This week’s Shadows House featured some truly horrific scenes. Like downright scary. Yet there’s something in the delivery and cnematic language that made more weird than frightening. It was all shown to us in such a matter of fact sort of way. There was no more ephasis on that scene than any of the other ones. No swelling music or dutch angles. Just business as usual. Kate getting angry was presented much more dramatically than a young girl with her head seemingly being devoured by a giant spider. I’m not sure if this the the right word for it, but kthink that’s part of the charm of Shadows House.

I know that I go one about the soundtrack of Shadows House a lot. I do find it marvellous. This episode though was less remarkable in that regard. So I’ll take this chance instead to let you know that I love both the OP and ED. Both have fantastic music and very good visuals. I think the OP may be a bit better with visuals but those slit dioptric scenes in the ED showing dolls and shadows in frozen set pieces are also pretty great.

We are still in the pilling on the questions portion of the story. The mystery is building and for the moment we have zero answers. For instance, there’s already a repeated motif that dolls shouldn’t think. You know no fretting about trivial matters. But then why make them capable of doing so in the first place? I didn’t mention it last week, but there was a scene in which Emilico was going up the stairs and she climbed on all fours. Clearly, she hadn’t learned how to navigate stairs yet. Great little touch. And that tracks with the idea that she is essentially a newborn and that dolls are made at a certain age. As in not human.

You see, I have been building this conspiracy theory in my head that dolls are in fact human. Either stolen or bought children brainwashed into their duties r potentially clones. But the full people type of clones. This explains why they obviously have all standard biological functions even if they aren’t practical for them. But why wouldn’t Emilico know how to go up stairs…

The bi about the soot being able to coalesce and take form, even be malicious up to a point is very interesting. It’s sort of giving me Chaos Walking vibes. I read the knife of never letting go not long ago to see what all the… noise was about! And the way soot is behaving is starting to remind me of it. And now Kate can control her soot up to a point.

Obviously, this is going to all tie in together but for now, I’m still not sure how. I do think that Emilico rather than Kate might be the catalyst here but we’ll see. I was also surprised to realize that I miss Kate when she’s not part of the episode. I was really happy to see her at the end there. All in all, I enjoyed this week’s Shadows House and I really hope we get some answers before the season is over.

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13 thoughts

  1. Interesting comments section. Yeah, I’ve been wondering if the shadows and dolls are one and the same person, especially since their Lord doesn’t seem to be/have a shadow, and neither do his “enforcers”?

    I’m also wondering about the bathing scene. I’m I imagining things or did Emilico worry about water getting “inside”? If so, why? It’s also a little puzzling as to “inside” where, since they had Rose drink a lot to purge the soot. My first thoughts were circutry or stuffing, but neither makes much sense in context. Are they animated by soot? Did Rose undergo a soot reboot? I’m confused abou this (and now it turns out I misunderstood something obvious.)

  2. While driving to work, our discussion yesterday had me ruminating some more. Specifically, on the striking similarity of the outlines, between the shadows & their living dolls. The initial explanation being: the dolls are meticulously manufactured to match with the outline of the existing shadow.

    But let’s assume that the dolls are actually brainwashed humans, as the show seems to be hinting. And it’s now been established that soot is a substance that can be altered & manipulated. Then the question becomes, who is a copy of whom? In other words, who is the real living doll here? 

    Continuing on that train of thought, the geometric play in the OP is quite intriguing. Beside the axial symmetry that establishes the mirroring between Kate & Emilico, we also see a strange sequence of central symmetry as they run down some stairs.

    Kate is first established as the point of reference in that sequence, gravity being on her side — feet down face up, with Emilico flipped upside down. However, their positions are later switched, with Emilico serving as the updated point of reference.

    Food for thought.

    1. There’s a shot in the OP that gives the alternate title A Hollow Shadow. I really like that title. I wonder if Shadows could in fact be, well, shadows. A collection of stray emotions, anxieties dreams and fears coalesced and eventually taking over the greater part of a person’s conscience leaving what’s left into nothing more than a doll.
      Also, why aren’t shadows allowed to meet before their coming out ceremony?

      1. I hadn’t noticed that, and your point on Shadows being literal shadows makes perfect sense. As for your question, hopefully we’ll get some hints next episode!

  3. I agree, I think these dolls are actually brainwashed humans. The silent opening of the first opening led me to ponder that possibility. If I remember correctly, you have a train coming into the mansion, presumably to deliver something. As its horn blows, a couple shadows stop their idle activities & get up.

    Instants later, we have our first sight of the living dolls, each being given some kind of concoction. After drinking it, they utter the first words of the show, in creepy unison — how proud they are to serve the Shadows family.

    This episode, we had Greige claim she was born a genius, because she knew how to read when she was “born” — as opposed to Emilico. Most likely she learned how to before getting brainwashed.

    1. I was thinking the same thing. Though I wonder if that’s not too straightforward of an answer.

      1. Yeah, too early to tell for sure at this point. But so far I think this show has been fairly straightforward with the audience.

        It also seems to like its symmetry. In the same way Kate uses her soot to control “inanimate” dolls, higher-level family members (such as the two shadows I mentioned earlier) could use theirs to control “living” dolls. The first drink could’ve been spiked, and maybe daily bread too. The kitchen seems off-limits for now, I assume for a reason.

        Also makes you wonder about the soot monster. How much of it was subconscious id, and how much was deliberate brutality. Judging by Greige’s scars, her master seems to have anger management issues. How convenient to have such life-like boxing bags.

        1. What if the soot is used to control sentient beings, then couldn’t these beings’ feelings, resentment and fear get absorbed back into the soot…. In a way the phantoms are a manifestation of chaos over the order of the shadows

          1. Neat idea. I notice the monster turned into a spider only after “eating” Senpai, so that does look like another piece of the puzzle, and is in line with the whole duality theme.

            1. Lol But since the fun of the series comes from creepiness, that’s actually a *positive* thing! 😁

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