In the fifth episode of ‘Dickinson‘Emily is tempted like never before – and I don’t think Sue likes it!
The fifth episode of season two is an episode of sorts that beautifully illustrates what a show Dickinson is: a creative combination of fact, fiction, and the fun of the gray areas in between. In this episode, many of the day’s notable people emerge as they take a close look at Emily about what it can mean to be famous.
It’s a big night for Emily: she plans to announce at Sue and Austin’s salon that it will soon be published by editor Sam Bowles. When she arrives, however, she is quickly nervous when Jane and her gang, the largest collection of supporting character commentators since Statler and Waldorf, immediately tell her that they have heard that Sam is sleeping with all of his writers. Emily tries to block out her noise and enjoys being on Sam’s arm while he shows her off. Even so, there’s no doubt he’s flirting with her every chance he can get. At first Emily seems interested, but she can’t get rid of her discomfort, especially when they meet the painter Sanford Robinson Gifford (um, is that you, Jibz Cameron?!) and he talks about Sam’s taste for Flavors of the Month.
Finn Jones & Hailee Steinfeld in Season 2 of ‘Dickinson’ (Apple TV +)
Confused, Emily goes to Sue and asks her if the rumors about Sam are true. Sue is furious, not only because Sam is married to her close friend Mary, but also because those rumors are ruining Emily’s big moment. Yeah, for the first time it actually sounds like Sue invested in Emily’s feelings rather than her rise to fame. Sue gives Emily the kind of encouragement that all women should have in their back pockets when their boyfriends, sisters, and / or girlfriends question her achievements. And with that, Emily has the strength to come back out and back into the salon to hear from Sue’s very special instructor.
Emily takes a seat next to Sam as Sue introduces her guest speaker. The room falls silent when a wooden box is carried in by Henry and placed in the center of the room. The box starts shaking and suddenly the lid flies off and who should appear but the infamous Henry ‘Box’ Brown. (It’s well documented that Brown, an escaped slave from Virginia who found his way to Philadelphia by mailing himself up in a box, was also a noted abolitionist spokesman in the Northeast and a wizard The Room Is Tied Up by Brown. Sam persuades Emily to sneak into the library, while Sue sees her disappear out of the corner of her eye.
Ayo Edebiri as Hattie in Season 2 of ‘Dickinson’ (Apple TV +)
Now let’s take a short break from Emily, because this episode is the launch pad for what is perhaps the most intriguing story of the season. While Emily struggles with the decision to be released, Henry, Hattie, and many other freed slaves in the area are actually fighting with all their might to have their voices heard. The empowered group of abolitionists have worked hard to get their message across and start a revolution. She published her own newspaper in secret. You will find an ally in the most unlikely of people: Austin. Seems like he’s not only borrowed his barn for their meetings, but as Sue’s salon is raging inside, Austin surprises his revolutionary friends with their own printing press. Now Hattie, played by the incredibly talented Ayo Edebiri, has a great scene where ‘Box’ Brown is actively bad for the community and angry about losing her front page spot to this guy. But as soon as she sees the gift from Austin, she is speechless. It’s a great scene and the beginning of an even bigger story in Dickinson. So stay tuned.
Back at the library, Sam praises and flatters Emily when she talks about her bright future. Emily blushes, obviously intrigued by the idea of fame, especially the way Sam is telling her. But she admits the idea sounds forbidden. “Forbidden fruits have an interesting taste,” says Sam as he grabs Emily’s hands and the looks carefully into her eyes.
Then Sue comes in and her eyes are immediately fixed on Sam caressing Emily. Seeing Emily and Sam together seems to annoy them, a look of jealousy and “Oh shit, what did I do?” all over her face. But she bounces back and moves quickly to focus on herself and ask if Sam still plans to write about her salon in his paper. He promises her that he will, just as he promises to publish Emily’s poetry. When Sue leaves, Sam turns back to Emily and seductively asks her to write something for him when she gets home.
And boy did she ever Back at the sanctuary in her room, Emily writes a letter to Sam’s wife, Mary. We’ll never hear past the first line when Emily’s mind wanders to Sam and she soon dreams that they are passionate about sex. It’s all torn clothes and fire and forbidden and then … it’s over. Emily is alone on her bed, still fully dressed, and holds her letter to Mary to her chest. (Lord, what’s in this letter ?!)
Pico Alexander as ship in season two of ‘Dickinson’ (Apple TV +)
But Emily isn’t the only one enjoying a fantasy tonight. Did you really think I’d forget about my favorite Dickinson sibling, Vinnie? Never! Now Lavinia has a problem on her hands called ‘ship’. After recently getting engaged in the worst possible way, he’s ready to throw in the towel and be a boring, respectable couple. No wild parties – more “novels and chill”. (God I love that!) But Lavinia has other ideas and turns a night of silent reading into the wildest game of sexual RPG set in “The Scarlet Letter” ever, complete with very compelling costumes. And by the end of the night, Vinnie Ship finally seems to have convinced that she is as crazy as Lola Montez. (* Keyword sexy guitar music *) – and she’s happy about it.