The revelation that Frigg and E-Merl are sleeping together is cool and all. But I’m more interested in what that says about the people they’ve become. The closest thing Frigg had to a regular partner before this was Best, and that went away more or less because she liked it rough emotionally and he got all sensitive. E-Merl, a pile of obvious insecurities, was in need of the more nurturing type, so you can see why he latched onto Rachel. Frigg expressed some interest in him when he and Rachel hit a rough patch, but that never really went anywhere and may not have been healthy for either of them if it had.

Since Rachel’s demise, they’ve evolved toward each other. Frigg hasn’t outgrown all her roughness, but E-Merl’s gotten a taste for some of it. She’s capable of respecting a partner as she wasn’t before—and he’s her partner in education as well as the bedroom. He’s capable of respecting himself—and even pushing back, gently, at things like Frigg’s temper (as in panel 2). (Though it also reflects well on Frigg that she vows never to conscript anyone as she was once conscripted, despite the many other differences between her and Scarlett.) It perhaps helps E-Merl that Frigg is like Rachel but also very unlike Rachel. Their shared loss binds them further, and the pain of that loss has dulled as their school honors her wishes.

I am not sure E-Migg will last as long as Byr’Nj. When I try to imagine the far future for these two, I see branching paths. Frigg-with-anyone is a chancy ship, long-term. But even if it won’t last years and years, it’s making them happier, better people, helping them grow. With a new partner, you got to take it day by day sometimes, you know?

FB: That new coat’s padding is coming in handy.