Post Mortems

The 100 EP Defends [Spoiler]'s Death: 'It Seemed to Be the Best Choice'

The 100 Recap

How are you holding up, The 100 fans? Are you heartbroken? Confused? All of the above? After Thursday’s episode, no one would blame you.

TVLine spoke with showrunner Jason Rothenberg in an attempt to make sense of the episode’s one-two punch — we warned you! — but first, a (very) brief recap of the main events:

A flashback to Polaris on Unity Day found a frantic Becca arguing that, despite her first A.I. destroying the planet, her follow-up project (Alie 2) was worth saving. Her refusal to put Alie 2 down resulted in an attack on Polaris; she narrowly survived via escape pod, snagging the commander’s space suit for her travels. Upon landing on Earth, “Commander” Becca was hailed as a hero, a goddess of sorts.

Meanwhile, in the present… Titus’ attempts to kill Clarke literally backfired, with Lexa being caught in the crosshairs. Following Lexa’s death (…yeah), Titus removed the Alie 2 chip from the back of her neck, explaining that it contains the memories and wisdom of all former Commanders.

Now, it’s answer time!

TVLINE | Let’s start with Lexa’s death… The 100 has always been fearless about killing off major characters to serve its story. Was that the case with Lexa?
There’s never a unanimity of opinions in a writers’ room if it’s a good writers’ room. Everybody argues and tries to make the case for what they think is the best story. Then, as showrunner, I end up deciding what happens. In this case, though, there wasn’t a lot of debate about it. Lots of factors went into this, No. 1 being that Alycia Debnam Carey is a series regular on [Fear the Walking Dead]. I had to beg, borrow and steal to get AMC to allow us to use her for as many episodes as we did, and I knew I was going to lose the use of her after Episode 7. It’s a laborious process to use an actor that’s working on another show, so that had a big part to do with our thinking this season.

TVLINE | I have to assume her death will serve a larger purpose.
It already is. We have these two big stories — the A.I. story and the Grounder’s political story — but there was no unifying moment, nothing that connected them. When I came up with the idea of a technological reincarnation as a way to explain the Grounder mythology, that the Commander is a reincarnated position, that was something everyone got excited about. You can’t tell a story about reincarnation, technological or otherwise, without that person dying first. As hard as it was to do, because of how much I love the character and the actor, it seemed to be the best choice.

TVLINE | Can you say whether or not we’ll see Lexa again in some form?
I won’t say whether this is the last time we’ll see her or not, but there is a flame inside the Commander’s head, which contains the memories and/or minds of [the previous] Commanders. Lexa said in Episode 6 that the other Commanders speak to her in her dreams, and now she’s among those Commanders in the flame if this technology is to be believed. After seeing the way it comes out of her head in Episode 7, we should think it’s probably a technology that is to be believed. That’s my way of saying that anything is possible.

TVLINE | Speaking of that technology, my phone autocorrects “Alie” to “Alien.” Is that just a coincidence?
[Laughs] Yes, that is just a coincidence. Although who knows what happens in Season 5? There could be a planet full of women in red dresses!

TVLINE | Pardon my stupidity, but just to clarify: Alie 1 is the hologram we’ve been seeing, and Alie 2 is the thing inside Lexa?
Yes. The hologram only existed in the mansion on the island because that’s where Becca designed and built her A.I. and her A.I. chose to look like her creator. That mansion was equipped with holographic technology, which is why Murphy and Jaha could see her. Once you take the key [chip], she’s no longer a hologram per sé; Alie is literally projecting herself into your mind. She’s as real to you once you’ve taken the chip as anybody in your field of vision. Alie 2 — maybe we should have come up with another name for it — is the program’s upgrade that’s in the flame that only exists within a human host. It needs a human to exist so that it understands what it means to be human.

TVLINE | I’m actually pretty OK calling them “Alie 1” and “Alie 2.” It’s very Little Shop of Horrors.
[Laughs] OK, good.

TVLINE | Lastly, I like the idea that Becca — the first “Commander” — is treated as a goddess. How deep into the religious aspect of that will the show go?
Pretty deep. I love that idea too, the idea that yesterday’s technology has somehow become spiritual and religious in this post-apocalyptic world 100 years later. The infinity symbol means one thing to Becca and Alie, and even the people on the Ark who were raised in a technological environment. It means something totally different to the people in the Grounder world; it’s come to take on this religious notion. We’re going to understand more about it as the season continues.

OK, fellow earthlings, let’s hear your thoughts on this week’s 100: Are you torn up about Lexa’s death? Were you surprised? And what’s your take on this “flame”? Drop a comment with all of your review of the episode below.