Ashley is still missing in action, and the mystery surrounding Octoface has only deepened.
Much of Harlan Coben’s Shelter Season 1 Episode 5 was light on the larger mysteries and more insular, spending time delving into the characters’ personal lives and headspaces.
In that sense, it was a robust character-building installment to set the pace for the remainder of the season.
If there’s one thing that one can take away from this series so far, it is that the friendship among the trio is one of the show’s most wholesome, endearing, feels-inducing aspects.
No matter what, can we just protect Mickey, Spoon, and Ema at all costs?
With so much going on surrounding the mystery of who is after Ashley Kent and why, the Dylan Shakes connection, and the teens still trying to go about their lives as teenagers, sometimes it’s easy to forget that Mickey hasn’t been able to fully grieve or parse through his feelings about his father’s “death” and his mother’s absence.
He’s distracted himself so much with these other things that we don’t get many of those moments of reflection about where he is regarding his father’s death and how he’s coping with any of that.
It’s why those quiet moments with Mickey confiding in Spoon are so heart-wrenching and heartwarming at once.
Spoon Spindell is a consummate friend and ally, endlessly supportive, rational, willing to throw himself into any fight to defend Mickey to his own detriment, and this emotional safe space for Mickey to lean on and confide in at every given moment.
How he knows Mickey so well and intimately in such a short period is one of the season’s highlights. It’s incredibly gratifying to see two young men get to discuss their emotions, be affectionate with each other, and have such emotional maturity and a healthy relationship.
Mickey: I don’t want to even go see his grave. I haven’t visited since we buried him. I’m too scared to.
Spoon: Well then, I’ll go with you.
Mickey: No, it’s fine.
Spoon: Look, Micholas, you can lean on me. You have people.
Mickey: Thanks, Spoon.
It’s not to dismiss any potential undertones of something more. Shippers are going to ship, and it’s certainly an avenue for it.
But it’s so rare and thus touching to see such a strong depiction of an emotionally open and vulnerable male dynamic that isn’t rooted in toxic masculinity that every second of Spoon and Mickey being emotionally supportive and affectionate with one another is a treasure.
Everything Mickey learns has him more confused than ever about who his father is and what he was involved in, and he can’t go to the source or the next best thing to get answers for it.
He’s in the dark about this huge aspect of his father’s life that seems to be creeping into his world and coming for him, and it’s frustrating that he’s unprepared for it.
He’s pieced together that the organization his father worked for was Abeona, the same as the butterfly, and that it revolved around helping and protecting children.
But now that he’s seen that photo of Brad and Octoface, he doesn’t know what to make of what his father was involved in.
Because if his father was doing good, then what is Octoface doing? It doesn’t seem like he has pure intentions with chasing after Ashley, his connection to the Kents, and his run-ins with Rachel Caldwell.
Spoon is a great sounding board for Mickey because he has an innate ability to cut right to the heart of something, leading with kindness, understanding, compassion, and reasoning with a level head that doesn’t feel condescending or dismissive.
He left me alone with no fucking answers, and right now I don’t feel like I know who the fuck he was.
He knows that Mickey can’t afford to doubt his father when it’s not a question that Brad was a good man who loved his son endlessly, and that’s not something to question.
And I loved that he offered to go to Brad’s grave with Mickey and reminded him that he has people to lean on and doesn’t have to go through this alone. Spoon Spindell is nothing if not a trusted, loyal companion in the purest sense.
Mickey finally returning to the grave was an impactful moment, both for him emotionally, as he’s the tortured hero these days, and in solidifying what we can guess is true: Brad is not in that grave because he’s not dead.
While Bat Lady was nowhere to be found in this installment, her words were heavy regarding that. Mickey feels so empty at that gravesite because, deep in his bones, he knows his father isn’t actually resting there.
It’s a lot for young Mickey to carry, and he doesn’t have many other people who understand what’s happening, but he has Spoon and Ema. He and Spoon hugging at that gravesite made me want to reach through the screen and embrace them both.
