The sixth episode of Lessons in Chemistry explores Elizabeth’s past, which influences her present decisions. The episode is now streaming on Apple TV+.
Elizabeth’s father was a preacher who was considered blessed, as God would show his miracles whenever he preached. Elizabeth found out the truth about the miracles when her older brother, John, told her that their father put on a show for his audience.
Their father made John perform various tricks and lied to people about them being God’s miracles. John, who often disappointed their father, believed that Hell must feel like living a lie. According to him, chemistry was the real magic.
In the present, Elizabeth’s show is a success because she respects her audience and is honest with them. At the same time, Harriet’s family hears about Martin Luther King Jr.’s arrest.
Harriet wants to stop the traffic and stage a protest against the freeway. However, Charlie does not want her to organize the protest because they are already so busy with their jobs that they barely get time to see each other.
Elizabeth is asked to promote the show’s sponsor. As she does not like lying to her audience, she does not promote the product. As a result, Phil suspends her, along with her staff, for three days without pay.
More than Elizabeth, it is her staff that suffers. Unlike her, they cannot afford not to be paid for three days. Due to this, Elizabeth gives in and promotes the sponsor in the next episode.
Elizabeth also runs into Fran Frask, who tells Elizabeth that she is genuinely happy for her and that she wanted to call her after she left Hastings. When Fran comes to see her show live and gives helpful suggestions to her, Elizabeth decides to hire her as her chief of staff.
Meanwhile, Madeline fails to find her father’s school. She keeps sharing her progress with Reverend Wakely and Harriet’s children, who sneak into their mother’s office to get the letters that were sent to Calvin. Harriet catches them and tells Elizabeth about it.
Harriet wants Elizabeth to come for the protest, but Elizabeth fears that her staff will be punished again, so she refuses. She changes her mind when Harriet asks her to think about the kind of person she wants to be.
Harriet points out that Elizabeth has a platform and that she can make a difference in the lives of the people who are fighting just to be seen. Elizabeth remembers how her father abused her brother and forced him to deceive his audience. Eventually, her brother killed himself.
The memory of her brother influences Elizabeth to use her platform to talk about Harriet’s protest. When Phil threatens her, Elizabeth makes it clear that she can afford to pay her staff whenever he suspends them but he cannot afford the losses that he would incur when new episodes do not air.
Elizabeth joins Harriet and her neighbors on the day of the protest. The police show up and use violence to disperse the protestors. Some of the protestors, including Harriet and Charlie, are arrested.
Later at night, Charlie tells Harriet that he is afraid of losing her, and that is why he was not in favor of the protest. On the other hand, Elizabeth tells Madeline that it is hard for her to talk about Calvin because she misses him.
However, not talking about Calvin has not been making it better, so she finally talks to Madeline about him. Upon Elizabeth’s request, Madeline shows her what she has learned about Calvin, and Elizabeth tells her about John.
Madeline then goes to meet Reverend Wakely and shows him a letter that a man named Avery Parker sent her father. The letter mentions St. Luke’s in Modesto, and Wakely is surprised to know that Madeline’s father was Calvin Evans.
- The episode manages to be engaging while also making important observations. Harriet and Elizabeth’s conversation highlights the shortcomings of second-wave feminism that did not take into account several factors, like race, of a woman’s identity.
- Furthermore, the nature of Elizabeth and Fran’s interactions changes completely when the two women meet outside a male-dominated place where women are pitted against each other.
- Lastly, the protest scene is shot very well. More than the police’s actions, the camera focuses on the characters’ faces. It is their fear and distress that underscore how terrifying police brutality can be for people who are peacefully fighting for their rights.
Lessons in Chemistry season 1 episode 6
Also Read: Lessons in Chemistry season 1 episode 5 recap and review: CH3COOH