‘The Doll Factory’ Episode 1 Recap & Ending Explained: What Does Louis Frost Want From Iris?

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The theme of the first episode of The Doll Factory is that if you are a beautiful woman with no money, you will be taken advantage of. It is hard to deny the claims, especially since women have always been the primary target of violence. So far, the series promises to be sinister, and looking at the circumstances, tragedy cannot be far behind. For lack of a better word, the story seems to promise the ‘cruelty’ of artistic endeavors and the unexpected tragedy behind them. It remains too soon for any assumptions, so let us just look at the recap of The Doll Factory Episode 1.

Spoiler Alert


Do Iris and Rose not get along?

Iris and Rose are two sisters who work in Mrs. Salters’ doll shop. Iris is an artist herself, and she paints dolls in the morning and her own portraits at night. The customers always make it a habit to stare at Rose, whose face was affected when she got smallpox at 16 years of age. Iris is a bit protective of her, but that always ends up costing her something from Mrs. Salters.

Rose is extremely conscious of her face. She wears a veil everywhere, and she won’t even talk to vendors directly in the market. Essentially, she has hidden her existence as much as she can. This is in contrast to Iris, who wants to explore the world but is held back by her finances and responsibilities. The two sisters also think very differently in terms of the rules of society. For example, Rose would not even talk to a woman near the stalls because of her profession, but Iris couldn’t care less. Even in the shop, Iris is the one who raises her voice when people are rude with their stares, while Rose prefers to keep her silence. It may look like shyness, but the jealousy doesn’t take too long to reveal itself.

A boy gives some attention to Iris in the shop, and Rose takes that opportunity to shame her sister. Iris may have been interested, or she could have been uncomfortable, but the point was that the boy was behaving inappropriately. Rose should have been protective instead of berating Iris. That night, when Iris was having a moment with herself, Rose should have averted her eyes and left her alone. Instead, she chooses the moment to try and guilt Iris for choosing this moment of happiness for herself. Rose makes it a point to remind Iris that she was considered the ‘beautiful sister’, before the sickness took that away from her. Iris is very clear that she wouldn’t bear the weight of Rose’s insecurity or her jealousy, and that earns her a slap from her sister, especially when she mentions the boy that Rose had been with. Rose may be sorry, but she will not stop shaming her sister, and Iris will learn to start thinking about herself even more now.


What does Louis Frost want from Iris?

Silas Reed is a taxidermist who employs Albie (a small boy) to get him the animals he needs. When he first meets Iris, he is immediately in love with her. She reminds him of a woman he knew in his childhood who used to eat blackberries in a similar way and probably had the same manner of walking. But if we had to guess, maybe it is because Iris also has red hair. Traditionally, redheads are made fun of for their appearance, but a combination of red hair and blue eyes can barely go wrong. Albie is rolling his eyes at Silas’ attempts to impress Iris, and he is worried about his sister back home and whether she is bargaining correctly with the customers.

The next day, Iris runs into Clarissa and Louis Frost while she is out delivering a doll for a customer. Clarissa says that she is Louis’ sister, but that may be doubtful. She wants Iris to model for Louis, and in all likelihood, it is a nude painting. Iris may be comfortable with that (conjecture) since that is how she makes her self-portraits, but she is wary of how it would affect her. She knows that Rose would never forgive her, and she also wouldn’t hear the end of her taunts. Also, she may lose her job with Mrs. Salters, since that is usually what happens with nude models, implying that this was not an unusual request.

Louis had heard about Iris when Silas spoke of her in the bar. He had described her as someone with an alluring quality, and that is what Louis was imagining in his ‘queen’, whoever she was. Perhaps Bluebell knows about it, or she may have thought she was a prospect, since she is still safe and alive but definitely clueless. Therefore, Louis asks Iris to allow him to show her his work so that she may make up her mind.

Clarissa is annoyed that Louis would make a proposition since there is a lot of clean-up to be done before Iris can see that. This further makes us think at the end of The Doll Factory Episode 1 that whatever Louis is doing ends up costing the girls their lives. Clarissa wants Louis to be sure that Iris is not able to escape whatever he is doing because this would spread rumors. At this point, it strikes us that Iris doesn’t come from money, and that is why she was a likely target of Louis. But she had family and an employer who would look for her, which is why Louis felt compelled to be careful. When Iris is going back, Silas tries to warn her that Louis is not a good man. He also invites Iris to come see his exhibition, and Iris finds his fumbling attention sweet. She now knows that Louis has heard about her from Silas, and it looks like she did not go to his studio. Perhaps her fight with her sister has made her cautious about the risks she can take.


Final Thoughts

There is murder and torture going on for the sake of whatever art Louis is making, and he is not alone in it. Silas probably knows more than he is saying, and that doesn’t bode well for his love story or his job, as well. For now, there is a suspicion that Albie’s sister may be in trouble, and future episodes will tell us if that is true.


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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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