Spoon was also great at navigating the Ema butterfly tattoo reveal and making Mickey see reason instead of running with his impulsive first feelings about the matter.
With so much going on and all these twists and turns, it’s expected that Mickey had doubts about Ema because she had that tattoo on her shoulder and never told him about it.
But he also knows that Ema Winslow has been nothing but loyal and helpful and that she’s perpetually insecure about how to be a friend despite being one of the best ones that a person can ask for here.
Spoon: We’re your friends. We wouldn’t think that about you.
Ema: Well, obviously, I’m not so great at being the whole friends thing.
Mickey: Except you kinda are.
The way of getting to that butterfly tattoo reveal was contrived. Troy being an asshole who elbowed Mickey in the nose because he was jealous of how well he played was spot on.
But the nature of Ema jumping off the bleachers and into the fray, taking off her shirt to give it to Mickey for his nose, wasn’t the smoothest way of getting to that reveal.
Nevertheless, it led to an even bigger one: Ema lives in a stunning mansion, and her mother is none other than the famous actress Angelica Wyatt.
Law & Order: SVU‘s Stephanie March is perfect in this role. Angelica somehow manages to be the quintessential actress type while also being this surprisingly great, encouraging, loving mother.
It was genuinely lovely to see her and Ema have mother-daughter moments because you can tell that Angelica wants what is best for Ema in all ways. She allows her to be who she is and follow her own path.
She’s proud of Ema but recognizes why Ema needs to find her own way and keep her mother’s identity a secret. And she was right there to remind Ema that Mickey and Spoon loved her and were her friends well before they knew who she was related to because they genuinely loved her.
The series subtly navigates so many strong and realistic parent-child dynamics, and it’s worth appreciating.
We get all these rewarding moments of character growth, and that was the case with Ema. Her intimate conversations with Whitney were enough to have you leaning into the screen because the two girls have a very clear connection with each other that’s beautiful to watch unfold.
And it was such a relief when they finally shared their kiss after Ema was vulnerable enough to tell Whitney the truth about her mother.
I want to give Whitney the benefit of the doubt about her telling Buck about Angelica. I sincerely hope there is more to that situation and that she and Ema can work through such a betrayal.
But it was so disappointing. Ema has finally been opening herself up and seeing how amazing that can be, and a betrayal like that could have her scurrying back into her shell, which sucks.
Also, Buck is such an asshole, and no one wants to see him coming at her again or whatever stupid stunts he and Troy may do.
Whitney: I liked you before I knew who your mom was. And I like you just as much now.
Ema: Thanks, Whitney.
Whitney: I liked you for a while, actually.
Whitney: Ever since you moved here, I was like, that girl.
However, there’s a chance he’ll lay off Mickey Bolitar now that Troy and Rachel have talked, and he realized he was being jealous for no reason.
His behavior towards Mickey has been deplorable, and while Ken was letting him off the hook in that stereotypical cop dad way of his, making excuses for his son, I’m glad Hannah held him accountable.
Troy’s behavior, regardless of what he was assuming or feeling, was not okay, and I hope he and Mickey can put things to bed. It’s on Troy to do that.
Troy Taylor is a far more layered character than he can appear to be on the surface, which saves him from being the loathsome one-dimensional jock trope.
He wasn’t wrong to be upset about Rachel getting secretive with him. He’s not dumb; he could pick up something was happening with her, and he’s been trying to get her to talk to him, so I’m glad they had a conversation that gives him something.
And he obviously helped her and Mickey with the address to Octoface’s gorgeous house.
Troy is also taking a lot of his family stuff out on Mickey. He knows something is happening with his parents, but he has it all wrong. It’s not his father sleeping with Shira Bolitar; it’s his mother.
That situation is another case of people needing to lay all their cards on the table and work out where they go next. The current situation is not beneficial to anyone.
Shira: Remember, you’re a Bolitar.
Mickey: Kind of hard to forget in this town.
