The first two episodes of Lessons of Chemistry are an enjoyable, fast-paced start to Apple TV Plus’ new eight-episode series.
The show, based on the popular novel of the same name by Bonnie Garmus, follows Elizabeth Zott, played by Brie Larson, as she struggles to be taken seriously as a chemist in the 1950s.
From the start of the show, the audience is brought into Zott’s everyday life of cleaning up after experiments and fetching coffee for chemists. She works as a lab technician with a master’s degree in chemistry, but is often mistaken as a secretary.
The show simultaneously includes clips of Zott presumably hosting a cooking show, using her knowledge of chemistry to perfect recipes.
One of the things I appreciated the most about this show is the pacing. It gives you glimpses of Zott’s past while in college and parts of her future while the main storyline fills in the gaps.
The episodes have a lot to cover in a relatively short period of time, and they do so well. Almost every scene, especially the dialogue, feels very intentional. Lessons in Chemistry gets to the point quickly and fits the character development and plotline all within the first two episodes.
As Zott meets and works with another intelligent chemist in the lab named Calvin Evans, played by Lewis Pullman, they begin to fall in love, and the audience gains deeper insight into their characters.
Both Zott and Evans are blunt, straightforward and hard working people. However, they each have moments of allowing others to have a deeper sense of who they really are. For Zott, it’s taking in a homeless dog she finds searching through her trash can, later named Six-Thirty.
Afterward, we see Evans watching his neighbors’ kids, teaching them how to extract DNA from a strawberry.
The acting from both Larson and Pullman really pulled the show together. Both of the characters are naturally awkward but have very memorable personalities.
The second episode leaves viewers on a cliffhanger. It comes to an extremely abrupt ending when Evans unexpectedly gets hit by a car in the street while walking Six-Thirty, the dog he shares with Zott. The episode leaves us wondering if his character will survive.
Although I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this, I thought the opening episodes of Lessons in Chemistry were very strong.
With the show fitting a great deal of content and story-building into a short amount of time, I found myself wondering just how much was left of the story and if the next few episodes would move as fast as the first.
The plot was well thought out, and I found myself equally as invested in each of the character’s individual storylines as well as the central love story. The first two episodes set the pace for the rest of the show, which I can only imagine will be just as enjoyable.