Things took a turn for the worse on AWAY Season 1 Episode 4 for Group Captain Ram Arya. He falls ill, which means Emma and the crew have critical decisions to make.
Matt also deals with a tough decision looming ahead -- should he pass his mobility tests and go home, or fail on purpose to have more access to the rehabilitation center?
"Excellent Chariots" reminds us of the lengths people go for their friends, family, and themselves, even if death lurks around the corner.
Ram's illness was worrying, but his proposition to Emma had us on the edge of our seats. He wanted her to put him in the airlock if the virus did not run its course within forty-eight hours.
This sudden request makes us wonder what Ram could have endured in his past to be so adamant about sacrificing himself after only two days.
However, Ram's request makes sense in hindsight once AWAY reveals his past. Ram blames himself for infecting his brother, Rohit, who eventually died of typhus while Ram survived.
Rohit was someone Ram looked up to immensely. Ram's older brother was his hero and inspiration, so much so that Ram went to Mars for him. Ram never stopped blaming himself for Rohit's death, even though Rohit chose to stay by Ram's side.
Rohit: The evil King Ravana has taken Sita away in his fire-burning Vimana.
Ram: The Vimana is his spaceship.
Rohit: And so Ram --
Ram: That's me. I'm Ram.
Rohit: That's right.
Rohit: And Ram becomes friends with Hanuman, the monkey god, and together they defeat King Ravana and rescue Sita, and Ram becomes king. And Ram is given the fire-burning spaceship. It is as bright as the sun, and the excellent chariot rises up into the atmosphere, higher and higher, to the stars, to the Moon, and to Mars.
Ram could not control Rohit's presence, no matter how much he tried to push his brother away. Ram felt the burden of Rohit's death every day since the funeral. So, when Ram falls ill again, he is determined to remain independent and take control of his life. He will not endanger anyone else.
But Ram's request runs more profound than his decision-making skills. Ram was desperate to hold onto his independence because of his values instead of remaining level-headed to choose for himself.
As usual, Ram's choices defined his character. While he may have many values, he puts one above all else -- altruism. Ever since Rohit died, Ram put everyone else before himself, even if it meant his own death.
Ram even chose his career because he promised Rohit they would go to Mars. Ram can think for himself, but he never actually considers himself. That is why he makes such a great surgeon -- doctors should be sympathetic, caring, and selfless.
We will go to the stars, and the Moon, and Mars on this excellent chariot!Rohit
When Ram fell ill, it was never a question for him -- he was ready to die so that the Atlas crew remained healthy. He values everyone else and their values before his, and that is what defines his character.
The rest of the Atlas crew also had tough decisions to make, as Ram's illness tested their loyalty like never before. Emma administered his antivirals, but when Ram accidentally cuts his back, Emma, Lu, Kwesi, and Misha must decide: should they let Ram fend for himself, or risk catching the highly contagious infectious mononucleosis?
The choice was not easy, but it was never about whether Ram could stitch himself or not. The crew did not even recognize what drove them to risk their lives for Ram, but AWAY portrayed it loud and clear -- love.
Emma, Lu, Ram, Kwesi, and Misha trained together for two years before going into space. Their journey to Mars had barely begun before circumstances tested them like never before. Every past action led to the choice they must make in the present.
Over the last couple of years, without even realizing it, the crew developed a strong bond. Although it was not always smooth sailing, they came out of every mishap stronger and closer than ever.
Ram's illness may have tested the Atlas crew, but there was never really a choice, as they already unconditionally loved each other. Ram was ready to die for them, and when Emma burst into the door, followed by Lu, Kwesi, and Misha, they were ready to die for him.
The Atlas crew continuously risk their lives for each other, and as they approach Mars with every minute, they will continue to do so, even if someone eventually pays the ultimate price of death.
We hope it never comes down to that, but it is remarkably touching how these five astronauts have deeply impacted each other without even realizing it.
Misha: Don't worry about Ram. Remember in... in training when we did, uh, sense appreciation --
Kwesi: Sensory deprivation.
Kwesi: How could I forget being zipped inside a sleeping bag and sealed away in a dark closet to see how long I'd last?
Misha: Yeah, how long did you last?
Kwesi: I made it twenty-eight minutes.
Misha: Forty-one. Ram? Two hours. He took a nap. Yeah. Yeah, he acts like this sensitive playboy Casanova, but he's stronger than he seems.
Something else emerged from "Excellent Chariots," but it was not necessarily unexpected. The episode heavily implied that Ram has romantic feelings for Commander Emma Green.
There have been sneaking suspicions since AWAY Season 1 Episode 2 when Ram was unusually concerned about Emma's wellbeing after the spacewalk, but "Excellent Chariots" more or less confirmed it.
Ram: You know, after Rohit died, everything changed. My parents, they, um, they basically shut down from me, and from life. It was like after he died, I... I lost them too. I lost my family.
Emma: That must be so painful.
Ram: If I'm ever lucky enough to have someone stand beside me like he did, and like you did, I'm not gonna be afraid. I won't ever let her go.
As mentioned on AWAY Season 1 Episode 3 Review, we cannot control who we fall for because if we could, then Ram would not have chosen his commander, who also happens to be married with a kid. He would have picked anyone else in the world, but his heart chose Emma.
Now that we know of Ram's feelings, both Ram and Emma will have choices to make. Did Emma understand Ram has feelings for her? If so, how should she approach the situation? How will Ram act around her after their intimate conversation?
Their dynamic will be even more interesting as it unfolds throughout the rest of the show.
Back on Earth, Matt was certainly not exempt from tough choices on AWAY Season 1 Episode 4. He made enough progress in his recovery that he was soon eligible to go home, but Travis threw a wrench into the mix, which led Matt to his current dilemma.
Should he go home and be with Lex? Or should he purposely fail his mobility test and stay to have unlimited access to the rehab center's facilities?
Matt: Look, I met a guy here who says if I hide my progress during tomorrow's tests, I'll get more time here. I know it's the last thing either of us wants is for me to be in this hospital another second longer, but --
Emma: But staying in is gonna help you recover?
Matt: There's a chance it'll help me walk, yeah.
Emma: Then, you need to stay.
Matt: But Lex needs me right now more than ever.
Emma: Yes, she does. But you don't need to be at home to be her dad.
There is no easy answer in this situation, but Matt's values are clear -- he wants normalcy and recovery more than anything else. However, this scenario forces these two concepts to face-off, leaving Matt to decide which one he values more.
It turns out that for Matt, it was not about which concept he cared about the most, but about another one entirely that trumped these two.
Matt realized he could be Lex's father from the rehabilitation center since he did not need to be at home for that. Lex seemed to be okay until she starts skipping makeup tests for top-secret reasons that Matt does not know.
Lex unknowingly made Matt's choice for him -- if his daughter starts ditching school for unknown reasons, Matt has to be a more substantial presence in her life, especially since Emma is millions of miles away.
On the surface, normalcy may have won the battle, but love and parenting conquered all.
Now it is your turn, Fanatics!
What did you think of AWAY Season 1 Episode 4? Were you surprised at Ram and Emma's intimacy? What do you think their relationship will be like going forward? Do you think the crew was right to risk their lives for Ram? Do you think Matt made the right choice to go home?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
You can watch AWAY online, right here, at TV Fanatic!
Sarah Novack is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.