Harlan Coben’s Shelter Season 1 Episode 7 Review: Sweet Dreams Are Made of This


Can we please stop traumatizing these teens for, like, a second?

It was nearly all hands on deck for the teens during Harlan Coben’s Shelter Season 1 Episode 7, which was a harrowing hour for too many of the kiddos.

But by the end of it, at least we know that Ashley is rescued and off somewhere far safer for now.

Mickey Bolitar’s hard-learned lesson of the hour was that he has to trust and rely on his friends a bit more, but then, did he really learn that lesson by the end when he went to confront Bat Lady alone?

And Spoon experienced such a devastating loss, that of a girl he once knew and part of his innocence, that it’s almost unforgivable that we didn’t get to revisit that again.

Spoon Spindell is not okay, and we need to focus on that a bit more!

The series knows its strength lies in the dynamics, particularly among the teens. And we got more of that with Ema, Spoon, and Rachel taking the forefront during a recovery mention after Mickey was laid up because he did things alone.

Ema: The Dungeon? What the fuck is this place?
Candy: Hell. This place is hell.

Mickey’s detachment from the rest of the characters was a bit disappointing for the hour, especially when you consider the primary lesson he should’ve learned was not to go after things by himself.

All of these various dynamics work and are great. However, Mickey is still the glue to keep everything together, and while it was for and because of him that the other trio took the risk of picking up his cause to rescue Ashely, his detachment from most of the mission felt a bit off.

It felt equally off that he went home and got sidetracked to confront Bat Lady alone rather than spending time with Spoon after something so harrowing.

Spoon and Ema were pissed off because Mickey had gone rogue alone, and they didn’t know where he was. Spoon having the sense to put all of them on a Find Your Friend App to track Mickey down was nothing short of a miracle.

Spoon and Ema are always there to help Mickey when he falls, and that’s why their friendship is so freaking special.

It was one of those hours where the editing was a bit rough. We missed many of those little character moments and scenes that make a series like this worthwhile.

Ema and Spoon find Mickey, thank goodness, but then we flash forward to them stuck outside the hospital room, looking in as Shira was by Mickey’s bedside, and it felt like we missed out on some special moments for the trio.

And then they were confronting Bat Lady on their own, knowing she was partly why Mickey was in that hospital bed. And Bat Lady, as cryptic as ever, reminded them that they were part of this whole thing with Mickey and that to honor him, they could proceed to find Ashley with Rachel’s help.

Ema: The old fuck nearly got Mickey killed.
Spoon: I’m not even going to call out your ageism, eff that, B.

She called Rachel Caldwell in and assembled this trio like some Gen-Z Avengers and set them on their merry way, and part of me genuinely wonders if she was using all of this as a test for them instead of focusing on how to save Ashley from Abeona’s end.

Rachel has been itching to get into more of this fight, so the hour put her to her best use this time and certainly gave Sage Linder a bit more to chew on, which was great.

She and Ema joining forces, playing girlfriends, manipulating Buddie, and kicking some butt was genuinely fun to watch. It was also nice to see Ema lean further into her identity as Angelica’s daughter and use it to her advantage.

They all were determined to do this for Ashley, but for Mickey because of their deep connection to him, which is endearing regardless of its dangers.

The trio of Ema, Rachel, and Spoon, but mostly Ema and Rachel, had significantly better luck with their assignment because, unlike Mickey, they went as a team and didn’t go about things on their own.

It was surprising that Ashley Kent came out of nowhere and knocked Buddy out. Did Ema succeed at putting the entire code in before Buddy started choking her out, and did that free Ashley?

I lost track of things during that scene or, again, rougher editing.

But bad things happen when they go about them alone, and my heart ached for Spoon when he got carted away. It was also frustrating that the girls mostly took for granted that he’d find his way out of a mess that they knew led to Mickey facedown in the sand by the water and in a hospital bed.

Ema: I just can’t believe you put a stalker app on our phones without telling us.
Spoon: No, they’re not stalker apps. They’re bestie apps, and sometimes you need to stalk your besties across state lines.
Ema: Aren’t you against invasion of privacy?
Spoon: Yeah, I am, or I was, or I’m inconsistent. Maybe I just love too much, okay?

Not that Candy wasn’t a great assist, but they also knew there wasn’t much the poor girl could do. Otherwise, she would’ve freed herself or saved Ashely a long time ago on her own.

