The premiere of Star-Crossed
introduced viewers to the world the show exists in; this episode expands and enriches that world, and raises the stakes for our Atrian protagonist, Roman.
This episode starts late one night in the Sector, showing a guard walking around the premises doing various law enforcement things. He tosses a bag up to another guard waiting on a raised platform, but just as the second guard walks away with it, the bag explodes. At least one other guard and himself end up completely on fire, and the area goes up in flames.
The attack has made the news over at Emery's house, and the reporter states that the attack was committed by a militant group of Atrians in retribution for Nox's death in the previous episode. To some, the death seemed like a murder, further complicating relations between the humans and Atrians.
Emery, of course, defends her father, saying to her friend Julia that the whole thing was an accident, but her main focus actually seems to be on Roman. She wants him to know that she's there for him, despite the complication of her dad killing his dad and all. Great start to a relationship.
Speaking of Julia, she isn't able to return to school with Emery just yet, because her doctors want to perform a few more tests following her miraculous recovery. Is it possible that there could be eventual side effects to Roman's healing gift? There's no real indication of that, I'm just wondering if the show will go that route to increase the drama.
Julia remembers a dream where a "blue angel" cured her the night of her recovery and nothing more. So Roman's secret is safe with Emery ... for now.
Meanwhile, Roman and his sister, Sophia, prepare for their father's funeral. One of the rituals involves crushing cyper, and Sophia mentions that she never asked her father how it's grown.
This leads to a discussion with their uncle and mother about why its healing properties can't be shared with humans. If they found out, their uncle argues, about the need for Atrian blood for the healing properties to work, all the Atrians would become "lab rats." I can't say I don't agree with him, we humans can be pretty selfish and greedy.
Their Uncle Castor also informs the group that no human was held responsible for Nox's death, so the attack by the rebel Atrian group, also known as the Trags, and any like it are meant to send a message: that the Atrians are not powerless, and joining them is the only way to be free.
Roman is understandably upset by the exploitation of his father's death, and he's further upset when he's informed that his uncle is taking over the preparations for his father's funeral. He's got school, Castor argues, which I think is a weak argument because if there's any reason to miss a couple days of school, the fact that your father just died is it.
Two Different Worlds
At school, the students are informed that security measures are being heightened in the wake of the recent attack. But what's really important is the fact that the homecoming celebration might be cancelled as a result! Shock! Horror! Well, at least that's what's important to Ms. Queen Bee Taylor. A girl's gotta have her priorities, see.
Nox's death is briefly discussed by Emery and various classmates around her, and one student argues that her "credibility" has been affected by her spending time with "a tattie" in the woods. Tattie, for the record, is a derogatory slur for an Atrian, thanks to the tattoos they sport that are, so far, the only way to physically differentiate them from humans.
Emery tries to apologize to Roman in the hall, and he questions whether she's sorry for his father dying or her father being the one to kill him. She informs him that she's instead sorry that he's in pain, then thanks him for saving Julia and shows him the cyper she found.
Roman is defensive and denies what happened. He tells her they're from "two different worlds," which is this show's way of reminding you this episode of the major premise of the show and the biggest obstacle of their love story. Emery argues that that only matters if they let it, but before Roman can come up with an answer for that, a guard tells him to get his ass to the bus back to the Sector.
Interruptions and Intolerance
Later, Officer Whitehall, aka Emery's father, introduces a crowd of people to the man taking his place while he takes an understandable leave of absence from the force. This man is there to talk to the crowd about security measures after the attack, and he's immediately questioned by a parent about the safety of the students.
A woman who I believe is Gloria from the previous episode reminds the group that they have to keep fostering human/Atrian relations, but then a man in the crowd interrupts. He is a Redhawk, someone who hates and distrusts the Atrians, and he believes the Atrians are there to colonize their planet.
His outbursts during this scene are important for two reasons: one, he introduces the viewer to the idea that the Atrians can remove their tattoos and hide amongst humans (seen as a conspiracy theory), and secondly, he represents religious intolerance of the Atrians on this show, citing biblical text to make his point. He and the Redhawks are Star-Crossed's answer to Neo-Nazis or fundamentalist homophobes.
Shortly after his interruption, the school board votes not to allow the Atrian Seven to attend the homecoming carnival. Emery is present and upset by this and stands to address the crowd; it's obvious they don't want to learn from the Atrians, she argues, if they won't even allow some teenagers to attend a carnival.
