Oh I liked this episode. I really liked this episode. It wasn’t without its flaws mind you. And Shadows House does have a tendency to prioritize style, but what a style it is.
I rarely give spoiler warnings on my episode reiews. I think it’s pretty obvious I’m going to talk about the episode. Still, just to be clear, there’s a fairly important reveal this week so if you haven’t watched Shadows House 2 episode 8 yet, you might want to do so before reading this post!
The episode started out with another meeting of the junior detective friends and it’s nice to see how comfortable they have gotten with each other. They really aren’t putting on many airs anymore.
One of the weaknesses in this season of Shadows House is that moving the genre closer to a mystery also exposes you to the weaknesses of the genre. Kate and friends were making a heck of a lot of assumptions this week, some of which I had made myself in previous posts ad my readers were quick to point out that I was jumping to conclusions and there were other explanations to explore. And normally, I would call that a flaw in a show like this. But Shadows House already takes place in a Universe with uncertain rules, having the characters make intuitive leaps may not be the best mystery writing but it doesn’t feel out of place and I found it easy to go along with. Besides, they’re kids after all. And kids assume things all the time.
All this said the two main impressions I had of the first act were that although Sarah was quite detestable, I didn’t think she was Master Robe for some reason and that John really livens up a scene. For a second I was afraid the star bearers had locked him away but as soon as he barged in, the atmosphere completely changed. I might have cheered.
One thing I’m not quite clear on is: why is everyone surprised that Barbara and Maryrose are from the same year? Are they supposed to look different ages? I’m bad a judging these things and I don’t know if I missed something but the repeated joke of having someone freak out when they find out left me scratching my head a bit.
The middle part of the episode was the short action portion where they found the bottle. It was a good move not to reveal the identity of the robed figure yet. I started going through the list of suspects in y head and was just completely into the episode by then.
And then we find out about Morphs. Now, this isn’t exactly a big shock. We knew the shadows were fairies and obviously, they could change shape. I think I even had a reader use the exact term Morph. But the details were always vague. The Shadows themselves seemed largely unaware of what was happening. And this was confirmed. The Shadows are indeed in the dark (!) but not Kate. And I admit I didn’t see that coming and I love it.
Kate, precious Kate. Paragon of virtue and good sense. The reasonable one! Kate was lying to everyone all along. Even to us the audience. Kate knew everything! She knew from day one that Emilico is human. That does explain why she always treated her that way. Still, the idea that Kate cannot be fully trusted and might up to a certain point be an unreasonable narrator is fantastic.
I have mentioned many times how stylish Shadows House is. Did you notice the sudden onslaught of dutch angles during the morph speech? Here are a few to refresh your memory.
Using dutch angles to make a scene unsettling. How delightfully old school. So Hitchcockian. I checked and the only dutch angle used before the final act is when John threatens to fight Parick. And that was just one. There are at least half a dozen in the last part. This was a very deliberate and blunt cinematic language choice.
I suspected just about every one of being Master Robe. At one point I was hoping it was the twins on each other’s shoulders! But somehow, I never thought of Maryrose. I should have. Hindsight is 20/20 but she has been suspicious all season. Yet they kept her both present and somehow out of mind. At least for me. And I’m liking her as the antagonist. The only thing that would have made the episode better, is if it would have ended on a Maryrose dance number!
here is a lot about Maryrose’s philosophy and excuses that I could talk about but think I’ll leave it for next week when we find out more!
- Shadows House episode 1 – Emilico
- Shadows House episode 2 – Impure
- Shadows House episode 3 – Broken
- Shadows House episode 4 – Murder
- Shadows House episode 5 – Bearer
- Shadows House episode 6 – Proposal
- Shadows House episode 7 – Sunshine
- Shadows House episode 8 – Revelation
- Shadows House episode 9 – Reunion
- Shadows House episode 10 – Fairies
- Shadows House episode 11 – Human
- Shadows House episode 12 – Escape?
- Shadows House episode 13 – Caesura