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Topic Summary

Posted by: Mr. Babatunde
« on: January 16, 2021, 12:36:28 AM »



As anyone who’s ever put their soul into a creative work knows, having someone judge your work can be a daunting idea. Especially if their approval can be the gateway towards some form of success. It’s what paralyzes Emily, making her unable to write. “What’s the point of writing another poem if he rejects this one,” she says. Her self-worth is tied up in one man’s opinion. (“Why don’t you try writing a limerick,” Maggie tells her.)

Luckily, she has the help of one Frederick Law Olmstead (Timothy Simmons), noted park designer, and presented in “The Daisy follows soft the Sun” as a dang-*** freak. Emily runs into him with Austin, who notes that he has been standing around and observing the same patch of ground for an hour. “I let the place speak to me,” he says, and it’s this perchance for heterodox thinking that appeals to Emily.

For Olmstead, parks are a respite from “the abuses of urban life.” He praises a rock on the ground for “making exactly the right statement” while criticizing a rosebush as “a disaster.” It’s a perfect balance between wacky character comedy and historical referentiality, but the way he appears to solve our protagonist’s problems is a little too perfunctory.

When she confesses her inability to write, he diagnoses her as being, “all too aware of yourself and the noisy world around you,” and encourages her to become lost. “It’s like I”m a daisy,” Emily says, “and he’s the sun and without the warmth of his approval I can’t grow.”



Olmstead understands and offers some convenient advice. Opinions are an “odious distraction from the beauty of your craft” he says; “the audience is irrelevant.” Going back to her metaphor, he encourages her to “refuse to be the daisy and start being the sun.” In response, she repeats his words to the sun itself, but when she turns back, Olmstead has disappeared.

Emily is truly lost (in a pretty cool hedge maze!) and it provides just the right opportunity to internalize Olmstead’s advice. That is until she runs into Sam who lavishes praise upon her poem. He calls her his daisy, and promising that she “will never be able to get lost again.” There goes that self-help lesson.

Meanwhile in Dickinson season 2, episode 4, Emily’s parents are having their own trouble. Mrs. Dickinson misses the intimacy she used to share with her husband and dislikes the orphans they have taken in. When Edward falls into a hole (believed to have been dug by those damn orphans) she jumps in after him, using it as an opportunity to discuss her worries. Emily Norcross recounts their youthful sex-capades in an attempt to remind her husband of what they’ve lost. “We got old,” he says, with an acknowledgment of their missing passion. When he helps her escape the hole, he leaves him (where he’s later helped out by some of Maggie’s many brothers).

As for the orphan issue, Austin proposes taking them off his parents’ hands and into his home, a decision he does not clear with Sue first, much to her disappointment. Really feels like something you should have asked about first Austin!

Finally, we catch up with Lavinia, who relishes the forbidden aspect of her relation with Ship. Ship, however, is not pleased. “I’m starting to feel kinda used,” he says, in the most pathetic way. But all Lavinia can think of is his (definitely real) ex, Lola Montez. The cheesy western music plays as she thinks of the kind of character she could be, embodied in the name “Lola Montez.”

But her musings are interrupted by a sack over her head which reveals itself to be an elaborate proposal. “You vandalized my parents’ barn… I literally thought I was being kidnapped,” she tells Ship, who’s using the element of surprise to induce a “yes.” Instead, he receives an “ok,” in response to a different prompt, which he interprets as a “YES!” The crowd is awed, but Lavinia has her doubts.

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