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Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

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‘Shining Girls’ episode 8 ’30’ recap/review

Despite a few contrived and murky moments, ‘Shining Girls’ wraps up its story with a thrilling climax followed by a wonderfully haunting coda.

Last week’s penultimate episode of Shining Girls concluded with both Kirby and Jinny’s worlds getting turned completely upside down. In Jinny’s case, it was because Harper decided not to kill her when he was supposed to. Unfortunately, the reason he missed his murder appointment in Doane Observatory was so he could visit Sid’s and kill Dan. Now both women find themselves in unfamiliar realities while Harper remains on the loose throughout time.

This week, Kirby finally brings the fight to him.

Listen to the latest episode of the AIPT Television podcast!

As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers. It will also provide what we hope is a helpful analysis to guide you through the series’ more vague/obscure clues. Along the way, we’ll streamline parts of the narrative’s fractured timeline for the sake of clarity.

House Hunting

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

The episode opens with a flashback to the Lake View area of Chicago in 1848. We see the old man who Harper and Leo found living in The House (back in episode 6) working outside with a large group of people in the woods. He looks a bit younger and considerably less haggard than the last time we saw him.

*Side Note: I wish was I smart enough to figure out what he and the other workers are doing, but the answer eludes me. 

During a break, the old man decides to pick some flowers and press them. While journeying in the woods, he hears a low vibration/rumble that Shining Girls viewers will immediately recognize. He follows the noise to a clearing with a very familiar-looking house (THE House) that has absolutely no business being there.

Upon walking through the front door, the old man is shocked to see someone hanging by their neck in the entryway. The deceased person is also dressed in 1980’s era athletic gear, complete with a pair of vintage Air Jordans on his feet.

*Side Note: Notice how the light changes when the old man steps inside The House.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

The old man looks around and notices a bunch of items from the future, which don’t make any sense to him. He also sees a rock with a folded piece of paper under it. He picks it up and unfolds the paper to find a two-word message:

ALL YOURS

For most of us, this would have been the last straw before noping the heck out of there. The old man, on the other hand, decides to get rid of the body and take up residence inside The House.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

*Side Note: A few things to consider before we keep going:

  • Remember how The House vibrated/worked for Harper, but not Leo? That’s because The House chooses who it wants. This is further evidenced by the old man spotting The House in the middle of a clearing. It was likely invisible to everyone else who came through that area unless it wanted to be seen. Once the 20th century rolled around, it became much easier to blend in with all the other houses on the block.
  • I know I keep referring to him as “the old man,” but the guy looked a heck of a lot healthier in 1848 than he did in 1920 when Harper and Leo found him. It certainly didn’t look like he aged 62 years, though, nor would it need to. The old man can travel to any time he wants up to the Spring or Fall of 1993. But being The House’s “owner” takes a toll on a person’s soul. The House becomes a part of them — so much so that they can’t be away from it too long or they’ll lose their marbles (like Leo).
  • After screaming and/or puking, most of us would react to finding a dead body by alerting someone in a position of authority. We’d see their death as both a safety issue (whatever killed this person could still be out there) and a matter of empathy (this person’s family and loved ones should know they are dead). Instead, the old man drags the body out and claims The House for himself. This likely points to The House targeting people who are very selfish and/or have a major chip on their shoulder. That second part is going to be important later.
  • Before diving back into the story, remember the old man’s words from episode 6: “You’ll see…we can only pass through here. Until then, the house has its own ways.”
Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Back in the present (1992), Harper returns to The House covered in Dan’s blood. After walking inside, he’s surprised to find a pitbull sitting in the hallway — specifically, Kirby’s pitbull named Grendel (who we met back in episode 1). The adorable land hippo doesn’t charge, but he does grumble in the man’s general direction.

Once again, Harper finds himself in the odd position of being completely unaware of what’s happening. This time, however, it’s because of a presence inside The House. He may not know that Grendel is Kirby’s pet, but he definitely knows the dog doesn’t belong there.

Grendel allows Harper to walk around him to the back of The House (albeit with a few more growls/chuffs). After reaching the back door, he opens it and encourages Grendel to fetch a shoe, which he throws outside. Grendel obliges, darting after the object and allowing Harper to close the door behind him.

