It is easy enough to spot that Shining Vale‘s Patricia Phelps has so many undertones of Monica Geller in how she tries to be perfect but just has a locked closet full of stuff that cannot be neatly organized anywhere. In the case of Patricia, that closet is open, and she is unable to contain the mess, and that is the cause of her grief since she holds herself to Monica’s standards. She is back from the mental asylum in Shining Vale season 2, and we are all curious to know how she protects her family from Rosemary and whether she is able to discover the dead woman’s secrets.
Is Patricia healed?
One of the things that made Shining Vale funny was that no amount of possession or generational trauma could get in the way of the sheer practicality of bureaucracy. We knew Patricia was a tortured resident of the mental asylum because her hair covered her eyes. That is the standard look of helplessness and madness. But the hair gets behind her ears soon enough because Patricia is desperate to go home. She tells her doctor that she doesn’t see Rosemary anymore and that the shock treatments have worked on her. Assuming that Rosemary was real, are we supposed to assume that Patricia had a healthy mind to begin with and that the shock treatments must have destabilized her somehow? But that is not the case as far as this series is concerned. Patricia is sent home since her health insurance doesn’t cover a longer stay, and she gets what she wants. The barbaric nature of Patricia’s treatment makes this very similar to the Dark Ages, and we are surprised that she is not more angry at what she has endured for four months. Her mother is there to pick her up, and in her typical style, she talks about how she had it worse and was taking a higher dosage of lithium than what Patricia had been prescribed.
Does Pat’s family accept her back?
Pat being admitted to a mental asylum had not been an easy chapter for her family, and Gaynor had to bear the brunt of it. Terry’s fall from the stairs has left him temporarily disabled, and he has also forgotten quite a few things. That means that Gaynor is not just keeping tabs on him but is also taking care of her brother and trying to keep the house from falling apart. That is a lot of responsibility for a 16-year-old, who was previously planning to run away with her boyfriend.
In Shining Vale season 1, Gaynor also suspected that she might be pregnant, and since it has been four months between the events of the seasons and Gaynor is not showing, she has gone through a lot more than just taking up the mantle of domestic responsibility. But Pat is unaware of all that when she comes back home. She finds that the house is a mess, but Jake is warm towards her. He is the only one who feels normal to Pat in the new circumstances. Terry doesn’t remember her but is as sweet and committed to her as he was in season 1. As for Gaynor, she is a lot more hostile. While she is glad to see her mother come back, she only treats her like a housekeeper and leaves her with a pile of dirty dishes the moment she steps back into the house. Gaynor is scared that Pat may harm Jake or Terry again, but instead of addressing that, she constantly keeps pushing away her mother. Pat also makes the mistake of saying that she forgives Gaynor for having her committed, but she takes back her words, not wanting to walk down her own mother’s path. For Gaynor, none of that matters, and she is consumed by what she has had to go through and continues to reject Pat’s love and wish to make things right.
Lucky for Pat, she has never been one to give up easily, and despite being imperfect at it, she truly loves and cares for her family. That is why she picks up where she left off and starts cooking and cleaning, trying to restore order. While that is a good start for Jake and Terry, Gaynor is less than impressed. The mother and daughter have a confrontation where Pat makes it clear that, normal or not, they are a family, and they have to start behaving like one. Honestly, we know that Gaynor went through a lot, but none of it was Pat’s fault. Even if we suppose that there was no Rosemary, mental illness is not something one chooses to have. Gaynor could learn to be a little kinder, but the show casts her as the archetypal annoying teenager who will create a lot of trouble going forward.
Is Rosemary Back?
The time in the mental asylum seems to have convinced Pat that Rosemary was just a figment of her imagination. She keeps repeating the one mantra that she feels will keep her ‘sane,’ which is that she is the one in control. Even if Pat still believes that Rosemary is real, her biggest mistake in season 1 was to let Rosemary take over, which is what caused the eventual chaos. That is why, every time Pat feels herself slipping, she reminds herself that she is still in control. Perhaps we have a few hints of Rosemary in episode 1, season 2, of Shining Vale. Pat pulling that hair out of the drain did not look like her imagination. Her going back to the bar in the basement was also very real. When she just arrived at the house, she saw a person in a raggedy deer costume, and while she assumed that he was one of Jake’s friends, as the audience, we believe that it could be a scary supernatural entity testing Pat once again.
However, the biggest concern for us is that Pat’s editor is back in her life. Her book was published, and it was a slasher story of everything that Pat had gone through. While the book is expected to be successful, the editor wants to use Pat’s mental health angle to market it. Pat is not comfortable with that, especially since it is a reminder of her time with Rosemary, but since the book puts money on the table, she doesn’t have any choice. Additionally, the book was the reason Pat had let Rosemary into her life to such an extent. Right now, Pat doesn’t need to write, but there is no saying how her life or the written book will be affected by the ghost determined to make a comeback.
At the end of Shining Vale season 2, episode 1, Pat meets her mother, who has pocketed the money from the book. Joan is strangely supportive this season, and she assures her daughter that things will be alright as long as she doesn’t get too worked up over the wrongs. As Pat and her family are having a moment in the house, somebody knocks on the door. When Pat opens it, there is someone dressed as a 50s housewife, and that is enough to scare Pat again. We don’t think the woman is Rosemary, but the house is waking up to the family’s reunion and making its plans of evil to bring them down.
It doesn’t seem like a good idea that Shining Vale’s episodes are only half an hour long, and we will be getting only one per week. It is simply too little to make an impression. The first episode of the new season is strictly alright, and we will have to wait and see where the rest of it goes.