The 100 Showrunner on the Clarke and Lexa Dynamic and the Road to War in the Finale (2023)

With just three weeks left, The 100 is going into the home stretch of Season 2, and war is upon us. Last week saw Clarke (Eliza Clarke), Lexa (Alycia Debnam Carey) and their combined forces set out for Mount Weather, to rescue their people trapped inside, with an inevitable confrontation with the “Mountain Men” close to occurring.

I spoke to The 100’s executive producer and showrunner, Jason Rothenberg, about what’s in store in this week’s new episode and heading into the final episodes of the season.

In Season 2, The 100 has become an incredibly focused, adrenalized show, and there's been little time for romance. But more than a few fans have mentioned seeing some notable chemistry between Clarke and Lexa… And then a short promo ran over the weekend that actually showed the two kissing, though the show’s writers quickly noted on Twitter they weren’t exactly excited that was revealed early.

Suffice to say, this was not a topic I was going to ignore when speaking to Rothenberg…

IGN: So going into this week's episode, Clarke and Lexa are united, but it looks like they have some pretty big philosophical disagreement, including in the – gratuitous plug! -- clip we’re running on IGN. How much will these disagreements impact the effectiveness of them going into combat together?

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Rothenberg: Their storyline this episode is really awesome. They have some disagreements. They certainly have some philosophical disagreements. Clarke is coming to probably realize that Lexa’s “no emotion” way of going is not ideal and probably best if maybe she herself is not living by those rules. But they are certainly, for the foreseeable future -- meaning the next episode -- not dis-united, if that’s the word.

IGN: Let me get it out of the way and ask about the Clarke/Lexa kiss. On a show where there’s less and less reason to ask about kisses, what can you say about the clip… that maybe you did not want to speak of?

Rothenberg: Well, I’m okay speaking about it. I wouldn’t have put it out as a clip. It has generated quite a lot of discussion, which can only be good for the show, I hope. I think that there’s not much to say about it other than that the context about it matters quite a bit. I tweeted about that at the time. I feel like the things that happen, that lead up to it, and the things that happen after it are just as important as the kiss itself. So obviously that’s lost in the literally eleven second thing that was put out there. But, I mean it’s genuine, for sure. They both are… It’s not like it’s not a real kiss. It’s hard for me to talk about it. It upset a lot of people and it made other people really excited.

The 100 Showrunner on the Clarke and Lexa Dynamic and the Road to War in the Finale (1)

IGN: That clip that we ran does indicate that there is some jealousy from Lexa regarding Bellamy. Lexa preaches one thing as far as closing off her feelings, but we’re seen other hints – not just regarding Clarke – that that’s not true. How much will we see that other side of Lexa that she herself is trying to push away as she’s trying to be so hard core?

Rothenberg: I think that Lexa is genuinely into Clarke. She definitely finds her powerful and beautiful and intriguing and someone that she can relate to leader to leader and that’s where that probably comes from, all of that emotion. It’s certainly real on her part. And it is slightly, I suppose, hypocritical in terms of the philosophy she’s been spouting about being not emotional. It’s the Queen Elizabeth story, right, as per the movie Elizabeth. I’m not an Elizabethan scholar! [Laughs] But she tried to rule almost in an asexual way. She shut down her emotions in many ways. That’s sort of in the Lexa school of leadership, but you can’t really do that. If you try to shut down your heart, if you try to shut down your emotions, bad things happen. We have to feel things. We’re human beings so I think ultimately Lexa’s conflict will be between her heart and her head, what’s best for her people and what’s best for her. I think that’s what every leader has to do. You have to somehow, at some point, subjugate what’s right for you for what’s right for the pope you’re tying to lead.

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IGN: Meanwhile, you’ve got Jaha and Murphy on this very different journey, away from the others. What can you say about obstacles that they’re going to encounter as they venture further this week?

Rothenberg: Now that’s the real love story! Their journey continues, they’ve got a really cool story this week. We’re getting closer to the reveal of what the City of Light may or may not be. Jaha is becoming obsessed. He’s certainly convinced that it’s the answer, that that’s the promised land and Murphy is definitely persuaded at the moment by Jaha’s belief and his treating him as a human being and giving him respect and we’ll see where it all leads. It’s not going to lead where anybody is imagining it leads.

The 100 Showrunner on the Clarke and Lexa Dynamic and the Road to War in the Finale (2)

IGN: Kane obviously needs to heal but what can you say about the other characters that are not venturing forward on this attack, like Raven and Abby and what part they’re going to play in these final three episodes?

Rothenberg: Raven is a big part of the ultimate, let’s call it assault, on Mount Weather. That story doesn’t get told until [episode] fifteen and sixteen, really. Raven’s a big part of that, for sure and she’s a big part of fourteen as well. Fourteen is the story of an army on the march that has stopped just outside of the acid fog zone and is waiting for Bellamy, on the inside, to get that acid fog shut down. They can’t move forward until he does it, otherwise, obviously, they’ll all get melted by acid fog. So we find the army waiting, hovered, getting more and more tense and on the inside, that’s Bellamy’s position. Can he get that thing done in time to save his people who were being systematically bone marrowed to death? They’re hiding right now, so before they get discovered…

IGN: Might Dante factor in again?

