When Dickinson returned last week for its second season, the entire family look to be transitioning into new stages of their lives. Emily took the first real step toward becoming a professional writer when she submitted one of her poems to newspaper publisher, Samuel Bowles. Austin is ready to start a family but Sue is enjoying her life as an influential socialite too much to think about having kids. Lavinia begins to question if she wants to be a traditional housewife as she’s being courted. With their children all approaching adulthood, the elder Emily is ready for an empty nest and more intimate time with her husband, but Edward takes in his young nieces and their hefty inheritance to help with their financial woes.
[Slight Spoilers Ahead!]
Samuel has ghosted Emily after she gave him her poem and the silence and waiting is taking its toll. All the stress has affected her creative process and she is suffering from a huge bout of writer’s block. To find some inspiration, she goes bird watching with her dad but it proves ineffective. During their walk together, they meet famed landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, who would later become famous for designing NYC’s Central Park. Emily takes the opportunity to pick the brain of another artist and see how he pushes through being in a rut creatively.
Meanwhile, the Dickinson parents have words over the newest additions. Not only are the Newman sisters juvenile delinquents, but they also get in the way of sexy time which irks Mrs. Dickinson. Fortunately, Austin steps in with a proposal that is win-win. He’ll take the little devils off his father’s hands and he’ll have children to care for without asking Sue to birth them. Sound logic in theory, but in reality, his wife is not too keen on the idea. She reluctantly accepts the decision but broods over it privately. Lavinia moves one step closer to married life as Henry makes a very public proposal.
As Emily wrestles with the possibility of fame, her meeting with Olmstead helps feed the narrative. Not only is he a wise voice to consult about writer’s block, but he is an example of someone dedicated to his art but doesn’t bother drinking his own Kool-Aid. His perspective and motivations are a stark contrast to Sue’s words of encouragement that focus on the fame. Olmstead is someone she can relate to because like Emily, he can become so emersed in his work that he becomes lost in it.
Timothy Simons perfectly captures the eccentric creative as Olmstead. He exudes positive energy while sharing thought provoking words of wisdom that he wholeheartedly believes. He speaks with such conviction that you can’t help be inspired. Simon’s portrayal creates such a legendary figure, that there is a supernatural aspect to him and he mysteriously disappears after serving his purpose. This adds to the whimsical nature of the show and keeps with the light comedic tone.
Although, it’s not all laughs as there’s some serious drama brewing. The honeymoon period for Austin and Sue is coming to an end and the adoption of the Newman girls is only going to lead to more conflict. If there’s one person who grows more unlikable each episode, it’s Sue. The love triangle between her, Emily, Austin fueled much of season one and made it so captivating. It’d be difficult to continue that storyline now that it seems everyone has moved on, but Sue’s turn into a selfish, superficial socialite makes it difficult to sympathize with her. Now that the one-time orphan is rich, she’s really turned into an uglier person.
“The Daisy follows soft the Sun” benefits from an excellent performance from guest star, Timothy Simons, and provides an interesting and contrasting view on artistry that’s been previously expressed.
New episodes of Dickinson are released Fridays on Apple TV+.
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