Dickinson – Season 3 Episode 2 “It feels a shame to be Alive” Recap & Review

It feels a shame to be Alive

Episode 2 of Dickinson Season 3 picks up with Emily in bed, talking to Lavinia and contemplating whether their father is to blame for their misery. Speaking of Edward, he’s survived his heart attack but the family is in disarray. The only way to solve this is for Austin to apologize and make amends. But that’s easier said than done.

Downstairs, Sue is surrounded by food which immediately raises eyebrows with Emily. No amount of food can fill the hole caused by Austin in this house though, as Sue turns the attention to Emily. Specifically, she points out how awfully Edward and Mrs Dickinson have treated Emily.

While they talk, Sue suddenly starts having contractions. Emily is desperate to get a doctor in but Mrs Dickinson isn’t worried, she decides to roll her sleeves up and handle this herself. This wildly surreal scene has a sharp wit to it, and it’s incredibly funny. Mrs Dickinson slaps Sue, reminding her that the most important thing is her child – it doesn’t matter if she lives or dies.

Emily is impatient and underestimates how long childbirth is supposed to take. Taking a break from this drama, Emily heads downstairs and invites Frazar in. Dressed in his uniform, his meeting is a formal goodbye, for now. With the war efforts ramping up, their drinks feel all the more bittersweet and one can’t help but feel this is the last we’ll see of him this season.

There’s an interest chat in the middle of this between Lavinia and Edward. Both have been going through something of a crisis, and the former sadly mentions how all her potential mates have been lost to the war. It’s a great way of showing the tragic loss of life in battle and I’d imagine we’ll explore that more over the season ahead.

Meanwhile, Austin’s descent continues. While out for a walk with Jane, he learns she’s been proposed to and she’s leaving Amherst. Realizing what this means, Austin’s heart shatters. Drunk and in disarray, Austin stumbles back home and learns Sue has given birth. An incredulous chuckle later, he tells Emily she’s going to have to pick a side in their broken family, before heading in to greet his child.

The Episode Review

The second episode of Dickinson continues to deliver good drama, with the scenes featuring Lavinia, reflecting on how all of her prospective mates are dying, a nice way of showing just how devastating war is for those left behind too. Given the focus on Emily this season, it’s a nice way of showcasing this alongside her continued descent.

Austin has been one of the more interesting characters this season so far, with his descent taking an even more drastic turn as Jane leaves town. Of course, Sue and Emily romantically linked is another crucial point here, and I’d imagine this will continue to be a dominating part of this show.

For now, this second chapter bows things out nicely as Emily is caught in the middle of this fractured family.

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