Stories about labyrinths and mazes don't always end well. Ariadne gives Theseus the magic thread to help him through the Labyrinth in Greek mythology only to be left behind by an ungrateful hero. Hansel and Gretel's attempts to find their way out of the labyrinthine forest nearly gets them both eaten just as the birds devoured their breadcrumbs. Best case scenario you're at risk of running into a goblin king in very tight pants. So when this week's episode of Shadows House does in fact turn out to involve a hedge-bound labyrinth, the living dolls limited to choosing one tool each to help them find their shadow masters, it's hard not to be apprehensive.
The maze is entirely Edward's idea, incidentally. He's been put in charge of this debut, and he's determined to make things as difficult as possible for the pairs trying to pass it, largely out of some possibly misplaced idea that if he passes all of them he won't be seen as “serious.” That the adult dolls, who we get our first glimpse of at the end of the episode, don't seem impressed by his hardassery suggests that he's got ahold of the wrong end of the stick, although whether that's because they think it's pathetic or that he's reaching above himself isn't clear. But Edward is bound and determined to make this the hardest debut ever, and one which will see the elimination of Kate and Emilico if he has anything to say about it.
Why he's fixated on Kate also isn't clear, but we do know that he is inclined to be at least a bit arbitrary – he docked Ricky and Patrick's status because they began dancing when he was just playing the piano to calm himself, thus not allowing him the respite he sought. Even if he isn't quite setting everyone up to fail, he comes fairly close to it with his lack of truly firm criteria, as we see again when his instructions to “eat your sweets” turns out to indicate that each dish is essentially a galette des rois, or king cake, with a fève (charm) potentially inside. The fève can all be combined to spell out a message, but more importantly, to function as a key which will let the dolls into the labyrinth, where the next stage of the debut takes place.
For all that Edward is against Kate and Emilico, they may in fact be the cleverest pair. We've seen that Emilico's sunny personality comes with an ability to think outside the box, which at times gets her in trouble but just as often helps her to overcome a puzzle that's stumped everyone else. She's the one who figures out the key to leave the room after Shaun notes the fève, and after Lou chooses to use the hedge clippers as her one tool, she selects what could turn out to be the second most useful, the wheelbarrow, which can be used for transportation, to carry burdens/people, used as a battering ram, be turned upside down and used as a step stool…it's flexible in a way that the soot suit and lantern aren't. Plus Kate may be able to power it with her soot skills once she finds her, making it even more effective. (It's hard to fault Shaun for taking the magnifying glass, since he doesn't have his glasses.)
Meanwhile, we can see that Edward hasn't been treating the Shadows any better than their faces; in fact, he might be worse to the two we've seen. That they're possibly his least favorite also has to be a consideration – John he imprisoned in a box and Kate he's suspended in a birdcage. It's not clear if he's aware that both John and Kate may be able to manipulate their soot to get out of their predicaments; John certainly seems surprised that he's managed to blow his box open. Kate's worried about using her powers and unimpressed with John's proposal of marriage and so hasn't made her move yet – but she's probably going to have to if she and Emilico are truly going to survive this.
Bodies and faces have to work together, right?
Shadows House is currently streaming on Funimation.