Dickinson – Season 3 Episode 4 “This is my letter to the World” Recap & Review

This is my letter to the World

Episode 4 of Dickinson Season 3 begins with Emily signing a letter bound for Col. Higginson on the front lines. There’s a pretty slick montage here, as we see these letters passed through the country, helping to geographically show the effort to move these across America.

When Higginson finally sits down to read the letter, he’s interrupted by Henry showing for a job interview. In fact, Higginson is dead-set on giving Henry the job, given his great work in the Constellation paper. He’s also determined to prove the sceptics wrong.

Now, Henry’s job is going to be teaching the formally enslaved men and women from North Carolina how to read and write. Henry agrees to this, with a delighted Higginson welcoming him aboard with open arms.

Henry shows up before those in the camp but they’re all pretty resistant to change. When Higginson learns the men are being treated inadequately, and haven’t been trained with guns, he exhibits his concerns. One calls the white men in the army “buckra” off the back of this, which is basically an offensive slang term to describe whites, if anyone was interested to know!

In order to play ball with Henry, the men want proper training and that involves being given guns. Henry promises to talk to Higginson but for now, helps them with their studies.

Meanwhile, Austin returns to check on his child. He tries to convince Sue that he’s a good father, singing while his son is asleep. Sue is pretty exasperated, especially given Austin is very clearly drunk here. And if that wasn’t a big enough clue, Sue outright mentions how Austin only tends to sing when he’s drunk.

Back with Emily, she gets lost in a book about the war effort, and in particular that involving poet Walt Whitman. Through this surreal little vision, she works as his assistant. She also learns what it mans to be a great poet. Walt is pretty eccentric and encourages her to become “the wounded person” in order to feel the pain of others, and to channel that into her poetry.

After tending to those in need, Walt takes Emily to a club where they end up dancing and drinking. Walt encourages Emily to unwind and eventually that sees her opens up and admit, in front of the whole club, that she’s in love with Sue. It’s a big moment, and a welcome one too. Walt encourages her to embrace this feeling, which is ultimately what’s been holding Emily back all this time.

The Episode Review

The latest episode of Dickinson is ultimately all about Emily coming out of her shell and embracing the way she’s truly feeling. Typified by the eccentric care-free attitude of Walt Whitman, Emily learns to speak up and admit the truth about how she’s feeling. But will she manage to transcend that beyond what we’ve seen in these visions to the real world?

This chapter also includes a little bit more of Austin but a whole lot of pointless padding with Emily’s parents. Their whole subplot about the lice, and Lavinia just rocking up out of nowhere, feels like a poor punchline that just goes on for too long.

However, it’s clear we’ve got lots more drama to come, and the simmering conflict with Emily and admitting her true sexuality to her family is the real drive of this season thus far. Will Sue and Emily get their happily ever after in this version of events?

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