[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Dickinson, Season 3, Episode 8, “My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun -.”]
Dickinson continues its trippy ride through the show’s final episodes as viewers approach the ending of Emily Dickinson’s (Hailee Steinfeld) coming-of-age tale on Apple TV+.
In the latest installment, “My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun -,” Emily grapples with the loss of a close friend to the Civil War and must reckon with the aspects of her life that need to change in order for her to thrive. But how does one find hope in the darkest of times? By going deeper into the darkness, of course.
Referred to by series creator Alena Smith and the rest of the cast as “the Inferno Episode,” viewers follow Emily as she descends into a surreal realm that one could liken to hell. Down there, her family and love, Sue (Ella Hunt), give voice to some of her biggest fears. “Emily is living her nightmare at this moment, and so you can blame her for everything that’s gone wrong in your life,” Anna Baryshnikov, who plays Emily’s sister Lavinia, tells TV Insider.
In Emily’s personal inferno, Lavinia, who is usually her biggest supporter, blames the poet for her lack of marriage and decides to burn her poems. “And that’s so unlike what the real Lavinia would do,” Baryshnikov muses, “but it also felt like, maybe there’s a twinge of that in her.”
“The whole Inferno Episode was probably my favorite nightmare I’ve ever personally lived through,” Steinfeld gushes. “To get to encounter every character and have these conversations with them that are the complete opposite of what Emily could ever hope for was [wild].”
“I remember the first time we did it, after the first take, I was truly affected by all of their performances,” remarks Steinfeld who is currently pulling double duty as she appears in Dickinson and Disney+‘s Hawkeye simultaneously. “That’s what Emily’s poetry is. And that’s what this show is, ultimately. So, although it was one of those surreal moments, it felt very real for me.”
“I love the surrealist moments because they feel so in line with Dickinson’s poetry,” echoes Baryshnikov, “which is so eclectic and can bounce from something incredibly lighthearted and beautiful about nature, and then become the most descriptive, morbid understanding of death. I feel so lucky to be on a show that takes those kinds of creative risks.”
Helping bing those creative risks to life is series creator Smith who describes this installment as “the climax of the entire season.” The Inferno Episode Smith says, “functions like a music video for that poem,” referring to Emily’s “My Life Had Stood a Loaded Gun.”
Bringing to life the concept that it’s always darkest before the dawn, this Inferno Episode may have explored Emily’s version of Hell, but she’s come out of the ordeal stronger. See how she uses this strength to her advantage in the show’s final episodes arriving once weekly each Friday on Apple TV+.
Dickinson, New Episodes, Fridays, Apple TV+