Dickinson wrote a fitting farewell to Emily in the finale of the Apple TV + historical comedy series – but did she write herself a happy ending?
Friday’s finale begins with Emily enjoying nature in her garden when she is visited by her old friend Death. He is wearing a beautiful new white suit and thinks she might as well use a new look: “You have work to do, Miss Dickinson. You will need a uniform. ” When she gets home, she can not even unbutton her dress and Lavinia has to call to help her get it out of her corset. She complains that these tight dresses are stifling her creativity: “Inspiration means suction.” So she calls Betty to help her create “a dress I can write in … a dress I can live in”.
Meanwhile, Austin is about to make peace with his father and he and Sue show up at his parents’ doorstep to introduce them to their (yet unnamed) nephew. He also has a proposal for his father: He wants to represent some men who were arrested for helping to free a black woman who was sold into slavery, and he seeks his father’s legal advice. The father hesitates at first, but Austin’s passion for justice persuades him to say yes. (Should we go ahead and make a gravel for Dickinson & Son, Esquire?)
Soon, they get another visitor: Colonel Higginson, who exchanged letters with Emily and fell in love with her words. Emily is upstairs enthusiastically designing her dress with Betty – a plain white dress with front buckles and pockets! – when she hears that Higginson is there. She goes crazy (“Our relationship is strictly text!”) And refuses to go downstairs… which is fine with Maggie, because she would like to have Higginson all to herself. Emily’s father tells their visitor that Emily is “a strange duck”, but then Lavinia overcomes him by entering the room in a giant red sweater and shouting about dead men. Is this a performance artwork? Because we are somehow in it.
Emily and Betty settle for their dress design, and Emily reassures herself, “Even if I can not change the world, I will write again.” Austin and Sue announce they will name their son after his father: Edward, or Ned, in February. Plus, Higginson recognizes Betty’s name from his conversations with Henry and tells her he’s alive and well, presenting her with a package of his unsent letters. And Emily writes day after day, verse after verse. She looks at a painting of a boat and imagines herself alone on a beach in her new white dress. She is serenaded by mermaids on a distant rock and she climbs into a rowboat and walks towards them saying: “Wait for me. I’m coming.”
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