*Side Note: Grendel’s presence in The House can represent a couple of things.

First and foremost, it shows that Kirby’s reality is bleeding into Harper’s. It might also be an indication that The House has set its sights on Kirby as a potential new “owner”. Assuming Jinny was the person whose shine The House pushed Harper to take, his decision to kill Dan instead for his own revenge/gratification would probably make the controlling/malevolent entity a bit grumpy.

New Day

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Back at the Adler Planetarium, Jinny is understandably freaking out over the major shift in her reality. Kirby takes her wallet and explains that the information inside (where she lives and works) is her life now.

After seeing that she has a much less prestigious job and lives where she used to during grad school, Jinny isn’t ready to accept that her former life is gone. Kirby replies that she has to — just like she’s done countless times before. Not going to work, calling the police, or trying to explain what happened will result in her getting committed to a psychiatric hospital (like she was a few months after being attacked).

Kirby assures Jinny everything will be okay (HA!) before heading over to Dan’s house. The door is answered by another man who’s lived there for years and has no idea who Dan is. She then goes to the Sun-Times and calls her mom’s number. Once again, an unfamiliar man answers who knows nothing about the very familiar person Kirby expected to reach.

Realizing that she has nowhere to stay, Kirby curls up at the back of the archives and goes to sleep.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

The next morning, Kirby is awakened by an archivist who knows her name and who she is. After claiming to have fallen asleep after working late, she grabs a cart and heads up to the newsroom. The archivist chases Kirby down and profusely apologizes for not getting her the news clippings she requested in a more timely manner.

He then hands Kirby a folder that lists her as a full-fledged reporter. She also has a desk smack dab in the middle of the newsroom, which is filled with other reporters who treat her as a colleague rather than a gopher. It’s disorienting, but a small part of Kirby is quietly excited.

This brief glimmer of happiness dissipates when Bertie doesn’t know anything about the story Kirby was working on with Dan — or who Dan even is. He also reveals that Pawel Banik (the man originally suspected of killing Julia Madrigal) is going to plead guilty.

No one knows or suspects anything about Harper’s killings being connected.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Kirby is then called into a staff meeting with Abby. As the editor reads through the previous night’s homicides, she’s shocked to find Dan Valesquez’s name. When a few reporters also express their disbelief, Abby explains that Dan used to work at the Sun-Times. She also says that most people in the meeting wouldn’t know him.

Despite all the changes in reality that she’s fought through before, the news about Dan is too much for Kirby to bear. She storms out of the meeting, heads toward the elevators, and collapses to the floor just as Jinny arrives to speak with her.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

The pair head to Jinny’s new place of work to assess their current situation.

Kirby reveals that Dan is dead, which is why Jinny didn’t die that evening like she was supposed to. Jinny explains that her new life was exactly the same as before until May 15, 1986 — the same day Kirby was assaulted by Harper. At that point, she dropped out of grad school and took a completely different path in life.

Jinny then explains her astronomy-based theory about what has happened to them:

Do you remember what I told you about particles? How sometimes they can become entangled — like there’s a thread running through them, connecting them?

Now I think there’s three of us on that thread.

When Kirby asks how they get off the thread, Jinny suggests this might be accomplished by removing one of the particles, allowing the rest to potentially break free. Neither woman knows what will happen if/when Harper is removed, but Kirby doesn’t care. She just wants the constant shifts in reality to stop.

Empty Reunions

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Harper visits Leo at the assisted living home on a day when he knows his friend will be relatively lucid. When he asks about the tape with Klara on it, however, Leo appears to have no idea what Harper is talking about.

He could also be playing dumb, but Harper doesn’t care. He knows that at some point, Leo will give the tape to someone, which will in turn lead to people figuring out who he is and what he’s been doing.

Harper begins tearing the room apart, but to no avail. Leo suggests they go back to The House so his mind can work properly again. Harper initially rejects this idea, but relents when his friend’s mental state (or acting job) proves to be an insurmountable roadblock.

When they enter The House, Leo immediately becomes lucid. He also stops seeing the lights that have constantly plagued his vision since being left behind. But instead of using his repaired mind to reveal the tape’s location, Leo asks to be taken back to his original time. When Harper refuses, Leo tries to do it himself only to find that The House still won’t work for him.

