Thoughts on Change
In the wake of last night’s episode, I keep seeing a bunch of posts discussing how profoundly Molly affected and changed both Beau and Nott, and though each of these posts do mention his affect on Caleb as well, it’s usually only mentioned offhandedly. For example:
“Yeah, Beau and Nott have gained a whole new perspective on life and the party in general, and it’s all thanks to Molly! And Caleb too, sort of, but to a lesser extent. SO ANYWAY–”
And I think that people are mistaking Caleb’s stoicism for a lack of deep and profound change in his character - which isn’t surprising to me, given that Beau and Nott are our only sources of comparison, and they tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves a lot more than Caleb does.
Sure, he didn’t stand up and deliver a speech about how good Molly was, and how he not only left every place better than he found it, but how he clearly left every PERSON better than he found them, too.
Sure, he didn’t effectively praise Molly for being the heart and soul of the team, the one that was the catalyst that bound them all together in Trostenwald.
But you know what Caleb did do?
He stayed, and not just with reluctance - with drive. Drive to finish what they had started, in recognition of Molly’s sacrifice.
Before this episode, I was convinced that Molly’s death was going to spook Caleb so badly that his anxiety (as expressed during his solo watch the night before) was going to get the best of him, and that he was going to bolt. I was sure that he was going to cut and run, after witnessing this: the first sign of actual, real, mortal danger.
But he didn’t. He stayed.
And I think he did it because - whether or not he can or will admit it - Molly changed him profoundly, too. Between the past few episodes and today’s, Caleb went from still being anxious and super flighty, still ready to cut and run at a moment’s notice if the going got too tough- letting people take the lead so that he wouldn’t have to- refusing to acknowledge the rest of the group as being worth his time or effort, in any meaningful capacity–
To insisting - INSISTING - that they MUST go on, that they MUST continue to try to free their missing companions- to insisting on going deeper (if not more cautiously) into danger, not for his own sake, but for the sake of his friends- to taking charge and letting his colors shine, even though it terrified him to do so- to acknowledging - through careful words and even more careful silences, during his conversation with Nott - that he DOES consider the rest of the party to be extremely important to him.
Molly left Caleb better than he found him, too. He taught him that there’s time for anxiety and indecision later - but not when the lives of his family are at stake.