Omega and Emerie Karr

Omega and Emerie Karr : Facing The Jungian Shadow

The Bad Batch final season is here, and it’s time to look at Omega and Emerie Karr ’s relationship as the heroine and her Shadow.

In previous posts, I’ve gone into depth about Omega’s Heroine’s Journey which you can read here. I’ve also talked about Omega as the Anima of her Bad Batch brothers, and more recently on the four steps of the Animus that each brother embodies for Omega.

 Because today, I want to specifically talk about Omega’s Jungian Shadow, aka Dr. Emerie Karr.

What is the Jungian Shadow?

So, first  what do we mean by the Jungian Dark Shadow?

In stories, the archetype of the Shadow can be thought of as the “Dark” side of a protagonist. It’s the archetype figure that contains all the qualities that the protagonist despises, tries to hide, or is ashamed of. 

In Star Wars, the most obvious and famous example of the Jungian shadow is Darth Vader. In the Empire Strikes Back, Luke fights an apparition of Vader in a cave on Dagobah. The cave represents his subconscious, and as Yoda says, “You will find only what you bring in.”

 Luke battles his terrifying apparition and beheads it. But the helmet shows his own head inside. This scene is intended to symbolically show that Vader is a representation of all that Luke fears becoming. The anger, rage, and pride he has within himself is mirrored back to him in the form of his hated father. Vader is the Jungian shadow of Luke.

According to Jung, the protagonist must not avoid the Shadow, but instead come to recognize and integrate with it. In other words, we must face that part of ourselves that we fear becoming, or that hides within us. The anger Luke recognizes in his father, Vader, is the anger within himself as well.

And so for Omega, Emerie Karr is that Dark Shadow. 

Emerie Karr, a Shadow of Tantiss

Who is Emerie? Dr/ Karr is a clone with accelerated aging and the only other female clone Omega has met. She is Omega’s sister, though whether she is older or younger is yet to be revealed.

She is also a visual model of what Omega herself will look like as an adult. Indeed, when we get our time jump in season 3, we can already see Omega slowly growing into the appearance of her sister. 

Omega and Emerie Karr

Likewise, Omega herself represents the image of what Emerie herself looked like at one time as a child, with the only visual trait separating them being hair color.

And as Omega’s Shadow, Emerie represents both what Omega fears the most in her heart, and what she could have become in different circumstances. And Omega’s Shadow is rather interesting.

Unlike Luke with Darth Vader, Omega doesn’t actively fear her sister Emerie Karr . In fact, she has chosen to trust her emotionally unavailable sister. Emerie isn’t a Shadow of brutality or rage, or pure evil, like many famous Shadow characters (Mr. Hyde, Evil Captain Kirk, etc).

  Instead, Emerie represents Omega’s fear of confinement, and the fear of being someone who acquiesces to being controlled and dominated.

When we first met Dr. Emerie Karr in season 2, we see a woman that unobtrusively follows the depraved Dr. Hemlock off his shuttle and onto Mt. Tantiss. She quietly hovers about him, and their relationship is unsettling, and one-sided. We know she’s a doctor, but she doesn’t appear to be in a leadership role.

We see Emerie constantly watching Royce Hemlock, her eyes submissively and attentively on him. Thankfully, she doesn’t share in his sadism. As for Dr. Hemlock, he usually refers to Emerie by her first name, indicating a familiarity between them. It’s not a comforting familiarity.

Unlike Dr. Hemlock, Emerie shows compassion for Crosshair, and uses his name, showing that she does view her fellow clones as people. She addresses Omega as her sister though she’s not familiar with being a sibling. She admonishes Crosshair for trying to escape, and tells him if he obeys, it will be easier for him. 

And this sense of docility,  futility and helplessness is something that carries over into the start of season 3. The audience gets the growing sense that Emerie has been broken over time by a man that has dominated her life. She has internalized his authority as the way of the world. She can’t escape Dr. Hemlock, and she no longer even tries, if ever she did at all.

Omega and Nala Se vs Emerie Karr and Dr. Hemlock

Because to complicate this further, Emerie doesn’t seem to truly hate Dr. Hemlock. When Omega asks Emerie about why she wasn’t on Kamino, Emerie only says that she was sent away early on and was later taken in by Dr. Hemlock, who “saw her potential”. 

Emerie compares Dr. Hemlock taking her under her wing to the relationship between Nala Se and Omega.

