Dickinson – Season 3 Episode 6 “A Little Madness in the Spring” Recap & Review

A Little Madness in the Spring

Episode 6 of Dickinson begins with Emily, Lavinia and Mrs Dickinson all joining together and sewing up uniforms. Sue still isn’t talking to Emily and as our poet so eloquently puts it, they need to make do with a missing limb.

However, Edward shows up to reveal they’re going out on a big trip. Specifically to the Northampton Women’s Lunatic Asylum. Mrs Dickinson is worried though and believes this is a play to lock her up. Emily promises not to leave her behind, as the gang head out.

Meanwhile, Henry is brought in to see the Colonel. The soldiers are about to get a uniform inspection and this could well be the way to “move the needle.” With Henry’s help, they could well persuade General Saxton to recognize them as genuine soldiers. Or is this just a way of Higginson getting brownie points?

When the gang find out, they’re convinced they’re being set up to fail. Well, Henry sets out to help them but despite passing the inspection, Higginson moves the goalposts again, offering broken promises regarding the uniforms. This time though, Henry sees it first-hand.

During the asylum tour, Mrs Dickinson does everything she can to make herself seem sane. She’s over the top and pretty eccentric… until she sees how lavishly some of the inmates are living. One woman even feigns her illness too, using this as an excuse to get away for some much needed R&R.

However, it’s Emily who gets thee attention of the Head Doctor, especially when he learns about her over-active imagination.

While Emily explores a run-down part of the asylum, Lavinia ends up finding a woman named Florence outside, who has been diagnosed with excessive grief. She lost a soldier in the war several weeks back. She was smitten with him too, this guy called Joseph Lyman. Yep, the very same one. Apparently his heart was taken with “Vinnie”, which Lavinia obviously interprets as herself. When Lavinia realizes, she starts crying too.

Emily descends into the basement where she finds her old best friend, Abby. She’s there thanks to her husband, who carted her off after witnessing her burning flags at the Suffragette protest. Realizing how unsanitary these conditions are for the women, Emily sets to work freeing them and confronting the doctor.

The Head Doctor breaks the news to Edward that Emily is completely mental. He wants Edward to sign over Emily so he can take her into his care. When Edward refuses to let her be institutionalized, the trusteeship is out the window. But you can’t put a price on family and he does right by Emily in the end. When the gang head back home again, Mrs Dickinson heads upstairs for a nap, disappointed that she’s not been institutionalized.

The Episode Review

The latest episode of Dickinson marches back on screen as Emily and the family head out for a trip to the institution. Seeing these contrasting fortunes of the women, some locked up in the basement and others enjoying these little luxuries, is indicative of life itself and the show does a great job of broadcasting that out to the audience.

The episode also has some good humour too, typified by the way Mrs Dickinson throws her little quips out. This chapter is easily one of the strongest this season and with Henry now seeing what’s happened with the soldiers first-hand, could we be on the cusp of seeing a bit of a rebellion?

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