This leads the pair into a physical altercation. As they tussle with each other, Leo brings up when they dumped Klara’s body. He also mentions how Harper claimed he killed her because she was going to tell everyone about The House — something he knew was a lie even back then.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

*Side Note: This seems like a pretty big thing to occur offscreen and be revealed via grunted exposition.

Leo then makes a revelation of his own — he took the tape as potential leverage over his friend. Harper never noticed because he assumed it disappeared just like other things do inside The House.

Instead of giving in to his demands, however, Harper says he’ll just keep coming back to this day until Leo finally gives up the tape. Leo counters that he’ll see through him just like Klara did.

That statement alone would be enough to send Harper over the edge, but Leo ratchets things up a notch by saying that he knows why Harper doesn’t want to go back to their original time. It’s because he has nothing there. The linear version of his life is pathetic and meaningless, which is why he’ll never leave The House.

This brutal-yet-astute observation earns Leo a stomach slicing from Harper, causing him to bleed out and die on the floor. After cradling his friend’s body in his arms (with a surprising tinge of sadness/regret), Harper leaves The House and heads to a hotel, where he kills one of the maids.

*Side Note: This might seem like a random act of violence, but it actually has a strategic purpose for Harper, which we’re about to see.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Meanwhile, Kirby returns with Jinny to the Sun-Times to find that things have completely changed from just a few hours ago. The staff is now filled with people she doesn’t recognize.

Kirby sits Jinny down at her desk (or at least what’s supposed to be her desk) and tells her to begin looking up records on the battalion Harper was in (the 28th Infantry Regiment), which she learned after getting a look at his tattoo back in episode 4. She then goes to look for Marcus to see if he can help her.

She eventually finds him in the Sun-Times darkroom developing photos. He’s extremely kind/friendly with her, but not in the same way as before. He tells Kirby that there may be records about locals who fought with the 28th Regiment, but they would take a few days to find/pull.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Kirby then notices Marcus’ wedding ring and asks how his wife is doing. He responds that Vicky is great. As Kirby attempts to hide her pained reaction, we hear a reality-shifting shudder. When she looks down, the picture of a house that Marcus had been developing before is now a portrait of Dan Velasquez.

*Side Note: This is proof Kirby’s strong emotions are beginning to alter reality, as well. Not in huge ways like when Harper feels something, but still enough that it’s noticeable.

Kirby then looks around and notices that all the pictures in the darkroom are of Dan. When she asks Marcus about it, he tells her that she’d previously asked him to pull the negatives for a piece the paper was running about Dan’s murder. Kirby then asks if she’s the one covering it.

When Marcus says she isn’t, Kirby realizes that this new reality has her working in the Sun-Times‘ archives again.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Back in the newsroom, a reporter (Lakshmi) asks Jinny what she’s doing at her desk. When Jinny says that Kirby told her to be there, Lakshmi doesn’t understand why someone who works in the archives would tell a seemingly random person to sit at a reporter’s desk.

Meanwhile, Kirby finds someone who’s working on the story about Dan and asks what happened. According to the police report, the working theory is that he was murdered during a theft and/or drug deal that went bad. Dan was also allegedly the one who was doing the stealing.

*Side Note: This might seem like a minor case of the police making a mistake, but it’s actually going to be a huge turning point in the case/narrative soon.

While all this is happening, Harper goes to a park in what appears to be the 1940s and kills a woman. He hides her body before heading back to The House again, but not before taking a snack from the dead woman’s picnic basket to tide him over (just in case you needed a reminder of what a terrible sociopath he is).

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Back in 1992, reporters begin surrounding Jinny as she struggles to explain her presence in their newsroom. After she gets up to leave, we hear the shudder of reality shifting before police officers show up out of nowhere and take her into custody.

A few minutes later, Kirby returns to the newsroom and sees that Jinny is gone. She spots Marcus talking to one of the reporters and asks what happened. He tells her that a woman came in off the street and had to be removed by the police. He then asks Kirby who she is.

*Side Note: Oof. 

