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Exclusive: Dickinson season 3 boss explains time travel episode

·2-min read
Photo credit: Apple
Photo credit: Apple

Dickinson season 3 spoilers follow.

Dickinson creator Alena Smith has spoken exclusively to Digital Spy about the show's unexpected time travel twist in the third and final season.

The pseudo-biographical drama series takes some creative liberties with the life of influential poet Emily Dickinson – believe it or not, Emily didn't actually travel forward 100 years with her sister Lavinia.

But Smith's alternate take on the poet takes its latest creative licence with the time travel trip where Emily (Hawkeye's Hailee Steinfeld) and Lavinia (Superior Donuts' Anna Baryshnikov) visit Sylvia Plath (SNL's Chloe Fineman).

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Related: Dickinson season 3 boss breaks down key scene with AHS's Billy Eichner in episode 4

While Plath has come to idolise the poet, Emily learns that the public at large in the 1950s has a totally distorted view of how she'd lived her life.

"What is so hilarious and dark to me about this episode is that Emily and Lavinia go to the future, but the future is the 1950s, and they think, 'Oh, wow, we're in the future. Life must be great for women.' Well, no, it's not," Smith told us.

"As Sylvia darkly comments at the end of their visit, 'The future never comes for women.' But in the 1950s, Emily learns that she is a published poet. However, she's a deeply misunderstood poet. The common conception of her is that she died, wasting away, of unrequited love for a man. That she was a recluse who never experienced love and affection. And that she was morbidly depressed, much like Sylvia herself."

Smith and her writing team created the time travel twist partially out of the experience she's had over the years correcting misconceptions about Emily.

Photo credit: Apple
Photo credit: Apple

"I’ve had so many times when people would say to me, 'When did she kill herself?'" she recalled. "And I'm like, “Well, she didn't kill herself. She lived a nice, long, happy life, and died of old age.

"So it's amazing to me the ways in which… Again, this is a distortion of women's lives and women's experiences. And so I bring in what is also a caricature of Sylvia Plath, but to present to Emily a caricature of herself, and really of how she's going to be remembered if — I suppose in the show it functions as like: if she doesn't own the truth about herself."

Dickinson is available to stream on Apple TV+ with new episodes being added every week on Friday.

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