DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Dickinson episode “The Future never spoke” has spoilers. Proceed at your peril. 

Welcome, poets! Dickinson‘s seventh episode, “The Future never spoke,” employs a bit of time travel to show Emily only a fraction of the impact she makes in the writing world. I love how the show introduces Emily to famous writers, and this time we meet Sylvia Plath, whose work derives influence from Emily. 

Emily finally tells someone in her family about her love for Sue, and it’s great to see Vinnie accept it with open arms. Even though it doesn’t ultimately serve the plot, I like seeing Mama D and Edward let loose, and the pot-smoking scene injects levity into the episode. 

It’s a touching, cheeky and hilarious collision of worlds: 1955 and 1862. 

Ready to delve into “The Future never spoke”? Let’s get to it. 

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We open Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), receiving a letter from Colonel Higginson (Gabriel Ebert), telling her he wants to meet her. Vinnie (Anna Baryshnikov) informs Emily that Mrs. Dickinson refuses to leave her bed, and Maggie has the week off, so it’s Emily’s job to fetch the water. 

Meanwhile, Sojourner Truth (Ziwe) and Betty (Amanda Warren) enjoy the afternoon sunshine. Sojourner encourages Betty to get back out into the dating scene. Freddie (Jamel Davall Rodriguez) arrives with nothing from Henry. Sojourner plays matchmaker and persuades Betty and Freddie to go on a sunny stroll. I love the running joke that she’s 60, but she looks so much younger. 

Still of Ziwe and Amanda Warren in Dickinson Season 3 Episode 7 The Future never spoke

Pictured: Ziwe and Amanda Warren in DICKINSON Season 3 Episode 7, “The Future never spoke.”

Emily spots Sue (Ella Hunt) waiting in a tree while Emily does chores. Sue wants to talk and mend fences, but Emily still doesn’t comprehend why Sue would envy Emily sharing her poetry with an objective third party (Higginson). 

Next, Sue reveals that Austin might receive his draft card soon (he did), so what then?

Sue discloses her need for more than just pretty words from Emily. She asks Emily to kiss her, but the latter refuses, and the pair part ways for now. I don’t like watching EmiSue quarrel!

Later, Emily comes to Vinnie’s aid after finding her crying in the pavilion. Vinnie laments not having a husband while Emily decries the war and wishes to skip ahead to the future, one wherein everyone coexists in harmony. 

Suddenly, rain pours from the heavens, and lightning strikes the gazebo. We see it spin until it finally lands in the future.

It appears the universe fulfilled Emily’s wish!

The Dickinson sisters spot a car driving by them and notice their house looks different. “It’s a carriage without a horse that farts smoke!” I’m paraphrasing, but that line killed me. 

Edward (Toby Huss) finds Mrs. Dickinson (Jane Krakowski) sitting alone in her room and shows her the peculiar plant he found in Emily’s greenhouse — Cannabis Sativa. The devil’s lettuce! Mama D asks if they should smoke it together because you only live once. 

Still of Ella Hunt in Dickinson Season 3 Episode 7 The Future never spoke

Pictured: Ella Hunt in DICKINSON Season 3 Episode 7, “The Future never spoke.”

Meanwhile, Emily and Vinnie encounter none other than Sylvia Plath (Chloe Fineman), who informs them that Emily Dickinson’s house usually isn’t open at this time. In 1955, Sylvia’s present, women attend college, detest corsets and wear pants! Sylvia believes Emily and Vinnie dabble in method acting, hence the 1862 clothing. The trio enters Emily’s now 100-year-old home.

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Later, Henry (Chinaza Uche) gives Higginson the business — Confederate soldiers march toward their encampment, and the regiment still doesn’t have weapons. Higginson claims Henry’s crew must solidify the barricade and that he needs approval from Lincoln to grant them guns. But Henry asserts rightfully that that won’t suffice. 

So, Higginson relays to Henry to intercept a fresh rifle delivery and circumvent authority altogether. 

Next, Sylvia takes Vinnie and Emily to the latter’s bedroom, which looks vastly different from earlier in the episode. The city of Amherst took liberties when converting the Dickinson abode into a museum. Emily learns that, in 1955, her poetry lives beyond her room, and even Sylvia derives inspiration from her. 

Sylvia also addresses a book previously published revealing Emily’s love of women, which Emily tries to deny. I imagine this moment is stressful for her with Vinnie standing there. 

Meanwhile, Mama D and Edward enjoy the effects of cannabis, dancing around the room in a munchie-induced frenzy. However, Mama D still feels depressed, but now she’s sad and famished. Edward and Mama D take a weed nap.

Austin (Adrian Blake Enscoe) chats with a friend at the local pub. He laments receiving his draft card and his dashed hopes of spending more time with his son. But Austin’s friend provides a solution — he can pay the bartender to take his place on the battlefield. That’s what wealthy people do!

Still of Jane Krakowski and Toby Huss in Dickinson Season 3 Episode 7 The Future never spoke

Pictured: Jane Krakowski and Toby Huss in DICKINSON Season 3 Episode 7, “The Future never spoke.”

Outside of the pub, Freddie and Betty enjoy some ice cream. Freddie believes Betty needs someone to take care of her and Helen, but she’s fine on her own. Freddie informs Betty of Henry’s whereabouts and that he’s in Buford serving in the South Carolina volunteer regiment. While there’s no correspondence from Henry, Freddie hears the rumors. 

Then, we see Henry strategizing with the regiment regarding the rifle interception. Austin pays the bartender a pretty penny to replace him in the army. Emily and Vinnie spot an airplane outside after leaving Sylvia, citing that the writer might be a bit too “intense” for their liking.

Vinnie asks Emily to clarify what Sylvia said about our favorite poet loving only women, or, as Sylvia puts it, Emily, the original sapphic sad girl.

Finally, Emily divulges her feelings for Sue, revealing she’s always loved her. Vinnie appears unsurprised, saying she already knew. We love a supportive sister. Vinnie urges Emily to hold fast to the love she shares with Sue. 

Still of Chloe Fineman in Dickinson Season 3 Episode 7 The Future never spoke

Pictured: Chloe Fineman in DICKINSON Season 3 Episode 7, “The Future never spoke.”

After Emily declares her desire to be in the present with Sue, the pavilion swirls and spins once again. Thankfully, the Dickinson sisters return to 1862, and even though Vinnie doesn’t recall their trip to the future, she does remember Emily telling her about loving Sue. 

Unfortunately, George (Samuel Farnsworth) arrives with troubling news: Frazar Stearns is dead. 

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Who would’ve thought we’d get an episode of TV with Emily Dickinson, Sojourner Truth and Sylvia Plath existing in tandem? This Dickinson artfully propels the narrative forward, from Henry finally gaining traction on the weaponry front to Emily learning how she impacts the future and Frazar Stearns’s death. 

On another note, I hope we get a steamy EmiSue reconciliation scene soon! I feel it’s undoubtedly on the horizon with only three episodes left. 

“Is it true, dear Sue?”

New episodes of Dickinson are available to stream on Fridays, only on Apple TV Plus. 

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Melody McCune
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