Emily’s insular poetic world is rocked when Sue introduces her to Sam Bowles, a newspaper editor with a strong interest in publishing women.
In the episode, a voice-over explains that Emily Dickinson’s life up to Austin’s and Sue’s wedding is pretty well-recorded, but the facts are almost non-existent for the obscure years after that. A handful of letters from that period (the year 1859) and interpretations of Emily’s poems are the only sources that can shed light on what occurred in the author’s life at that time.
Edward is worried about the family’s finances in the wake of the failed railroad investment and the construction of Austin’s lavish home. He asks Mrs. Dickinson to let out a room to a boarder to help with the tight pockets. The boarder they accept is Henry “Ship” Shipley, a college dropout and classmate of Austin’s. Ship is all consumed in his hypermasculinity and insists that Lavinia become his wife because he believes that Vinnie will make a meek, submissive, and dutiful wife.
Meanwhile, Sue has become something of a snobbish social influencer and enjoys hosting lavish soirees where the intellectual and fashionable polite society gathers to discuss the latest ongoings. At one such event, Sue stresses that Emily must make an appearance because she has also invited a big-time newspaper editor, Samuel Bowles. Sue wants Emily to recite a poem for Bowles, but Emily loses her nerves at the sight of the ghost again.
- Hailee Steinfeld as Emily Dickinson
- Jane Krakowski as Mrs. Dickinson
- Toby Huss as Edward Dickinson
- Anna Baryshnikov as Lavinia Dickinson
- Ella Hunt as Sue Gilbert
- Adrian Enscoe as Austin Dickinson
- Nick Kroll as Edgar Allan Poe
- Timothy Simons as Frederick Law Olmstead
- Ayo Edebiri as Hattie
- Will Pullen as Nobody
- Finn Jones as Sam Bowles
- Pico Alexander as Henry ‘Ship’ Shipley
But were it told to me, Today, That I might have the Sky, For mine, I tell you that my Heart, Would split, for size of me.Emily
I don’t need the sun, I still have the moon.Emily
- The episode's title and themes are based on "Before I got my eye put out" poem #327 by Emily Dickinson.