Which is interesting, because as an audience we know that Dr. Hemlock and Nala Se aren’t really the same, and the lives of their assistants haven’t been either. Of course, Nala Se, is a morally complicated figure.  She did keep Omega confined in her lab for a time. Omega may cry over leaving Nala Se, putting aside her jewelry, but she also returned to the private lab in season 1 with fear and trauma.

However, with Nala Se, Omega was able to form sibling attachments to her younger brothers, Hunter, Wrecker, Crosshair and Tech. Clearly, Nala Se never forbade Omega from loving anyone. Emerie, on the other hand, has been denied attachments.

And most importantly, unlike Dr. Hemlock, Nala Se truly does love Omega despite her being an experiment. She’s able to let Omega go for her daughter figure’s own sake, and she does this repeatedly. Nala Se is a complex person, and not an ideal mother figure, but it’s hard to deny she loves Omega and that love is genuine, messy as it is.

And because Omega has been allowed to love, and to leave and experience love and growth with her brothers, she has grown strong as a person. 

So when she sees Emerie, she sees a version of herself denied these things, and it’s a version of herself that has accepted confinement and stasis. A version of herself denied reciprocal love and growth. And Omega fears not only that confinement, but the kind of person she would become if she accepted that domination, if she gave up the desire to be free.

Throughout the story, Emerie continually tells Omega that they are safer where they are, that Omega is not a prisoner. And sadly, Emerie truly believes it.

Emerie Karr has grown to believe that her life with Dr. Hemlock is a safe one, and the only one. And while she’s aware he’s dangerous, she has grown accustomed to managing her emotions around him, to the point where she’s probably not fully aware that this isn’t a normal way for people to live.

Emerie Karr in season 3 and her future

In episode 1, Confinement, we have a fantastic scene in which Omega argues with Dr. Hemlock over her Lurca Hound, Batcher. This scene features Emerie very prominently, as she stands by and watches Dr. Hemlock attempt to manipulate Omega with threats. Royce tells Omega that her caring for the hound has made her weak and unprepared for the world, and that she has put Batcher in danger.

This whole scene seems to be very heavy foreshadowing for Emerie’s character. We know that Dr. Hemlock is wrong, and that Batcher heroically saves Omega showing us that love doesn’t make you weak. 

But one thing that ran through my mind in this scene, is that Dr. Hemlock has likely said these words to Emerie. When Emerie is listening to Royce gleefully say “Actions have consequences”, I can’t help but think this is something he has likely said to her since she was a child as a form of control and manipulation.

Emerie Karr is watching Dr. Hemlock treat Omega as she herself was treated.

Omega insists that Batcher deserves a second chance at life, and I believe this comment is meant for her Shadow, Emerie, just as much as it’s meant to be about the hound.

Omega confronts her Shadow

The second major scene between Omega and Emerie Karr, her Shadow. is in episode 3, the appropriately named “Shadows of Tantiss”. Omega and Crosshair are finally making their daring escape, when Emerie Karr comes upon them both and tries to stop them.

Emerie, the Shadow, tries to persuade both to return for all of their safety, and promises she won’t tell anyone.

Omega tells Emerie that she grew up confined on Kamino, and she refuses to ever be confined again, and without directly stating it, that she refuses to become Emerie. She asks Emerie to join her and Crosshair, but of course, it doesn’t go over very well, and the sister must be left behind.

It’s this confrontation that represents Omega confronting her Shadow. Because through episode 1, and part of episode 3, Omega has stated she wants to escape, but she has stalled in finding ways to escape, and has slowly started getting used to the daily routine.

It takes urging from Nala Se telling Omega she must escape now, for Omega to trust in herself and take action to escape. And this reminds Omega of who she is, and who she must not become. And that’s Emerie. 

As Luke did in Empire Strikes Back, Omega has confronted her Shadow. And she’s not a malevolent evil, but Omega’s own fear of falling into submission and stasis. Omega realizes her fears, and with the help of Nala Se and Crosshair, realizes she can manage these fears and take action.

I don’t think Emerie is going to be stuck in her toxic relationship with Dr. Hemlock, I think she will be inspired by her sister to understand that she can break free and she can survive in the outside world on her own. I think episode 3 already showed Emerie beginning to break free a bit from Dr. Hemlock’s thrall. When he snaps at Emerie, using her last name, and telling her to go back to the lab, she looks truly shaken and heartbroken. Whatever illusions Emerie may have about Hemlock and what he means to her, I think they are shattering.

As Omega has already confronted her shadow in Emerie, I think it will inspire Omega to act and return to Mt. Tantiss to free the clones. Omega wants to walk in the sun, as Cyndi Lauper famously said, and Omega wants Emerie Karr and all the other clones to do the same.

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