‘Harlan Coben’s ‘Shelter’ Episode 5 Recap & Ending Explained: Why Did Ema Have A Butterfly Tattoo?

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In the fourth episode of Harlan Coben’s Shelter, Arthur, Mickey, and Ema had gotten their hands on some very crucial information. They had found out that Lawrence Kent was Dylan Shakes’ doctor and that he had met the boy on the day of his disappearance, and things got even more complicated when they realized that Mrs. Kent had been missing for the past few days. Rachel had told Mickey that Ashley had been staying with her all this while, but before Mickey could go and meet her, the guy with the octopus tattoo arrived at the scene. Mickey tackled the guy, and Rachel shot at him, leaving him no option but to retreat. But when Mickey went to check on Ashley, she was nowhere to be found. Rachel was surprised, as all this time she had been staying in her house itself, and now, without saying anything, she had run away from there. So, let’s take a look at the events of Episode 5 and see if Mickey is able to make any breakthroughs.

Spoiler Alert


Why Did Ema Have A Butterfly Tattoo?

Ema and Arthur told Mickey that Mr. Lawrence Kent was Dylan Shakes’ doctor, and from the reports that he maintained of his patients, it could be very clearly established that Shakes was being abused at home by his own father. And now, all of a sudden, Mrs. Kent had gone missing, and the teenagers realized that her kidnapping might have something to do with the entire facade. Mickey had his basketball trials, and during the match, he got into a fight with Troy, who elbowed him so badly that he started bleeding. Ema came running towards Mickey, and gave her shirt to him to wipe the blood off his nose. That’s when, in Harlan Coben’s Shelter episode 5, Mickey saw the blue butterfly tattoo on Ema’s back. Mickey was taken aback, and he went and told Arthur about it. Arthur didn’t want to accept the fact that Ema had hidden some confidential information from them regarding Ashley’s disappearance.

Mickey told him that though he trusted Ema more than anybody else, he was not going to give her a green chit unless and until he verified everything. Mickey and Arthur followed Ema as she went home after school. The boys found themselves standing in front of a huge mansion, and they didn’t understand why Ema had brought them there. Ema found out that she was being followed, and she confronted them as to why they were doing so and violating her privacy. Ema was very secretive about her family, and she didn’t feel at ease when Arthur and Mickey figured out where she lived. As for the boys, they were dumbfounded to find out that Ema lived in such a lavish home that was worthy of being called a palace.

Another shocking revelation is made in Shelter Episode 5 when the boys come to know that Ema’s mother was none other than Angelica Wyatt, the famous actress. Arthur froze there, as the woman had been his crush ever since he started watching movies. Ema, on the other hand, told the boys that she felt very awkward telling people that she was the daughter of Angelica Wyatt, as she didn’t like the way they started behaving and giving her a special status. She wanted people to love her for who she was, but that was not possible if her mother was there. But this time, it was different. Arthur and Mickey had been her friends even when they had no clue who her mother was. Ema, for the first time, didn’t feel weird, and in fact, she realized that it wasn’t such a bad idea to open up in front of people she had a genuine connection with.

Arthur and Mickey got to know that Ema didn’t have anything to do with Ashley’s disappearance. Her tattoo artist, Agent, had made that butterfly on his own accord, and he had told her that it represented a goddess named Abeona (also referred to as Adiona), who in Roman mythology was considered to be the protector of children. The thing that surprised Mickey was that his parents worked for a charity that had the same name, and he knew that it was not a coincidence. Arthur and Mickey knew that they would have to go to the Agent’s studio, as there was a high probability that they would find some evidence there. Ema went ahead and told Whitney that she was Angelica Wyatt’s daughter, and Whitney, at the same time, had made it very clear that she had a crush on Ema.

Whitney and Ema shared a romantic moment and got intimate, but after that, something strange happened, which made us question Whitney’s intentions. Whitney went and told everything to her brother, Buck, even when she knew that he would use the information to bully Ema and make her embarrassed. We don’t know if it was Whitney’s game plan all along to get information for her brother or if Buck had put her in a situation where she had to speak up. Also, Arthur had come to know that Mr. Lawrence Kent had come out of a coma, but before he could go there and talk to him, he was taken from the hospital by some men to an unknown place. In the subsequent episodes, the trio will probably find out about their location as they were sure that the man knew something that could help them find Ashley and solve the mystery around the disappearance of Dylan Shakes, among other things.


Did Mickey Find Out The Octo-Face’s Address?

Hannah was having problems in her married life because Ken had started taking everything for granted. Hannah, without telling Ken, had taken a space on the lease because she wanted to open her restaurant there. There were things she had wanted to do in her life, but she never really got the chance to do them, and time flew rather quickly. Hannah came to the realization that if she didn’t do it now, she probably would never get a chance to do so. Ken never appreciated Hannah, no matter what she did, and at times, he acted very insensitively towards her. She gave both Ken and Troy the dish she had been preparing, and Ken criticized it, saying that she needed to put some more cheese in it. Hannah and Ken had an argument at the dinner table, and the former got up and left. Hannah went to Shira and told her whatever had been happening between her and Ken. Shira understood her more than anybody else, and Hannah, too, loved spending time with her. Hannah’s marriage was the only thing that was stopping both women, as otherwise, they knew that they were far more compatible together.

Mickey had found a picture in Agent’s tattoo studio where his father was standing with the octo-face guy. He realized that they both knew each other and if he wanted to solve the mystery, he needed to find this man and figure out what he was up to. Through the picture, he got the number plate of Octo-Face’s car, which he gave to Rachel and asked her if she could find out the address through it. Troy often used his father’s system to track people, and Mickey knew that if Rachel asked him, he wouldn’t be able to say no. Troy did the needful, and Mickey and Rachel went to the address and they saw that the Octo-Face guy was leaving somewhere. They followed him and saw him entering a club. Mickey wanted to go inside, but Rachel stopped him because she knew that it was a very risky thing.

At the end of Harlan Coben’s Shelter episode 5, we saw Mrs. Friedman put up posters that called people to gather together on September 15 to honor the continued search for clues and information leading to Dylan’s whereabouts. Just then, an old man came there, and we understood that it was Dylan Shakes’ abusive father. Back in the day, Mrs. Friedman had called the social services and told them about Dylan being a victim of domestic abuse. The father, back then, had confronted Mrs. Friedman and threatened her not to poke her nose in his personal matters. Mrs. Freidman clearly knew much more than she was revealing, and in the upcoming episodes, we will get to know what was stopping her from doing that. We believe that now that Mickey knew where the guy with the octopus tattoo lived, he would snoop around a bit more and try to find out how he was linked to his father, considering the man was involved in all sorts of shady businesses.


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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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