Dickinson season 2, episode 2 recap – “Fame is a fickle food”

January 8, 2021
Cole Sansom 0
Apple TV+, TV Recaps, Weekly TV


Emily’s success at baking threatens to eclipse her poetry.

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Emily’s success at baking threatens to eclipse her poetry.

This recap of Dickinson season 2, episode 2, “Fame is a fickle food”, contains spoilers.

“Fame is not genuine, It will use you. It will destroy you.”

Everyone has a dream of fame, in one way or another. Whether it’s being an acclaimed writer or going viral on TikTok, we all have some secret wish to be known and respected. Of course, everyone who has “made it” has horror stories of the dark side of fame (and pop culture is replete with stories of its destructive impact). It makes sense why the ghostly Nobody says the above line to Emily, but for the majority of Dickinson season 2, episode 2, “Fame is a fickle food“, Emily’s main problem is that she may become famous — but not because of her poetry.

It’s the annual cattle show (“Let’s moo-ve,” says Austin) and Emily is in full competition mode with the intent of winning the cake contest.  “I am going to give this town a moist, sticky, generously spiced a*s-kicking,” she yells and makes sure that everyone knows how long her cake was soaked in brandy (a month!)

The show itself seems like a lot of fun, with apple bobbing and plenty of oysters for sale (which we know-how are widely available — thanks Lavinia). The fête holds special significance for Emily Norcross Dickinson (Jane Krakowski) who knows that the event puts her husband in a “special mood.” Edward, however, is more concerned with the family’s debt (Sue enjoys “spending” apparently). Luckily, he finds a new cash flow in the form of a deceased relative, whose fortune comest the price of looking after “one or two assets of the deceased.” These take the form of two demonic children who appear just as Emily Norcross seems ready for some action. Alas, maybe another day (unlikely).

Back at the cattle fair in Dickinson season 2, episode 2, Emily’s showstopper wins, (“the judge was her aunt” another contestant complains). She comes on stage with a “yes bitch!” and proceeds to thank Maggie before she’s reminded that winners aren’t supposed to give a speech. Instead, she will have her name and the recipe printed in the Springfield Republican!

She’s being published! Albeit not in the way she wanted. Worse, she gets a glimpse of the difficulty that comes with the territory as Lavinia tells her that last year’s winner “had a mental breakdown and committed suicide.” Horrified at her mother’s desire to continue baking at “the entire cattle show circuit,” she takes the opportunity to go for a walk with Bowles, who managed to charm everyone back at the festival.

Finn Jones layers on the flirtatiousness, leading Emily on until he reveals he has a wife. I’m getting weird vibes from him, but he seems genuine about wanting to “pluck” Emily “from obscurity.” “It’s 1859 baby. It’s almost the 60s,” he says, and Emily feels good about her prospects. That is until she returns home to find Nobody, who gives you the stern warning, “You shouldn’t be known, do you understand me? Do not seek fame. Do not trust others who would seek it for you. They are not genuine.” Hmm, I wonder who he could be talking about?


  • Sue’s spending concerns Austin, who again raises the prospect of children. She hasn’t told him about her pregnancy — it seems like this shopping spree is her way of coping. She convinces Austin to buy her a horse, but he secretly gives some money to Henry, for reasons we’ll discover soon.
  • I love the Dickinson siblings having a mini-dance party before they head to the cattle show.
  • Jane is “slightly busy, being a widow”
  • These notes might be a lot of my favorite quotes because the show has so many good lines!
  • “Don’t steal my girl.”  “You stole my land!”
  • Lavinia: “I am not going to be fenced in like a common pig… No offense”
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