Interestingly enough, it was chilling when Agent spoke to Spoon about his tattoo and loss during Harlan Coben’s Shelter Season 1 Episode 5.

Not only did Agent imply that Spoon is no stranger to loss, that it’s a familiar bedfellow for him, and that there is some profound sadness behind Spoon’s smile and deflection via humor, but Agent suggested that Spoon would experience great loss again.

They also offered to have a special someone placed in the tattoo whenever Spoon was ready. And up until this point, it’s felt like Mickey is Spoon’s entire world and that somehow, in some way, that person would be Mickey.

But then we had Spoon’s connection with Candy, and it was pure devastation as things went from bad to worse for them.

Spoon recalled a time he spent with his grandparents, and seeing Candy in her former life, when she was a young, happy kid with her mother before life dealt her shitty hands, her mother died, and she got human trafficked.

And it just hit you in the gut that Spoon Spindell, as pure of heart as he is, could represent a time that Candy loved most in her life, of innocence, happiness, and hope.

Spoon got to represent all of those things to Candy in her final moments, and he gave her that gift; he was that gift.

But in turn, like a sin-eater, it came at a significant cost to him, as he had to watch her die in front of his eyes, and with her went a bit of his innocence and purity.

The light left his eyes every bit as much as the life left hers.

She got shot trying to save him, and you know he will internalize that a bit. He looked so shaken and thoroughly traumatized from that point forward, even though he must’ve had the ability to communicate with Mickey so they could rescue the girls in time.

For as long as Spoon has that temporary tattoo, Candy’s name will slot into that spot. And this work will keep taking all these bits and pieces from Spoon in a way that makes you sad.

Agent: I sense a darkness in you, Spoon.
Spoon: Oh, yeah, sorry, that’s gas. I have a funny tummy.
Agent: You joke to cover.
Spoon: Cover what?
Agent: The loss. You know loss. I’m afraid you’re going to have to experience more of it.

It also makes you reflect on things like Bat Lady’s tombstone as an ode to the loss of her childhood because of the Holocaust.

While what she has these teens doing is far from comparable, it makes you a bit angry that she’s subsequently stripping these kids of their childhood and innocence by encouraging them to be part of this world.

It was also noted that Spoon was on Bat Lady‘s wall, and it’s evident that Mickey’s presence and friendship have saved Spoon from something, seemingly a lonelier life. But goodness, I’d love it if this series delved more into who Spoon Spindell is beyond the supportive instant best friend who found a sense of purpose when Mickey arrived.

And I sure as heck wish we could understand the depth of how Candy’s death affected him without the narrative shifting because there wasn’t enough room to cover that ground within this hour.

He’s a fascinating enough character who we haven’t gotten to spend a lot of up close and personal time with outside of his role as a supporter, so now is the time to dive into that.

Mickey got a lot of intel hitting him at once.

He learned why Brad was in Bat Lady’s house as long as he was as a child. Brad came face to face with Dylan, and Bat Lady convinced Brad to keep the secret for Dylan’s safety.

The two best friends switched hats and parted ways with each other. But from that point forward, Brad was connected to Bat Lady and Abeona.

Your dad helped save me. He saved so many, Mickey. And now it’s your turn. there is a power in friendship we cannot do what we do alone. You need to trust those who are worthy


Dylan speaks about Brad with the same fondness that Bat Lady does, and you can sense that Dylan does not want Mickey involved in any of this, which tells me that he knows of Brad’s wishes and wants Bat Lady to respect them.

Brad wanted out of Abeona, most likely because he realized that there was betrayal amuck within and the dangers it posed to his family.

There hasn’t been much follow-up on the notion that Buddy’s henchwoman went from working for Abeona to against it. She could very well be in a similar boat as Luther now that we know Brad saved Luther as a kid, and now he’s a villain of his own.

 The mysterious Octoface didn’t hesitate to give Mickey that letter, letting Mickey know what Brad’s desires were and that he wanted out of the organization even if it would be difficult.

It’s nice to know that Octoface is a good guy on their side. But it’s still wild that it took them so long to help Ashley successfully.

Nevertheless, Ashley is safe. She’ll likely see Mickey sooner rather than later despite the secrecy surrounding her moving elsewhere.

