Harlan Coben’s Shelter Season 1 Episode 6 Review: Candy’s Room


We have one major mystery down!

While many of us probably suspected that Dylan Shakes was alive and that he had gotten away from his father’s abuse, it was lovely to have that confirmation during Harlan Coben’s Shelter Season 1 Episode 6.

It was also so touching to have that reunion between Dylan and Mrs. Friedman.

Mickey was a bit of a lone wolf for most of the hour, and it landed him in quite a terrifying position, with new information about Abeola and all his father has been involved in and him escaping for his life.

What happened to the buddy system, Mickey? This is getting too stressful!

With the number of mysteries that this series drops at us rapidly, it’s nice to have a clear-cut answer for at least one of them and bits and pieces of things coming together for some others.

Shelter has been a blast to watch because the characters and cast are so much fun that you’ll watch them do anything.

And we have, whether or not we could follow along with whatever they’re doing or not.

I could watch a whole series of just Mickey Bolitar, Ema, and Spoon being regular teenagers who aren’t trying to serve as a Gen Z Scooby-Doo.

And Shira Bolitar is such a compelling character in her own right that following along with her love life and everything else is enough of a hook on its own.

Some of the conversations between Mickey and his aunt were interesting to come from this hour.

Mickey: I have to ask a favor. I want to exhume my dad’s body.
Shira: What? Why would you want to do that?
Mickey: For closure.
Shira: Digging up a grave is a pretty extreme way of finding closure.

They have such a unique bond that has been subtly explored, and it was nice that Mickey could reassure his aunt that he didn’t hate her and never did.

Shira always doubts herself as a guardian, and she’s been thrust into a position she’s unprepared for and barely knows how to navigate. Still, she does incredibly well, given the circumstances.

One of the most obvious examples of this was her reaction to Mickey when he said he wanted Brad’s body exhumed.

She respects his opinion and hears him out instead of dismissing him as being a silly teenager who needs to move past things.

She’s thoughtful and listens intently rather than immediately shutting down his idea, even when she expresses how outlandish it seems.

She heard him out and respected him when he couldn’t tell her what was leading him to the conclusion that his father may not be in that grave.

Most adults wouldn’t have known how to handle that situation or would’ve stumbled through invalidating the teen’s feelings or not entertaining the process. Instead, they would’ve redirected them to a therapist.

It’s that mutual respect between them that is endearing.

But it wasn’t until later that we learned that Shira has had these doubts about Brad, too. She could relate to Mickey’s feelings because she’s in the same boat.

It doesn’t feel like her brother’s dead. She can’t sense him at that grave either, and she also can’t shake the last voicemail he left her during Harlan Coben’s Shelter Season 1 Episode 1 and what it could mean.

I’m pleased that they’ve concluded that they will dig up his grave for the closure, and then we’ll likely get confirmation that Brad isn’t dead.

The question is if we’ll have to wait until they search for the body, or will we find out sooner if Brad somehow comes to his son’s rescue as Mickey is in the thick of it?

Mickey has spent all season being the product of his father, the spitting image of him in his dogged pursuit to find Ashley and find justice.

He’s brave-hearted, loyal, determined, and seemingly fearless.

He runs into trouble rather than away from it, and it’s terrifying to watch and, at times, seems foolish, but it also makes him heroic.

His stakeout outside the Candy Bar didn’t give him too much. And Rachel Caldwell signed off for the evening.

But then he found himself back there, sneaking in with a fake ID, and he got more information that broke things open and confirmed more of what the season has teased along the way.

It’s a front for human trafficking, which is exactly what Brad and Kitty have been combatting their lives.

Abeola is the network that Bat Lady fronts to rescue children, and Brad worked for her this entire time.

Chances are, he has been working for Bat Lady since the day he got locked inside her house. Knowing Bat Lady, she respected that a young kid like him conquered his fears and entered her home despite all the warnings.

Mickey: Why don’t you tell anyone you’re still alive?
Dylan/Sunglasses Man: Because it doesn’t matter anymore.
Mickey: It matters to Mrs. Friedman.

And if she also knew about him through Dylan Shakes, then it’s no wonder she wanted him on her team.

