We are beginning to think that Shining Vale season 2 may have lost its plot. We had been patient and excited so far because the first season had genuinely delivered on the laughs and story, and even the first three episodes of season 2 seemed to have something going on. But the narrative of episode 4 was simply off-putting, and either this season is going to raise the stakes very high or make a mess of everything. We genuinely hope it is not the latter, because four episodes are already a little too much to have dragged this out. We get that there may be plans for another few seasons for the show, but that is still not an excuse for an excruciatingly slow narrative. Now that we are done with the rant, let us look at the recap of this episode.
What Happens In Pat’s Dream?
The last episode ended with Pat concluding that she just had a terrible dream regarding someone in a hairy costume surrounded by women she did not like. In this episode, Pat wakes up once again as her blanket is being pulled out of the door, and when she follows it, she finds a woman with a smile taped on her face. Again, this is part of Pat’s dream, and it is not a good night for her, despite what she may be feeling about her and Terry’s relationship development.
Gaynor can hear the noises, and she goes upstairs, only to see her mother dragging the blanket with her hair all over her face. Both the women are scared of each other, and frankly, we never knew that a lip mask could look like that. Who decided to make those patches glittery and blue? What happened to the good old gel-like masks? The women screaming have woken up Jake, and he reminds them that he needs his beauty sleep, or he won’t be human the next day. He is already walking around with a cat tail in a costume, so his family would do well to take his warning seriously. Honestly, the best part of the episode is that Pat is finally getting sassy with her bratty children. Maybe it is the effect of just being stretched to her limit by the nightmares and just about everything going on around her. It also doesn’t help that Terry is making a lot of bad jokes. Can a good personality ever compensate for a terrible sense of humor? We know that the vice-versa situation is selectively possible.
When Pat falls asleep on the pancake, she has another dream where she walks into a room full of women wearing papers on their faces with smiles painted on them. It is as creepy as it sounds, and this is where Pat runs into Nellie, who has Rosemary’s face. She was looking into the abuse of women in the psychiatric asylums and was there undercover. The smiles are because women are deemed to be normal if they look and behave in a way that is pleasing to the eye, which is if they smile. Pat is horrified upon seeing Nellie’s face, and she immediately wakes up, only to scramble around once again. She rushes to the hospital and finds that it is too expensive to resume treatment. Pat also visits the therapist, but he is as unhelpful as ever and asks her to find something to distract herself or find an anchor. Pat is absolutely scared by the vision of Rosemary she saw and is positive that she has come back to haunt her as Nellie. When Nellie had that mask over her face, Pat had found her comforting, but she was repelled by that feeling since Rosemary had initially been helpful herself by helping Pat write her book and take over much of her life’s difficult bits.
Does Terry Find Out About Pat’s Affair?
Terry thinks he is a blessed husband because his wife forgave his affair with Kathryn. When he goes to work the next day, he tells Kathryn that he knows about the affair, and she corrects him that nothing of the sort ever happened between them. That gets Terry thinking about what Pat could have meant, and he understands that she must have had an affair in the past. When he goes back home and tells her about his conversation with Kathryn, Pat realizes the misunderstanding, and she doesn’t want to address it, but she has no choice. She tells Terry about the affair that brought them to the house and the second affair that she had with Blake. Terry is furious, but he understands something crucial, which is that if his wife was depressed and was cheating as a coping mechanism, then he had enabled it with his fear of losing her. Now that he had lost his memory, he was able to be a healthier man, and he immediately decided to leave her. When they break the news to their kids, they are happy with it, especially Gaynor, and the first thing that Terry does is go to Kathryn’s house, where he takes drugs and talks about Pat all night. Kathryn realizes that he is still in love with his wife and asks him to sort out his feelings.
Who Is Nellie?
Jake is having trouble in school for punching a girl. This is what we saw in the previous episode when he mistook her for the furry animal that was haunting him. Jake is being kicked off the team, and Gaynor is there as his caretaker to hear it from the principal. The principal tells Gaynor that she would like for her to come back to school since she is a great student, and it would also greatly help Gaynor’s future while helping her get into an Ivy League school. Gaynor is excited about it, but it seems that she still can’t trust her mother to take care of everything in her absence.
Meanwhile, Pat also comes to the school, but Gaynor has already handled everything. The principal is a fan of Pat’s book and wants her to read her manuscript, but Pat gets out of it, citing some vague intellectual property thing on her contract. As for Gaynor, she finds that the entire school thinks that she got pregnant, which is why she dropped out of school, and also that she killed her boyfriend. Gaynor is terribly upset since she has been nothing but responsible for the past few things, so hearing such things about herself while contemplating coming back is especially terrible. On the other hand, Pat is getting advice from Ruth to transfer her feelings onto some inanimate object and throw that away, which will be metaphorical of her feelings being resolved. Elsewhere, Gaynor is positive that she is being stalked, and the next day, she meets a mysterious man named Ennio, who she is instantly attracted to, so her life is going to get as complicated as her mother’s.
At the end of Shining Vale season 2, episode 4, Pat dreams of Nellie again, but this time, the result is that she wakes up in a good mood. It may not last for long, though, because the next morning, Pat sees a vision of Nellie writing with her blood because her ink was taken away from her. Also, there are words on Pat’s arm that signify that she is pregnant. Nellie says that this is what happened to her as well, and now we know the real identity of Rosemary. We have still not forgotten that in season 1, Pat’s neighbor told her that Rosemary was not the ghost’s real name. Maybe it was Nellie, and the writing streak is also explained now, with Nellie being a writer to begin with. As we said before, it may all tie up together or just unravel hopelessly at the end.
Shining Vale is in a very delicate position right now. We want to be optimistic about it, but the mystery has been dragged out for way too long. Two and a half seasons is more than enough time to show us the scattered pieces. It is time to bring the pieces of the puzzle together.