Lessons in Chemistry season 1 finale recap, review & ending explained

In the finale of Lessons in Chemistry, Elizabeth meets Calvin’s mother and makes an important decision regarding her career. The episode is now streaming on Apple TV+.

Episode 8 recap: Introduction to Chemistry

After Elizabeth openly supports the protest organized by Harriet, Supper at Six loses its sponsors. No one is ready to sponsor a show that brings politics into the kitchen. Phil asks Elizabeth to find a sponsor within 2 weeks. If she fails, she will lose her job.

Elizabeth continues inspiring her audience. A woman who was previously encouraged by Elizabeth to pursue her dreams thanks her. She thinks Elizabeth saw something in her that even she could not see.

Elizabeth realizes that she does not want the show to be taken away from her because she has become attached to it. Walter, who is more of a friend now, assures her that he has her back, no matter what. Elizabeth also encourages Fran to ask Walter out. Fran follows her advice and starts dating Walter.

To know more about Calvin’s past, Elizabeth keeps contacting the Remsen Foundation. She finally gets an appointment with Mr. Wilson, the man who had gone to meet Calvin when he was at the boys’ home.

When Mr. Wilson is told that Madeline is Calvin’s daughter, he contacts a woman named Avery. The woman pays Elizabeth and Madeline a visit and tells them that she is Calvin’s mother. 

Avery had Calvin when she was 16. Due to that, her parents sent Calvin to a boys’ home against her wishes. When she gained access to her trust fund at the age of 25, she hired Mr. Wilson to find her son. She started the Remsen Foundation in the hope of helping Calvin, wherever he was.

Mr. Wilson found Calvin, but as Calvin was making a lot of money for the bishop, Mr. Wilson was told that Calvin had died. The bishop also lied to Calvin and told him that his family did not want him. 

Years later, when Calvin became a renowned scientist, Avery found out that he was alive. She wrote several letters to him, but Calvin never read them, as Calvin believed that his parents were dead. Avery then received a cease-and-desist letter and thought that Calvin did not want her in his life.

All the misunderstandings are cleared when Avery meets Elizabeth and Madeline. She wants to be a part of her granddaughter’s life, but Elizabeth asks her to give them some time to process everything.

Madeline gets all the answers that she wanted, but she still does not have her father. Elizabeth tells Madeline that she resembles Calvin in several ways. The fact that she has a part of her father in her makes Madeline happy.

Lessons in Chemistry ending explained in detail:

Why does Elizabeth quit?

Elizabeth is asked to judge a school science fair. She takes Madeline with her, and Madeline realizes that her mother belongs in a lab, not on a TV set. Madeline’s opinion gives Elizabeth much-needed clarity in life.

Before shooting the next episode of the show, she speaks to the network head, Kenneth, and makes a deal with him. She will get him an increase in viewership but on a few conditions. Elizabeth gets Phil fired, leaving Walter in charge of the show. 

She also gets a sponsor that aligns with the show’s values. Her decision to allow a tampon brand to sponsor the show astonishes the producers and the audience. On top of that, she thanks her audience and announces that she is quitting. 

She informs her audience that one of them will get to be the new host of the show. As Elizabeth has created something meaningful, she thinks it is time for her to reflect and figure out what is next for her. 

Does Harriet manage to stop the construction of the freeway?

Harriet has been working hard for the past seven years to stop the construction of the freeway that will be built through her neighborhood. As it is a predominantly Black neighborhood, it is considered expendable.

Apart from fighting the case at city council meetings, she has even organized protests to oppose the construction. Before the day of the final vote, she manages to convince one more councilman to vote against the freeway’s construction.

However, when the time comes, the councilman votes in favor of constructing the freeway, and Harriet loses the case. Harriet is left heartbroken after losing her battle against racism.

How does Elizabeth’s story end?

Elizabeth has formed meaningful friendships with several people over the years. She also allows Avery to become a part of Madeline’s life and takes her to places that were important to Calvin, the son she never got to know.

When Elizabeth points out that women cannot apply for the Remsen grant, Avery promises to rectify that. Avery wants to help Elizabeth achieve her goals, and Elizabeth is no longer opposed to taking people’s help.

Elizabeth goes on to become a college professor. Three years later, she is seen teaching a class. She is finishing her PhD as well. Surrounded by people who are close to her, she remembers Calvin with a smile.


  • Elizabeth asking her audience to change their lives for the better and make their voices heard has to be the highlight of the episode. Elizabeth’s conviction makes her speech inspiring.
  • On the other hand, Harriet’s defeat is upsetting. As the audience has seen her fight tirelessly, her disappointment is felt by them as well.
  • The show’s ending can be considered happy. In the beginning, Elizabeth did not have the means or support to pursue her dreams. By the time her story comes to an end, she has plenty of love and support.
Lessons in Chemistry season 1 episode 8
Lessons in Chemistry season 1 finale recap, review & ending explained 1

Tara Miele

Date Created:
2023-11-22 13:55

Also Read: Lessons in Chemistry season 1 episode 7 recap and review: Book of Calvin

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