“Great Expectations,” at the beginning of its first episode, introduces us to a boy who was going to jump from a bridge and commit suicide. He jumps into the water, and we don’t know if he actually dies or not. The narrative takes us 7 years back in time, and we see Pip working together with his sister’s husband, Joe, in a blacksmith’s workshop that they owned. Joe often told Pip that, in a short span of time, he would learn to work his way around wrought iron and be able to handle the shop all by himself. Everybody had presumed what Pip’s future was going to be, and nobody cared to ask the guy what he wanted from his life. Pip loved Shakespeare; he loved reading books, and often while working, he used to mumble lines from his favorite literary works. He dreamed of one day becoming a gentleman and moving with the elites of society.
Moreover, stories and plays allowed him to escape from his real life, and, even if temporarily, they helped him forget about the various problems and issues he had been dealing with since the very beginning. More than appreciating his will to study more, Pip’s sister, Sarah, believed that studies had unnecessarily made him overconfident and pretentious in life, and he, on purpose, spoke big words to show how he was superior to others. Sarah wanted to encash everything in life, and she didn’t know how Pip’s education could help them increase their financial status. Joe loved Pip, and he was the one who always protected him from the wrath of Sarah, who, a lot of times, scolded him unreasonably. For Joe, it was a very difficult situation, as on one end, he couldn’t go against his own wife, but on the other, he was too affectionate towards Pip, and he didn’t like the poor boy getting scolded for no apparent fault of his.
It was Christmas Eve, and Pip wanted to go to the graveyard and pay his respects to his mother and father, but Sarah told him to go the next day as it was already getting dark, and in addition to that, there were two dangerous fugitives on the loose, and the police were trying to catch them. It was not like Sarah didn’t love her brother, but she always felt that financially they were burdened because of Pip, and moreover, he wasted his time studying literature and meandering in his fantasy world, which according to her, wasn’t going to be profitable for the family.
Compeyson and Magwitch Escape The Prison
On the prison ship, HMS Retribution, two convicts, Magwitch and Compeyson, who were staunch enemies, were placed in adjacent cells. Magwitch had never hated anyone as much as he hated Compeyson. He was writhing in agony from within, and he was annoyed at the officials for keeping him next to his only mortal enemy. Compeyson was a shrewd man, and he found a way to start a fire in his cell to make the guards open the lock and come inside. Compeyson assaulted the guard, and he escaped from the prison. The fire spread to other cells too, and Magwitch put every ounce of his energy into breaking his chains and then barging his way through HMS retribution. Compeyson and Magwitch were both out there in the harsh terrain of Gravesend, and there was a town-wide hunt organized by the local police force to catch the perpetrators. It was speculated by the forces that if they stayed out, then they wouldn’t be able to survive in the cold, but they wanted to find them while they were still alive so that they could once again be taken back to the gallows and transported to Australia.
Pip didn’t listen to his sister Sarah, and he went out to pay his respects to his parents in the graveyard. Magwitch, who had been lurking around, came and grabbed the little boy from behind. He threatened the boy and asked him to bring him some food and alcohol if he wanted to stay alive. Magwitch knew that to survive in such extreme conditions, he needed to keep his body warm, and, devoid of any means to light a fire, he needed to consume liquor. Magwitch didn’t have any hope that Pip would return, but he knew that no one would risk their lives yet again and come out in this freezing cold to provide food to a man who had threatened and scared them.
Pip felt cold even when there were proper arrangements in the room to keep him warm, and that’s when he felt sympathetic towards the fugitive and realized how much pain and discomfort he would have been in for the entire night. Pip stole the pork pie that his sister had made for the guests who were coming to their house for Christmas dinner. He also stole a bottle of alcohol and some tools to open Magwitch’s ankle chains. Magwitch was surprised when Pip came back to him, as he had promised. Suddenly, he felt attached to the little boy. Nobody had ever risked his life to save him, and he somewhat felt indebted to his kindness. Magwitch hogged the food and asked Pip to leave as soon as possible because there was another fugitive, i.e., Compeyson, who was on the loose, and Magwitch feared that he would hurt the boy.
‘Great Expectations’ Episode 1: Ending Explained: What Offer Did Mr. Pumblechuk Make?
In “Great Expectations,” Episode 1, everyone gathered at Joe and Sarah’s, and Mr. Pumblechuk made a lucrative offer to Sarah. He said that because of his profession, he had a lot of dealings with the elites living uptown. He had met an old lady named Miss Havisham who had these rumors floating about her that the house she lived in was haunted. Miss Havisham had adopted a girl named Estella 13 years ago, and she decided to look for a boy who could stay with them and keep Estella company. Miss Havisham was very particular about the fact that the boy should belong to the same class as hers, but for some reason, she was unable to find any suitable candidates who would accept her offer. So she decided to compromise on that bit and started looking for an exceptionally intelligent child who was no less than a prodigy. Mr. Pumblechuk knew Pip’s love for studying, and he thought that he would be a right fit for the role. Sarah was more than happy to accept the offer, as Mr. Havisham had promised to compensate the child’s family handsomely. Joe still felt that it was morally wrong to trade their boy for money, and he decided that he would make some excuse and not let him go. Biddy, Pip’s friend, was extremely unhappy with his decision to go to Miss Havisham’s, as she feared that he would fall in love with Estella and forget about her. Pip assured her that nothing of the sort was going to happen and that he was just doing it to reach the top of the food chain.
The police arrived at their doorstep, interrupted the Christmas dinner, and asked to join the search that had been organized on the orders of the king so that the prisoners could be found and taken back to the ship. During the search, Pip told Joe that he didn’t see himself becoming a blacksmith in the future and that he had no interest in taking over his shop. Joe was hurt because he had already laid out the entire plan in his mind, and he also loved Pip, and he didn’t want him to leave them and go anywhere. But Pip had big dreams, and he wanted to cross the barrier of class and become a gentleman; moreover, he felt that by accepting Mr. Pumblechuk’s offer, he would be able to send money for Joe and Sarah and also handle his own expenses. The police finally found Magwitch and Compeyson, who were fighting in the swamp and took them into custody. When Magwitch was asked how he had opened his ankle chains, he didn’t take Pip’s name but told them that he had broken into a blacksmith’s house and stolen tools and some food from there. It was Magwitch’s way to repay the debt he felt he was in. Magwitch was looked at as an abomination by civil society, but he was a good man from within. Maybe circumstances would have changed him over a period of time, but he wasn’t a hardened criminal from the beginning. He knew that Pip’s risking his own life and coming back with food had saved his life.
Pip was taken by Mr. Pumblechuk to Miss Havisham’s mansion, where he met Estella and the scary old woman too. Miss Havisham had a very frightening demeanor, and she told Pip that she was tired of men and women, and sometimes she had these extremely sick fantasies. We don’t know what fantasies she was talking about, but clearly, the job was not as straightforward as Mr. Pumblechuk had told it to be. Miss Havisham believed that adulthood corrupted people, and that is why she liked being around kids because they had the courage to voice their opinions without being diplomatic. In the subsequent episodes of “Great Expectations,” we would get to know more about what sick fantasies Miss Havisham was referring to and how Pip adjusted to the new place and was able to establish a bond with Estella, whom he considered to be very snobbish and proud.