Ziwe joined season 3 of the Apple TV+ series as a writer and also guest stars as abolitionist Sojourner Truth.
The third and final season of Dickson kicked off with three episodes on Friday, Nov. 5, which included the introduction of Ziwe guest-starring as abolitionist Sojourner Truth. In addition to appearing as the historical figure, the late-night talk show host also joined the Apple TV+ series writing team alongside creator Alena Smith, contributing to one of Jane Krakowski’s favorite moments as Mrs. Dickinson, the mother of the budding poet, Emily (Hailee Steinfeld).
While the superb season 3, which closes out the series on a high note, features a number of standout moments for Krakowski, none of them are more memorable than what happens in the upcoming episode, “The Future Never Spoke,” co-written by Smith and Ziwe. During that jam-packed, seventh half-hour, Mrs. Dickinson and her husband, Edward Dickinson (Toby Huss), unexpectedly get high.
“I’ve been thrilled with how Mrs. Dickinson has grown over the three seasons and especially all the material that I was given in season 3… but thank you to Alena and Ziwe for writing that,” Krakowski says of episode 7, which premieres Dec. 3, before adding that it is “one of my favorite moments in all three seasons. Toby Huss and I had a true blast filming those scenes. And I think there might be a meme in there that might make it outside of the show. I’m going to hope and see.”
“It’s almost kind of full circle for me in a way because in my first movie, my character in Vacation, she grew marijuana,” the actress continues, referring to her role as cousin Vicki Johnson in the 1983 National Lampoon film starring Chevy Chase. “And now Mrs. Dickinson gets to experience the joys of it.”
Krakowski then adds, “I always wanted Mrs. Dickinson to be part of the modern side of the show. And so there are many moments this season where she gets to be a part of that. And it was a great joy for me.”
In that same episode, Ziwe also returns as Sojourner while Saturday Night Live breakout Chloe Fineman makes an unexpected appearance as poet Sylvia Plath. They are two of the many historical figures that have popped up over the course of the series, including John Mulaney as philosopher Henry David Thoreau, Zosia Mamet as Little Women author Louisa May Alcott, Timothy Simons as landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and Nick Kroll as poet Edgar Allan Poe. Additionally, during season 3, Mamet reprises her role alongside an appearance by Billy Eichner as the father of free verse, Walt Whitman.
When it comes to which figures appear on the show, Smith says it’s a decision that comes out of “a combination of who is really important in the 19th century literary canon, but also who has something to say to Emily herself as a character that we are on this journey with.”
“There’s always some kind of lesson that Emily [needs] or question that Emily’s wrestling with that these particular figures have an insight into,” the creator continues. “So for Thoreau, it was about how to be alone. But then when Emily met him, she learned that he wasn’t as alone as he said.”
And while most of those encounters usually just involve Steinfeld, co-star Anna Baryshnikov, who portrays Emily’s sister, Lavinia, was excited she got to share screen time with Fineman. “I felt so fortunate this season because, normally those are characters Emily is mostly engaging with, but I was in the scenes with Chloe,” the actress says. “And that’s just one of my favorite moments in the season.”
Baryshnikov also reveals that she knew Ziwe, who also makes a standout appearance on Succession season 3, prior to her joining Dickinson. “Ziwe is actually a friend of mine from college,” Baryshnikov says, noting how proud she was to see the writer’s digital series, Baited With Ziwe, “take off the way it did during the pandemic. It was so incredible.
She adds, “So, when I first found out she was going to be in the writers’ room, I was so excited. And then even more so when I found out she was going to play Sojourner, and her scenes are unbelievably funny.”
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.)
--Additional reporting by Denny Directo