He doesn’t deserve to be cheated on, regardless of how much of an ass Ken is. Hannah deserves to be happy, and even if she doesn’t have a husband she wants to be with anymore, she deserves a partner and co-parent who can communicate with, respect, and see her and their kid.
And Troy doesn’t deserve to be in a household with all this tension and no answers.
After a years-long slumber with Shira back in town, Hannah has come to life again. She has this new lease on life, and she’s finally realizing what she wants from life and wants to pursue it.
It’s a new awakening for her. The impulse buying of a restaurant was shocking, and she’s getting a bit carried away with moves like that, but I’m glad she’s finding herself again.
I adore Hannah and Shira and how happy they make each other. But there are still some concerns, particularly for Shira. She’s not in the best position here.
Hannah is sowing her oats like something has finally unlocked for her, and she’s free, but she isn’t really free until she properly resolves things with Ken. Otherwise, they’re one of those ships affected by infidelity, and no one wins.
It’s not fair to keep luring Shira into their little bubble with no safety net in sight because Shira can’t know where she stands.
Shira loves Hannah, but Hannah has a whole husband and family to get things right with before they can move forward in the meaningful way that Shira likely needs.
You can tell Shira is still trying to be cautious with her heart. Secrecy sucks, and while we can tell Hannah loves Shira, what’s to stop Shira from feeling like a secret or one thing in this bordering-on mid-life crisis phase Hannah is giving off because of her new awakening?
Hannah and Shira deserve the chance to flourish, but as intoxicating as their scenes are, they can only do that properly once Hannah literally gets her house in order.
Because if their secret rendezvous comes out, they’ll have a bigger mess to deal with, and who needs more messes?
In an hour where Spoon was constantly the supportive friend and trusty sidekick character, it was nice to have that moment between him and Agent. Spoon is a character who has more to him than meets the eye, and it’s apparent that he hides behind his humor and quirkiness.
It’s heartbreaking to think that he’s experienced darkness, but it’s also not that surprising, and the real concern is Agent’s cryptic message that Spoon will experience more losses.
Who will he lose? In what capacity will he lose them? “Losses” don’t necessarily have to mean “death.”
And the temporary tattoo Agent gives Spoon was interesting, too. It was the badass biker type with the bleeding, broken heart held together, and Agent left a space for a name. But what is the meaning behind that?
Does it imply that Spoon will place someone he loves there because they’re healing his broken heart, or does it mean that someone he loves will break his heart or hurt him somehow?
Agent: I sense a darkness in you, Spoon.
Spoon: Oh, yeah, sorry, that’s gas. I have a funny tummy.
Agent: You joke to cover.
Spoon: Cover what?
Agent: The loss. You know loss. I’m afraid you’re going to have to experience more of it.
Is it one of intimacy and a loving tribute or something more complex? And what’s the over-under on the name that Spoon puts there?
Is it wrong that the first name that came to mind was Mickey? I don’t think Spoon has loved anyone as much as he loves Mickey Bolitar, and he shows that constantly. He wears that on his sleeve. He’s never had what he’s had until Mickey showed up.
What if Mickey Bolitar‘s hero complex that Rachel called him out on disrupts everything, including his relationships with those close to him?
The cliffhanger of the hour was Dylan Shakes’ drunken father getting emotional over Mrs. Friedman putting up that memorial poster about his son.
He flashed back to a moment of Dylan in pain, and we’re led to believe it was by Mr. Shakes’ hand. But there’s still so much mystery surrounding that.
Was Dylan Shakes’ father indeed an abusive man who killed his own son? Did Dr. Kent traffick Dylan off somewhere?
Why did those mysterious men kidnap Dr. Kent from the hospital before Spoon and Ema could speak with him?
And what is happening in that club that Mickey and Rachel are outside of?
Also, where did Ashley run off this time?
We have more questions than answers during this hour as the mysteries intensify.
Hit the comments below with your thoughts, theories, and speculation.
You can stream all-new episodes of Harlan Coben’s Shelter Fridays on Prime Video.
And you can keep up with the series through our Harlan Coben Shelters Reviews.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You’ll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on Twitter.
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