Lessons in Chemistry: Lessons in Chemistry
November 21, 2023 10:07 PM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

The Zott family enlarges. Elizabeth finds clarity (and Tampax). This episode is just beautiful.

The Zotts meet Avery Parker, Calvin's mother, who had him stolen from her...multiple times, really. She'll be there and support his family, too. D'awww.

"I don't much care who's responsible for miracles. I only cared that this miracle was mine."

Elizabeth finds a new sponsor for the show, Tampax! Which she can recommend. She also puts presents under seats like Oprah. Then she explains how menstruation works.
"She said the word uterus to Kenneth?"
Kenneth emerges: "You're fired. The show is yours."
Elizabeth quits the show, leaving it to one of the viewers to take over, while she teaches chemistry and goes for her PhD again. She also encourages Fran to ask Walter out.

Harriet, alas, can't fight the highway system, that's the one buzzkill here. Elizabeth is ready with brownies and booze.

The ending of this is all just very, very touching. I'm verklempt. Somewhat different from the book in some respects, but both work.
posted by jenfullmoon (9 comments total)
Oh! This was the end of the season!

I didn't pay attention to the dates, and I'm curious how long she was on tv. It seemed like just a few weeks.

Finding Mad's grandma was such a relief for all involved. I cannot imagine having my child taken and hidden from me.

I was excited to see some consequences for the bootlegging priest and the Hastings guy (donatti?) now that grandma can throw her weight around, but I suppose it's also good that it's not a revenge kind of show.

Elizabeth and Mad are such a good team. I don't know if the show will continue, but I'm happy for them.
posted by Acari at 12:18 PM on November 24, 2023

That was such a sweet finale! I’ve absolutely loved this season, shame it’s a mini series, maybe they’ll get picked up for a second season!

Lessons in Chemistry Series-Finale Recap: Chain Reaction [Vulture / Archive]
posted by ellieBOA at 2:23 PM on November 24, 2023

I don't know what they'd do for a season 2, though. Maybe just...let it be?
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:01 PM on November 24, 2023 [1 favorite]

Does the book end (roughly) where the season ended or is there more they could adapt? If not I would love just her PHD and teaching career!
posted by ellieBOA at 4:57 PM on November 24, 2023

The book has a different ending entirely with regards to her work. Hard to say in this case.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:52 PM on November 24, 2023

The book has a different ending...yet all in all the ending is exactly the same. I don't see a need for season 2, though I liked this a whole lot.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:25 PM on November 24, 2023 [1 favorite]

The one thing I was left confused by was the Remsen Foundation. Avery established the foundation to support boys’ homes, and when she later learned Calvin grew up to be a chemist, the foundation pivoted to scientific grants… They were a big enough name in the game that Hastings needed the Remsen grant to keep the doors open, but how long had they been giving scientific grants, that Hastings was reliant on them? Did they actually adjudicate who deserved the grants the most, or did Calvin win automatically? And how was Hastings able to deny Calvin and Elizabeth the opportunity to apply, when Calvin was the primary recipient previously? All of the other coincidences and chain connection metaphors throughout the show, I could accept and appreciate the narrative. But apparently I bumped hard against the Remsen Foundation stuff.
posted by bluloo at 12:38 PM on November 27, 2023 [1 favorite]

‘It was smart to write when I was so angry’: Bonnie Garmus on the winning formula behind Lessons in Chemistry [Guardian / Archive] (no book spoilers)
posted by ellieBOA at 5:41 AM on December 16, 2023

I watched this in the same month as Netflix's One Day. This is also based on a book - in this case by David Nichols - its really interesting how both works take the same quotation from Great Expectations as their central inspiration.
posted by rongorongo at 5:44 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]

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