But Elah Bandik's soul will be clean.
A soft cover of "Come As You Are" plays over the funeral, as Amanda leads them out into the woods -- all castes, all races -- and speaks in their memory. It's a risky one, it's a "you feel me" moment for sure, but the lyrics are just enough not on the nose that it never seems particularly silly. It's not about the funeral, or about the cash and Kaziri Rafe finds in Luke's stuff, or Stahma's self-satisfied repose, or Irisa relaxing into the world for the first time since we met her, testing the idea that Antarctica's just a postcard, but all of those things.
I mean, you know the song, we all know the song. I don't even particularly like the song. But in this context, this story about community over everything else, it's a neat spin: You are invited in whatever form you assumed before you got here, and you'll be welcomed, but the door is closing. Doused in mud like an Irath, soaked in bleach like a Castithan, friend or enemy: You are welcome, as you are. There's nothing keeping you out; I don't have a gun. Just very old memories, that can't hurt anybody if we don't let them.
Anaïs Nin said, "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Half of prejudice, racism, is about putting thoughts and words into the other person's mouth: It's only privilege that weights their importance. Even if the white guy is right, and the black guy is thinking shitty things about him, well, at the end of the day the black guy still has less power, so his thoughts matter less on the board the white guy is running: Like Margaret Atwood said, "Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them." It doesn't mean the men aren't afraid, it just means they have no context beyond their own -- and why would they?
Put those two very true things together, and you can illustrate every problem we have, and why it's so hard to change them. Because the only way you can remove those two issues from the conversation -- stop letting them be the story that tells all of us, moves us around like chess pieces -- is to go back to the basic fact that the Votan aren't guests here, not anymore: Because humanity is the sixth Votan race, because there are no natives here.
Because the world didn't end: It began.
Datak continues playing out his puer/senex insecurities, Tommy and Irisa take an away mission down below, the McCawleys continue dealing with their constant transitions, and Stahma works your shit some more.