It took a while, but I’m pretty sure I’ve organized my thoughts on The 100. I’m not watching tonight, but that’s more because I’m in the middle of a binge of something else. I’m not boycotting it after the shitstorm that’s swirled since last week. Let’s talk about that, though. Spoilers.
I can’t freaking stand Lexa. I’ll put that out there to start. Never liked her. Never found her in any way compelling. Glad she’s finally been killed off. I loved Anya, her predecessor-type. I thought she was interesting and loved her personality. Very to-the-point. She was great. They set up the show to go in a direction with her, after some great character development for both characters, and then abruptly killed her and changed the direction of the story. It’s the moment I was hooked. I loved the writers’ ability to pull the rug out from under the viewer. Like, “you think we’re going over here, but PSYCH! we’re headed this way, because that tunnel was just painted on a rock, and it’s actually a dead end.” I love that shit.
Then they introduced Lexa, and decided to give her a crush on Clarke. Meh, okay, fine. Feels silly, but then I thought the same thing about Klaus’ crush on Caroline on The Vampire Diaries, and I’m solidly Team #Klaroline now. So, okay, fine, I’ll roll with it. Then they had Lexa betray Clarke’s trust, forcing her hand to commit genocide, and I became solidly anti-Lexa. Apparently I hold grudges longer than Clarke does.
Sometime between seasons 2 & 3, the showrunner and writers decided they wanted to embrace the LGBTQ storyline opportunities they have in their show in this post-apocalyptic future, where preferences don’t matter; only human connection does. And somewhere in there, they lost sight of everything. They got high on their own supply. They were so focused on #Clexa that they lost sight of their own story. They worked the story to fit the #Clexa narrative that they were so glad fans were embracing. As a result, everything that they were good at fell by the wayside. They started the season with a time jump—ok, great, I love those. They introduced a girlfriend character who we’ve never met, never got to know, and then disposed of her neatly 3 eps later. Problem: it’s supposed to send a lead character into a downward spiral for the rest of the season, making emotional mistakes and not thinking clearly. The setup was not nearly worth the payoff. This isn’t the only instance of rushing story and character development. It’s their new signature, apparently. They wanted to cram in a lot of plot into 16 eps and forgot how to properly slow-burn things. Ease into it in the beginning, focusing on character moments and The Good, and then move the plot at breakneck speed, once we know and care about these people. You can’t just raise the stakes whenever—it loses value that way, and becomes meaningless.
And you can’t laud yourselves for all the wonderful LGBTQ stories without THINKING ABOUT all the ways it’s been done before and the mistakes that were made by others. If you want to be a beacon of hope for LGBTQ stories, you have to PAY ATTENTION. We all knew Lexa was going to die, because everyone dies on The 100. The fact that her death was the Tara Special from Buffy 15 years ago—that is the laziest bullshit-storytelling I’ve seen in a dog’s age.
I mean, it was almost the exact same script page. Girl-who-is-not-our-lead sleeps with The Girl We Care About, then in the next scene gets shot by a stray bullet by Some Man With A Gun Firing Wildly. Where was the crazy turn? Wasn’t this supposed to be a different dead end? This time that tunnel was an actual tunnel?
I did love all the Becca stuff last episode, explaining the whole Heda line. I know Lexa’s not actually dead, because she was the culmination of all the Heda’s that came before her, learning from each generation, which means that chip will be implanted into someone else who will remember all that Lexa remembered. I sorta hope it ends up in a kid, but we’ll see. But that does not excuse how they killed her off.
Just because a character isn’t dead, but her actress doesn’t work there anymore, doesn’t give them a free pass to do the same tired shit that sucks away the hope and light they gave to the youths that they were soooo proud of themselves for developing in the first place.
If only they could get back to the wondrous philosophy and moral ambiguities of the first seasons. I mean, they’re asking new questions and posing new dilemmas, but they are rushed and shallow.