It is already the second episode of The Doll Factory, and soon it will be the third, which would mark the halfway point of the series. How long is the atmosphere building going to take? Iris Whittle is indeed beautiful, but how long is that going to be the subject of the narrative? On the other hand, there seem to be some references to history, specifically the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. If nothing else, that angle between the characters could have been explored better. If art is the subject of the show, the audience would like an understanding of the philosophies of the artists and their resulting politics. Maybe the series will catch up soon, and until then, here is the recap of The Doll Factory Episode 2.
Does Iris leave Mrs. Salter’s shop?
Mrs. Salter has been presented as the mean old woman who is pretending to be philanthropic while looking out for her own interests through the Whittle sisters. She claims that housing both sisters is too expensive, which is why she wants Iris to get married to Albert Bowler. There had to be some money or profit in it for Mrs. Salter, and Rose sees this as an overall favorable offer. She has given up on any dreams she may have had, so she is hinging her entire future on Iris. If Iris gets married to Albert Bowler, Rose can come to live with her at some point, thereby securing both their futures. When Iris presents an alternative, which is that she learns to paint and earns money in the meantime while Rose can practice her sewing and make a trade out of it, Rose is against the idea. Iris wants them to save money and open a shop of their own in the future, but Rose considers that an impractical plan. She burns all of Iris’ paintings and art supplies, saying that it is for her own good. Iris’ dreams do not serve Rose’s fears, and Iris is simply done with her sister’s cruelty. The next day, she prepares to leave, and Mrs. Salter warns her that she cannot come back if she leaves. But Iris doesn’t care, and she throws a doll at her former employer before stomping off from the place.
Iris goes to meet Louis Frost immediately, and he already knows that she will be coming since he has been keeping an eye on her. Iris wants him to teach her painting in exchange for what he is asking, and he simply tells her to paint something and show him the next day. Iris has pretty much agreed to model for him, no matter how much she pretends to refuse. They already disagree on ideas of art, with Iris pointing out that the real-life that Louis is interested in painting is in the streets of London and not the palaces, which he is more keen on. As expected, Louis does not welcome the advice, but he makes up for it by subtly complimenting Iris as much as he can.
The next day, when she paints something and brings it to him, Louis has plenty of criticism for the art, but he promises to teach her. So far, it is quite clear that Louis is not one of the good guys. He is certainly doing something terrible, and he has romanticized and manipulated it in his head. He is luring Iris into it, and for some reason, he calls her his ‘Queen,’ which we doubt he has called anyone before. That means that no matter his intentions, he is treating her as someone special, and he may feel that, too. That would complicate the situation and give Iris some leverage over him in the future. For now, she knows nothing, but she certainly smiles when she thinks of the time she spends with him.
Are Gideon and Silas friends?
Gideon and Silas meet in Professor Liston’s class, where the man brutally cuts through another man’s leg, and Gideon is impressed by Silas’ ability to not throw up. He asks him to team up, and later, Gideon is quite impressed with Silas’ method of working and his ideas about the preservation of the human body. Gideon may have ulterior motives, and he proves to be a terrible friend in the end, but he is acting as Silas’ ally for now.
Who Kills Bluebell?
Silas has been given the offer to present his work at the exhibition, and while he is on his way to catch butterflies with Albie, he runs into Rose at Mrs. Salter’s shop. She is furious with him since she thinks he is Louis Frost, and she tells him that she has severed all ties with Iris. Silas understands that Iris has agreed to model for Louis, and he is immediately insecure about what that means. He had a lovely date with her just the previous day, and he is already feeling possessive. When he is drinking in a bar with Gideon, Louis and his friends are at the table close by and talking about Iris. While they are not making explicit comments, they are not speaking well of her either. Gideon goads Silas into picking a fight with the men, implying that Iris may be playing a game as well. Silas drinks one too many drinks, and at the end of The Doll Factory episode 2, he confronts Louis about what happens to his models. As expected, Louis doesn’t answer, and a fight breaks out that seriously injures Bluebell.
In the closing shot of The Doll Factory Episode 2, we see Bluebell breathing her last under Iris’s window, and there is reason to believe that this is Louis’s work. Earlier in the episode, he had been rude to her after he saw her in the room meant for Iris. She was also the girl he was painting previously, so there may have been a fight with some anger and jealousy where he ended up doing this. It is pure speculation, and we just have to see how deranged Louis actually is.
Another suspect in Bluebell’s murder is Gideon himself. There is something wrong and ill-meaning about the man, and he was supposed to be with Bluebell before the fight broke out. Maybe he went after her and ended up killing her?