The Haunting Of Bly Manor Episode 6 Explained Henry James’ The Jolly Corner Forces Us To Look In The Mirror
Bitter regret and the tragedy of past decisions take their toll in The Haunting Of Bly Manor Episode 6 when we learn it’s never too late to atone for our sins.
The Haunting of Bly Manor Episode 6 is Henry and Jamie’s to tell. As with all the episodes of Netflix’s gothic romance, each bottle episode could be viewed independently or as a part of the greater whole of the story of the tragedy of Bly Manor. Based on the Henry James story, The Jolly Corner is a character study on the power of redemption and acceptance.
Having lost the woman he loves and his brother, Henry has become an angry, bitter man. Focused solely on business and grief, he has been torn apart by guilt and regret. Nearly paralyzing doubt has left him alone and grateful. His company was a mess from Peter’s embezzlement, and he has stubbornly separated himself from Miles and Flora, who desperately need him. Throughout the episode, we learn of his affair and watch as he confronts his internal demon. This episode was split between two love stories: the tender, blooming love of Dani and Jamie, and the betrayal of the Wingrave’s. In contrast, Jamie is proof of the triumph of the human spirit. She has overcome terrible things and emerged stronger and wiser for the struggle. It is also the beginning of the end of the greater story of The Turn Of The Screw.
The last of Henry James’ short stories is widely considered his best. Published in 1908, it is a classic ghost story with a Henry James twist. The Jolly Corner is almost biographical. The protagonist Spencer Brydon is a man who has split his life between America and England without committing to either. After thirty-three years away from America, he returns to his childhood home to check on the two buildings which fund his playboy lifestyle. Brydon becomes obsessed with the idea that his alter ego still lives in his family home. Night after night, he stalks the darkened walls searching for his other-self.
This meditative story is the most self-reflective of all of his stories. Henry James’ life paralleled Brydon’s, and many critics believe it was an attempt at his acceptance. Brydon simultaneously loves and hates his other-self. He thinks he is the part of himself that could have been but is also the part that forces him to do terrible things. Instead of accepting that he is the shadow man, he places all his repressed anger onto the imaginary ghost. At the end, when the doppelganger finds him, Brydon refuses to face the truth and is consumed by his dark side.
Henry compartmentalizes the two sides of his personality. The kind, caring uncle/father and a brother who would have an affair with his brother’s wife. In doing so, he has creates a grinning alter ego who is evil and confident. The Haunting Of Bly Manor Episode 6 forces Henry to confront his alter ego and defeats him. In The Jolly Corner, the shadow man assumes Brydon’s life because he failed to admit what he had done and who he was. Henry admitted his failings and was able to piece himself back together and return to Bly to help the children.
Jamie’s story is also revealed in The Haunting Of Bly Manor Episode 6. Her character arc is fundamentally different from Henry’s. Unlike him, she did not benefit from a loving family or the privilege of money and education. She grew up in foster care and went to jail. Instead of becoming bitter and despondent, she sought out the hope in work. Gardening saved her life. It gave her purpose and order in the chaos. Dani’s poignant speech shows the stark difference between Jamie, who embraces life, and Henry, who yearns for what might have been.
Curiously the children’s episodes being possessed by Ms. Jessel and Peter could be interpreted as the Alice character in The Jolly Corner. Alice is the woman Brydon left in America. Having been abandoned for thirty years, she has become just as bitter and desperate as Brydon. Once Brydon confronts and loses to his doppelganger, she claims her prize. No longer will she be a lonely spinster. Some could argue she enabled everything that happened in an attempt to keep him with her. Ms. Jessel and especially Peter, are doing the same thing to the children. They are taking their lives to cling to each other. In their case, love is not selfless but selfish.
The entire season is about the ghosts of our past more than the literal faceless ghosts who walk the halls. Everyone is doomed to repeat their mistakes and languish in loneliness unless they embrace what could be instead of mourning what wasn’t. Find all our analysis of The Haunting Of Bly Manor here.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.