WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Shadows House Episode 6, "The Garden Labyrinth," now streaming on Funimation.
Episode 6 of Shadows House tackles the second part of the Debut, a series of tests designed to assess the Shadow Children's suitability to join the Main House alongside their Living Dolls, the servant kids destined to become their Faces.
While the first test measured the social skills of both the Shadows and Dolls, as well as their synchronicity, the second one is designed to observe how well they function when separated; in particular, how patient the Shadows are, and how inventive and resourceful the Dolls are without their masters. And, as the participants of Harry Potter's deadly Goblet of Fire can attest to, nothing spells "resourcefulness" quite like a classic Battle Royale.
Actually -- there isn't any bloodshed or traditional violence in this episode. The Dolls, after solving a locked room puzzle, enter the garden where Edward, the master of ceremonies, had taken their masters. There, Edward explained that each of them had two hours to locate their Shadow Masters in a nearby labyrinth. To pass the test, they need to keep their faces intact and their master's clothes perfectly clean. Each child gets a small bundle with a map and other items, and their pick out of a series of random items -- from soot-cleaning suits to sharp garden shears to bread. Emilico chooses the largest, least practical of all the items: a heavy wooden cart carved with briar roses. While it could be useful to carry Kate, its weight is definitely a burden.
The children each begin their journey from a different entrance, but quickly pair up: Ricky and Lou run into each other by accident, and Ricky convinced Lou, who chose the massive shears, to work together to locate their masters -- she accepts, warning Ricky that if he tricks her, she would cut his face with the shears, ensuring that he loses the Debut and be "disposed of," useless as a Face.
Meanwhile, Emilico and Ram "ran" into each other and were extremely happy to team up, with Emilico encouraging Ram and Ram helping Emilico push her massive cart. The only one all alone was Shaun, who has an additional disadvantage in solving the labyrinth: he can't see very well, making deciphering the map's clues especially difficult for him.
The kids start to find their way around when a huge explosion rocks the ground, raising a plume of soot. It's not a trap, though -- it's only John, Shaun's master, escaping his prison. Edward had locked him inside a wooden crate, and his irritation caused him to release tons of soot, building up enough pressure to cause the crate to explode. John's clothes are filthy with soot, but he doesn't know the rule about not getting dirty, so he sets off confidently toward his new destination: the floating birdbox holding Kate.
Kate had been patiently waiting inside her cage, and is only slightly surprised to see John. This turns to outrage when John goes down on one knee and asks for her hand on marriage, pointing out that it's basically quid-pro-quo: "Marry me, and I'll help you."
John laughs, and says that his intentions are actually the opposite: first, Kate must succeed at saving herself, and then they will revisit his offer of marriage, if she so wishes. His appearance leaves Kate pondering, not his offer, but his powers -- clearly John can influence soot, or there wouldn't have been any explosion -- but is he even aware of his powers?