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Reeling and desperate for answers, Kirby heads to the morgue to confirm Dan’s death. She’s greeted by the first medical examiner (Iris) she met back in episode 1. Iris kindly but firmly rebuffs Kirby’s request to see Dan, but is thrown off when Kirby correctly identifies the way he was cut open. When Iris asks how she could have that information, Kirby says it’s because she knows who killed him.

Iris encourages her to tell the police, but Kirby explains that she already has (technically true-ish). Unfortunately, no one would listen to her. She then asks if Iris can tell her what Dan stole from the man who attacked him. The medical examiner once again tries to gently turn her down. Kirby responds by asking if she really thinks Dan (who Iris was friends with) seemed like the type of person to steal from someone. If he’s the same man they both knew, then she knows he never kept anything for himself. He passed everything on by telling other people’s stories.

And whatever he took from Harper, he meant for Kirby to have it.

Despite being moved by her words, Iris initially looks like she’s going to hold firm on not letting Kirby see Dan’s body or what he was found with. She then decides to “get some coffee,” leaving Kirby alone in the morgue.

*Side Note: This is a beautifully expressed sentiment, but it feels like a stretch to convince a medical examiner to risk her career and jail time — especially for a stranger. 

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Kirby first goes through the evidence box, where she finds that Dan managed to steal Harper’s billfold. Inside, she finds the picture of Britta’s husband (from episode 6) with The House’s address on the back.

She then pulls the cover back from Dan and takes a moment to say goodbye to her friend. On her way out of the building, she bids farewell to Howard, who has shifted back into being the medical examiner.

*Side Note: Seeing Dan’s body caused Kirby to feel an incredibly strong emotion, which in turn caused her reality to shift in a relatively small way. Certainly not small for Iris and Howard, but nothing like what Kirby experienced when she came home and discovered she was married to Marcus.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Kirby then goes to visit The House. After going around back, she hears a low rumbling similar to what Harper experienced when he and Leo first discovered the building. After not hearing any human/earthly noises, she decides to break in and explore The House.

She quickly makes some disturbing discoveries, including a large bloodstain on the floor (where Leo was killed) and a bunch of wooden pegasuses similar to the one Harper gave her as a girl. Kirby then goes upstairs to the bedroom, where she finds even more time-displaced trinkets — including the earrings she gave Harper at Sid’s back in 1986.

Kirby’s attention is eventually drawn to the strange light coming through the bedroom curtains. She walks over, opens the window, and stares in awe at whatever is on the other side.

*Side Note: “What did Kirby see???” We’ll get to that, but my fellow book readers already have a pretty good idea.

Time-Crossed Enemies

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

That evening, Harper arrives home to find the tape of Klara playing on the television. He hears a sound, turns around, and gets tagged by Kirby with a baseball bat (?), causing him to drop his knife. Harper attempts to flee down the hall only for Kirby to appear in front of him and smash his head.

Their fight continues like this for a while — Kirby using The House (or The House using Kirby) to brutalize Harper. At one point, he manages to knock her down and get a piece of rope around her neck. Seconds later, it turns into a string of pearls and snaps.

Kirby eventually leads him upstairs to the bedroom. She uses The House to spring a trap, allowing her to stab Harper in the stomach and throw him against the window. The shutters break, causing the room to be bathed in otherworldly light. As Harper struggles to get back up, Kirby points her knife at him and growls:

It was never you. It was always this house.

*Side Note: This statement is not Kirby absolving Harper of his sins. She’s pointing out that he was driven to hunt women through time (and given the ability to do so) by the same malevolent entity they are standing in now.

Harper manages to kick the knife away from Kirby before throwing her on the bed and beginning to choke her. As she struggles for breath, Harper growls at her that it’s “his f***ing house.” Just when it appears he’s going to kill her, Kirby pulls a knife from her boot and thrusts it through Harper’s head.

History and the Future Rewritten

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

After the screen goes back for a few seconds, we’re returned to 1920 and Klara’s show in Chicago — specifically, the one Harper attended after returning from the war.

When he goes to visit her in the green room afterward, her first words to him are “You shouldn’t be here, Harper.” She then proceeds to be much colder and dismissive of him than the last time we saw the pair reunited.

When Harper tries to give her the “Parisian” handkerchief, Klara can say his words before he does. She also calls out the lies he’d planned to tell her about the item along with his time in Europe. As Kirby walks by (who he wouldn’t have met in this timeline yet), he asks Klara how she’s doing this.

