‘Dickinson’ Stars on How the Media Almost Broke Emily in Season 2
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Dickinson, Season 2, Episode 10, “You cannot put a Fire out.”]
After a season filled with angst, Dickinson is giving fans the satisfying finale they need with the episode “You cannot put a Fire out.” The episode’s title is true both of Emily Dickinson’s (Hailee Steinfeld) poetic talents and her love for Sue (Ella Hunt), both of which can not be extinguished. And, as it turns out, don’t need to be! But the episode, and the season as a whole, was also a satisfying look at the media industry, and how it’s focused on money.
Leading up to the finale, Emily’s brain was malfunctioning. She had writer’s block, and was walking around in an unhappy fog due to Springfield Republican editor Sam Bowles (Finn Jones) and his aggressive push to publish her work and because she had discovered that Sue was having an affair with him. Adding to the stress: Emily’s father Edward, played by Toby Huss, has made an investment in the paper.
But in the finale, Emily breaks free of the psychological bonds, and gets her work back from the publisher thanks to her quick-thinking housemaid Maggie, played by Darlene Hunt, who had secretly taken the stash of poems from his satchel. (Plus, Sue shows up, admitting the affair was a poor substitute for their love, and the two end up reconciled.)
“[Media institutions] may say they care about social values, but really, when it comes down to it, all they care about is profit, and I think it’s kind of the same with Sam,” Jones shares. “I think he says he wants to uphold female values and female creativity, but when it really comes down to it, he only wants that voice because he knows it’s different. He knows it’s going to sell his newspapers.”
Huss adds that Edward also has his eye on a profit, despite also wanting his daughter to be happy. “He loves that kid for what she is, not what she could be or what she could bring him on his own,” he says. But while “the other stuff, the political maneuvering, comes up as an afterthought with him, he’s still doing it. It’s not like he’s shying away from it.”
As for how things will play out in Season 3, no one’s saying. Jones notes that he doesn’t yet know if his character returns. “But considering that in the show we’re heading towards the Civil War and Sam’s media empire is growing, I personally would be very interested to see how [that] intertwines with the coverage and possibly the propaganda of the Civil War,” he says.
“I don’t know anything yet,” he clarifies. “It would be wonderful to come back and play that kind of role. But in terms of the relationship between Sam and Emily, I’m not sure how that can continue to evolve.”
Dickinson, Streaming now, Apple TV+