The 100's seventh and final season came to a close Wednesday night, and the series went out with a bang. After bringing back several long-gone characters, during Wednesday night's series finale, "The Last War," the series brought back one fan-favorite character who hasn't been seen Season 3, when her life came to an untimely, and extremely controversial, end. Warning: This post contained major spoilers for The 100 Season 7.
After a full season of working up to the "Last War," Clarke Griffin herself entered the final test to save all mankind, only to be greeted by her long-lost lover, Lexa, though her return wasn't all that it seemed. While Alycia Debnam-Carey returned to The 100 as the character, she played in Seasons 2 and 3, "Lexa" was Clarke's judge, the very person determining whether or not she was worthy to transcend. As with the other characters, the judges in the test took the form of the very person Clarke had deep a connection with, her "greatest love," making it unsurprising that she would see Lexa, the very person whose death still haunts her seasons later.
Although The 100 is no stranger to saying goodbye to its characters – it is a show set in a post-apocalyptic world, after all – Lexa's death had proven to be perhaps the most controversial moment in the show's history (ranking alongside the recent demise of Bellamy Blake) and is something that still proves to be a sticking point among some viewers. First introduced back in Season 2, Lexa had quickly risen to become a fan-favorite character and a beacon for LGBTQ+ fans of the show, which gained praise for its inclusion. Things, however, came crashing down on March 3, 2016, when the series aired the seventh episode of its third season, "Thirteen." After a season-worth of building up the relationship between Lexa and Clarke, they finally consummated their slow-burn relationship, though just minutes after, Lexa was shot and killed.
While some saw the death as just another causality of The 100, and the result of Debnam-Carey being cast as the main character on Fear The Walking Dead, many more thought it exemplified the harmful Bury Your Gays trope, sparking widespread backlash. In the weeks that followed, the series' ratings took a dip, and some fans launched the #LGBTFansDeserveBetter movement, raising more than $175,000 for the Trevor Project. The backlash even eventually prompted showrunner Jason Rothenberg to issue an apology.
In an open letter to fans, Rothenberg acknowledged that Clarke and Lexa's relationship "held greater importance than even I realized" and that "very important representation was taken away by one stray bullet." He explained that "the thinking behind having the ultimate tragedy follow the ultimate joy was to heighten the drama and underscore the universal fragility of life. But the end result became something else entirely — the perpetuation of the disturbing 'Bury Your Gays' trope." Going on to explain the reasoning behind Lexa's death, Rothenberg apologized, writing, "I am very sorry for not recognizing this as fully as I should have," and said, "knowing everything I know now, Lexa's death would have played out differently."
In the post, Rothenberg said that Lexa's death is a loss that Clarke would carry "with her forever," something that has held true. Throughout the seasons that followed, Lexa's death haunted Clarke, and the character's presence was a constant. She even briefly returned later in Season 3 as Clarke entered the City of Light, and fans also caught on to the multiple name drops, which only furthered hopes that Lexa would one day return.