'Dickinson': Why Taylor Swift's 'Ivy' Was the Perfect Choice for Emisue's Big Scene (Exclusive)
By Stacy Lambe
In Dickinson season 3’s penultimate episode, “Grief Is a Mouse,” fans of Emily (Hailee Steinfield) and Sue (Ella Hunt), aka Emisue, finally get the moment they’ve been waiting for. Not only that, it’s encapsulated in one song, Taylor Swift’s “Ivy,” which plays over the ending. While speaking with ET’s Denny Directo, Steinfeld and Hunt explain why the Evermore song was the perfect choice for this big scene between the star-crossed lovers.
In the emotional episode written by Ken Greller and directed by Laura Terruso, Emily takes steps to ensure her family won’t repeat their past mistakes as she rallies around her siblings, Lavinia (Anna Baryshnikov) and Austin (Adrian Blake Enscoe), Meanwhile, the Amherst gang gathers one final time for an epic dance party to bid farewell to one of their own, George Gould (Samuel Farnsworth), who was drafted by the Civil War.
The party ends with Emily reading aloud one of her poems, “These Are the Days When Birds Come Back,” which was published in the newspaper after Sue submitted it for consideration. Later, the two end up upstairs in bed, where the two finally make love as Emily is overheard reciting the poem, “All the Letters I Can Write.” And just as the scene ends, “Ivy” starts playing over the credits.
“I could not possibly think of a better one,” Steinfeld says of the song selection, which captures the moment. “And I think fans will be very excited about that moment, because I am.”
She adds, “And to have none other than Taylor's ‘Ivy’ in that moment is just so perfect. And I feel so lucky that we were able to get that.”
“I was like, ‘Oh my god, the fans. The fans are going to die,’” says Hunt, who only learned after watching the episode the song was being used. “I’m so delighted for the fans of the show that we get to use what is such a special and poignant song. And I think it fits the moment beautifully. I hope and think it will make a lot of people very happy.”
Not only that, but it will also furthers the rumors that Evermore was inspired by the American poet and that the song, “Ivy,” is specifically about the relationship between Emily and Sue and sung from the latter’s perspective.
When the album was released, Rolling Stone noted that among the Easter eggs buried in Evermore were nods to Emily, from the fact that the album was announced on her birthday (Dec. 10, 1830) to the album’s title, which recalls a line from the poem, “Our Sister Have I in Our House.” In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Swift even said that Evermore's companion album, Folklore, was inspired this image of “this girl sleepwalking through the forest in a nightgown in 1830” she had.
While Swift herself has never confirmed anything the Folklore comments, Steinfeld wasn’t sure what to think when asked if the rumors about the Emily connections were true during an interview with CapitalFM. “I’m dying to know,” she said, clearly intrigued by all the evidence. “The clues are lining up. I gotta figure that out.”
Whether this is all part of a larger Easter egg involving Swift and Evermore remains to be seen, but there is no denying the use of “Ivy” fits in perfectly with the show’s anachronistic soundtrack, which even includes the use of one of Steinfeld’s original songs, “Afterlife,” in season 1.
“Music has been such a huge part of this show since day one and it’s one of the reasons that I love this show so much,” Steinfeld says. “And I really do feel like we have so many of these very specific musical moments in the show that really just bring it home.”
New episodes Dickinson premiere every Friday. Want to watch more? Seasons 1 and 2 are now streaming on Apple TV+. (We may receive an affiliate commission if you subscribe to a service through our links.)