We still don’t know what happened to him in that house, and chances are, Shira may be figuring it out. The situation with the stitched hat seemed to be a clue for her.

Nevertheless, that time there was influential, and he’s been part of this organization ever since.

The issue is that Bat Lady doesn’t seem the most heroic despite her work. She has an edge of darkness that’s concerning and eerie, making you neither trust her implicitly.

And that’s likely why Brad told Shira that he doesn’t trust anyone but her.

Suppose that mysterious Abeola woman was supposedly his friend during the last mission, and she worked for the bad guys. In that case, shady figures clearly infiltrate Abeola, and everything Brad has done isn’t what it seems.

We know he would’ve gotten into this for the right reasons, but there’s no telling where his work has led him now. And there’s no way of knowing who is friend or foe in all of this.

If Abeola and this human trafficking ring are connected after all, then that’s a scary thought.

And right in the middle of this is Ashley Kent, who may know that there is more to all of this, and that’s why she was fleeing.

We didn’t get to lay eyes on Ashley. We’re told that she was in a dungeon and set up to be sold to a wealthy man. But can we even trust that truth, given the sources and the events that happened after the fact?

Who can Mickey turn to for assistance once he’s done fleeing a bunch of shadowy men shooting at him?

Bat Lady is terribly manipulative; we’ve seen that with her stunt with the photo. She’s determined to have Mickey under her wing in some capacity and seems to want him to focus on Luther, but why?

And with Luther lurking around Bat Lady’s home, what are we to make of that? What if Luther isn’t a bad guy or Mickey’s “butcher?”

What if Luther is the person who helped Brad fake his death and escape to recoup until he could come up with a plan to root out all the evil that he’s encountered?

It’s no secret that deception and subterfuge abound with all these operations and organizations.

Luther arrived at the memorial, and Mickey couldn’t reach him in time. It’s almost convenient how he got sidetracked with Sunglasses Man instead.

Once he spoke to Dr. Kent and heard about what really happened to Dylan, he could piece together that Sunglasses Man and Dylan Shakes are the same.

But is anyone wondering who took Dr. Kent and where he’s been? It looked like he got kidnapped, and then he just casually shows up at the memorial, drops this information on Mickey, and disappears again.

And what happened to his wife? Is she with him now? Is he trying to escape, and Abeola is helping him? What gives?

The reveal that Sunglasses Man was Dylan Shakes tied up one of many threads in this series.

Dylan definitely knew how much his absence affected Mrs. Friedman, who wanted to adopt him. I wish he had given her some closure much sooner. She deserved that rather than death threats.

The hour mostly had Mickey taking on much of this alone because Ema Winslow and Spoon got wrapped up in normal teen drama.

I love how much this trio rubs off on one another. When Buck made that announcement, I knew Mickey would be the one to track him down and knock his lights out.

Micky can be impulsive, a bit of a hothead, and he’s protective as hell about his friends. It wouldn’t be the first time he laid hands on Buck as a warning. One Buck definitely should’ve heeded by now.

Mickey: Sup, Mayweather.
Spoon: Oh, you heard about that? I guess you can say I gave Buck a spoonful.

Shockingly, it was like a role reversal. Mickey took on the more nurturing role that Spoon typically does, and he went to find Ema instead to make sure she was okay.

And Spoon is the one who tracks Buck down and punches him out in easily one of the best scenes of the hour.

Spoon Spindell can do no wrong in my book, and I love him to bits. He’s been growing increasingly aggressive, like a honey badger, when sticking up for his people.

Buck has been walking on thin ice with Spoon for a minute.

But Spoon also shifted back to his normal fare of being the shoulder to lean on and that comforting person who says all the right things and can make you smile and cheer you up.

He’s right about Ema making progress in being vulnerable with someone. It sucks that this happened to her, but it’s growth on her part too, and it’s worth being proud of, as Spoon said.

Whitney hurt Ema beyond forgiveness, in my book. She knows how her brother is, and it doesn’t matter if he blackmailed her. He’ll always have that information on his sister and will do whatever he pleases with the second she stands up to him.

She’d do better owning up to what she did before he could release it so she could be free of him.

I never want to talk to you again. I never want to see you again. Stay the fuck away from me.


