Well, well, well… It turns out that Shadows House was a fairy tale all this time. Fairy tales can be frightening things. It does fit the mood quite well. And I am surprised. I spent a lot of time theorizing about the show and it’s been a long time since I was completely wrong about everything.

I was prepared for the season to end without revealing any of the secrets of Shadows House. The pacing seemed to be going that way. I certainly didn’t think we’d get everything just plainly spelled out in a clumsy exposition dump two episodes from the end.

And yeah, I thought the mechanism of the reveal was super clumsy. Having a person just explain all the details of the situation to a group of people who should already know them is one of the laziest exposition clichés out there. It is efficient though. Like I know exactly what’s going on now, no doubt or confusion at all. And well, I’m conflicted a bit.

First, let me say that I liked the episode. I liked it a lot. The pacing was good and Shadows House did all the hard work of creating enough emotional build-up that I was both very happy, almost a little proud seeing all the pairs that passed and very sad for Rum and Shirley. Even the slightly contrived scene of a dark angel Kate caching Emilico in a mirror of last week, had me cheering in my living room. I’m sold on this show and nothing about that has changed. Well, some things have.

I still like the characters a lot. Seeing John pass a note to Kate during the ceremony was such a humanizing little moment and I’m dying to find out what was in it. Even though I really thought the explanation would be something much more metaphysical, going for a straightforward fantasy solution is actually not bad. It’s certainly made for a cleaner narrative and I do like it. You can still get the allegories out of it but there’s at least a surface-level plot that simple and linear.

But this changes the rules, doesn’t it? Shadows House is no longer an old fashion gothic mystery, it’s an action series or maybe a political thriller now. And I don’t know how to feel about that. I really liked Shadows House as a mystery. I found it absolutely fascinating. Two episodes doesn’t seem like enough time to properly establish a secondary genre. I could be wrong. Make no mistake, I’m looking forward to the next episode.

Here are some random tings from the episode. I’m not sure why they say John doesn’t suit his face. Is it just that their personalities are different because Lou and Louise are very different too. Maryrose was super fun, I hope we see more of her. That has got to be some of the least subtle mind control I have ever seen. Every new shadow must notice it as soon as they have their coming of age.

Finally though, beneath all the revelations and emotions of Shadows House episode 10, there was a bit of a theme that spoke to me directly. Beware the danger of lacking in passion. I’m the type of person that rarely feels very strongly about anything really and it really hit me. Seeing little Shirley just blow away to nothing because she failed to become someone. She had no personality, she had no passion. Terrifying.

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8 thoughts

  1. Yeah, that exposition was terribly clumsy, but I don’t mind much. Things like Ricky leading during the dance make some strange new sense, now. I’m also not sure about your take on Shirley; I get the impression she was holding back deliberately so not to take over? I’m actually still not quite sure how that works, despite the exposition dump this episode, but I’m guessing Shirley might have known the most out of all of them and had enough control not to emit any soot, but not enogh to do anything with the knowledge. Her shyness and silence might have been effect of immense concentration needed for self-control (to fight morphing instincts)?

    Kate is also on a mission so she must know something, but she didn’t know that the soot could animate dolls, for example. I’m curious what her agenda is. I’m pretty sure she didn’t know about the spiked coffee or Emilico wouldn’t have gotten a double dose.

    And there might have been a hidden point to asking Edward to recite his knowledge. They might suspect he knows more than he should and trying to catch him out.

    I admit I wasn’t all that focussed watching this episode. I’d have to re-watch to see if the episode actually answers or forestalls some of my questions.

    1. My take on Shirley was quite straightforward, they said she disappeared because she failed to develop a personality and I just took the bad guys at their word. No personality no desires… But maybe blindly believing everything the antagonists say isn’t really the way to go. I’m surprised I’ve survived this long some times.

      1. I had this impression of Shirley for some weeks now, and it simply survived the reveal. It feels like one of things I’m usually wrong about, but I tend not to give up on such theories until I have to. I don’t have a good track record with Shadows House, for what it’s worth. (And I’ve never once minded being wrong either.)

        My main default position this: I don’t think Edward knows everything the higher-ups know, and I don’t know the higher ups know everything their Lord knows, and I don’t think the Lord knows everything either. I could be wrong every step along the way.

        1. It’s a good theory. Certainly very sweet and in line with the mood of the show.
          My interpretation draws on personal fears so it speaks to me but I could see it go either way. Or even both ways. She did flutter away because she failed to find passion and she cooled that passion intentionally…

  2. Why everyone thinking that it would be 12 Episodes? XD

    Almost on every site info says 13 Episodes )

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