Plus, they didn’t get to share a kiss, and we know that was supposed to come.

Ashley’s story is so obviously incomplete.

And she and Mickey are set up to be the new Brad and Kitty. Because Mickey, regardless of what was said in that letter, can’t stay away from Bat Lady or the missions that she has.

Her roomful of all the kids that they saved was intense. She wants Mickey as part of all of this, but she won’t tell him anything that’s happening, and he’s still trying to figure out the truth about his father.

Luther showing up to stab Bat Lady came as a shock, and locking Mickey in the room and setting the house on fire was quite a cliffhanger.

But what exactly is Luther’s motivation? Why did he try to kill Brad Bolitar if Brad saved him? Why was he after Mickey, and what made him stab Bat Lady?

There are so many questions.

And we only have a single installment to wrap everything up!

The Hannah and Shira portion of the hour dragged a bit, which was unfortunate. It just felt like filler to hold us over until bigger things happen in the finale.

My heart aches for Shira, though. She loves Hannah Taylor, and when you consider where her head is in all of this, you can understand why she’d be a runner.

You’re the only one I ever loved.

Hannah [to Shira]

Shira hasn’t been in the best position in all of this. She’s starting to feel like a homewrecker. She has Troy coming after her, wrongfully assuming that she’s messing around with his father, and this causes his parents to split up.

She has Hannah confessing her undying love to Shira and broadcasting that she filed for divorce, but their relationship is still a secret that can lead to messiness and complications.

And because she’s been so consumed with all of this, she feels like she dropped the ball on parenting her nephew and thus broke her promise to her brother and proved her mother right.

She never planned on getting wrapped back up in her web of desire and love for Hannah when she returned home, and it’s left her flustered and all over the place.

It’s also inserted her into things with The Taylors in a way that she didn’t plan or necessarily want, and it just sucks all around.

It’s frankly the downside to cheating arcs like this. At the moment, Hannah seems to be the only one who is happy and floating on cloud nine right now, but she also has the most work she needs to do to get her life together.

I’m happy that Hannah has found happiness, and she loves Shira, and is prepared to spend her life with the only person she’s ever loved, but my heart and head hurt from the chaos around her while she’s flying high off of this.

Ken is an ass and a terrible husband, but he deserves more information, deeper conversations to understand what’s happening, and the truth about Hannah and Shira.

Hey, Shira. Stay away from my dad and my family.


Troy Taylor deserves to understand why his family is falling apart around him and the truth about everything. He seems to be neglected by both parents emotionally in this regard.

Shira deserves to be free of the feeling that she’s a homewrecker, not to feel like she’s the reason a family is breaking apart, the catalyst in destroying a marriage, or the person Troy blames for everything.

Hannah telling Shira that she’s the only one she ever loved is the most romantic, pressure-filled, and lowkey shocking and hurtful (if Troy heard that) thing she could say.

From Troy’s perspective, I can’t fathom hearing something like that and realizing that everything he thought he knew about his family was a lie.

And how do you hear something like that and not feel like not only was Hannah marrying Ken some type of mistake, but he was, too? Or that Hannah wasn’t happy this entire time and just settled?

What were even the circumstances surrounding Ken and Hannah getting together in the first place? If she never loved Ken, why were they ever a thing?

It sucks that Troy learned about his mother and Shira Bolitar from spying on them because Hannah’s behavior has been so foreign to him that he needed to know a truth that she’s been too busy to share.

Hannah is the sweetest, and I love that she’s coming to grips with her desires, finally finding her happiness and pursuing her dreams. Too many women get lost in their respective roles to other people and lose sight of themselves.

But I just hate how much damage and hurt it’s also causing everyone around her because there’s no proper communication and honesty.

Hopefully, Troy learning the truth won’t destroy his relationship with his mother or father in any way, and I hope he doesn’t lash out at Shira either.

Now that Troy knows the truth, what will he do with that? We only have one installment to see how this plays out for Shira and the Bolitars.

There is a lot to sort out before people can be happy, but hopefully, happiness is on the horizon for all of them.

Over to you, Shelter Fanatics. What are your thoughts on Troy learning the truth about his mother and Shira? How upsetting was Candy’s death?

Are you worried about Spoon? Is that the last of Ashley? Sound off below!

The season finale of Harlan Coben’s Shelter airs next Friday 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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