Wow. Just... wow. Rest in peace, Commander Lexa. May we meet again.
In a heartbreaking (but not unexpected) twist, Lexa was accidentally killed by Titus, hit by a stray bullet meant for Clarke on The 100 Season 3 Episode 7.
It was very reminiscent of a certain Buffy the Vampire Slayer plot, except unlike that moment, the writing was on the wall for Lexa's death pretty much since she showed up again at the beginning of The 100 Season 3. Still didn't make it any less painful, though.
I'll easily admit that, personally, I was hoping for Lexa to be ousted from her Commandership and go on the lam. We knew going in that Alycia Debnam Carey, Lexa's brilliant portrayer, was only a guest star and was contracted for a limited number of episodes this season (thanks a bunch, Fear the Walking Dead!).
Lexa had to go at some point, because of this, and I wished that they'd at least have left the door open for a later return.
Of course, that was all before the true nature of the Commandership, and the link to Becca's AI, was revealed.
Turns out, it's not just a post of leadership. It's an actual biological/technological thing; each Commander is "chosen" by Becca's sentient AI chip (a process I assume we'll see in action in the next installment, during the Conclave), which is then embedded in the back of the neck of the newly chosen Commander.
Lexa couldn't have just gone on the run had she been deposed and replaced, because she had this AI chip thing tethering her to her people and to her post. Because of the mythology that the show set up, Lexa's death was the only out for this character. Unfortunate, but logical.
Regardless of personal feelings about Lexa as a character, or the Lexa/Clarke pairing, I challenge anyone to deny that Lexa's death scene was one of the show's most powerful and moving moments to date (if not the single most moving moment). Much has been made of Eliza Taylor and Alycia Debnam Carey's chemistry, and it was on at full force during "Thirteen."
Let's back up and begin at the beginning.
"Thirteen" was an unusual installment of The 100 right from the get-go. It narrowed the focus severely, zeroing in and featuring only three series regulars (Clarke, Murphy, and Octavia) with important guest stars like Titus, Lexa, and Becca. It fully ignored the Arkadia subplot (no Pike! Woo!), choosing to instead split the focus between present-day Polis and the Polaris flashbacks.
This was a very smart move, because killing off Lexa was a huge deal and deserved as much focus as possible. The flashbacks were also extremely important (and, yes, "game-changing"), and they paralleled the unveiling of the AI residing inside Lexa beautifully. The flashbacks were well-intertwined with the events of "Thirteen," similar to the excellent use of flashbacks during the lead-up to Finn's death on The 100 Season 2 Episode 8.
When we left off with The 100 Season 3 Episode 6, Jaha had just revealed that twist about Polaris to Raven and ALIE. In conjunction with the scene of Titus torturing Murphy, we were able to put two and two together and realize there was some as-yet-unspecified connection between Polis and Polaris.
"Thirteen" cleared that up with a series of flashbacks. OK, maybe "cleared that up" is too strong a phrase. Nothing is exactly clear, and there are still plenty more questions to be answered, but the basic nature of the Polis/Polaris connection has been clarified.
Becca, ALIE's creator, was determined to fix the mess she'd made. She was also, probably, just a little bit kooky after having accidentally wiped out the vast majority of humanity. Understandable.
"Thirteen" reiterated what we had already discovered much earlier this season. Courtesy of that bunker video, we knew that "she" had killed everyone. That "she," of course, was ALIE 1, who'd fundamentally misunderstood her orders (like many a fictional AI before her) and took "too many people" to mean "kill all the people to make the number of people less."
Honestly, I can't really blame ALIE 1 too much for that faux pas. What on earth was Becca thinking, giving her an order like that? How was ALIE supposed to interpret it? And on that note, what was the purpose of the original ALIE, exactly? What did Becca mean for her to do? Obviously mass genocide was not the intended game plan, but giving an AI a vague order is just stupid.
ALIE 1, by present day, was aware of the second version of Becca's AI, and she now needs it for some probably-nefarious, still unknown reason. In the flashback sequences, we saw that Becca was actively working on her new AI aboard Polaris before the nuclear missiles went off.
Interestingly, Becca was already up in space when ALIE set everything off and she already knew that ALIE was defective and had had her basically quarantined. Curious to know what initially tipped Becca off that ALIE was dangerous and faulty.
On Unity Day, her doubting assistant ratted her out to the Commander and the two planned to float the AI (totally reasonable because, again, genocidal AI on a confined space ark is slightly problematic) in order to protect the remnants of humanity who were about to join their 13 stations together.
Instead of cooperating, Becca insisted she knew best, having improved upon ALIE 1 with ALIE 2, and locked the Commander and her own assistant out of the lab. She ejected herself and her AI (now residing in her) from Polaris, down to earth, and left the station behind to be blown up by the other stations.
Honestly, there was not much of a fight put up to not be blown up. It was a little weird. It just sort of happened. It was extremely foolish for the assistant and the Commander to just leave Becca in her lab.
I understand that they refused to allow Becca's new AI to infect the other stations and that they sacrificed their own lives to prevent that from happening, but it's just a bit silly that they didn't do much to actually stop Becca, or to inform the other stations ahead of time (before confronting her) what was going on.
When Becca landed on the irradiated ground, she encountered the remainder of Earth's humanity, which cleared up one of my biggest questions: There were people who survived on the ground, and Becca and her AI simply mingled with them rather than bringing anyone else down from Polaris with them to repopulate.
That thing is what will save us. ALIE 1 didn't understand what it meant to be human, yes, but ALIE 2 will. It's designed to interface with humanity on a biological level. It will understand the value of life by coexisting with us.Becca
So, to recap: When Becca said that the new AI would interface with humanity on a biological level, she meant it quite literally. The AI was in Becca by the time she left Polaris.