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Rothenberg: Well, we have definitely not heard the last of Dante, for sure. One of the things that I think is really important about the last episode, and it’s been something that we’ve been weaving into the story little by little -- by the way, I’m incredibly fluent in your reviews -- one thing that you sort of bumped on was the notion that we told the story of the good German, essentially, last week. That there was a resistance or people within Mount Weather that are not just purely bad. Your criticism is not a bad one, which is that we should have told that story sooner. The truth is, that’s what Maya was representing. So to me, it was important to really begin to flesh out the idea that we’re not dealing with just a bad guy. We’re dealing with people inside Mount Weather who are helping our heroes and children who are totally innocent. For me, it’s the story of the show at large. There’s no real villains and there’s no real heroes. Everybody is doing what’s right for their people. How far will you go to survive? How far will Clarke and the people on the outside go to save their 44 remaining friends on the inside?

The 100 Showrunner on the Clarke and Lexa Dynamic and the Road to War in the Finale (3)

IGN: Jasper went to a very intense place in the last episode. Kind of like Clarke, you have to ask is that a place you can come back from? How much has he altered at this point from the guy we knew?

Rothenberg: I think that all season Jasper has been… he lost Clarke and Bellamy as the leaders. All of them did and Jasper has risen to be the one inside Mount Weather that’s holding it together, with Monty’s help, obviously. That has changed him. He’s a leader in his own right now. He certainly got dark in the last episode but he’s doing what he has to do. He will do anything to make sure that his people survive this horrible ordeal. In that moment in the axe fight of episode thirteen, which I just thought was amazingly executed by our director, Dean White – just brutal the stuff we put on the CW’s air, which I always love to do. Yeah, I feel like Jasper has gone dark. We will see flashes of that lovable sense of humor but he has come of age in many ways. So he is different for sure. At the end of the season, he’s going to be changed by it. I hope that in Season 3, if he makes it through the end, he can find a way to become that lovable character again but I don’t think that’s possible. It’s sort of like Lord of the Ring when Merry and Pip come back from the journey of that story, they’re not the same. It’s just what happens. The death of innocence is what happens so maybe we’ll find that lightness in other places, maybe we won’t, but it’s a good question. Certainly it’s something that you have to grapple with as a writer. His role was comic relief, in many ways in Season 1. That’s not what his role has been in season two. It’s been something very different and I think much more important in the bigger story.

IGN: Well now we have Lincoln as the comic relief, right?

Rothenberg: Yeah, he’s hilarious! A laugh a minute!

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The 100 Showrunner on the Clarke and Lexa Dynamic and the Road to War in the Finale (4)

IGN: This is the first time I’m speaking to you since it happened, so congratulations on the early renewal. How’s it been crafting the end of the season with the knowledge in mind that it’s leading to Season 3 for sure?

Rothenberg: Will the truth is I always knew, or I knew at the beginning of this season, where this season was ending. We figured out as a writing staff, probably five or six weeks into working on the season, what the big sort of world revealing turn at the end of this season was going to be. So the renewal hasn’t affected it at all. What the renewal has done is it’s made it a lot easier and more fun to go to work every day. Going up [to Vancouver] to the finale, which I wrote, and the writing was all done, this year was a blast because I knew it wasn’t the end. Last year, we went up to make the finale and we had no idea if this was “Goodbye forever” or, “See you next season,” so just on that level, it was amazing. It was just total relief. It also has let us really begin to plant seeds that aren’t going to bear fruit until next season. The way that the white room, at the end of Season 1, helped us really turn the ship into where Season 2 was going, the ending of Season 2 is going to do that and then some. I think it’ll be really, really surprising to people and it’s going to change the game the way Mount Weather and the white room did this year. For me, I get bored if it’s the same story every season. I like to tell stories fast, obviously. I want to reveal more of the world. I want to tell stories of how it got this way.

Eric Goldman is Executive Editor of IGN TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @EricIGN, IGN at ericgoldman-ign and Facebook at


Why was Lexa killed off The 100? ›

On March 3, 2016, Alycia Debnam-Carey's fan-favorite character Lexa was shot by a stay bullet after consummating her relationship with Eliza Taylor's Clarke, The CW's first bisexual lead character.

Is Clarke In Love With Lexa? ›

Lexa protected Clarke from A.L.I.E.'s Cult, and Clarke declared her love for Lexa before they were forced to part ways once more. Clarke continued to mourn Lexa long after her death. Josephine Lightbourne, for example, noted in "Nevermind" that Clarke still cried when she thought of Lexa, six years since her death.

Did Clarke and Lexa sleep together? ›

Lexa and Clarke have sex in “13,” but then Lexa dies later. Pro: This is a reasonable and defensible desire, and this is where the compression of the season causes problems.

Will Lexa return to The 100 season 7? ›

Yes, The 100 fans finally get to see Lexa – and Clexa – together again. But this Lexa is a dark pseudo-villain that's willing to hang the literal end of humanity around Clarke's neck, as just one more burden for her to carry.


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