Of course, her friend Lukas just happens to film her little speech, which becomes important later.
Roman's New Role
Back at the Sector, Teri tells Roman she heard the recent attack was just a distraction by the Trags from their real goal of getting to the guards' weapons. Whether this is true remains to be seen, however, because just then Castor calls Roman away to go speak to the Elders of the Four Tribes.
The Elders tell Roman they believed in Nox's message of nonviolence, but they worry war with the humans might occur partially as a result of the Trag's growing influence. They also tell him that with his father's death, he is next to lead, which is quite a lot to put on a high school student.
Castor has volunteered as an interim leader and to be the one to oppose the Trags, but Roman doesn't trust him and believes he will lead their people backwards rather than help them progress towards peace. And instead of suggesting someone else to take his uncle's place, Roman says he will lead. I gotta say, I think that boy's biting off a bit more than he can chew!
After the meeting with the Elders, Roman and Castor argue (yes, again), and we find out that Castor used to be a Trag himself. He insists that he's changed, and the relationships he's made would assist him in leading their people, but Roman won't back down.
Politics and Apologies
Back to Emery, who goes to some sort of restaurant or club with Lukas, only to find that she's become a bit of a celebrity in the past hour or so. Why? Well, that little speech he recorded? He also posted it online, and everyone's watched it or is watching it right then. And they've all got mixed feelings about her defense of the Atrians.
Emery brings fried pickles to Grayson, along with an apology for leaving him at the party in the premiere. I mean, I love fried pickles, so I'd definitely accept, and Grayson does as well. In their following heart-to-heart, Grayson reveals that his brother was killed in action on Arrival Day, so he understands Roman struggling with losing his father.
Before things get too deep, Julia shows up and Emery goes to meet her. They chat a bit, until Taylor wanders by putting up ads for the carnival. Julia asks to volunteer, mostly because she loves all things Atrian and wants to be there if the Atrians are.
Taylor says she can be a ticket scanner, since some of her volunteers say they won't show up if the Atrians do, and she makes a quip about homecoming being no place for politics. The only way it could've been better would've been if she closed the conversation with a quick "Vote for me for Homecoming Queen!"
Back at the Sector, Roman asks Teri for information on where the Trags are meeting that night, then goes to speak to them. Long story short, he finds out that they've been building an arsenal of weapons.
He pretends to be on their side, and receives an offer to be brought to that weapons arsenal the following night. Remember that comment I made about him biting off more than he can chew? I stand by that.
Gloria overrules the school board's decision not to allow the Atrians to attend the carnival and the announcement is made to the student body. When one student, Eric, gets visibly angered by the announcement, Emery asks Taylor why. We learn right along with her that when the Sector went in, Eric's dad's nearby restaurant went under, so he has a personal reason to hate them.
Emery then runs into Roman at his locker, and she tells him she hopes the Atrians go to the carnival, though she really means she hopes he attends. Roman sees through this, and although he says he saw her speech to the board, he also sees that things are so much bigger than the two of them, and one homecoming carnival isn't going to make the humans and Atrians sit around a campfire and sing "Kumbaya."
Roman later tells Sophia he has to meet with the Elders and figure out the arsenal situation so he's not going to the carnival, but the other Atrian teens approach and they are. There's more discussion about whether humans are savages or not, etc., etc., and they leave.
Roman, on the other hand, stays and spies on the Trags. He finds out they're planning an attack that night, and Emery and her family are in danger. Cue dramatic music!
Roman tells Castor about the planned attack, but he can't both go to the carnival and to the meeting to find out where the arsenal is, so he asks his uncle to stay there for the meeting to prove to him where his loyalties lie. So Roman's off to his first Homecoming after all!
And what a Homecoming it is! Games, rides, food, you name it, they've got it. The mood changes when the Atrians show up, and Roman is in the group.
Taylor gets her flirt on with an Atrian boy, but for the most part the carnival-goers are not pleased to see the Atrians there. For some reason, there's a ton of disapproving adults and scared small children in attendance. Which is definitely different from my Homecoming experiences.
