Previously, the Dickinsons spend a cultured evening at opening night of the opera. Emily sees an excellent opportunity to take things to another level with Samuel Bowles when the pair share his balcony seats alone. Unfortunately, he doesn’t share her feelings because he is a married man. However, if there is one thing Emily wants more than Samuel, it’s to become a renowned poet and writer. After the performance, she finds her way backstage to hear how the show’s star manages the fame.
[Slight Spoilers Ahead!]
Samuel’s rebuffs have hit Emily twice as hard. Not only is she managing the romantic rejection but she now fears she jeopardized the opportunity to be published as well. Her mother notices she is in a funk and suggests one way to relieve all the negative energy. The Dickinson women are going to have a spa day. The spa attracts all sorts of high-end clientele and Emily bumps into one of her old suitors from last season.
While Sue is with his family, Austin helps Jane draft her will now that she is a widow. Despite them choosing different partners, the close proximity brings up old feelings. The Dickinson patriarch is still struggling with financial issues but is notified with a new investment opportunity with Samuel Bowles and his newspaper. How will Emily take the news? Speaking of newspapers, Henry’s abolitionist publication is making some real progress but his dedication to it begins to affect his family life.
“Forever – is composed of Nows” is one of the most emotional episodes so far. It proves there is nothing better than family when you’re stuck in a rut. Emily receives sound advice and pep talks from those closest to her as she manages her feelings for Samuel. Sue brings the voice of reason and stresses patience as they wait for her poem to be published. Whatever happened personally with Emily’s editor doesn’t neglect the fact how talented she is and Bowles acknowledges that.
In a touching moment, her sister shares how she admires her independence and can’t believe any man can put Emily in such a tizzy. To help raise Emily’s spirits, Lavinia admits that her older sister is her hero. In a surprising turn, even the Dickinson Matriarch has her daughter’s back. The elder Emily has some poignant words on love and how a partner should treat you. The two never seemed close on the series and have an antagonistic relationship at times so it’s nice to see them bonding together. Jane Krakowski delivers her lines with such heart and sincerity that the whole seen is so moving.
The entire spa experience mirrors today’s infatuation with alternative therapies and medicine. It shows the ridiculous things people put themselves through for the sake of health. There are humorous montages of the various treatments especially one where Krakowski is repeatedly hit in the face with branches. The setting provides silly enjoyment and a good opportunity for the women of Dickinson to flex their physical comedy chops.
The other storylines also bring up the potential of more drama. We’ve seen the deterioration of Sue and Austin’s marriage the more Sue is caught up with being an influencer. The breaking point is her reluctance to have children. When he holds Jane’s baby, it appears that fatherhood comes natural to him. Their brief flirtation is a look at what could have been for them since she was so into him last season. Is this lapse in faithfulness a one off or will it continue?
At the end, Emily is finally overcome her obsession with Samuel but her emotions are stirred up again when she sees him in her home. Bowles could be more entangled with the Dickinsons if Edward decides to be an investor. He does reveal when the poem will appear in the paper while he’s there. With the stress of her first one being published over, Emily feels a chip is removed from her shoulder and she gives the rest of her writings to her editor.
“Forever – is composed of Nows” provides silly laughs, emotional punch, and a satirical look at today’s infatuation with alternative therapies.
New episodes of Dickinson are released Fridays on Apple TV+.