Shadows House
Episode 9

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 9 of
Shadows House ?

Shadows House may have many secrets, but one that the adults seem particularly keen to keep is that, eventually, shadows and faces merge. That's the implication, anyway, based on a comment one of them makes paired with Edward's transformation last week. This suggests that each person in the house plays two distinct roles: the Shadow Master and the Face, switching between the two as we've seen Edward do, and possibly both Gerald and Aileen, since we saw Jer and Ailie last week in their soot suits. The question of why remains as yet unanswered, but a more sinister possibility seems to have been raised by the statement about how the Faces are supposed to lose their own personalities in order to better reflect those of their Shadow Masters.

Among other things, this could certainly suggest that while some pairs are more symbiotic than others, some represent two halves of a whole, or rather, embody personality elements that are lacking in one or the other. We see that regularly with Kate and Emilico, but this week we see it with both sets of boys as well. John and Shaun are perhaps the more obvious, with John's recklessness being offset by Shaun's sensible nature. John is absolutely a leap before he looks kind of guy, while Shaun is a thinker – not just in terms of where he goes and how he does things, but also in how he interprets someone's actions. For instance, Shaun bases his assumption of Ricky on Ricky's past behavior rather than just taking him at his word like John and Emilico both do. Ricky, for his part, lets his mouth run before his brain catches up, spouting grandiose statements that make him look conceited when the truth is probably closer to not wanting to seem like he's lacking. In other words, he's less a jerk and more insecure, and the fact that Patrick is fairly soft-spoken around others probably makes this stand out even more.

Another interesting tidbit we can glean from this episode is the disgust the Shadows seem to feel for allowing their features to be seen. When Sophie gets excited by John's use of soot (and take what meaning you will for “excited,” because there are definitely some nuances going on there), she exposes her face and creepy butterfly tongue, for which she is reprimanded by someone else. There are a variety of reasons behind this, one of which is that the Shadows see themselves as superior to their “doll” halves, but it could also have its roots in ideas about looking upon the face of the ruler. Since the Shadows believe they are above the Faces, revealing their skin could be tantamount to stripping in public or at least strolling downtown in your underwear. They are special, and just as one may not look upon the face of the king, one ought not to know the true Face of a Shadow. (Possibly lest we notice that the emperor's got no clothes on, of course.)

All of this brings us back to the question of whether or not the Shadows are, in fact, human and why they're so invested in making the Dolls think that they aren't. This could be a major strategic flaw in Edward's debut plans; because of the way that he's designed things, we're seeing in all but the Lou/Louise pair the solidification of the duos' differences. Emilico only succeeds at saving Kate by thinking even further outside the box than she has been, and Patrick bowing to his Face in order to make sure that he returns Emilico's kindness is jaw-dropping. Even Lou, unbeknownst to Louise, is learning that she enjoys working with people who aren't her mistress, while Rum's careful, precise efforts to free Shirley get the silent Shadow to make a sound. Is that because Rum is more confident now and it makes Shirley want to change? Even if that's the case, it's certainly not the way things are “supposed” to go.

The clock, however, is ticking, both on the screentime left in this season and in terms of Kate and Emilico making it to the exit. Do they have more or less of a chance to pass being such separate people? We'll have to wait a week to find out.


Shadows House is currently streaming on Funimation.

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