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Shadows House Season 2
Episode 6

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 6 of
Shadows House (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.2

This sure does scream, “Halfway point episode,” doesn't it? But that's not necessarily a bad thing. There's a lot going on in this week's Shadows House, and while some of it does feel more info-dumpy than is strictly needed, it's also all very interesting and likely important. Chief among the reveals is how Shaun has put together all of the pieces – he and Emilico already know that they came from the human villages surrounding the manor house, but while she's mostly been daydreaming, he seems to have come to some very solid conclusions. The two most interesting ones are about the nature of the veiled dolls and the living dolls' names. Shaun's observation that the veiled dolls are all dressed in full mourning is particularly apt, given the show's pseudo-Victorian setting. Mourning clothes, if you're not familiar with the concept, is a specific style of garment worn for a set period of time after the death of someone you know. The level of mourning was strictly regulated based on how close the mourner was to the deceased; various levels include full mourning (all black) and differing variations of half-mourning, when greys and violets were permitted to be added in, and again how long you wear a specific variation depends on how close you were to the dead person. (A parent or spouse got the most serious, longest mourning period.) The veiled dolls are in the fullest, deepest level of mourning at all times – all black and (obviously) with veils. Aside from fitting with Shaun's theory, it also suggests that the veiled dolls' mourning is modeled after the fact that Queen Victoria never came out of mourning after the death of her husband Albert. In an ordinary person, perpetual full mourning was seen as being in poor taste, so the Shadows are arguably showing off how they put themselves above everyone else by having each lost Shadow mourned eternally in full.

Shaun's theory that the Shadows took on their dolls' names is also an interesting one. It certainly would help to explain the name/nickname (or pet name) theme that most of the groups follow, especially since the two dolls who don't bear a variant of their Shadows' names work for Shadows with either particularly distinct personalities or have strong ones of their own. (Given Sarah's attitude, she could easily have called Mia “mine” based on the fact that Sarah means “princess.”) In the case of Barbie, she seems to have become more of her own person after Barbara's elevation to Star Bearer, but Emilico and Kate were distinctly their own people from the start, hence the naming. And Shaun's new theory also works with what we know about how Shadows are raised; if they assume the physical identity of their human counterparts, why wouldn't they take on their names as well? It's almost a riff on the changeling myth, except that the human child who was spirited away by the fey folk was never replaced in their parents' home.

How John would react to this, if it turns out to be true, could be interesting; I'd wager that Kate already has her suspicions. It does seem clear that the Shadows don't take on their dolls' personalities, though, unless John only got Shaun's hidden impulsive side. We get to see him attempt his own investigation this week, and it drives home the fact that John and Shaun are very much a pair, and that while Shaun is fine without John, the reverse may not be true. John's impulsivity makes him easy prey for Shadows like Jeremiah, who enjoys playing him when John and Shaun go to repair the science lair. But John also seems to make people let their guard down, rather like Emilico does. He's brash, but that seems to be working in his favor with Jeremiah, who is willing to share his research on Scorches with the other Shadow. The information he imparts is highly suggestive of a Shadow deliberately creating and releasing Phantoms, and the mysterious robed figure does seem like a good candidate – although I have to wonder if there's only one robed person. Their voice, when they spoke to Emilico in the garret, was an amalgamation of voices, which may imply the existence of an underground network of Shadows (and maybe dolls) working to overthrow Shadows House. They've definitely got their own agenda, but Kate seems to be parallel to it rather than on a collision course at this point, so it looks like they're willing to just let her continue to foment her little rebellion. Whether they'll always be so kind is up for debate.

Whatever they're doing, it does seem like the veneer is starting to crack. The coffee incident, and the substitution of apparently super caffeinated coffee for spiked coffee, speaks of desperation on the part of the Star Bearers, and their summons of John could mean that they're getting anxious to stop Kate and see him as an easy way to get to her. There's definitely something brewing just out of sight, and whether or not it's dangerous to Kate, Emilico, John, and Shaun remains to be seen. I think we'd better savor that sweet moment between Emilico and Shaun on the roof, because things could get messy from here on out.


Shadows House is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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