Becca was the first Commander, having stolen the Polaris Commander's gear. The whole Commander-reincarnation thing is actually legit – except it's technological, not spiritual reincarnation.
Again, as much as this clears up, it begs a whole new series of questions.
How much of Lexa's personality was influenced by the AI, if at all? What, exactly, was the nature of those premonitory "dreams" of the past Commanders' deaths, now that we know this AI chip was once embedded in each of them? Does the chip simply store the previous Commanders' memories, or does it actually harbor some actual portion of them, of their soul (such as it is)?
A large part of me would love to think it's the latter. It would be great to believe that, because it would open up the door for some sort of spiritual reunion of Clarke and Lexa. "Death is not the end" and "May we meet again" and all that seem to suggest the continuance of Lexa or Lexa's soul in the City of Light or elsewhere.
We still don't really know what the City of Light is, but perhaps that is what Lexa was seeing when she dreamt of the previous Commanders and their deaths.
When Octavia was brought before Lexa by Semet and Semet shouted "Death to the Commander!" after Lexa's refusal to order the destruction of Arkadia, it was pretty clear that Lexa was a goner. The way that her death actually occurred was not something I was expecting, however.
Titus is a fantastic character. He is the polar opposite of the grossly underdeveloped Pike.
Titus was driven to the brink after listening to Clarke counsel Lexa to allow the Sky People time to depose Pike on their own, seemingly taking Clarke's advice over his own. Her decision to blockade rather than destroy was... controversial, to say the least (RIP Semet! We hardly knew ye). The kill order was Lexa's attempt at justice rather than vengeance.
Despite Titus' later huge mistake, I have to give him props for protecting Lexa when Semet attacked and backing up her order, even when she directly defied his advice.
I kind of hate Titus right now a lot for what he's done, but there's no denying that he is a far more interesting character than Pike. You can't quite classify him as a villain. And he's certainly not a hero.
There was legitimate pain and distress in his eyes when he realized he'd accidentally killed Heda. It was clear that he truly believed he was doing what was right when he pointed that gun at Clarke, unfortunate a decision as that was.
Immediately before Lexa's death, the show gave us that long-awaited Clexa scene. The 100 Season 3 has been building to this, and the pay-off was worth the wait.
Clarke and Lexa's heartfelt goodbye was beautifully acted and it made complete sense that they would say their farewells this way, knowing that they were parting to do what they needed to do for their people but deciding that they would do this one last thing for themselves before resuming their respective positions as leaders of their people.
Clarke: I'm sorry.
Lexa: Don't be. You have to go back to your people. That's why I -- That's why you're you.
Clarke: Maybe someday you and I will owe nothing more to our people.
Lexa: I hope so. May we meet again.
"That's why you're you" = "That's why I love you," for the record. Again, it was a gorgeously scripted scene and this needed to happen before Lexa's character departed the show. Despite being dissatisfied with Lexa departing in such a final, irreversible way, I do believe that the show did Clarke and Lexa's love story justice.
It was complicated, it was passionate, it was ground-breaking. We (well, some of us) wanted more of it, Clarke and Lexa certainly wanted more of it, but The 100 is not a show where people just get what they want. That's fully consistent with everything we've seen so far.
Clarke is not going to get over this loss easily. She was just starting to heal from Finn, and that romance was barely even a thing compared to this.
Lexa's final words to Clarke underscored all that Clarke meant to her, and all the ways that Clarke had influenced her. Clarke allowed Lexa to open herself up to love again, after Costia.
Sad as it was, this was a perfect place to end Lexa's arc, as she's come so far since we met her in Season 2. She realized that Clarke's words to her back when they'd first met were true.
Lexa: My fight is over.
Clarke: No, I won't accept that.
Lexa: You were right, Clarke. Life is about more than just surviving.
Clarke: In peace may you leave the shore. In love may you find the next. Safe passage on your travels until our final journey on the ground... May we meet again.
And, of course, they closed it with Clarke reciting the traveler's prayer to Lexa as she died. Because we weren't all devastated enough as it was!
- Octavia was a rockstar. You tell Indra, O! Love those two together.
- If the next Commander is anyone other than Ontari, I will be shocked. This would also be an excellent reason to get Roan back on the screen, of course, which is never a bad thing.
- Why, oh why, was Murphy in that Lexa death scene? I mean, I get why he was there, but his presence was incredibly awkward and slightly distracting. They kept cutting to him!
- The Polaris Commander was remarkably calm given that his family was blown up as he was speaking to them...?
- Lexa was worried about Clarke right until the very end, telling her not to be scared and ordering Titus to swear not to harm Clarke again. Oh, the tears. So many tears.
- I loved Lexa's death scene, but I think it would have been even stronger as one, uninterrupted scene. Octavia and Indra reuniting and leaving Polis to go kick some ass was epic, but it derailed the power of Lexa's departure a bit.
- In that postcoital scene, Clarke admired Lexa's tattoo and commented on the fact that it was missing one officiate. She asked what happened to the 8th officiate on the day Lexa was made the next Commander, and Lexa quickly changed the subject. This is obviously going to come up again, and I'm super intrigued to know who the 8th officiate was.
- Let's all just take a minute to appreciate that Murphy is the one who currently has the fullest understanding of the Polis/Polaris connection and what the heck is going on with the AI. I love Murphy, and I'm glad that he is becoming such a central part of these now-intertwined storylines. Richard Harmon rocks.
What did you think of "Thirteen"? Who will be the next Commander? What will become of the Grounders and the Sky People now that Lexa is gone? Chime in by commenting below and watch The 100 online here at TV Fanatic in case you missed anything!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.