From the start, this story was bound to veer into “A Very Special Episode” territory. I’ve been awkwardly dancing around the topic of discrimination by using a fantasy element instead of showing real-world racism. Although his mutation obscures it, Noah is Black, and it would have been disingenuous to let the story end before acknowledging it in some way.

Likewise, I chose to make Ash an imperfect ally because I have implicit biases even when trying to do the right thing. There is a helpful and a not-as-helpful way to argue in defense of the rights of others.