Credit: Diyah Pera/The CW

The 100, CW’s post-apocalyptic not-quite-a-teen drama, has featured unexpected twists (a baby in space! a human harvest chamber! cannibals!), the shocking deaths of multiple main characters, and amounts of blood and gore you wouldn’t expect to be approved on network TV. But none of those moments have created a stir quite like last week’s episode, “Bodyguard of Lies,” when two main characters locked lips.

Clarke, the Sky People’s leader, and Lexa, the Grounders’ commander, have grown close as the two forces have teamed up in an alliance. But it wasn’t until this past episode that we saw just how close they’ve become.

Alycia Debnam-Carey, who plays Lexa, talked to EW about the impact of the kiss, where her character will go from here, and what we can expect in tonight’s all new episode.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Well, first we have to talk about the kiss! I saw Clarke and Lexa were trending on Twitter right after it aired.

ALYCIA DEBNAM-CAREY: Well, the funny thing is I’m such a Twitter and Instagram novice…. I only very recently discovered what “shipping” was. [I thought] “why is everyone saying shipping all the time? What does this mean?” And I didn’t understand how to re-tweet things. I kept sending people the wrong things. It was very embarrassing, so I’m not the best with it, but I did see it…. People are so passionate…. Now that I have discovered Twitter, it’s become so fun that people are really into this “Clexa” thing, and there’s such a great response to their relationship…. I think it’s such a wonderful, very new and unique and different thing for a relationship to explore on a young network, which is so, so great. I love that people are having such a positive response to it.

Jason [Rothenberg, the show’s EP] said on Twitter that in The 100‘s society, labels and gender aren’t a factor.

It’s great that he said that, and I think it’s so true. What’s so wonderful about this world is that there is no emphasis on labels or on gender or prejudice expectation. It doesn’t exist. There’s just a world where people love people for who they are and not what they are and that creates such a broad variety of characters. It is representative of the world that we live in today, but it also doesn’t make it out to be this statement—it’s not a social/cultural statement. It is just that in this world, some things are a little better after the apocalypse, in the words of Jason himself. [Laughs] I think that’s really lovely. It kind of represents, in a way, an ideal place where people love people and it doesn’t have to be a thing, which I think is really great.

How do you think Clarke and Lexa’s relationship went from being just about the alliance to something romantic?

It stems from a connection that they both share—which is similar experiences and similar positions that they now occupy. They’re both very young leaders with great authority, a lot of responsibility. They have to lead a huge amount of people. They have a lot of expectations riding on them. And…it’s been very sudden for both of them—they’ve suddenly had to rise to the occasion; they don’t want to slip up. And they’ve also both lost ex loves. Clarke’s lost Finn; Lexa’s lost Costia. In many ways they connect and relate to one another in ways they don’t with other people. That’s what creates such a foundation for this relationship to go somewhere. They can trust in each other [because] they understand the situation that each other’s been put in. That’s probably what’s created this friendship and what could be—and is—potentially more. It definitely stems from a good place.

It doesn’t seem that Clarke holds Lexa responsible for Finn’s death.

One of the quite interesting and remarkable traits about Clarke—and Lexa, too—I think they’re both very adaptable. They both have taken the responsibility of the actions upon themselves in many ways. And Finn’s death is what gave Lexa ultimate respect for Clarke. Lexa’s main priority is to look after her people, and Clarke understands more than anyone else that they are there for their people, to get their people out of Mount Weather, and to make sure that they’re safe and they can live harmoniously. If those were the sacrifices they’ve had to make along the way, [they know] they’re aiming for a much greater goal in the end. In a strange way, they’ve found those similarities of being responsible for their people and ultimately doing what’s best, and they’ve both taken characteristics from each other. Lexa has learned to trust a little bit more with Clarke, and Clarke has adapted some more ruthless tactics from Lexa. It’s very interesting to see the way they ebb and flow with each other.

Clarke has definitely taken on some more of Lexa’s ruthless qualities. Do you think Lexa has learned more than just trust from Clarke?

For a long time, Lexa has just shut out emotion. And she’s a very different leader, too, for the Grounders. She’s the first one who wanted to create some kind of peace—and it is in their own way, which is somewhat difficult to understand because it’s not just “You know, we’ll all just live harmoniously.” She’s been brought up in a culture that’s very rough and aggressive in some traits, but she’s the first person to unite the 12 clans and to actually have the option of an alliance…. So she has learned that maybe she had to have such a hard exterior, and Clarke has been able to show her that you can have love—and that love is a great power, too. It’s a great way to assert authority as well. There are a lot of great nuances that they’re both sharing with each other as leaders, as powerful people.

Obviously, we saw Lexa let down her guard a little bit for once. Will we ever see her truly let her emotions in?

I mean, it would be great, wouldn’t it? [Laughs] … That’s been the most exciting thing for me, is to be able to explore that development—from really, really reserved and shut off to knowing that there’s emotion bubbling under the surface.

She definitely sees emotions as her downfall.

Yeah, and it did—it got her broken in the past. She lost her first love to that, because she was not cold-hearted enough. And that is a natural reaction to repel all love, but I think ultimately you can’t really live that way, so Clarke is a great catalyst for that.

Well, we’ve been talking about war all season. Is it safe to say we’re finally going to see a battle?

Oh yeah. [Laughs] Oh yeah. This is the best part—they’ve been working toward this battle. (We’ve been going on about it all season 2.) That’s been the main objective, and everyone is ready. All the characters are just willing and ready to fight.

The 100 airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.

Episode Recaps

The 100

After a nuclear apocalypse, a group of people who have been living in space return to Earth—and quickly learn they’re not alone.

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