Her only response is a disgusted and determined stare until Harper finally leaves.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Later that evening, Harper goes to case Britta’s home by himself. This time, the woman sees Harper and gives him a pointed look before exiting her apartment.

After Harper breaks in, he once again hears the sound of a digital watch beeping. This time, though, it’s been neatly laid on the bed in plain view. On the floor near his feet, Harper finds a Polaroid of himself at that exact same moment. He turns the photograph over and sees an address written down on the back.

The next day, Harper takes Leo with him to the address (which is where The House is located). Just like before, they walk around to the back and Leo picks the lock to get them inside. As Leo begins putting valuable items in his rucksack, Harper walks through the house looking for anything that could cause him harm. Moments after finding Kirby’s pegasus, she appears with a gun and shoots him in the shoulder.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Kirby tells Leo to get lost (who obeys without resistance) and puts another bullet in the chamber. Harper tries to beg for his life, but she isn’t having it. He may not know who she is, but Kirby knows him all too well — and she’s been done a bit of additional research.

While holding him at gunpoint, she reminds Harper that no one wanted him as a child — not his parents or the nuns, who are supposed to take everyone. Because of that, he began thinking that the world owed him. He could take whatever he wanted from anyone.

But not The House. That belongs to her.

*Side Note: It’s not clear that Harper felt any pull toward the house this time around. But even if he did, seeing Kirby so possessive of such a malevolent entity is very unnerving.

Harper asks how Kirby knows so much about him when he doesn’t even know her. Kirby responds that he may not know her today, but she is always with him. She then instructs Harper to leave The House and never come or she’ll kill him — something she’s already done before.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Harper flees back to an L-Train overpass and rendezvous with Leo. While chastising his cowardly friend and writhing in pain, we hear a reality-shifting shudder. When it’s over, Harper looks down to see that his WWI uniform has been replaced with civilian clothes.

Harper asks Leo what happened, but his former battalion-mate has no idea what he’s talking about. In his version of events, the pair met at St. Alderberts. Harper never even made it over to Europe and he certainly wasn’t wearing a solder’s uniform before.

Leo then asks what Harper managed to take when he was inside The House. When Harper removes the “wooden horse” from his pocket, Leo corrects him that it’s actually a pegasus, mirroring the conversation Harper had with Kirby/Sharon when she was little.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

As Harper grudgingly accepts that his reality has completely changed, we’re treated to a brief look at some of the women he’ll never get a chance to kill and take their shine:

  • Julia Madrigal stands on the same beach where she felt Harper stalking her as he took her picture (back in episode 2). Now, however, a weight appears to lift as she smiles and runs to meet her father to do some fishing.
  • Summer Francis and her partner enjoying their life together.
  • Karen Polachek caring for her brother.

And of course, Jinny getting to make her big presentation at the Adler Planetarium. As usual, her vast knowledge of the stars provides us with a metaphorical guide to the story:

These may look like any other stars, but they don’t belong here.

Billions of years ago, we collided with another galaxy. And these few stars, there all that’s left of it.

And now, all we can ask is “What comes next?”

*Side Note: Heavy-handed astronomy aside, this was such a beautiful scene.

Tortured Guardian

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Kirby walks into a bar and sits down next to Dan, who is drunk, despondent, and has no idea who she is. When he rebuffs her efforts to talk, she makes him a bet: If she can guess what’s in his jacket pocket, he has to give her his drink.

As expected, Kirby knows exactly what’s in there — Dan’s notebook.

She takes Dan’s drink, downs the rest of it, and begins writing something. While she’s doing this, Dan hesitantly declares that he knows her. Kirby changes her attention back to Dan, hanging onto the fraction of a chance that part of his soul remembers their time together in a reality that doesn’t exist.

Sadly, when she asks him where he knows her from, Dan is unable to answer.

Kirby lets out a heavy sigh and finishes what she was writing. She then tells Dan that if he ever does remember, he knows where to find her.

*Side Note: I think we can safely assume that Kirby was writing down the address of The House. While this might seem romantic at first, it’s actually pretty selfish on Kirby’s part. Nothing good ever happens to anyone who goes in there — something she’s surely aware of, but willing to overlook if it means being reunited with Dan.

