Full disclosure, as a fan of the sci-fi, horror, and mystery genres, “Shining Girls” has been one of the most rewarding viewing experiences. The way the showrunners and every single person involved with this show have meticulously pieced together every element, it’s fascinating to watch it unravel. Last week’s episode, “Shining Girls,” Episode 6, titled “Bright,” was dedicated solely to Harper (Jamie Bell) and his origins. It answered a lot of questions surrounding him. But the two main questions out of them were a) where is he from? and b) why does he kill? Harper is from the 1910s, and he kills because he is a loner who can’t get it on with girls (in any era) and hence goes around killing them. And now that we have a firm grasp of the obvious, let’s see what the creep is up to next.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Harper Torments Kirby And Jin-Sook At The Same Time
Directed by Elisabeth Moss herself, “Shining Girls” Episode 7, titled “Offset,” opens on the day of Kirby’s (Elisabeth Moss) attack. Unaware of her fate, she meets up with her mother, Rachel (Amy Brenneman), tells her how she is about to get her first byline, and promises to attend her performance. But before doing so, she takes her pet dog for a walk (because Rachel didn’t) on the beach, and that’s where she gets brutally attacked by Harper.
We cut to the present to hear Kirby narrating this story to Jin-Sook (Phillipa Soo). It becomes apparent that Jin-Sook is meeting with Kirby and Dan (Wagner Moura) to talk about the incident on the Adler Planetarium’s roof-top. Jin-Sook relays Harper’s message to Kirby about how she’ll know when he feels something. Kirby adds two and two and realizes that’s the moment Dan’s car changed. When Jin-Sook wonders if Harper is going to kill her now, Kirby says he already has but not yet.
Dan, Kirby, and Freddie (Julian Obradors) review Klara’s (Madeline Brewer) video and notice the mention of a place called Teenie’s. Before going out searching for that place, Dan asks Kirby if she should notify Marcus (Chris Chalk) about it. Kirby answers what he’s working on with a smile. Dan asks her why she’s so happy, especially when she thinks that she doesn’t know Marcus. Kirby says that he’s not really someone she knows, but, like Dan said, maybe he’s a choice she’s going to make, and she’s happy about that. Dan suggests Kirby say the same to Marcus and see what he thinks about that. Kirby says that she will.
At the Adler Planetarium, Jin-Sook has a brief chat with Greg (Nate Burger), who is there to check in on her after the incident on the roof. Despite Jin-Sook’s insistence to not talk about it and keep working, Greg still asks her out for lunch, and Jin-Sook agrees. Assuming that it’s Jin-Sook who is sitting in front of him, Harper attends one of the sessions in the projector room. But as the crowd dissipates, he realizes that he has been duped. Frustrated and angry, he leaves to plan his next move.
At the Chicago Sun-Times office, Dan and Kirby look at what Teenie’s used to be and what has become of it. After suggesting Dan to look into public records, Kirby chats with Marcus. They talk about Teenie’s and how he photographed the place and how Dan covered it, but Dan apparently doesn’t remember any of it. Kirby then proceeds to sit Marcus down and tell him all about her condition, the changing realities, everything. Marcus doesn’t process that really well and assumes that Kirby is losing her mind because of her proximity to the murder investigation. Kirby is saddened by that and leaves.
She and Dan reach a butcher’s shop where Kirby predicts that, upon seeing the precision with which a butcher guts a pig, that’s where Harper used to work. They get the manager’s brother talking about Klara’s death, and he takes them to an abandoned part of the shop (where Klara’s dead body was found) that’s been that way for a decade. Dan and Kirby presume that that’s when Klara’s dead body was actually found. The deputy manager corrects them by saying that Klara’s body was found back in 1920.
Kirby says that the reason Harper dumped Klara in there is because he didn’t just want to kill her. He wanted to humiliate her just like he wanted to humiliate Kirby by leaving her to die in the dirtiest part of the beach. And as they have this conversation, Harper haunts Jin-Sook, and the part of the butcher’s shop changes to a storage room, just like the deputy manager wanted to. Assuming the worst, Kirby calls Jin-Sook to ensure she’s safe and secure.
