Mysterious queer character Lexa has our attention in “The 100”

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For those who may not be familiar with the CW’s dystopian drama The 100, here’s what you need to know: Set sometime in the distant future, what is left of humanity lives on a giant space station called The Ark. A hundred years prior, nuclear war destroyed Earth and made it uninhabitable, so now the Ark is humanity’s only refuge. Life on the Ark—well, it blows. Even the most minor of infractions can result in imprisonment or death. Prison is exactly where we find The 100‘s protagonist, Clarke. Clarke (Eliza Taylor) is a brilliant young woman, daughter to the ship’s head MD and late engineer. She’s been tossed in solitary confinement for a year and, when she is released, she is slapped with a monitoring bracelet and tossed onto a ship with one hundred other teenagers.

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This ship is sent on a one-way mission to earth to determine if the planet can now sustain life. Basically, the kids are canaries in a coal mine. Luckily for The 100, the planet can. Clarke, a natural born yet reluctant leader, wrestles for power with anarchist and general douche, Bellamy.  The 100 soon discover they are not alone—some humans managed to survive the nuclear devastation. These Grounders don’t take kindly to people from the sky, and thus initiates the major action for the series in Season 1. The other antagonists are the Mountain Men, who survived the apocalypse by living inside a fallout shelter in Mount Weather. Oh there are also cannibals called The Reapers. I know, it’s a lot to take in.

Now here’s where The 100 really catches our attention. Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey), commander of the Grounders Woods clan, is a tough as nails leader who, at first, is at odds with Clarke. Clarke manages to convince the warrior that The 100 and The Grounders need to work together to stop the people at Mount Weather. Lexa agrees on one condition: Clarke must turn over her former love, Finn, to be put to death for his crimes against The Grounders (this includes slaughtering a village).

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After an episode of trying to figure out what to do, and if Finn should be sacrificed, Clarke ultimately takes Finn’s fate in her hands and kills him herself. This was a much kinder way to go than what The Grounders had planned, but you know that killing your ex-boyfriend has got to weight on a girl’s soul. Lexa knows this and calls off any further retribution against The 100, who have also been joined by some of the adults from The Ark. After Finn’s body is burned on a funeral pyre, Lexa confesses something to Clarke. She once lost her love to a brutal killing.

“I lost someone special to me, too. Her name was Costia. She was captured by the Ice Nation because their queen believed she knew my secrets, because she was mine. They tortured her, killed her, cut off her head. I thought I’d never get over the pain, but I did.”

When Clarke asks her how, Lexa tells her that she hardened her heart because love is nothing more than weakness. Damn.

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So it appears that Lexa is queer, and this isn’t something that people really care about now that everyday is a struggle to survive. The chemistry and increasing bond between Lexa and Clarke is clear though. In last night’s episode, “Survival of the Fittest,” Lexa and Clarke team up where they find themselves fighting not only other humans (“Attack her, you attack me,” Lexa snarls at a Grounder), but a giant mutant gorilla (radiation is a bitch, people).

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Lexa is injured and tells Clarke to leave her behind, but Clarke refuses. Clarke shoots the ape a few times in the face, giving them time to escape. Lexa gives Clarke a hard time for saving her, saying that leaders have to make hard choices. Somehow if there roles were reversed, I have a feeling Lexa would have done the same for Clarke. Angry, Clarke tells Lexa that the reason she saved her was because she needs her to stay in power. The alternative is unthinkable. Lexa assures her that when she dies, her spirit will choose the next Commander, and will choose wisely.

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These two make an excellent team. While it would be amazing to see their mutual respect turn into something more, watching their tenuous friendship develop is pretty enjoyable as well. Both are smart, and somehow manage to see the bigger picture. A truce is the only way to stop those in Mt. Weather. Clarke comes up with an idea of how to take Mt. Weather, and it involves sending her co-leader Bellamy in release the prisoners inside. We will see in the next episode if he is successful.

Here are two young women, leading their people to salvation or at least as close to salvation as they can get. That alone is worth checking out The 100. There’s a lot more to the show that is impossible to get into in just a single breakdown but it’s a solid sci-fi show.There are quite a few interesting and strong female characters in addition to Clarke and Lexa, so if you are looking to get into a new show, Season 1 is available on Netflix, and you can catch up with Season 2 on cwtv.com.

Would you be interested in regular recaps of The 100? Let us know in the comments.

 

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