It’s such a shallow, self-absorbed issue on Whitney‘s part that she sold Ema, a girl she genuinely seems to like, out over some followers controversy on an app.

It’s such childish dumb stuff, yet for teenagers, it’s their entire world, so as frustrating as this development is, I can’t even say it’s unrealistic.

Maybe Ema will be able to forgive Whitney, and maybe not. They were an endearing potential couple.

But it’s hard to get past something like that, especially when Ema has learned that there are peers of hers who have more backbone and can do what’s right.

She has Spoon and Mickey Bolitar as best friends, so it’s hard not to have a certain level of expectation for future relationships, platonic, romantic, or otherwise.

Maybe she and Whitney will end up like Shira and Hannah.

They’ve gotten so reckless with their affair. The sleepover was definitely a turning point in that regard.

But Hannah Taylor has gotten a new lease on life from the second Shira came back into town. It was like she needed Shira to free herself.

Ema: I feel really stupid. I don’t know why I trusted her.
Spoon: Ema, I’m actually really proud of you.
Ema: Why?
Spoon: Well, I didn’t know you too well before this, but what happened feels like something the old Ema wouldn’t have done, taking a risk and putting yourself out there.

On the one hand, that’s endearing as far as their love story goes and how much Hannah loves Shira, but on the other hand, that puts a lot on Shira.

There is no way this plays out where Shira doesn’t feel like she’s the reason a family is splitting up and Hannah is doing all these things.

Hannah can’t do all the things she desires because of Shira. She should be willing to do these things for herself.

And Shira is placed in the middle of this marriage in many uncomfortable ways. Ken seeking Shira’s advice at the memorial was awkward.

He thinks there is an avenue for him to get his wife back because he spent years not even knowing that she was unhappy.

He may mean everything he says, and he’ll try to make improvements moving forward, but it’s too late, and as terrible as Ken is as a husband, he also doesn’t deserve to get blindsided without even a chance to know how to make things better.

It sucks that they got this far into their marriage without resolving their issues. This sets things up where if he learns the truth about Hannah and Shira, he’ll think about Shira breaking up his marriage or Hannah deceiving him and not thinking about his role in their marriage dissolution.

Hell, chances are he’ll probably wonder if Hannah ever actually loved him or even Shira back in high school. When you think about it, what stops Ken from feeling like he was a glorified beard for 25 years?

I think you’re about to run away again so I’m going to say now what I didn’t get to say 25 years ago. I fucking love you! I love everything about you, I always have, and this is what I want for the rest of my life. Do you want the same?


Did Hannah ever love Ken Taylor at all? Or did she love having this piece of Shira? And that goes for Ken, too.

Ken doesn’t have much depth in all of this.

But Shira’s issues are apparent. Initially, it felt like Shira would be the one set up for hurt, and there’s a chance that remains the case. But there’s also a matter of Hannah getting hit worse.

She’s ready to blow up her life that wasn’t making her happy anymore and start anew with Shira, and the prospect of that seems to terrify Shira and has her ready to shut down.

I’ve been a shit husband. Tell me how to make it right.


Shira is a runner, it seems. And Hannah is not ready to be abandoned by Shira again and is making that known.

It’s a challenging situation, and Shira seems more afraid of its fallout than Hannah, which could influence her position and why she’s pushing Hannah away right now.

Ultimately, they deserve to be happy, preferably together, with the truth out in the open, consequences be damned.

It’s not as if Troy Taylor will have any more demanding time with all of this since he’s witnessed how unhappy his parents are, and it’s making him unhappy, too.

I really want to be worthy of you.


Much of his horrible behavior is attributed to his household and family issues. When that clears up, he can continue to be a fairly decent guy.

He’s off to a good start with how open he is with Rachel about his fears and simply valuing her as more than just his pretty girlfriend.

For the most part, Troy has been a surface-level character, so it’s not the easiest to invest in him all that much, but he was tolerable during this installment, at least, so there’s that.

Over to you, Shelter Fanatics.

Were you shocked about the Dylan revelation? Are you surprised that Shira feels the same way as Mickey about Brad? How will Mickey escape? Sound off below.

Harlan Coben’s Shelter airs on Fridays on Prime Video.

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You’ll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on Twitter.

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