Marcus Gets Kirby “Fired”
The manager starts talking about the butcher shop’s history. That’s where Dan and Kirby not only find Klara’s identity card, but Harper’s as well. An unscarred version of Harper is seen walking in front of the Chicago Sun-Times building. In that building, Marcus delivers Kirby’s diary to Abby (Erika Alexander) in an effort to get her to give Kirby an indefinite leave of absence. Because Marcus is convinced that Kirby’s investigation into this serial killer case, along with Dan and Abby’s persuasion, is absolutely rotting her mind, and she needs to get away from it. Abby says she doesn’t want to read Kirby’s private stuff, and Marcus responds with a heart-wrenching speech (beautifully acted by Chalk) about how he doesn’t want to lose Kirby to this investigation.
Dan and Kirby, still unable to zero in on the concept of time travel, argue if the man (who looks exactly like Harper) on the identity card they acquired from the butcher’s shop is Harper or a relative of his. Kirby is convinced that it is Harper, though. Dan wonders how they’re going to relay this information to everyone. Harper says that they should just post the police sketch of Harper in the newspaper and make everyone aware of his existence. Dan says that Abby won’t do that. Kirby urges him to capitalize on his relationship with Abby and get the job done. As they talk, we see Harper (like the creepy man he is) lurking in the shadows, listening to this whole conversation.
At the office, Kirby is fired by Abby. Technically, she has been put on indefinite leave. But that essentially means that she has been fired. Dan flares up after learning about it because Kirby is the face of the investigation, and if she’s taken off, he fears that it’s all going to fall apart. Abby doesn’t listen to Dan’s pleas to retract her decision to shut down Kirby. He even tries to tell Abby about the time-traveling theory, but Abby doesn’t digest any of it.
Kirby appears livid as she makes her way to her desk. When she gets there, she notices that all of her stuff is gone. It seems like she assumes that her reality has changed. However, the truth is that Marcus has emptied her desk because he is the one who got her fired. Kirby tells Marcus that this is not going to stop her from continuing her investigation. Marcus tells her that they’ve got a good life, and the path she’s on is going to ruin it. Kirby says that it’s not her life, technically. She parts ways with Marcus by saying that she’ll swing by his place later to get her things. While talking to her mother, Kirby concludes that Harper chose that night to attack her because he knew that she was going to get her byline.
‘Shining Girls’ Episode 7: Ending Explained – Is Dan Dead? What Happened To Jin-Sook’s Reality?
While waiting for Kirby at the office, Dan and Freddie receive a letter from the records’ office with the address of the auditorium where Klara used to perform. Jin-Sook attends the party thrown in her honor, just like she did in “Shining Girls” Episode 1. Someone notifies her about the error in the Ogden live feed, just like it happened in the first episode. And, without giving it a second thought, she runs to the telescope room, just like it happened in the first episode. But something about it all ticks her off, and the moment where Harper is supposed to appear (yes, just like in the first episode) passes.
Instead, Kirby appears, armed with a knife to protect Jin-Sook. Dan and Freddie reach the auditorium. Dan tells Freddie to wait in the car while he goes in to get a look at the place. At the planetarium, Kirby wonders why Harper isn’t there to attack Jin-Sook. For reasons that only make sense to her, Jin-Sook leaves Kirby to attend her seminar. Harper ambushes Dan and kills him. While falling to the floor, Dan grabs something of Harper’s, while Harper takes away his jacket and leaves Dan to die.
Jin-Sook approaches the conference room and is stopped from going any further because she isn’t supposed to go in there. When Gary arrives as the keynote speaker, Jin-Sook realizes that her reality has changed (and now she’s even aware of it). She rushes outside to see that Kirby has changed too, which means that Kirby and Jin-Sook are now two-of-a-kind who are victims of Harper’s attacks and his ability to shift their reality. Freddie notices Harper leaving the scene while wearing Dan’s jacket. He points that out and asks Harper to tell him why he has it. Harper refuses to answer that question, tells Freddie to take care of himself, and leaves the scene with his bloody stains on Dan’s car’s window.