DNR: Emori meta time
It’s worth noting that Raven is the one character besides Clarke that Emori mentioned by name in 4x07 when she was arguing with Murphy. Would they risk testing the nightblood on her, she asked, in a tone that implied No, OBVIOUSLY they’d never do that.
I thought that was a fascinating window into Emori’s (accurate) perception of things, even though we still had seen very little of her interacting with the others on the island onscreen. She deliberately singled out Raven as one of the most valued people there, who the others are protective of, who Abby would never consider testing. Maybe for personal reasons - that she too is like a daughter to her - but more likely because she’s the Genius who they’ve been relying on to save them all.
Emori saw herself, of course, at the bottom of that hierarchy - not one of their own, a frikdreina, and someone who’d already served her purpose getting them to the island and wasn’t contributing anything else.
Which then gets us to 4x08. We’ll never know what would’ve happened if not!Baylis was never a factor. Emori’s fears that they’d immediately target her, for the reasons she believed, might have been exaggerated (or were they?) – and yet the MINUTE they had another reason to target her, no one questioned doing exactly that.
SO BACK TO THE (TOTALLY JUSTIFIED) PESSIMISM PARADE. Whatever actions she took that - tragically, counter-productively - got her there, the fact she was seen as expendable was still underlying all of it. She was not worth surviving as much as everyone else. Clarke trying to endanger herself instead and Abby STOPPING her from doing that just highlighted what she’d originally said - of course not Clarke, they wouldn’t let that happen. And there’d be no consequences for Abby doing the exact same thing she tried to do. They’re exactly the things Emori isn’t, to people besides Murphy: loved, special, needed.
(lol when did you ever)
The fact they didn’t end up testing her was a big deal but it was little actual comfort to Emori, as we see in this episode. They not only considered it, but went as far as tying her up, drugging her, the needle was in Clarke’s hand - no matter what the outcome was, the events of that episode still confirmed to her that she was right all along to be skeptical of them.
And it’s not just what she’s already dealt with from Skaikru, it’s her whole life to this point. Emori has only ever survived - by luck and skill and determination - through an ableist world that saw her as a “stain on the bloodline” and genetic threat, and a cutthroat world on the edges of civilization where genuine allies were hard to come by. Her default mindset is one that makes it impossible to put her faith in “Miller and Jackson are coming back" for them. Just for them, just to take them to Polis too, just because that’s what they said they were doing.
(SIDE NOTE! Can we deal with how instrumental Emori was in Murphy getting over a very similar pessimism about No One Ever Coming Back For Him? Like, this was *a significant line* in their relationship – “When people leave in this world they don’t come back.” “I did.” Murphy and Emori have overcome enough trust hurdles *just with each other*, just with believing *one* person is not going to ditch them. But Emori can’t rely on a group she barely knows, a group that’s already almost let her die once. That’s not how this works.)
To get back to the start of this post - a solid dynamic of the group Emori KNEW was that Raven was important to them. But she connected that only to what she could do, not any deeper friendship or loyalty to her. (Emori drove them to an island on a freaking boat. Clarke looked in her eyes, when she was giving her Baylis sob story, and promised to never let anyone hurt her.) Raven’s important status can be taken away – if they’ve got their five-year bunker and her brain is destroying her rather than helping, then she’s not needed anymore. And if she’s seen as defective on top of that…
This isn’t just about Emori, even though obviously she’s worried for herself. She thought Raven was frikdreina-level expendable now and they didn’t care what happened to her, or were actively trying to get rid of her – an even more sinister thought. Seeing her deteriorate and talking to herself was more evidence of this - “yep, they left us here, that’s how they see all of us.” She knows exactly how people like this are treated, in one way or another, by every clan. They’re the ones you cast out.
But in the end, that didn’t happen. Maybe it was for them, maybe it was mostly for Raven – that they still wanted Raven is significant enough, even as Raven herself was deciding to peace out. They want her on their team no matter what she’s going through. They kept their word without any reason to, just ‘cause it mattered not to leave anyone behind.
(Seriously they had never even considered it, they were just late
‘cause they were boning and that was all, they had no clue why she and Murphy reacted the way they did.)
(gif by @doortotomorrow)
And like… I don’t think this ought to solve every one of her problems or make her feel totally peachy after God Complex or anything, because again it’s a bare human decency thing (a la Murphy saving Raven from the drones). But I do love the very simple, meaningful arc that she had in this ep.
It’s the first time Emori’s ever realized she was *wrong* to expect the worst, and people she didn’t think she could rely on actually came through and proved themselves to be okay - they’re not the kind of people who abandon the sick and the “outsiders.” (Not always, not this time.)
The circle of people Emori can trust, her capacity to believe in people, got a tiny bit wider, and it was kind of hilarious but also touching.