Dickinson Season 3 Episode 3 Recap and Ending, Explained

Dickinson’ is a historical comedy-drama that explores the trials and tribulations of the life of poet Emily Dickinson as she navigates the patriarchal and war-torn society of her times. Created by Alena Smith, the Apple TV+ original creatively combines contemporary social awareness with historical facts. As we see Emily’s interactions with her family and friends, we get a peek at her artistic process, milieu, and ideologies.

Season 3 of the show revolves around the chaos of the American Civil War. At the same time, the Dickinson household faces its own war, with its members constantly bickering. In season 3 episode 3, we see Emily trying to ascertain if her poetry can heal her dysfunctional family and the bleak outside world. If you were looking for the recap and ending explainer of this particular episode, you’ve come to the right place. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Dickinson Season 3 Episode 3 Recap

The episode opens with Emily looking at Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy,’ as Frazar Stearns/Nobody had mentioned it to her before leaving. Her father, Edward, having recuperated and accepted his mortality, eagerly gets back to work to set his affairs in order. He tells Emily that he holds no grudge against Austin.

Later, we see Vinnie being fitted for a mourning dress by Betty. Vinnie organizes a sewing circle to make bandages for the Union soldiers. Although Emily is desperate to get back to her poetry, her sister convinces her to attend the sewing club at night. Betty talks about her fascinating but illiterate houseguest, whose memoir she’s writing. However, she also mentions that she hasn’t received word from Henry in over a month.

We find out that Emily’s mother is angry at Sue for not letting her hold her grandson. She forces Emily to address the issue. Emily heads over to the Evergreens; she meets Sue and her son. Sue tells Emily that she’s sick of her mother-in-law’s constant criticism and attention-seeking behavior. The two talk about their relationship and the new baby. Sue accuses a distraught Emily of always choosing her family over her best friend.

At the sewing circle later that night, the group discusses the war. Emily complains about her poor sewing skills and voices her desire to get back to poetry. Toshiaki points out that Walt Whitman himself is working as a field nurse, and not a poet, during times of war. On the other hand, Betty agrees with Emily that words have the power to heal, remembering how Henry’s letters gave her daughter hope. We suddenly cut to Henry, who seems to have arrived at some camp.

Betty emphasizes that writing that shuts out real-life and runs away from the mess of the world is as good as dead. Austin and George return home; Austin’s leg is bleeding because he was in a bar fight. When Emily tells him that their father has forgiven him, an intoxicated Austin becomes furious. He accuses Edward of denying his feelings and reiterates that he’s seceding from the family.

Dickinson Season 3 Episode 3 Ending: Does Emily Manage To Get Back to Her Poetry?

George comes to meet Emily in her room and gives her the latest issue of ‘The Atlantic.’ He points out a letter in it from the abolitionist and writer Thomas Wentworth Higginson detailing advice for poets. George appreciates how Higginson is leading the Union’s first regiment of Black soldiers but still finds time for poetry. We see Henry again and realize that he has arrived in the South to fight in that very regiment. Emboldened by Higginson’s words and George’s faith in her, Emily decides to get back to poetry. Meanwhile, we see Betty writing the memoir of Sojourner Truth, the first Black woman to sue and win against a white man in court.

The episode ends with Emily composing a letter to Higginson. “Are you too deeply occupied to say if my verse is alive?” she writes. Thus, we see that Emily is trying to sort out her internal battle regarding poetry. Wondering whether only actions and not words matter during wartime, Emily decides to reach out to someone who seems to be an authority on such matters. With a desire to help society and a head full of poems, Emily wishes for some assurance that her artistic method of contribution can achieve what it wishes to do. As Emily deals with her poetic conflicts, we see the complexities of art and its influence on life and society.

Has the Arrival of the Baby Changed Things Between Sue and Emily?

Although Sue and Emily continue to be in love, the baby’s arrival uncomfortably puts the spotlight on their differing worldviews. Sue wishes to raise a family with Emily. However, Emily cares only about her poetry, her family, and her romantic love for Sue. Sue’s disappointment and insecurity due to Emily’s priorities are understandable.

Sue is in an unhappy marriage, not close to her in-laws, and has no living family members. Thus, it’s not surprising that she is now depending on her baby and Emily for happiness. Emily’s predicament is also natural. She finds herself unable to suddenly make Sue and her baby the center of her world whilst her family and society are being torn apart. Thus, whilst Sue wishes for Emily the best friend, she encounters only Emily the poet.

Where is Henry and What is He Doing?

In the previous two episodes of season 3, we see Henry traveling towards the site of the war. In this episode, he has finally arrived in the South to be a part of the first-ever Black regiment. It seems that perhaps Henry, a writer, has no option left but to physically fight for his rights and freedom. This decision of his ties in with Emily’s dilemma about whether art can aid a war-ridden world. Additionally, we realize that Betty hasn’t received any word from Henry because he was unable to write whilst traveling in secret.

Read More: Is Dickinson Based on a True Story?