When her poem is finally published to the world, Emily is shocked to discover she has become invisible to the world.
At the breakfast table, Lavinia reads Emily’s poem out loud; she and Ship remark how good the poem is. Mrs. Dickinson agrees and asks who wrote it, Lavinia tells her Emily did and Mrs. Dickinson panics. Lavinia and Ship argue about the poems meaning and Ship abruptly leaves the table. Emily arrives and is obviously proud of her achievement; she sits down, puts her feet up on the table, and boastfully invites them to ask her any questions as she “has a few minutes”. No one reacts to her presence, and Mrs Dickinson asks where Emily is, which leads her to believe she is invisible.
She watches as her mother tries to hide the poem from her father, but Edward ends up enjoying it. “She might make the family proud after all,” he says, but Emily is unable to respond.
Emily goes to the kitchen, where she sees Maggie, who also can’t seem to see her before leaving to complete more housework. Ship enters, practicing what he will say to Lavinia to break their engagement. Lavinia enters and Emily stands by and watches as Lavinia and Ship argue and break off their engagement, with Ship leaving with his suitcase and declaring he’d rather be tortured by Lola’s “erotic spider dance”. The mention of Lola and her spider dance shakes Lavinia and she attempts to perform said dance, while Emily looks on helplessly.
“Nobody” appears, who clarifies that he’s “not a ghost, I’m just a mystery”. He tells Emily that being invisible can be a gift, she can find out what people really think of her and her poem. She walks through town, and views multiple people reading and reacting to her poem. This leaves her feeling disappointed.
Henry is ready. His paper, while anonymously written and published, is creating real change towards emancipation. “The work we are doing is not about ego,” he tells the assembly of Amherst’s African American residents; “our newspaper is changing the world.”
Hattie tears off her coat to reveal a gorgeous dress underneath. Brown gets out his fiddle and a joyous party erupts. Emily, still invisible, watches from the back.
Alternatively, the party at Sue’s is a dreary affair, with guests forced to listen to the orphans’ dreadful violin playing. Sam inspects the painting Austin bought for Sue but tells him it is a fake. Distraught, Austin leaves to find Emily. He finds her in the barn and brings her out. It takes a moment for Emily to realize what just happened. Her brother can see her. When she tells him she’s invisible, he thinks she’s speaking in metaphors again.
“I’m so proud of you. You’re the only thing in my life I’m proud of right now,” he tells her, and he means it. While he is speaking to her, Hattie and another man exit the barn and the man asks if Austin is talking to himself. Hattie confirms he is and approaches Austin but before anyone can talk more, Emily notices her old friend Death has arrived.
However, this time he’s not alone. He’s brought along Edgar Allen Poe, who “died of mysterious circumstances”. Poe is obsessed with his own fame and ridicules Emily for her claim to fame being a single poem in a newspaper. “Fame is an addiction,” he tells her. Emily asks to ride around in the carriage for a bit before being dropped off at Sue’s, she wants to arrive “fashionably late”.
When she arrives, everyone has already left. She calls out for Sue, who arrives looking excited to see her. Emily declares that she wants “to be seen by people,” but it’s not Emily that Sue is excited to see. She says no one is there and Sam appears. Emily watches as Sue and Sam have sex.
- 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
- The episode's title and themes are based on "I'm Nobody! Who are you?" a short lyric poem by Emily Dickinson first published in 1891 in Poems, Series 2. It is also one of Dickinson’s most popular poems.