Anyway, one little girl gives Teri a bracelet and it's a cute little scene, so hopefully it's not, like, a bomb or something. Lukas and Sophia talk a little bit as well, and Lukas tells her that her family is in his prayers, reminding her that that's something some humans do. Yet another small way the humans and Atrians are different.
Roman warns Emery about the threat against her, but she blows it off and says she's safer blending into the crowd. So they conveniently get to spend the day together. They put their paint-covered hands on a rock, a tradition for students at their school, and they bond until Teri shows up and tells Roman she can't find Drake, so he leaves to track him down.
Emery spots Eric pushing a trash receptacle, so when Grayson shows up she questions why his friend is "on trash duty." His own confusion doesn't make things clearer, so they wander after him.
Roman, meanwhile, follows a mysterious hooded figure on the outskirts of the carnival. When the figure appears to aim something at Emery, Roman attacks him, and it's a guard he thought was human, who is actually an Atrian who's had his markings removed. He's there to hurt Emery to get justice for Nox's death, and informs Roman that an army of Atrians is forming outside the sector. Bad news!
Elsewhere, Emery and Grayson find Eric standing in front of the covered back of a pickup truck. Inside is the tough Atrian who talked of escaping via the carnival -- Drake, I think? But before Grayson and Emery can handle the situation, the Bible-thumper from the school board meeting shows up with a small group. His plan is to feed the poor kid to alligators, because that's the righteous, forgiving thing to do, of course.
Grayson tells the guy the security guards are coming, and pulls a knife on him when the guy tries to approach Emery while she unties the Atrian. The crowd leaves, so that's one confrontation down without the use of force, at least. Roman's still up against the Trag in the woods, but that quickly ends with a threat that he's always being watched. That boy better watch his back, because he's making enemies, and fast.
Grayson and Emery free Drake, and Grayson tells her the knife he pulled was his brother's. He comforts her, as she's a little shaken up, and they wander back into the carnival.
Inside, Julia runs into Roman, and he asks where Drake and Teri are. After she directs her to them, she touches his arm as he's running off, and her veins glow blue. She doesn't freak out at this nearly as much as I would, for the record. She does, however, realize that maybe she's seen her angel in real life.
Saying Goodbye and Stepping Down
Finally, it's time for Nox's funeral. His family mourns over his covered body, while mourners wander by and drape bits of plants and stuff on the sheet, and soft music plays over the brightly lit scene. It's subtly moving.
Later, Roman confronts his uncle by his father's body about not seeing him the night before. He tells Roman that the Trag leader he was going to meet was shipped out by SEU guards after his weapons bunker was raided; it turns out Castor convinced some of Hadar's "underlings" to betray him, proving his influence over the Trags.
Roman tells Castor about the Atrians mobilizing outside the sector, and Castor is worried that war may be approaching faster than they expected. Roman decides that their people need a better leader, and he decides to step down after all, handing the reins over to his uncle. Time will tell whether this was the right choice, I guess.
Castor also gives his word to Roman that he will do what he can to stop the Trags from targeting Emery and her family. I feel like this will be a plot point rife with drama later, but I'm just speculating.
Kept Apart (in Life and Death)
Back at school, Emery greets Roman, but he suddenly remembers the warning that he's always being watched, and he casts paranoid looks around the hallway before leaving Emery with another cryptic comment and wandering away. So she goes off with Grayson instead, and Roman looks longingly after her down the hallway.
Castor talks to ... the guy I think Roman met up with in the woods, about having "reasons" for wanting to keep Roman and Emery apart. Except I think he calls her Every. Oops. He says he knows the Trags think he's on their side, but he needs him to watch every move the Trags make and report back to him. He's playing quite the dangerous game, that one.
Roman cries a little over his father's body, and suddenly cyper sprouts all over the sheet he lies under. I guess that's the final sign his father is really gone.
Grayson's True Colors
At the end of the episode, after Grayson and Emery hang out again, Grayson wanders off down the street and is followed by someone in a car. Turns out that someone is the guy with religious reasons for opposing the Atrians, and it quickly becomes clear that Grayson is not what he seems.
The guy is worried about Grayson "undermining" him back at the carnival, and we find out that Grayson is actually a Redhawk after all. His knife even has their symbol on it! How will that complicate things for Emery in the future?
Guess we'll have to keep watching to find out! Star-Crossed
airs Monday nights at 8pm on The CW.
(Image courtesy of The CW)