Episode 5 – The Shadow House Season 2

This is an answered question! My not-so-inner nerd was wondering what the name of Nancy’s Shadow would be, since “Nancy”, before it was accepted as a name in and of itself, was originally a nickname for variants of “Anne.” (And originally for “Annis”, a medieval variant of “Agnes.”) That Nancy’s shadow is Anna confirms the level of research done for the names of the Shadow / doll pairs, both show historical accuracy and that the two pairs whose names they are not either the language variants (like John / Shaun and Jeremiah / Jeremy) or the noun and diminutive are the ones we should pay attention to. In Sarah and Mia’s case, she says a lot about Sarah that she would call her doll “mine”, while Kate’s choice of “Emilico” shows us that she regards her living doll as a completely separate person.

Interestingly, the longer John and Shaun interact with Kate and Emilico, the more independent the two seem. When Oliver orders Olly to kidnap Emilico so she can be examined, it’s Kate, not John, who tells Shaun to chase them – and before the words even get out of his mouth, Shaun is already moving to put an end to the what’s this. We see Shaun acting like Kate’s servant even during many scenes at the lab, which isn’t necessarily something we’ve seen other living dolls do; she looks as Oliver asks Both of them Anna and Nancy doing things rather than just Nancy. Shaun is already way more of himself than most of the other guys, and while that may be partly due to the fact that he’s actively avoiding coffee, it’s probably also due to the fact that John is taking a cue from Kate.

Of course, we must also consider the fact that Emilico is just a contagious personality. When Kate realizes that she is ruining her meeting with Patrick and Louise, she acknowledges it’s because she doesn’t have Emilico’s boundless enthusiasm for just about everything and her ability to put others at ease almost immediately. Her seriousness about her is disheartening to biting Patrick and the perpetually bored Louise, and if she wants to get them on her side, she needs to channel some of Emilico’s joie de vivre. That she does is as important as her understanding that she and Emilico are separate people – can you think of another Shadow who would deign to learn something from their doll? While we might see him as Kate realizing that the doll and the shadow are two halves of a whole, it seems more likely that she recognizes her own limitations and is working to overcome them by learning from someone else’s strengths. She and Emilico are partners, not a single being in two bodies, and given what we learned about adult Shadows and their dolls last season, this could prove to be an incredibly important worldview.

There is a lot to understand before we get to that point, however. Number one on Kate’s list seems to be “When does Oliver take a bath?” The whole scene at the lab is truly wonderful, giving us a much more lighthearted moment than previous episodes, but Kate’s growing horror of Oliver’s personal cleanliness is a highlight. She also realizes that Oliver may be the most helpful of the Star Bearers – she will talk about almost everything before realizing he shouldn’t be on a certain subject. The case in point is when Kate mentions her theory of her that Christopher might be the clothed figure and Oliver panics and says she can’t talk about Christopher … or Anthony. Anthony wasn’t even on Kate’s radar before, so it looks like Oliver just left an important clue on his lap, and the fact that Shirley shows up later in the episode (first time this season, although I believe Rum was mentioned) seems significant. Was Anthony another Star Bearer, or was he, like Shirley, someone who failed to debut? The name seems to indicate a Shadow, but if we follow the rule of variations of the name, he could also be a living doll for an Antonio or something similar. Either way, it looks like we should remember that name even as Christopher’s mystery deepens.

Emilico and Kate are becoming an increasingly formidable team. Apparently, little Miss Sunshine opens doors wherever she goes, and so Kate’s brain can help lead them to the next portal. With Patrick (who may have a crush on Kate, much to John’s dismay) and Louise now willing to work to solve the mystery of the Phantom with her, Kate’s detective agency is on its way. We can only hope they understand what’s going on before it’s too late … whatever that may mean.

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The house of the shadow is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.