Dickinson – Season 3 Episode 5 “Sang from the Heart, Sire” Recap & Review

Sang from the Heart, Sire

Episode 5 of Dickinson Season 3 begins with Emily receiving a reply back from Higginson, praising her work. It’s great news for Emily and she’s absolutely delighted. Lavinia though simply gives a thumbs up to this news. It turns out she’s taken a vow of silence in respect of the fallen.

There’s a market in town, as it turns out, and everyone there is intending to honour those in the war. In order to support the troops, an auction gets underway to raise money for those in the war effort. Mrs Dickinson gets cold feet at the idea of her family heirloom being sold for a measly $5 and ends up paying $20 for it.

However, Edward immediately comes under fire from Ithamar, who confronts Edward about his letter in the paper that very morn, throwing shade at the Union troops. Of course, it doesn’t help that Edward also voted in favour of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act in the past, painting an already-negative image in even deeper shades of negativity.

This moment though serves as a cross-roads of sorts, as Edward is told to pick a side. Mr Dickinson refuses to do it though, eventually leading to Ithamar threatening to take his status as Treasurer away from him. Hardly a compelling birthday present!

Emily suggests a sing-song to try and cheer Edward up, while the gang set out to try and make the most of Edward’s birthday celebrations that evening. Emily inevitably heads over to Sue’s, who’s suffering from post-natal depression. She’s exhausted after her babe hasn’t been sleeping well but Emily manages to convince her to show up at Edward’s party all the same.

One person who’s not coming though is Austin, who’s still drinking heavily and stumbling about the house. He’s adamant about looking after his child but Sue throws shade at him, claiming he’s not a good nurturer and, like other men, should be out fighting.

Speaking of fighting, Henry continues to teach the hopeful soldiers. After doing the rounds and learning about what everyone does, the subject of the guns and training is brought up once more.

Of course, it’s not a done deal yet and worse, doesn’t look like it’ll come to fruition until Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation. Higginson is still a middle-man in all this too and needs to follow the chain of command. While the men are impatient over this, Henry speaks up and encourages them all to learn how to read first. “In order to get to the future, you need to understand the past.”

As Edward’s birthday celebrations get underway, the room erupts into beautiful harmony as they all start singing. Austin does show up eventually and joins in with the chorus but he’s actually here for another reason.

In the middle of these birthday celebrations, Austin makes a speech. He’s going to make some changes to his life, given he’s not happy.

First up, he’s going to start his own firm and leave Edward’s. And his field of expertise? Divorce law. As he stares at Sue, he tells her that this is an area he’s an expert in and proceeds to matter-of-factly tell her that they’re going to divorce. Furthermore, he remains determined to take full custody of their child (good luck with that mate.)

This bombshell sees Emily, tear-eyed and angry, choose to turn away from her brother and choose her family after all. As Austin leaves, the family are left reeling.

In the wake of all this, the absolute best joke this show has done all season long breaks out. Lavinia ditches her vow of silence, “this family is absolutely insane.”

It’s the perfect bit of levity in the wake of all this drama, which eventually paves way for Emily and Sue to butt heads upstairs. Sue is not happy about Emily sending on their private poem and Emily’s words, likening herself to a mouse, make it seem like she’s hopeless and weak. Two attributes that absolutely do not personify her.

Sue eventually leaves, comparing Emily to Austin (bit of a stretch, let’s be fair) and claiming she’s been invisible since having a baby. A dramatic birthday ends in suitably dramatic fashion; what next for the Dickinson family?

The Episode Review

Dickinson returns with a decent episode, certainty one of the best this season as all this character drama explodes into a messy birthday bash at the end.

Austin has been one of the most interesting characters this year too and seeing him make his decision, declaring that he’s going to start his own law firm and divorce Sue, is the final bombshell to blow this family wide open.

Speaking of bombshells, seeing Henry over in the throngs of war, teaching the soldiers (that word is obviously doing a lot of heavy lifting!) how to read while simultaneously being forced to defend Higginson’s actions, gives him an extra layer of depth.

Dickinson has been good value this year for its developing characters and while it hasn’t really changed much from the previous seasons -at least in terms of tone, atmosphere and comedic timing – there’s enough to like with this show nonetheless.

The ending certainly hints that we’ve got a lot of drama to come in the future so we’ll have to wait and see what’s next for our characters.

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