everything, and I’ve been listening, reading everything I could.”
Rothenberg went on to acknowledge his position of privilege in failing to anticipate the effect Lexa’s death would have on an already underrepresented LGBT fanbase, noting, “Lexa’s death triggered real emotional trauma for some people … It tapped into the real world, it tapped into their lives, and as a straight white male, I obviously didn’t anticipate how deeply it would affect certain people. I look at it now and I realize that if somebody had that kind of a reaction and then were to look back at the way I behaved on Twitter leading up to it, which was celebrating this relationship that then crushed them, I can understand why they would find that reprehensible. I hope that people understand that.”
Ultimately, Rothenberg maintained that Lexa’s death, like every other character on “The 100,” simply serves to reinforce that this is a world in which Anyone Can Die. “We’ve created this world where it doesn’t matter what color you are or whether you’re a male or a female or who you love, whether you’re gay or straight. It’s about survival, it’s about ‘Can you help me survive today?’” he said. “The message here is that race, sexuality, those things shouldn’t matter, and that extends to the way that characters die. In this world, it doesn’t matter, you can die if you’re gay or straight, you can die if you’re a series regular or not.”
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