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Shadows House Season 2
Episode 5

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Shadows House (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.3

That's one question answered! My not-so-inner nerd was wondering what the name of Nancy's Shadow would turn out to be, since “Nancy,” before it was accepted as a name in and of itself, was originally a pet name for the variants of “Anne.” (And originally for “Annis,” a Medieval variant of “Agnes.”) That Nancy's Shadow is Anna confirms the level of research done for the Shadow/doll pairs' names, both showing historical accuracy and that the two pairs whose names aren't either linguistic variants (like John/Shaun and Jeremiah/Jeremy) or name and diminutive are ones we should pay attention to. In the case of Sarah and Mia, it says a lot about Sarah that she'd name her doll “mine,” while Kate's choice of “Emilico” shows us that she regards her living doll as her own completely separate person.

Interestingly enough, the longer John and Shaun interact with Kate and Emilico, the more independent the two of them seem. When Oliver orders Olly to seize Emilico so that she can be examined, it's Kate, not John, who tells Shaun to go after them – and before the words are even out of her mouth, Shaun is already moving to put a stop to things. We see Shaun act like Kate's servant during a lot of the scenes at the laboratory as well, which isn't necessarily something we've seen other living dolls do; just look at how Oliver asks both Anna and Nancy to do things rather than just Nancy. Shaun is already much more of his own person than most of the other kids, and while that in part could be because he's actively avoiding the coffee, it's probably also due to the fact that John is taking his cues from Kate.

Of course, the fact that Emilico is just an infectious personality as well needs to be considered. When Kate realizes that she's blowing the meeting with Patrick and Louise, she recognizes that it's because she doesn't have Emilico's boundless enthusiasm for virtually everything and her ability to make others comfortable almost immediately. Her seriousness is off-putting to prickly Patrick and perpetually bored Louise, and if she wants to win them over to her side, she needs to channel some of Emilico's joie de vivre. That she does is just as significant as her understanding that she and Emilico are two separate people – can you think of another Shadow who would deign to learn something from their doll? While we could view it as Kate realizing that doll and Shadow are two halves of a whole, it seems more likely that she recognizes her own limitations and is working to get past them by learning from someone else's strengths. She and Emilico are partners, not a single being in two bodies, and given what we learned about adult Shadows and their dolls last season, that could turn out to be an incredibly important worldview.

There's a lot to figure out before getting to that point, however. Number one on Kate's list seems to be “When does Oliver bathe?” The whole scene at the laboratory is pretty wonderful, giving us a much more lighthearted moment than we've had in the previous episodes, but Kate's growing horror about Oliver's personal cleanliness is a definite highlight. She also figures out that Oliver may be the most forthcoming of the Star Bearers – he'll talk about almost anything before he realizes that he's not supposed to be on a given topic. Case in point is when Kate mentions her theory that Christopher could be the robed figure and Oliver panics and says that he can't talk about Christopher…or Anthony. Anthony wasn't even on Kate's radar before, so it feels like Oliver just dropped a major clue in her lap, and the fact that Shirley comes up later in the episode (the first time this season, although Rum has been mentioned I believe) feels significant. Was Anthony another Star Bearer, or was he, like Shirley, someone who failed the debut? The name seems to indicate a Shadow, but if we follow the name variants rule, he could also be a living doll to an Antonio or something similar. Either way, it seems like we ought to be remembering that name even as Christopher's own mystery deepens.

Emilico and Kate are becoming an ever more formidable team. Little Miss Sunshine apparently opens doors wherever she goes, and then Kate's brains can help to get them to the next portal. With Patrick (who may have a crush on Kate, much to John's consternation) and Louise now willing to work to solve the Phantom mystery with her, Kate's detective agency is on its way. We can only hope that they'll figure out what's going on before it's too late…whatever that may mean.


Shadows House is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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