‘Dickinson’ is an Apple TV+ dramedy that follows the life and times of a young Emily Dickinson, one of the greatest American poets that ever lived. Season 2 revolves around Emily’s grapple with the concept of fame and the reality of becoming famous. While the show is highly fictionalized in part, it may provide a better insight into why Emily’s poems, almost 1800 of them, never saw the light of day during her lifetime. It was only after her death that they were published, and the world got to know the genius of Emily Dickinson.
In ‘Dickinson‘ season 2 so far, Emily has decided that she wants to become a published author. For that purpose, she’s submitted one of her poems to Sam Bowles, a charming newspaper editor that Emily’s finding herself drawn to more and more. If you’re looking for a better understanding of the ending of ‘Dickinson’ season 2 episode 6, you’re in the right place. Let’s discuss the details of the ending, following a short recap of the latest episode. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Dickinson Season 2 Episode 6 Recap
‘Dickinson’ season 2 episode 6 is titled ‘Split the Lark’ and sees the Dickinsons attending their first opera in Boston. While Emily’s parents, who’re sitting in the back row, are bored out of their minds during the first act and escape when no one’s watching, Emily’s sister, Lavinia, is enthralled. Her fiancé, Ship, is not quite as enraptured by the opera as Lavinia is. Up in the box seats, Austin is moved by the lead soprano’s voice as well, but seeing the opera only makes him realize how unsatisfactory his married life with Sue is.
Thanks to Sue’s clever orchestration, Emily gets to sit in Sam’s box, and she is excited to be next to him until he tells her that she crossed a line writing to his wife, Mary. Apparently, Emily wrote a letter to Mary in which she intimately and intensely praised Sam and described what his presence in her life means. Sam tells Emily that her letter made Mary feel very uncomfortable (on top of all the rumors of his infidelity).
Sam makes it clear that Mary is the only woman for him, but people assume that his interest in the female writers he publishes is something more than merely professional. After the show, Emily gets to go backstage, and a meeting with the world-weary soprano leads her to some profoundly introspective questions that she’s unable to answer.
Dickinson Season 2 Episode 6 Ending: Is Emily in Love With Sue or Sam?
In the last scene, Emily is on the opera stage, and she imagines kissing Sue while Sam sits watching from afar. Sam embodies the current, fleeting excitement in Emily’s life – a daring tryst with fame. Emily is infatuated with Sam, and it can be said that she has some real feelings towards him. But fame is fleeting, and so are Emily’s feelings for Sam, who represents fame in her life. What is more real and lasting is Emily’s love for Sue. Emily’s and Sue’s love, though forbidden, is enduring and everlasting.
Her feelings for Sue represent her poetry – something that is very personal to her, something she keeps hidden away in a locked trunk in her room where nobody can ever see them. While the fact that Emily loves Sue is a secret that’s her own to keep, her “romance” with Sam is in the public’s eye, even when it doesn’t really exist. Society believes that Sam and Emily have an on-going affair, which is not true in reality, but the rumors are already there. So Sue and Sam both signify the two opposing concepts of anonymity and fame that Emily is currently confused about.
And that’s why she imagines kissing Sue while Sam is sitting far away because, in her heart, Emily knows that she wants to keep her poems to herself and not share them with the world. It has been a running theme in season 2, and we know that Emily is not really comfortable being in the spotlight. Sure, fame is alluring, but there’s comfort in anonymity. More soul-searching and introspection seem to be heading Emily’s way in the future.
Read More: Is Dickinson Based on a True Story?