Forgive me if you've been asked this already but at what moment do you think Clarke fell in love with Lexa, or realized she was in love with her? I believe Eliza had trouble answering this at a con (I think she said it was before the bow though) so I'm wondering what you think.
Mmm that’s hard to say, and honestly, that’s kinda what I love about it. Because you can’t always exactly pinpoint the moment you fall in love with someone, right? Maybe it’s a feeling that grows gradually but unstoppable, maybe it’s like a wave hitting you at once, it varies. And that’s how I think it was for Clarke.
The way I see it, it was sudden for her at first and then everything slowed down and it naturally developed. It wasn’t love yet in the beginning, but there was definitely a realization that she had feelings for Lexa. Just look at her face after storming out of Lexa’s tent in 2x14.
Why else would she looked so bothered? If she had just been upset about their argument she would have had an angry face. Instead she looks like she’s literally trying to physically restrain her feelings, whatever they may be. She takes that deep, shaky breath in an attempt to collect herself because, what the hell just happened inside that tent? Did Lexa really just confess she has feelings for me? And why does it affect me so much? What am I feeling? This is what I think is going through her mind. And then of course we have the confirmation of this, when she gladly replies to Lexa’s kiss. Even after she rejects her, there is no indication of that being a definitive rejection. There is no feeling of “I’m sorry, but I don’t reciprocate.” Clarke is not ready for a relationship, and it’s right that she was honest with Lexa, but she rejects her in literally the softest way possible, AND leaves the door open for the future. Not yet. That means she already sees herself considering a relationship with Lexa in the future, after healing, when she’s finally ready. And look at how tender and somewhat tamely longing her gaze is even after she rejected Lexa.
She is definitely aware of her feelings for Lexa here. But then the betrayal happens and ah, they take 46 steps back.
Now, of course, Lexa’s betrayal causes Clarke to close herself off. Clarke is angry at Lexa, she’s angry at herself, she’s in pain, every other feeling pales in comparison. And obviously, so much of Clarke’s suffering is tied to what Lexa did, so it’s definitely not a surprise that romance is out of the question when they first meet again. Clarke’s pain is consuming her, she is definitely not thinking about whatever she and Lexa had. And yet…
This isn’t a romantic moment by any means. But we’re talking about Clarke realizing she loves Lexa, and I don’t think we can’t gloss over this moment. When I say that I don’t romanticize this scene, it’s because this is not a cute moment. This isn’t a “oh my God, she loves her!” moment, this moment is sad. It’s painful, it’s heartbreaking, but it’s so damn important. Clarke can’t kill Lexa here. How much easier would it be for her to shut her heart out entirely, to blame Lexa for everything and just kill her without feeling anything? I bet in that moment, a part of Clarke wants that. But Clarke feels, and she feels for Lexa. She has these feelings and they won’t go away, not even when she’s at her lowest. So yeah, not a romantic moment, but definitely essential to understand Clarke’s complicated feelings for Lexa.
After the bow, Clarke is a little more trusting towards Lexa, but she’s definitely still closed off, she’s not ready to expose her heart yet. And we get to the “I’m doing it for my people” episode, 3x04. Right from the very beginning, Clarke spends the entire episode trying to find a way to keep Lexa safe, to protect her. But every single time she voices her concerns to Lexa or hell, even Titus, her preoccupation feels far more personal than political. She’s worried, she’s agitated, she even seems angry that Lexa won’t listen to her and step away from the duel. It’s a crescendo of apprehension and frustration and anxiousness as every single one of Clarke’s attempts fails, crescendo that culminates in an emotional explosion.
The second gif is particularly telling. Titus interrupts them, the moment is gone and Clarke finds herself having to face what just happened. Look at her face, at how she looks away from Lexa and sucks a breath through her teeth. She’s restraining her feelings, but she’s a little too late this time. And it’s not only Lexa who is shaken by Clarke’s emotional outburst, it’s Clarke herself too. She doesn’t catch herself in time and now she can’t pretend with herself that those feelings aren’t there. I think this is when the true first “shift” after the betrayal happens. Clarke wants to keep Lexa at arm’s length but Lexa might very well die that same day and, despite any resolution she had, the thought terrifies Clarke. And she’s so scared that she’s never going to see Lexa again that…
I could write an essay on all the emotions Clarke experiences before and throughout and at the end of Lexa’s duel, but the gist of it is that during this tense moment, with Lexa’s life on the line, she can’t bring herself to hide her feelings. It’s all there, on her face.
Only when things settle down she is able to collect herself again. Lexa comes visit her that night and we see Clarke pull her walls up again. “I was just doing what was right for my people.” BUT! Even if Clarke is not ready to open up her heart again, that scene is infused with intimacy. Even Clarke’s “rejection” is filled with emotion.
Clarke is the opposite of cold here. The way I see it, she is pulling away because she’s realizing she’s close to giving in, but she’s not yet ready for that. It’s so clear that here Lexa is talking about what happened at Mount Weather too, this is another quiet apology that Clarke obviously recognizes. If she went with her feelings, Clarke would have to admit that she does understand Lexa, that in her heart maybe she’s already forgiven her. But in that moment it’s too overwhelming, so she looks away and avoids the conversation, avoids Lexa’s gaze, avoids having to focus on her feelings.
She literally keeps having to look away because things get too intense but at the same time there’s a tenderness in her eyes that she can’t hide. And once Lexa is gone and she can breathe… bam
All the feelings she restrained, everything she tried to hide merely minutes ago hits her full force. I said I think Clarke’s love for Lexa developed gradually, naturally, but if I had to pick a specific moment and say that’s when Clarke realized she’s in love with Lexa, it would be this one.
By the time we get to 3x06, I do believe Clarke knows and has accepted she is in love with Lexa, but she’s still struggling to admit it out loud, especially to Lexa. That episode happens roughly 7-10 days after the events of Hakeldama, and when we see Clarke and Lexa again, they are closer than ever. There is a sense of intimacy, of almost domesticity between them. They are comfortable with each other’s presence. There’s not really a reason for them being in the same room in that scene: Lexa fell asleep while reading and Clarke is drawing (there are other sheets in her folder, which makes me think she was drawing other things before focusing on Lexa). They don’t have to talk or interact, they simply are together.
When Lexa wakes up from the nightmare, Clarke doesn’t hesitate to jump next to her and comfort her, with soothing touches and calming, reassuring words. And then we get to the moment Lexa notices the drawing. A lot has been said about Lexa’s face, but instead look at Clarke’s.
This is the exact opposite of what I was talking about in 3x04. Lexa sees the drawing and is taken aback. That she doesn’t know whether she should hope for anything is another story, but the look she gives Clarke is very telling. And Clarke doesn’t avoid it. Yes, her first instinct is to play it off as something meaningless. “Uh, that’s not- it’s not finished yet.” But then Lexa looks at her, confused, surprised, a tiny bit hopeful, and Clarke meets her gaze and they just stare at each other. Look at that little pause she does before lifting her eyes. That’s when she chooses not to hide. As I said, I think that here Clarke has come to terms with her feelings for Lexa, but here for the first time, she doesn’t hide them from Lexa. Her look is just as telling as Lexa’s. They aren’t saying a word and this is one of their most honest, important conversations. Clarke is silent, but her eyes are speaking, her untold feelings are there, and maybe letting Lexa know isn’t so unfathomable anymore. Maybe, maybe Clarke this is the closest Clarke has been to being ready.
So this is what i think. The way I see it, it’s tricky and complicated and simply beautiful.