I was ok with Maryrose’s reasoning or motivations to have a few holes in it. In fact, I mentioned last week that her way of going about things was a bit dubious when you sit down and really think about it. But it didn’t bother me. For me, Shadows House is fun and stylish enough that I can overlook a few plotholes and shaky character motivations.

I was completely prepared to have fun with this episode more or less regardless of what reveals it dished out.

Or so I thought!

I really only have one thing to say. This is cool. This is very cool. Once again, if you haven’t watched this week’s Shadows House, go and watch it. I’m about to blow the lid off this…popsicle stand? How does that expression go?

The idea that the Shadows essentially take over the living dolls’ bodies, killing the human in the process isn’t all that spectacular. All things considered, it’s perfectly in line with everything we know about Shadows House and kind of predictable when you think about it. I didn’t predict it though. In fact, even after it was said, I was still convinced that I had seen adult Shadows alongside their faces. hadn’t. I went over all my screencaps for the first season. It’s either one or the other, never both together! Forshadow! awesome.

Obviously, since I wasn’t expecting it, I was a little floored and grimly delighted by this. But I think that even if you were expecting it, it’s a fabulous reveal.

You see, this is the type of reveal that not only explains everything but manages to ramp up the stakes exponentially without it feeling forced. Of course, Maryrose is going to do some very questionable things, it’s a matter of life and death! Of course, she might be a bit irrational here and there, she’s panicking! Wouldn’t you under those circumstances? I would!

And Shadows house is great at giving away just enough information to not frustrate you but making sure it brings up a lot more questions. For instance, how does Maryrose know this? I’m thinking this is where we don’t talk about Christopher comes in. I bet he discovered some secrets and then got disappeared! Does anyone else know? Does Barabara? Barbie cares a lot about her master but Barabara herself seems more aloof.

However, that also brings up another question. Apart from a few exceptions, like Sarah, most of the shadows seem really attached to their faces. Wouldn’t they also rebel if they knew? Is this unification ritual voluntary or do they get locked in that box against their will and the only way to survive is to get on with it? And also why is it the Shadows’ ultimate goal? I assume taking over a human body stabilizes them and gives them some more power. I would buy that. But there could be another reason… All really good questions, but do we even have time for questions now? Everything just got way more urgent!

Oh and another thing, did I understand correctly that Edward was also in the children’s ward with Barabara and Maryrose? Fr some reason, that seems significant.

We saw an unfortunate failed unification at the end of the episode. For a second I thought t might be Christopher, or Anthony I guess but the hair is different. So I’m not sure who that was ad if we were supposed to recognize them.

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8 thoughts

  1. Oh man, yes, the reveal put so much in place. Also, now that I think back to season 1, didn’t the little fairy I think is Shirley come out of a box like that one at the end? I seem to remember something like this, but she failed the coming of age ceremony… Does this mean that, if you fail the coming of age ceremony, that box doesn’t produce an adult, but a one of those shadow dolls? The body still dies, but the shadow doesn’t produce a personality to inhabit it, so they’re… zombies? If so, that puts into question what happened to Rum? If the Shirley managed to flee, would they have opened the casket-thingy to a live Rum and no soot? (I can’t remember Shirley ever emitting soot, come to think of it. Did she?) Or did tiny-fairy-Shirley manage ot rescue Rum, in which case, they’d have found an empty casket and would be searching for them. Or maybe she can come and go, and Rum/Shirley duo are currently pretending to be a shadow-doll? (If so, how did they get the info necessary?)

    All those speculations are for nothing if I misremember, or if the tiny morph isn’t actually Shirley (which I’m taking far too much for granted; I need to remind myself that I might be wrong).

    1. I thought Rum was a veiled doll. Maybe that was just a lie to placate the rest of them. Still I like the idea that one of those menacing robes figures is just little ol Rum.
      I think it’s likely that the tiny fairy is Shirley. It would make way more sense than anything else.

  2. This is the explanation for why the humans and shadows are made to think of the humans as “dolls” instead of natural beings separate from the shadows.

    Also, one of the things the adults look for before they “invite” is high soot production and soot is tied to negative emotions like anger and anxiety, so the invited pairs aren’t likely to be kind and well-adjusted.

    1. Okay, I just noticed this today. I don’t even think most of the ADULTS know that the “dolls” are actually humans. Even in the manga, where a lot of the past is spelled out, there seems to be an “information airlock” between the human world and the mansion with its “dolls” – the only shadows that cross that airlock are the third-floor adults.

      I don’t think even Edward and his sidekicks know the “dolls” are human – in the first-season episode where he was “quizzed” by the third-floor shadows he kept referring to “dolls” and what seemed like an information dump could also literally be the third-floor shadows trying to find out what Edward actually knew.

      1. There would be no reason to even tell most Shadows about the dolls I figure. Only those directly involved in getting more.

    2. I thought the dolls thing was so that the humans wouldn’t riot and would be more complacent. Since they think they’re only dolls and all.
      Kate has high soot levels… hmmmm

  3. Yes, you heard correctly about Edward. (Unless my ears aren’t working either.) Safe to say all shadows start off at the children’s wings, and Edward’s spell there must have overlapped a little with Barbara & Maryrose — but before Christopher’s invitation.

    I really like following Edward around. On one hand, he’s an ambitious douche, intent on clawing his way to the top. A little bullying here, a little brown-nosing there… Smug insults one day, prostrate apologies the next… I’d definitely watch a spin-off, slice-of-life anime named “Edward: The Daily Life of a Careerist Dick.” He must wake up every morning thinking, “oh my, who should I murder today, to best please Holy Grandpa?”

    On the other hand, he can’t be all bad. At first glance, his two peers seem unshakably loyal to him. Neither of them look stupid, nor do they appear to be blackmailed into helping him. Instead, I feel deep trust, running both ways even. I wonder what holds this bunch together, beside their mutual history. Is it just a question of pragmatic advancement, or could there be something more?

    Speaking of ambitious folks, I’d speculate that Sarah does care about Mia. She gave her a name unrelated to hers — suggesting she views her as a separate person, rather than just another limb of hers. Plus, Mia was the one who happily instigated that punishment scene in the first cour, not Sarah. It makes me wonder which of the two was more dedicated to Sarah’s success.

    Regarding the unifications, Edward expects Maryrose to fail hers. I wonder why. Does she lack enough soot to get through it? But if soot quantity is the only factor, why hasn’t Barbara been invited yet? I assume there’s another complicating factor. Maybe the higher-ups don’t want to take the risk of losing Barbara, along with 60% of the house’s soot production. Is personal attachment to the doll another factor? Does the warden typically select ambitious shadows, more enclined to move forward without their dolls? When are shadows informed that unifications kill their living dolls? If they fight back, what steps are taken to ensure shadows fall in line?

    I highly doubt the corpse we saw was Christopher’s. The timelines don’t match. But I also tried to identify the living doll, and came up completely blank.

    Maryrose’s loaded line to Louise — “living dolls should be taken good care of” — turned out to be her core motivation. Very nicely done.

    What else, what else… Oh yeah, John is such a riot. I fuckin’ love his dumb ass. May he never change!

    1. I think unification might need some level of willingness. As in if the shadow really refuses to sacrifice the face, it will fail. At least that was my reading. I figured we would have seen at least one super depressed shadow at some point if they constantly killed their faces accidentally. I could be completely wrong here, I’m going on the fact that Shadows House is playing into emotional storytelling right now and this explanation would fit the tome.

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