Kirby returns to The House from the bar and hears a clattering at the backdoor. She opens it to find Grendel waiting to be let inside. He walks through and immediately goes to the couch (just like my dog). As a beautiful Angel Olsen cover of Bob Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings” begins to play, Kirby sits down beside Grendel and rubs his ears. The act provides the dog comfort, something she is in dire need of, as well.

Kirby may be able to control reality (instead of it controlling her), but she’s further from the life she wants and the people she loves than ever. She will also never exist in a firm timeline again — a fact that leaves her with a dispirited look in the series’ final shot.

The Verdict

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

If you want to get into the nuts and bolts of Shining Girls‘ mythology, then check out our next piece on the series. For this article, though, we’re going to focus on why the series (season?) finale did a mostly fantastic job of wrapping up the show’s narrative.

Yes, it was too ambiguous, especially the reality shifts that were linked to Kirby’s emotions. Yes, there were some huge moments that should not have been relayed via exposition — like Leo and Harper dumping Klara’s body or Leo taking the tape. And don’t even get me started on Dan stealing Harper’s billfold without him (or the audience) even noticing.

UPDATE: Someone in the comment section of this review pointed out that you can briefly see Dan take something out of Harper’s pocket in episode 7. Sure enough, she was right. Looks like some details can still escape my obsessive eye.

The ending also played a bit fast and loose with the rules of The House as we know them. Everything can be (mostly) explained, but not in a way that the frantic final fight scene allows you time to ponder.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Those complaints aside, “30” is a superb episode. This is mostly thanks to Elisabeth Moss, who leaves no doubt that she’s the star of the show.

During the course of my reviews, I’ve praised all the supporting characters while generally accepting/expecting excellence from her. Even within that admittedly unfair framework, Moss absolutely blew me away this time. Her ability to convey layers of emotion with just one look or movement is mesmerizing.

On the story side of things, “30” drops Kirby to her lowest point and takes us along for the ride as she claws her way to a pyrrhic victory over Harper. We also see some major hints that her own soul is being corrupted, which could play into a potential second season.

Even if it doesn’t, though, Shining Girls does an outstanding job of giving us believably flawed protagonists. Instead of trope-filled anti-heroes, it’s real people with good hearts and relatable vices and insecurities. Through them, we’re told a gripping tale that concludes with a viscerally thrilling climax followed by a genuinely haunting coda.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)

Before we move on to the series’ mythology, it should be noted that Shining Girls‘ unanswered (or vaguely answered) questions didn’t cheat us out of anything — and that’s coming from someone who still hasn’t forgiven the writers of Lost.

The reason for this is that Shining Girls didn’t make answering every aspect of its mythology the driving force behind its narrative. We don’t need to know where The House came from or why it behaves the way it does. Just like the time portal in 11/22/63 or the source of the zombie plague in The Walking Dead, the particulars behind the supernatural elements are never given a fraction of the weight that the narrative that’s built around them has.

Lost, on the other hand, made the mystery behind its mythology a huge part of the story before hitting us with the classic “It’s really about the journey!” in the final episode. But I digress…

Shining Girls succeeds because of a great story being told by even better characters. Even when the supernatural elements got a bit murky (which definitely happened), the chilling narrative foundation never buckled.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s dive into Shining Girls‘ mythology and see if we can get a few of its more confusing elements sorted out.

 

Next: ‘Shining Girls’ ending (and more) explained.

Shining Girls (AppleTV+)
‘Shining Girls’ episode 8 ’30’ recap/review
'Shining Girls' episode 8 '30' recap/review
Despite a few contrived and murky moments, 'Shining Girls' wraps up its story with a thrilling climax followed by a wonderfully haunting coda.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Elisabeth Moss provides an absolutely phenomenal performance.
The climax of the story is both thrilling and cathartic.
As good as the climax was, the episode's beautiful and haunting coda will be what really sticks with you.
Although there are answers to be found about the series' mythology, they're too vague to fully mesh with what's happening in the narrative -- especially during the fight between Kirby and Harper.
Too many important events occur offscreen or via exposition.
8.5
Great

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