The Shadow, a short story by Hans Christian Andersen published in 1847, tells the tale of a shadow who, after becoming a bit too human, decides to trade places with his owner, murdering him in the process. When Shadows House debuted, I had a good idea that it was based on Andersen’s narrative; now that we’ve learned much more about what it means to grow up as a Shadow, I’m certain it is. Assuming from his behavior that he had either drank much too much coffee or was being controlled by the Shadow personality rather than the doll, Edward was a hybrid of the live doll and Shadow, as we knew from the conclusion of the first season. The reality is a little darker: he’s not simply in charge of the person; he’s a parasite that murdered the live doll and seized possession of his body. He is a Shadow with a human face, not “Eddie,” or whatever the name of his live doll was. And that has been there all along, if you think about it.
This week, we also learn the specific duties of the children’s wing warden. Yes, as we saw, he oversees the debut, but he also has the responsibility of elevating partners to the adult section of the home. Choosing partners that have a good chance of fusing together is the stated objective, yet Edward doesn’t seem to be doing that. Instead, he seems to be picking couples that are more likely to fail than succeed, or at the very least, he seems to be going every other. Why would he act in this manner? He wants to screen out the disobedient pairings by making them fail because he has a scheme to catch Lord Grandfather’s eye. By inviting pairs he is confident won’t be successful, he neatly solves the issue in the hopes that Lord Grandfather will notice the decline in rebellions under Edward’s leadership of the children’s wing. It feels like an unsatisfactory plan because Edward may be demoted like Thomas if he has too many failures, but it’s also precisely the type of wacky idea I’d expect him to come up with. Edward is more focused on establishing his personal greatness than on furthering the goals of Shadows House and Lord Grandfather; he must be the greatest even if that means ignoring everything he should be actively pursuing. Considering that this is the same person that pursued Kate with an obsession, he has a difficult time letting go of a problem.
Maryrose’s attempts to outsmart him also look a little naive, primarily because she doesn’t appear to be making good use of her time. She ought to be attempting to convince Kate, John, Emilico, and Shaun to come around to her side rather than threatening them. Kate doesn’t care what the Star Bearers think of her; she is more interested in learning the truth and hasn’t had any specific plans for what to do once she does. Maryrose feels that her presumption that she will share her information with Barbara and the others straight once is wrong, especially because she is aware that Kate is someone who gives decisions a lot of thought. Kate would probably accept an escape plan if given the chance to devise one with Maryrose since she recognises and cherishes the fact that she and Emilico are two very different persons. I can’t imagine anybody else being as horrified as Kate at the idea of killing Emilico and fusing with her body. (With the exception of perhaps Patrick, as that would mean he would never get to be with Emilico.) Maryrose may be in a state of fear and desperation, but instead of hurling insults Kate’s way, she actually needs to talk to her.
However, we might have discovered the exit from Shadows House. Given that Kate clearly states that the aqueduct brings water into the house, escape via water is a very possible possibility. If they could figure out the direction of the river, there could really be a possibility of escaping as shadows don’t vanish like scorches do in water. But doing so will need forethought, and Maryrose could interfere. But it would be worthwhile to try and persuade her.
It’s preferable to becoming Christopher.