The seventh episode of Lessons in Chemistry tells the story of Calvin’s life and how he found a friend in Wakely. The episode is now streaming on Apple TV+.
In 1930, Calvin was at St. Luke’s in Modesto. Calvin’s parents had abandoned him before they died. Calvin was an invaluable pupil, as he was asked to make hooch, which earned the bishop a lot of money.
One day, a man visits the school, and Calvin instantly knows that the man is somehow related to him. The bishop does not let Calvin meet him and tells him that the man does not want him. He also tells Calvin that he will always carry his family’s brokenness, no matter how good he is.
Years later, once Calvin becomes a reputed scientist, he is invited to give a lecture at Harvard. Wakely attends this lecture and writes to Calvin. Wakely believes that Calvin’s work overlooks the mysteries of the divine.
Calvin is an atheist, and he shares his beliefs with Wakely. The two men keep writing letters to each other and become close friends, even though they have never met each other.
Calvin then moves to a new neighborhood and meets Harriet and Charlie. When Calvin finds out that Harriet is a legal aid, he asks her to take care of his correspondence. Harriet suggests that they issue individual cease and desist letters.
Calvin believes that he does not need anybody, but he longs for what Charlie and Harriet have. Wakely also tries to convince him that he is not meant to be alone. Calvin tries dating, but he does not find a suitable partner until he meets Elizabeth.
He writes to Wakely about Elizabeth. He finds himself buying an engagement ring for her but is scared of proposing, as he thinks that she will realize that he is not good enough for her. However, Elizabeth sees the worst parts of him and still loves him.
When Elizabeth tells him that she does not want to get married, he realizes what she needs in life. He never proposes because he comes to the conclusion that he was using marriage to compensate for his brokenness. He does not need to do that, as he has found happiness with her.
Wakely tells Calvin about his father suffering from cancer, and Calvin tries to convince his father to get treated, which he does eventually. Wakely is moving to California and hopes to meet Calvin. However, before they can meet, Calvin dies in an accident.
In 1958, after finding out that Madeline is Calvin’s daughter, Wakely comes to visit Elizabeth. He gives all the letters that Calvin wrote to him to Elizabeth and Madeline and tells Elizabeth about his friendship with Calvin.
Elizabeth and Madeline then visit St. Luke’s in Modesto to find out more about Calvin’s past. They meet the bishop, who claims that he does not remember Calvin and that all their old records were lost in a fire.
This frustrates and upsets Madeline, as she does not want another dead end. She starts going through the books in the library, and Elizabeth helps her. They find Calvin’s favorite book and come to know that he borrowed it when he was there.
They find proof that Calvin was at the school. On top of that, Elizabeth thinks that they have a lead, as the book was donated to the library by the Remsen Foundation. The scene shifts to the office of the Remsen Foundation. The man who went to visit Calvin at St. Luke’s is seen exiting the office.
- This episode follows Calvin’s life, and while the audience already knows about some of these incidents, like Calvin and Harriet’s first meeting, the episode is no less engrossing.
- The show has a way of making the emotions of the characters felt. Calvin’s loneliness, love, fear, and happiness are palpable, and the episode does not need too many words to convey these emotions.
- Surprisingly, Calvin and Wakely’s friendship is just as wholesome as his relationship with Elizabeth, even though they are pen pals who have never met. It makes the fact that they never got to meet even more upsetting.
Lessons in Chemistry season 1 episode 7
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