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The Summer 2022 Preview Guide
Shadows House Season 2

How would you rate episode 1 of
Shadows House (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.3

What is this?

After finishing their "debut," Kate, Emilico and three other pairs who started with them begin a new life as adults. With the mystery of the "Shadows House" still unsolved, a new incident occurs in the children's wing. Kate and Emilico, whom the Star Bearers suspect of being malcontents, investigate a mysterious robed Shadow who may be the culprit.

Shadows House is based on so-ma-to's manga and streams on Crunchyroll on Fridays.

How was the first episode?

Caitlin Moore

Shadows House 2 is leaving the station, so if you're not already on the train, you're going to get left behind!

If you watched the first season but your memory for the details has become shadowed by the cruel passage of time – the year and change since the first season concluded feels like an eternity now! – might I recommend going back and reading Rebecca's excellent and insightful episode summaries? I didn't, and I deeply regret it because I found myself trying to keep up with the intrigue-laden story. Also, my husband who watched the first season with me and has a better memory for these things abandoned me to go play video games.

Still, it's better than a recap, and after a few minutes I started to say to myself, “Oh right, that's what was happening before…” The first season's mysteries were marked by just who the shadows and their living dolls are. What is the true nature of their relationship and the soot that threatens to swallow their mansion? Now that the answers are out in the open, the tension stems from Kate's anger at the system and her determination to change it, despite the machinations of the elder Shadows and Grandfather's controlling gasp.

Because, it turns out, coming of age doesn't mean she's come out of the woods. A significant part of her cohort is still under Grandfather's control, and those that aren't… well… she's got John, but he is, always and forever, a true dumbass. She may be allowed to roam the mansion, but the constant supervision from older, cannier Shadows which she's under means that in a way, she's less free than she was even when confined to her rooms. As always, the script and visuals work in conjunction to build a sense of mounting tension as Kate realizes just how hard her revolution is going to be and how alone she is.

Rebecca Silverman

Welcome back to Shadows House, where it's not what's lurking in the darkness that will get you, but the darkness itself. That's on even fuller display this time as we learn the truth about Barbara, the Shadow behind Barbie, who served as one of the antagonists of the first season. We really knew a lot more about living doll than Shadow in their case, and as it turns out, that's because of Barbara's rare condition: sometimes, because of the sheer amount of soot she produces, she can't speak. That makes her valuable to Lord Grandfather, who relies on Barbara's prodigious soot output to run Shadows House, but it also says a lot about Barbara and Barbie's relationship, as well as the way Barbara is only valued for her soot: it's clearly painful, and it really feels like there's a good chance that it could kill her. But who cares as long as Lord Grandfather has his little Shadow battery?

It does take the episode some time to build up to this point, but I'm frankly so relieved we're not just getting a recap that I can't say I mind. We pick up with the cast from last season moving ahead after their coming of age, with only Emilico and Shaun fully free from the powers of the soot-spiked coffee; Ricky's on his way there, but Lou is still firmly under the evil beverage's control. Kate is still 100% devoted to figuring out how to end Lord Grandfather's reign of terror, and she's also more than a little peeved that John seems more invested in pursuing his relationship with her than anything else. There's a delightful scene where she excoriates him for distracting her while reminding him that words that make John happy do not make Kate happy; it's not only a nice lesson in consent (in terms of “ask, don't assume”), but it also beautifully reminds us of the two characters' personalities: Kate is anxious and uptight while John is…let's go with “free-spirited.” Louise, meanwhile, is just horrified that John didn't propose to her first, while Patrick is feeling sorry for himself, which could throw a wrench into Kate's plans, because she'll need everyone on board with her, soot powers or not.

Emilico and Shaun are largely left out of this episode; they're present, but the Shadows children are the real focus. But everyone's being watched closely by new pair Susanna and Susie, who definitely come off as more than a bit ominous, and all of the Rosemary/Maryrose dance numbers in the world can't hide their menace – Susie, in particular, seems very sly and cunning. This may not be the most action-packed premier, but it is one that's laying the groundwork for the mysteries to deepen and the dangers to grow, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing where it goes.

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