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Photo: Apple TV+

Television

‘Dickinson’ season 2 episode 8 review: ‘I’m Nobody! Who are you?’

The time she wants to be most seen, Emily Dickinson becomes as invisible as a ghost.

On the last episode of Dickinson, Emily is reeling from her disastrous evening with Samuel Bowles that jeopardizes her chance at publication and romance. To help get her out of her funk, her family treats her to a girls’ spa day. Though the alternative therapies aren’t much help, Emily is able to come to terms with her situation and manages to relax. When she arrives home, she does receive the good news that her poem will be published the next day on the front page.

[Slight Spoilers Ahead!]

Emily’s big day arrives and she can’t wait to revel in her new found fame. She is surprised by the positive response she receives from the rest of the Dickinson family but something seems a bit off when no one acknowledges her. It’s as if she’s a ghost traveling through the town that no one can see. Her fear is confirmed when she is haunted by the young man from earlier in the season who warned her about the pitfalls of celebrity. At least in her spectral state, she can hear honest assessment about her writing but she also manages to catch those closest to her in precarious positions.

Although the most recent episodes have been pretty grounded, “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” runs with the supernatural elements that were introduced at the start of the season. The reappearance of the spooky young gentleman is fitting right at Emily’s coming out as a writer. There’s even more of a disturbing aura around him as he references the impending Civil War. It’s also peculiar that Austin is the only who could see her. Based off of his lifeless marriage and overall apathy towards the world, is he “dead” inside and that’s why he can interact with his sister? Like the Dickinson women last week, Austin shares a warm moment with Emily expressing his admiration for her.  

Dickinson 2.8.2
Photo: Apple TV+

It’s not all gloomy with the young poet as her ghostlike state provides some levity. It’s like a 19th century version of twitter where she can see in real time, the town’s views on her and her poem from the good, the bitingly bad, and obscene. I’m sure there are some townsfolk she’d like to mute or block. Furthermore, she witnesses the true power of writing when she comes upon Henry and his colleagues. Their abolitionist paper is changing minds and the profits help fund John Brown and his cause.

Of course, Emily can’t be a ghost and not receive a visit from her true love, Death. This time he brings special guest, the recently deceased, Edgar Allan Poe (Nick Kroll). Their conversations put her relative celebrity in perspective and gives her a glimpse of the toll the drug of fame can take. Kroll perfectly captures jerk and creepy vibes in his amusing turn as the horror writer.

The episode of Dickinson ends with the still unseen Emily paying Sue a visit to apologize for ditching her party. She has some unfortunate timing as she catches two past romantic interests being intimate. Rather than look away, she soaks it all in with a look of scorn upon her face. What a messy development that is sure to bring more drama at the Evergreens. It definitely builds up the interest to see the fallout from the events.

“I’m Nobody! Who are you?” brings back the supernatural elements from earlier in the season to great effect. There are comedic moments, perceptive views on fame and the power of writing, and a dramatic cliffhanger sure to have lasting repercussions.

New episodes of Dickinson are released Fridays on Apple TV+.

dickinson 2.8.1
Dickinson S 2 E 8: 'I'm Nobody! who are you?'
“I’m Nobody! Who are you?” brings back the supernatural elements from earlier in the season to great effect. There are comedic moments, perceptive views on fame and the power of writing, and a dramatic cliffhanger sure to have lasting repercussions.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Effective use of the supernatural elements.
Kroll perfectly captures jerk and creepy vibes in his amusing turn as Edgar Allan Poe.
The dramatic cliffhanger.
Samuel Bowles is the man you thought he was.
8
Good

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