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Recap / Central Park S2E06 "The Shadow"

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"Was it over forever ago?"
Original release date: July 16, 2021

Written by: Dan Hernandez & Benji Samit
Directed by: Mario D'anna

♫ Now that moment forever ago
Is home to more than one regret
A reoccurring sad vignette
And that moment has taught me to know
That I can't let this one slip by me
Or else it's sure to also be
A moment forever ago ♫
Young Hank Zevansky, "A Moment Forever Ago"
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When the Brandenham Hotel is robbed by a jewel thief, an old investigator believes the thief is "The Shadow" despite Bitsy pointing out that thief was only active 50 years ago. Later, when Birdie isn't narrating about the Tillermans, he spends most of his time busking in the park where he eventually meets someone who's a fan of his music.

    Songs 
  • "The Shadow"
    Written & Performed by: Daveed Diggs
  • "That Was All Me" - Young Bitsy & Present Bitsy
    Written by: Kate Anderson & Elyssa Samsel
    Performed by: Stanley Tucci & Keala Settle
  • "A Moment Forever Ago" - Young Hank Zevansky
    Written by: Kate Anderson & Elyssa Samsel
    Performed by: Gavin Creel
  • "Sungrai's Song (Birdie Short)" or "A Thing on Strings (A Busker's Serenade)"
    Written & Performed by: Elyssa Samsel

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Tropes in General:

  • Creator Cameo: Elyssa Samsel, one of the show's main songwriters who also wrote "A Moment Forever Ago", sings the end credits version of the song.
  • Out of Focus: The Tillermans only have a brief appearance at the beginning to emphasize Birdie's point that they're not doing much right now.
  • Special Edition Title: Like "Fista Puffs Mets Out Justice", this episode is given a special opening dedicated to Bitsy's story.
  • Villain Episode: Basically, the whole episode centers around Bitsy, with a little bit of Birdie having a plot in the end.

Tropes that applies to "The Shadow"

  • Calling Card: The Shadow would shape the wrappers from complementary hotel chocolates into penises for the police to find. Since the Shadow was actually Bitsy, the wrappers were a passive-agressive note for her father because he wished that Bitsy was a boy named Mark instead.
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  • Cultural Translation: After Bitsy reveals she's the Shadow, a maid enters the room singing "Jessie's Girl". But in the German dub, she doesn't sing the song but instead greets Bitsy and Hank when she enters.
  • Dream Ballet: The middle of "A Moment Forever Ago" has Young Bitsy and Young Hank dancing together in Central Park.
  • Everybody Knew Already: Downplayed and technically one person. Hank suspected Bitsy was the Shadow during the first theft but didn't say anything. In the present, he stages a jewelry theft to see if she'll confess to being the Shadow so he can get closure, which she does.
  • Homage: The title number pays tribute to the theme song from Shaft, with some imagery inspired by the opening sequences of James Bond films.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: When Bitsy enters the crime scene with a police officer guarding it, she complains to him he smells terrible from the salmon he ate. When Helen arrives, she tells Helen to call the mayor to assign better-looking and better-smelling police officers to the scene; Helen points out the officer can hear her and Bitsy claims nothing can penetrate the cloud of gas that clings to him, but the officer disproves her.
  • Look Behind You: When Bitsy refuses to let Hank have a Bloody Mary, he distracts her by pointing towards one of the workers at the scene and sneaks it behind his back.
  • Mood Whiplash: After Bitsy reveals to Hank that she was the Shadow, a maid enters the room to clean it while singing "Jessie's Girl", not realizing she entered during an intense, serious moment, and Bitsy shoos her out.
  • Older than They Look: When we first see Bitsy as a young woman, it's easy to mistake her for a child due to her short stature but the fact she's seen swiping a martini off a hotel dining cart shortly afterwards proves otherwise.
  • The One That Got Away: Hank was infatuated with Bitsy when he first saw her as a young beat cop working as detail after the Shadow's first theft, but never said anything to her. While he eventually moved on and found someone else, he still regrets not speaking up. On the flip side, Bitsy, upon discovering somebody actually noticed her all those years ago, wishes Hank had said something, and is irritated to discover he's happily married while she is still alone.
  • Phantom Thief: 56 years ago, a thief called the Shadow broke into the guest rooms of New York's luxury hotels to steal their jewelry and was never caught. When confronted by Hank in the present, Bitsy reveals that she was the Shadow and stole the jewelry to spite her neglectful parents. She never got caught because she used her parent's money to bribe the bellhops of the other hotels into helping her, and the cops never suspected her because she was a girl.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The police, working under the assumption that the Shadow was a man, never caught or suspected Bitsy of being the culprit because she was a small woman.
  • Self-Damaging Attack Backfire: Bitsy admits she became the Shadow to spite her neglectful parents, privately hoping they’d realize what she did and finally see what she was capable of- but that never happened because she was The Un-Favourite of the family (to the point they didn't even notice she'd quit school and moved back to the hotel). After they died, the hotel (now millions of dollars in debt due to its tarnished reputation) was left to Bitsy because no one else wanted it, forcing her to spend the next twenty years building said reputation back up again.
    Bitsy: In the end, the joke was on me.
  • Shout-Out: The song the maid was singing when entering the room is "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield.
  • Special Guest: Hank Zevansky is voiced by Henry Winkler and younger Bitsy is voiced by Keala Settle.
  • Vague Age: When Helen asks who the Shadow is, Bitsy tells her she should remember since it was in the newspaper 60 years ago. Helen claims she never read about it and asks Bitsy how old she thinks she is.
    Helen: How old do you think I am?
    Bitsy: I honestly don't know. Somewhere between 40 and 90.

Tropes that applies to "A Thing on Strings"

  • Bittersweet Ending: Birdie found someone who enjoys listening to his music in the form of an old woman in a wheelchair being pushed by a male nurse. Unfortunately, the nurse would later inform Birdie that she'd died from an unspecified terminal illness. Birdie is saddened over her death but continues to play on the next day, catching the attention of a little boy who starts dancing to his music.
  • Continuity Nod: The owl nest from "Rival Busker" is seen during Birdie's short and the mother owl and her owlets (with Tito among them) are seen again and the camera is still pointed away from them.
  • A Day in the Limelight: While he is usually the narrator, Birdie gets his time to shine in the end.
  • Killed Offscreen: During the silent montage depicting Birdie's busking sessions when he's not narrating, an old woman in a wheelchair being pushed by a male nurse comes by, and continues to come and listen to his music regardless of the weather. When Birdie sees the male nurse without the old woman, he regretfully informs Birdie that she died from an unspecified terminal illness.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: The last five minutes of the episode are a silent montage of Birdie's life busking in the park when he's not narrating about Bitsy or the Tillermans, backed only by his violin.

♫ There was a moment forever ago
That keeps me up on quiet nights
And flickers like a pilot light
A moment forever ago
That makes me wade through memories
An old man lost in reveries
Back then I thought I'd all the time
A wishful thinker's paradigm
But when I look back, all that I can find
Was it over forever ago? ♫
Elyssa Samsel, "A Moment Forever Ago (End Credits)"

 
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Birdie Plays On

Birdie found someone who enjoys listening to his music in the form of an old woman in a wheelchair being pushed by a male nurse. Unfortunately, the nurse would later inform Birdie that she'd died from an unspecified terminal illness. Birdie is saddened over her death but continues to play on the next day, catching the attention of a little boy who starts dancing to his music.

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5 (4 votes)

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Main / BittersweetEnding

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