3:56pm PT by Josh Wigler
'The 100': Alycia Debnam-Carey Reflects on "Passionate Response" to Season 3's Lexa Twist
[Warning: This article contains spoilers for The 100 episode 307, "Thirteen."]
There are no zombies in the world of The 100 (there are barely even any Reapers anymore, thanks to the destruction of Mount Weather), but the flesh-eating monsters still managed to take a big bite out of The CW series this season via the divisive death of Commander Lexa, played by Fear the Walking Dead star Alycia Debnam-Carey.
During her time on the show, Lexa was, and remains, a fan favorite for a vast range of reasons, from her powerful presence as the leader of the Grounders, to her moving love story with series lead Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor) and what she represents for the LGBT community.
Lexa died mere moments after she and Clarke finally consummated their courtship, killed by one of her closest advisers in an accidental shooting. Immediately after the episode — and even now — countless fans took to social media to blast the writers of The 100 over the killing, seen by a vocal segment of the fandom as insensitive to the viewers who felt invested in and represented by Debnam-Carey's character.
During a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter at the PaleyFest panel for Fear the Walking Dead, Debnam-Carey addressed the reaction from The 100 fans and clarified her interpretation of Lexa's death.
"I think it’s incredible to see such a passionate response," she said. "I think it’s important for me to note that that decision was never made from a negative point of view; it was never an attempt to bait or to enflame a social issue. It was a creative choice and it didn’t come at the expense of thinking about a social issue — maybe it should have more. But I definitely want fans to think that the love for Lexa on the show and a collaboration that we’ve all made on that show has only come from a good place."
"It’s a really important thing to note that it wasn’t in any way an attempt to aggravate a social situation," she added.
Debnam-Carey parted ways with Lexa due to "other obligations in my personal life," referring to her role as a series regular on Fear the Walking Dead, where she plays Alicia Clark — an ironic surname, given the actor's connection to The 100's protagonist, Clarke Griffin. But even if she had to leave the show, does Debnam-Carey think Lexa needed to die?
"I must say, I always — from experience when I watch TV shows and I see characters leave without a proper explanation or leave with not enough time, I get irritated," she said. "I like it when there’s a clean-cut reason or a defining moment where they have to go. Whether that’s death or not, I think that’s subjective."
However, she added, "I like Lexa going out with a bang in a way."
Indeed, Lexa goes out with a literal bang, as well as a figurative one: Her death comes paired with the game-changing revelation that each successive commander of the Grounders possesses a century-old computer chip, one with an artificial intelligence system that bonds with its human host. When Lexa speaks about feeling the souls of past commanders, she's not speaking metaphorically; she actually has access to these people, thanks to the technology embedded in her neck.
Now that Lexa's dead, will the next Commander of the 12 Clans feel Lexa's presence? Better yet, is it possible that this twist allows for a future appearance from Lexa as a vision instigated by the A.L.I.E. 2.0 technology? It's not impossible to see how such a twist could intertwine with the season's City of Light story — an enigmatic virtual reality "without pain," where deceased characters have appeared seemingly alive and well.
For her part, Debnam-Carey is tight-lipped about a return appearance to The 100: "I'll let you find out," is all she offers. But perhaps there's reason to hope fans of the show and Commander Lexa may meet again.
Reporting by Lesley Goldberg