“Shining Girls” Episode 5 was a real head-turner as it played a lot of scenes from the first episode where Harper (Jamie Bell) met Jin-Sook (Philipa Soo), stalked her, and then killed her. But the events not only looked like they were happening all over again, but they were happening differently, thereby insinuating that there was some kind of a time loop involved. As for the repercussions of Kirby’s (Elisabeth Moss) altercation with Harper, it was revealed that their proximity to each other causes things to change in Kirby’s life. In addition to that, if Harper gets close to people who have been in touch with Kirby, Kirby is affected by that too. And, weirdly enough (as if everything about the show isn’t weird), Harper can feel those changes happening. In comparison to the previous episodes, “Shining Girls” Episode 6 is a change of pace as it solely focuses on Harper.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Harper Is Originally From the 1910s
“Shining Girls” Episode 6 opens with a punk-rock performance from the 80s where Klara (Madeline Brewer’s character from the last episode) and Kirby are seen dancing together. Then the narrative abruptly shifts to Cantigny, France, in 1918, where Harper, as a soldier, is timidly waging war with Leo Jenkins (Christopher Denham) right behind him. That’s where we get a hint of the fact that Harper was always a fiend, as he takes off the mask of an injured soldier from his battalion to save himself from the oncoming anthrax gas. That moment is followed by an interpretive dance sequence featuring Klara in the same auditorium which becomes the hub of punk-rock a few decades later. Klara notices Harper in the audience, and they head into the green room.
Going by their eventual conversation, it’s made evident that Harper and Klara have known each other for some time, and Harper has a crush on Klara. But the feeling is not mutual. And as soon as Harper senses that, like every other man in the world, he starts to get condescending until Klara drops that topic and follows in his footsteps. They go to an old woman’s house to steal stuff because that’s what they used to do back in the day to survive. They rummage through the old woman’s thing, steal some of her items, and just when they are about to leave, they hear a beeping from something digital. Considering this is the 1910s, this is the first time they have heard of anything like that and, hence, are surprised to gaze upon a digital watch.
Klara hears the old woman come back home and decides to bolt. Harper stays back to inquire about the watch. Naturally, the old woman panics and tells him to get out, and Harper gets violent. He asks her if her husband (whose picture is on the table) has given her the watch or not. As the old woman refuses to answer, Harper gets more violent. Next, we see him in the alleyway meeting up with Klara. He looks disheveled, which means he has either killed the woman or done something worse. He lies to Klara that he stayed back to make sure that the woman didn’t come after Klara and ruin her reputation. The following day, he meets up with Leo, and they decide to go to the address written behind the old woman’s husband’s photo, which leads them to the infamous house.
See More: ‘Shining Girls’ Episode 5: Recap And Ending, Explained – Is Kirby’s Changing Reality A Peek Into The Future?
Harper Meets Kirby For The First Time
At first, the house in question seems like any other house with a lot of collectibles in it. Harper keeps asking Leo if he’s sure there’s no one in the house. But the turned-on lights are indicative of the fact that someone is in there. As Leo and Harper sift through the stuff, another thing that becomes apparent is that the owner of this house is the original time-traveler as he has filled up the place with currencies from various eras, cassette players, and journals from different timelines. Harper eventually finds the old woman’s husband, who asks (holding Harper at gunpoint) the most common question time-travelers ask: what is the date and time? Harper gets the upper hand soon (since he’s a soldier), and the time-traveler assumes he and Leo are there to take the house away from him. He escapes. Harper and Leo follow him into the street, where the man gets hit by a car. A car from the 40s.
Harper meets up with Klara, who is seen wearing a gas mask that a pilot has gifted her to help her with her breathing problems. Harper takes Klara out of there and to the house, where he tells him to lie on the floor and look at the chandelier above them. The chandelier transforms before their eyes. Klara thinks it’s some kind of trick of Harper’s. But Harper says that that’s the house’s doing, which means that the house is the time-traveling machine in this situation and is hurtling through space and time (hence the flickering lights outside). Harper then tells Klara to imagine a date and step out of the house. And they walk into the 90s. Harper does say one thing: he can never go past that time period. If he does, he reverts back to the time he stepped into the house, which indicates those are the house’s limitations or the limitations of Harper’s destiny.
A little tension brews between Klara and Harper as Harper says that, unlike what Klara said before, she did get his letters from the war and chose not to reply. Like Harper, Klara distracts him from getting a straight answer by telling him to take her shopping in the future. When they return to the house, they find a disgruntled Leo sitting there. Leo doesn’t approve of the fact that Harper has let Klara in on their secret. Leo defends his decision and, in order to diffuse the tension, Klara proposes to go out partying in the 80s. Leo dances his heart out amidst a bunch of punk-rock fans. Klara recognizes the auditorium and is visibly happy about this change. They proceed to get a drink, and that’s where Harper sees Kirby for the first time. The obsession is palpable, and Klara does her best to keep Kirby around for Harper. Harper makes it clear that he only wants Klara. Klara and Kirby take to the dance floor, which is what we see at the beginning of this episode.
‘Shining Girls’ Episode 6: Ending Explained – Is Harper Just A Loser With A Time-traveling House?
Before leaving the auditorium, Klara and Leo come across each other, and Leo tells her that Harper is a liar. All his talk about going to Paris, meeting girls, and getting the handkerchief he gifted her, are lies. Before Leo can spill any more tea, Harper comes in, and he and Klara leave the scene. Back at the house, Harper reveals he has stolen the video camera from the guy who was recording Klara and Kirby. And if we know anything about Harper, there’s a fair chance that he killed the guy and took the camera off of him, unlike the claim that he makes, i.e., he paid for it. Why? Probably to preserve the footage of Klara in another timeline or to get a good look at Kirby. And, yes, it’s the camera on which the footage of Klara preparing to perform is shot, which Dan (Wagner Moura) and Kirby come across in “Shining Girls” Episode 5.
As Harper begins to boss Klara, she spills the truth about his lies about going to Paris. She shuts down the shoot (just like we saw in Episode 5) and asks Harper about the handkerchief. Harper tells her the truth, and Klara calms down a little. Harper then tries to get intimate with Klara, and Klara pushes him away. Harper gets violent and blurts out the truth that he has used the house’s time-traveling mechanics to sleep with Klara a bunch of times because she never remembers their interactions. The reason for that, as explained by Harper, is that the house is not in her hands. Klara gets angry and tries to leave. Harper gets even more violent and potentially punches her to death. We briefly see how Harper got the handkerchief and became friends with Leo, before witnessing him start his stalking business around Kirby. So, yes, Harper is a textbook loser. That’s why he probably goes around various timelines to hook up with girls, tries various tactics to woo them, understands that he’s no good, and hence, kills them.