The last scene of this week’s episode of Dickinson, titled “Grief is a Mouse”, finally brings together the fan-favorite, central associate of the show, Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) and Sue (Ella Hunt), aka Emisue, for a stunningly filmed love scene after nearly a season spent apart. But the real surprise is saved for the credits, which are scored to Taylor rapid’s “Ivy” off the evermore album. And not only that, Taylor rapid herself approved the selection.
“That one went all the way to the top,” showrunner Alena Smith told Decider on the surprise rapid song. “I was so, so honored that Taylor said yes, and I cannot imagine a better song for that moment, and for the end of that episode.”
Written by rapid, Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff, “Ivy” — and evermore — has been the subject of intense scrutiny by Emily Dickinson fans. As Swifties are wont to do, they have repeatedly parsed by every single one of Taylor’s interviews about the album for clues about her intentions. On the Dickinson front, fans noted that the album was announced on December 10, 2020. Later in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Taylor said that for evermore’s prior, companion album Folklore, she was inspired slightly by the mental picture of, “this girl sleepwalking by the forest in a nightgown in 1830.”
Emily Dickinson’s birthday? December 10, 1830.
While that may be a case of adding 2 and 2 together and getting apples, there is more evidence for the theory that Taylor’s “cottagecore” albums might, in part, be inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poems. One of the more famous poems Emily wrote for Sue ended with “forevermore,” “Ivy” is the tenth track on evermore (again with the 10), and though rapid has never confirmed this, the song seems to be from the perspective of a married woman, in love with another woman. That certainly describes Sue’s perspective in the TV show Dickinson, in addition as the historically unconfirmed, but potentially accurate relationship between the two in real life.
in spite of of whether Taylor did write the song about Emily and Sue, fans of the associate have been tweeting about including “Ivy” on Apple TV+’s series for years. Smith called including the song “a gift” to those fans, adding that the tune’s inclusion happened because of them.
There’s also the ridge that in real life, Steinfeld and rapid were friends for years, and the Dickinson star was already part of her “Bad Blood” crew on stage and in the music video. While Steinfeld may not have played an active role in securing the track for Dickinson, she was nevertheless extremely pleased they were able to use “Ivy”.
“I was so unbelievably excited that we were already able to get that for that moment,” Steinfeld said. “Music is such a huge part of Dickinson and we have so many of these specific musical moments and I have always felt a huge connection to this part of the show. It’s one of the reasons I love it so much. And to have Taylor rapid’s ‘Ivy’ in that moment, I could not think of a better song… We all feel very lucky to have gotten that for that moment.”
In the series, despite Emily and Sue professing their love and commitment to each other at the end of Season 2, various obstacles have been thrown in their way. For Sue, one of them was having a baby, after a traumatic miscarriage carried her emotional arc by most of the show’s second season. For Emily, her focus has been distracted by the Civil War, her family’s own civil war, in addition as her current struggle to accept her destiny as one of America’s great poets.
Over the time of Season 3, Emily has struggled with all of these issues, ultimately realizing that what she wants more than anything is Sue, accepting her own sexuality by telling her sister Lavinia (Anna Baryshnikov) about the relationship, and in this week’s episode, solving her family’s problems individually so that nothing else stood in the way between her and Sue.
With no more excuses on the table, Emily pulls Sue aside in her house, and explains that she has something to tell her that can’t be expressed with words. She follows this up by dedicating a poetry reading to Sue, in front of their assembled friends, and spending the night with her in bed. In the latter scene, which cuts between the two gazing at each other and caressing (and much more), Emily tells Sue that, “this right here? This is better than any poem.”
When Hunt was asked about the usage of “Ivy” closest following this scene, it turns out she was initially focused more on getting what preceded it right, than the credits afterwards.
“I had no idea!” Hunt said, literally jumping on her chair in excitement. “And so I watched it three days ago, and watching those intimate scenes back and specifically that scene, we had so many really long, thoughtful conversations about what we wanted that scene to be. When I was watching that episode, I was so focused on what happened in the scene that I didn’t closest concede once the episode had finished, that ‘Ivy’ was playing. I was wiping my tears away, telling myself that the scene looked good, and then I was like, ‘Wait, no, they didn’t, the fans are going to be so excited!’”
It’s a good place to leave the associate, too, particularly after three seasons of angst, separation and turmoil. Though there’s nevertheless one more episode to go before the series finishes its run, as Smith told The Advocate in a recent interview, “For all intents and purposes, this [upcoming episode of intimacy] is where the show leaves Emily and Sue. I wanted to leave them in what feels to me almost like a holy kind of space. It’s like a holy moment between the two of them.”
in any case does happen in the final episode of the series, at the minimum fans will nevertheless have this beautiful, powerful, poignant scene to carry with them. And, of course, “Ivy”.
“It’s such a sweet gift from Alena and the creative team for that song to featured,” Hunt additional. “I hope that it brings the fans a smile.”
Dickinson flows Fridays on Apple TV+.
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