Episode 3 – Shadows House Season 2

“Your mother rides a vacuum cleaner” may no longer be the insult Bugs Bunny once thought it was. Last week we saw that Oliver Shadow and his living doll Olly had created a gigantic vacuum (of sorts) for taking care of scorches and other sooty menaces, and this week they get to show off their genius when Rosemary accidentally unleashes a Phantom in the hall where all of the dolls have gathered for their weekly dose of coffee. Nancy, Olly’s assistant, can’t handle the pressure, but you’d better believe that Emilico can, and she proves that if there was a prize for Vacuum Rodeo Queen, she’d have it locked down. (Although Shaun might object if he’s not crowned king. Definitely some jealousy going on there when Olly was touching her.)

That’s more important than just being a joy to watch, though. Kate is now bound and determined to become a Star Bearer to better have access to the information she needs to bring down Lord Grandfather, and that means that she needs to prove herself an adept Shadow. But Emilico ‘s actions her will reflect on her, too, so the fact that she rose to the occasion so swiftly and, it must be said, brilliantly, is likely to help out. If nothing else, she got Olly’s attention, and that likely means that Oliver is also now aware of her, and Susanna saw her in action, too, along with the big guy I’m going to assume is named Benjamin, based on his doll being Ben. In fact, only Barbie is actively unimpressed by Emilico ‘s heroics her, and that may be because she recognizes her past self her in the other girl. We’ve seen how sweet and happy Barbara and Barbie used to be before Christopher left; the logical assumption is that becoming Star Bearers combined with Barbara’s soot powers and the grief of losing Christopher all contributed to their present unhappiness. Does Barbie not want to see the same happen to Emilico? Or has she just become so indoctrinated that she wants to hammer down the nail she sees sticking up?

Kate is very likely betting on that last. She’s had it up to here with the hierarchy of Shadows House and the manipulation, as we see demonstrated at least once – and I’m guessing actually twice. Isabelle and Mirabelle, the Shadows of Belle(s), invite her ire when they harass Emilico in the training room, for which Kate trips them. But is she also the one who forces Belle to drop both glass bottles of soot-spiked coffee at the end? That’s a tough call, because we’ve already seen that two Shadows can have the same basic ability: Louise controlling Lou with her soot and Isabelle and Mirabelle forcing Emilico to act like a dog look very, very similar, and the twins not needing to force their soot in her mouth may simply be the evolved version of the skill. Therefore, Kate may not be the only one who can use soot from afar to move things. It could be Oliver, whom we know was inside the vacuum the whole time using his power to make the machine work, which could imply that he can use soot to manipulate objects, but it could also be the mysterious robed figure, whom Ricky and Shaun attempt to catch. The figure does shoot scorches at Shaun, so that may be their power his, but have we definitively ruled out someone having more than one soot skill?

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Previously I was toying with Rum being the robed figure, but now I’m starting to think it may be Christopher. All we know about him is how beloved and kind he was, and his actions his could be interpreted as being for the ultimate good of the living dolls if he ‘s able to destroy the system from within. Or he could have gone mad once he was removed from the children’s wing in an ostensible promotion and be trying to wipe everyone out in a soot-zombie attack – after all, everything is topsy-turvy in Shadows House, right down to the writing on the schematic Olly shows Emilico: if you look closely, it looks like its written in backwards Japanese characters, supporting the backwards numbers from the opening theme and earlier episodes. And you know what the Cheshire Cat said: “We’re all mad here.”

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Shadows House is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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