Lessons in Chemistry Season 1 Episode 8 Review: Introduction to Chemistry


The final episode of Lessons In Chemistry Season 1 tied up the loose ends of Elizabeth Zott’s near future while giving us closure on the past.

With some interesting twists and turns, the mystery of Calvin’s past was solved, and the roadmap for Elizabeth’s future was laid out.

The stories woven throughout Lessons In Chemistry have been an exciting mix of past and present, creating the blueprint for Elizabeth’s life as we see it.

In the miniseries finale, Elizabeth and Madeline finally find all the pieces to the puzzle, but the payoff isn’t as sweet as they’d expected.

Understanding the loose ends of Calvin’s life, even those he never understood himself, is bittersweet for Elizabeth and Madeline.

Having all the available knowledge may have been the end goal, but letting go of the search for information was more arduous than either cared to admit.

In the early moments of Lessons In Chemistry Season 1 Episode 8, we learn that the Father of St. Luke’s told the older man looking for Calvin that he had passed away.

This comes back into play later in the episode as Calvin’s mysterious heritage finally unravels.

In the present, Elizabeth is feeling growing pains on Supper At Six. After losing her sponsorship, Phil puts it on Elizabeth to devise another solution.

On top of her issues with securing funding for the show, Elizabeth is torn.

She isn’t happy about how much of Madeline’s life she’s missing out on. Much like her conundrum early in the series, Elizabeth understands that sometimes being a mother means putting your career on hold.

As she tries to find the right thing to do, Beau Bridges Wilson seeks Elizabeth out to return her call.

After discovering that the Remsen Foundation donated books to St. Luke’s, Elizabeth has sought answers.

She finds more than she’s bargained for when she finally gets in touch with Wilson, who puts her in touch with a woman named Avery Parker.

Avery, it turns out, is Calvin’s biological mother and the founder of the Remsen Foundation.

While she was funding the lab Calvin worked at and hoping to get in touch with him, Calvin was none the wiser.

In a meeting between Elizabeth, Avery, and Madeline at the Zott residence, Avery explains her side of the story.

Avery explains she fell pregnant at just 16, and though she had the means to take care of Calvin, her parents had him sent away.

When she entered her trust fund at 25, Avery started the Remsen Foundation, hoping to fund boys’ homes across the nation, and began looking for Calvin.

After initially being told he’d died in a fire, Avery realized she’d been lied to when Calvin began publishing his work. She expanded the Remsen Foundation to scientific grants and continued trying to reach out.

Calvin, who’d been told his family had died by the Father at St. Luke’s, didn’t believe the letters and ultimately had Harriet send Avery a cease and desist.

Despite never having met Calvin, Avery had been watching his accomplishments throughout his life.

She explained that she’d once seen Elizabeth and Lewis Pullman‘s Calvin through his front window, driving by their home.

Elizabeth and Madeline, shocked by Avery’s story, ask to take their time with letting her into their lives.

The information is illuminating for the Zott women, but Madeline laments the end of the mystery of Calvin.

Without something to search for, it doesn’t feel like he’s still a present fixture in her life.

Elizabeth understands, and rather than trying to reassure her daughter, she tries to take her mind off of the sadness by bringing her along to judge a middle school science fair the following day.

Elizabeth, whose focus has been lost on true scientific exploration, is inspired by the fair.

Despite loving having her own avenue to empower women on Supper At Six, Elizabeth misses chemistry.

Without realizing Elizabeth’s thoughts, Madeline helps Elizabeth choose what to do on the show moving forward.

After securing a new sponsor, Tampax, and calling the head of Supper At Six’s network, Elizabeth announces live on the air that she’ll be leaving the show.

Elizabeth shares that they’ll choose a new host from the Supper At Six viewers, explaining that she needs to take time outside of the show.

Behind the scenes, Phil is having a meltdown when his boss, Kenneth, arrives at the studio. He promptly fires Phil, putting Walter in charge.

In a moment of bravery, Fran Frask asks Walter out for dinner, the two sharing a knowing, romantic look before watching Elizabeth captivate yet another audience.

After leaving Supper At Six, Elizabeth knows she has another hurdle to face, but she drops everything when Harriet needs her.

The ongoing town council meetings about the new highway are finally coming to an end, and early in the episode, Harriet is determined to get her way.

With one councilman promising her his vote, Harriet believes the plans can be vetoed, but during the meeting, things go awry.

While the neighborhood may not be safe from highway construction, Harriet understands it’s only a symptom of a much larger, systemic issue.

Elizabeth drops everything to comfort Harriet, and we see the cycle of their friendship finally come full circle. It’s touching, as Aja Naomi King and Brie Larson’s chemistry is a high point of the series.

The final moments of Lessons In Chemistry are sweet, emotional, and carry the thematic notes of the show full circle.

As usual, Elizabeth finds her joy in cooking. The table of the home she once shared with Calvin is filled with delicious dishes, and her family, blood and chosen, are all happily taking part in a meal.

As we look at everyone around, Elizabeth hallucinates Calvin one last time. The couple smiles at each other, finally happy in one way or another.

We flash forward to three years later, as Miss Elizabeth Zott informs a class of students that until she finishes her Ph.D., they can’t call her a doctor.

She starts teaching, bringing up Calvin quickly as she reads from Great Expectations. While we don’t know Elizabeth’s future, things will be bright.

Cher Thompson is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on X.

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