Ashley Kent In ‘Harlan Coben’s Shelter’ Episode 4: Did Bat Lady Kidnap Ashley?

Harlan Coben’s Shelter is a new mystery drama series that takes the viewers through a deep, dark forest in the hope that the story’s matrix of truth and lies will keep you entertained while you keep second-guessing the next turn of events. Shelter Episode 4 proves that the mystery of Brad’s death and the intentions of the ‘Bat Lady’ regarding Brad’s son Mickey will not be deciphered so easily. Although the episode did give us some answers, especially regarding Ashley and Rachel’s connection, there are many questions that were left unanswered. The episode was a mixed bag this time. It meandered from one story to the next without much fervor.


The whole subplot exploring Shira’s past seemed out of place and disturbed the pacing, but as soon as the episode focused on Ashley and the Bat Lady, the intrigue was back. Shelter Episode 4 did a great job of making us aware of the Bat Lady’s prowess, and it is drilled into our heads that we shouldn’t mistake her old age for frailty. She is as feisty as they come. Mickey, on the other hand, was just like a boy who was feeling lost after losing his way in a fair. He needed to crack this mystery, and he did make some breakthroughs. Ema and Arthur continued their shenanigans at school and discovered something about Dylan Shakes, the boy who disappeared 27 years ago. All through Shelter Episode 4, Ashley Kent, who was missing from action, was actually the common thread binding everything.

Spoilers Ahead


Is Ashley Dead Or Alive?

While Mickey was off on his own journey of figuring out who had actually murdered his father, Brad, Ema, and Arthur were trying very hard to find out what had happened to Ashley. Through the CCTV footage, they had seen that Rachel was stealing something from Ashley’s locker, and they had also seen the bald guy with the sunglasses in the video. Mickey went after the bald guy and got a time-bending narrative about ‘The Butcher’, a Nazi officer who killed 43 little girls. Arthur found out that Mrs Kent, the woman Ashley had registered as her mother, had disappeared, and he tried to get Ema on board to investigate the matter. It was strange that even though Ashley was not a member of Kent’s family, the Kents were in trouble. Firstly, Octoface had beaten up Dr. Kent, and now Mrs. Kent had gone missing. Arthur and Ema decided to break into Dr. Kent’s office. The whole family seemed to be in trouble, and it couldn’t be a coincidence. They found that Dr. Kent had treated Dylan Shakes all the way up to his disappearance. This didn’t actually help in locating Ashley. It was actually Mickey who was closer to locating Ashley.

Mickey had approached Rachel for answers. She had been seen on the CCTV, so there was no way she could deny anything. Mickey wasn’t actually able to figure out the mystery of ‘The Butcher’, even though he telephoned the paramedic ambulance company to inquire about the man who was the first responder in their accident. Nor was he able to get any information out of Mrs. Friedman. So, now he desperately needed to find out about Ashley. Rachel first tried to act innocent, but then asked Mickey to visit her at home, where she would reveal all that she knew. She didn’t want anybody at school to know, let alone her boyfriend, Troy. So when Mickey visited Rachel, she revealed that she had saved Ashley from being abducted, and there were men who were after Ashley.


If Ashley was correct, then the police were also in on this. Rachel continued that, as Ashley was terrified and had nowhere to go, Rachel had asked her to come stay at her house. Mickey sat through Rachel’s long explanation, only to finally realize that Ashley was safe. Before he could rejoice and meet Ashley, Octoface broke into Rachel’s house. Octoface was somehow connected to the whole thing, and probably the Bat Lady was involved. She had Barry Volver murdered because he couldn’t get hold of Ashley. Apparently, the two men that had come to abduct Ashley were working for Kasselton’s drama coach, Barry Volmer. He was involved in the trafficking of young girls, and Ashley could have been his next victim. Bat Lady had an idea about Barry’s operation, which is why she had him killed. We got to know all this when the Bat Lady revealed it to Mrs. Friedman, who was confronted by the Bat Lady as she had overstepped her boundaries and ruffled her feathers by going to the police. 

The other question that remains is: Why did Bat Lady want Ashley? Was she just on her way to confirm whether Barry was involved in trafficking young girls or not? And why was Rachel doing all this for Ashley? She hadn’t sought anyone’s help, and now she was in trouble too. There was a huge amount of money she had taken out of Ashley’s locker. Maybe the money belonged to Octoface, which is why he was after Rachel. How did Ashley get the money? Before any of these questions could be answered, Octoface arrived at Rachel’s house and probably had to fight Mickey. Maybe the next episode of Shelter will reveal whether Octoface was finally able to abduct Ashley or whether Mickey was able to save her, and what his connection is with the whole case.


Ashley also had the butterfly tattoo, which was a common symbol for those who were somehow connected to the Bat Lady. So getting hold of Ashley through Barry may not just be a coincidence but a premeditated plan on Bat Lady’s part. There was a hint given in the previous episodes that perhaps Ashley knew Brad as well, and her coming to Kasselton was also part of her plan to either protect Mickey or use him for her own ends. The upcoming episodes will loosen the knots, and hopefully the revelation will leave us with our jaws dropped.

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Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

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