Well, it’s official. Lessons in Chemistry is finally here and we couldn’t be more excited for it to finally be here. Yes, there are a lot of adaptations that we look forward to, but we’re not judging you, so keep your judgements to yourself.
Based off the book of the same name, Lessons in Chemistry is an eight episode limited series debuting on AppleTV+. The period drama (it’s the 1950’s and well, that’s definitely a period in time) introduces us to Elizabeth Zott, a woman who doesn’t want to give up her goals or her career, no matter what obstacles are thrown in her way.
And that’s something to learn from, to be inspired from, and to hang onto as you watch the episodes unfold.
Now, whatever your reason for watching the show, whether it be that you love the book or you love Brie Larson, you won’t be disappointed.
From the moment that the show starts, we see Brie Larson, as Elizabeth, poised, stoic, and unfazed by her celebrity. You know that something got her to this point – the point where she is cold and distant and almost executes her life as a robot. She’s hosting a television show, Supper at Six, where she teaches how to cook. And she’s good at it. Hell, she’s great.
But she had wanted more. At least that is what we see when we go back seven years. We go from the stoic woman on the television show, perfectly polished, hair put up and not an inch out of place to a young woman fighting to show that she can be something more than just a lab tech. She’s smart. She’s intellegent. She’s captivating.
The problem is that she has a vagina and well we all know that is a hinderance to everything back then. She’s not seen as a equal, even though she’s smarter than any of them. Some look to her for advice on their projects and others just want coffee. Have to say that what I love is seeing two versions of Elizabeth, because it makes you want to watch her. It makes you want to see what happened to change her.
Like many women in the 1950’s, Elizabeth put up with shit, because she didn’t have a choice. If she wanted to stay employed she had to deal and for Elizabeth, she wanted to work in chemistry. So she did her job and excelled at it, and then at night she did her research.
And that research was the study of abiogenesis (and if you’re like me you hate science and get lost a little as they all start talking science). She was out of ribose (again, science), so she went on the lookout for some. That led her to going where no one goes – into the lab of Calvin Evans.
Now Calvin is hot, I will give him that. He’s played by Lewis Pullman, who I have to admit, I didn’t ever pay much attention to. I was wrong Lewis, and you now have all of my attention. I will be staring at your beauty and applauding your acting. Just don’t run – if you run like Calvin in real life – cause like that was not cute.
But back to Elizabeth, who is just trying to live her life in a world where everyone seems to want her to fail, because she’s a woman. She’s caught by Fran Frask (the nosy secretary who needs to be told that women don’t tear each other down) and that leads her to being called into the douchebag bosses office. He belittles her and basically tells her that she’s nothing. Umm, no sir. She’s a lot smarter than you and she’s a lot kinder and you watch your mouth.
Then to top it off, she goes back to the lab and Evans is waiting to belittle her. He calls her a liar when she says she’s a chemist. Love the look on Elizabeth’s face when she raised her voice to him.
Favorite thing Fran does in this episode (cause like woman is really miserable) is tell Evans that Elizabeth has a masters in chemistry. Look, Evans is a grumpy b*tch and needed to be put in his place, even if Fran didn’t know that is what she was doing. Evans needed to hear that he’s not always right, even if it’s from Fran. The look of guilt on his face was enough to make me like the guy.
Circumstances lead Evans to throwing up on or near Elizabeth (I couldn’t tell) and me gagging cause well, that was graphic. Elizabeth isn’t phased though. She helps him home and gets him settled. He’s looking at her with such a fascination and love in his eyes that you can’t help but smile. One of the best things about these two is over this episode you see them falling for each other. You see it in their looks and their glances, and their moments of vulnerability.
Elizabeth, for all of her being really damn uptight, knows how to steer the situation. Before you know it, the two are eating lunch together. Evans may not have any food in his fridge, but Elizabeth uses that to her advantage and cooks some delicious meals for him on the daily.
Evans is interested in her work. He wants to get to know her and her work. He doesn’t look at her for anything but her mind. The two are so much alike, it’s definitely kind of eerie. Yet that’s also what makes it kinda adorable. When he tells her that she should talk to Donatti in order to work on her research, she’s like I have and he was like no. When she has to explain that he said no because she’s a woman, it was Evans response that made me like him even more.
“I don’t understand. Why would anyone discriminate based on something as intellectually non-determinative as gender,” he says to Elizabeth. Well, Mr. Evans, us women don’t get that either, but here we are.
Evans requests her as his lab tech, telling her that she’ll be free to do her own research. Seeing the two of them working together and the way that they are exact opposites in the way that they work, was cute. But even cuter was the way that the two found ways to compromise (well Evans was willing to change the way he did things) and find solace in each others minds.
When you think that things are going well, they aren’t going well. See, for a bit we’ve been given clues as to what may have happened in Elizabeth’s past and why she doesn’t have her PhD. She has panic attacks when a door is closed and we have seen glimpses of what looks like her back in school, a man locking a door, and her leaving obviously upset. So when Evans comes into the lab, excited, because he’s had an epiphany, and then closes the door, she freaks.
Like legitimately freaks. He’s not hearing her when she tells him to open the door and just keeps talking. She makes her way past him, opening the door, and leaving. He even asks her if he’s done something wrong, and she just says that this was a mistake.
Evans is confused.
Elizabeth is traumatized.
And then we go back to the present, with her on her TV show, having burnt a lasagna. There isn’t a person in the audience or who is watching, that isn’t shocked that this has happened. But Elizabeth takes it in stride.
Which I have to admit, even shocked me. She reminds her viewers that, “sometimes, many times, things just turn out messy.”
Touche Elizabeth. Touche.
Question is, what type of messiness will this show bring us, because we need to know.