The writer behind one of the most controversial episodes of The CW's popular series, The 100, has penned a lengthy apology, telling fans he's still learning and grateful for their feedback.
This post will contain spoilers going forward, so if you haven't seen the episode in question, "Thirteen," it may be time to turn back.
The episode, which aired a couple of weeks ago, received a barrage of complaints from fans of the series after the writers decided to kill off Lexa, one of the show's only openly gay characters. Even worse, fans argued, was that the writers had built up the possibility of a relationship between Lexa and another character, Clarke, only to have the former die when their true feelings were revealed to one another. The entire ordeal fell into the "Bury Your Gays" trope category, which television series have a long history of abusing.
After the episode aired, staff writer Jason Rothenberg stayed clear of engaging with angry fans on Twitter over the decision to kill off Lexa, but in his new blog post, admitted that he and the other writers on the show screwed up.
"For many fans of The 100, the relationship between Clarke and Lexa was a positive step of inclusion," Rothenberg wrote. "Their relationship held greater importance than even I realized. And that very important representation was taken away with one stray bullet."
Rothenberg added that the concept of having Lexa be killed off after a moment of immense joy between her and Clarke was to "underscore the universal fragility of life," but acknowledged that in trying to get as much drama as they could out of the scene, betrayed their audience in the process.
"Our aggressive promotion of the episode, and of the relationship, only fueled a feeling of betrayal," he wrote.
Despite defending the storyline with a couple of excuses, including logistical reasons for killing Lexa (like the actress deciding to leave the show), Rothenberg acknowledged that he needed to be more aware of the hurtful tropes that exist and the audience he's writing for.
"I still write and produce television for the real world where negative and hateful tropes exist. And I'm very sorry for not recognizing this as fully as I should have," he said. "Knowing everything I know now, Lexa's death would have played out differently."
In an attempt to bring awareness to the issue fans had with the show, many members of The 100 fan community came together and launched a fundraising campaign to raise money for LGBTQ youth. Over the course of their campaign, they raised over $70,000. Rothenberg said on Twitter he was glad to see fans raise money for various organizations, and in his letter, acknowledged just how impactful the show is on youth.
"But I've been powerfully reminded that the audience takes that ride in the real world — where LGBTQ teens face repeated discrimination, often suffer from depression and commit suicide at a rate far higher than their straight peers."
He ended the post by acknowledging that Clarke will carry the burden of Lexa's death for quite some time and, as writers, they wouldn't simply gloss over the pain of losing a loved one to move the story forward.
The 100 airs on The CW Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET.