Lessons in Chemistry has our whole heart and a little more. There is so much love poured into the story, and the writing is simply a breath of fresh air like no other. We cannot remember the last time we rooted so strongly for any characters, and there is no doubt that the way this series brings together so many people’s lives meant that the writer genuinely loved everyone they wrote about. Even the Agatha Christie reference in this episode is a fitting way of giving the audience a peek into the thought behind the construction of the story. It is surprising that this show isn’t being discussed as much as it should be because it is setting a standard on so many fronts. We won’t get tired of praising this show, but for the time being, let us take a look at the recap of Lessons in Chemistry Episode 7.
How was Calvin’s life at St. Luke’s?
In a very slight way, this episode of Lessons in Chemistry may have made a point about what it means to be a man of God. Calvin grew up in St. Luke’s, and for the longest time, he would watch as boys would get called out of the class, which meant that they were getting adopted by someone. Calvin desperately wanted a family, and he kept waiting for it. In the meantime, he was already a man of science and was helping the institution with his scientific systems. As the Father later told him, Calvin was indispensable to them.
One day, Calvin got called out of class, and he was happy that it was finally his turn to be taken in by a family. But it was just the Father telling him that he should not do his chores from then on and focus completely on his science. Calvin was disappointed, but this is where the clue was revealed: the Father was lying. He told Calvin that he wanted to keep him away from his family, who were evil people. Additionally, the Father also said that Calvin had his family’s ‘brokenness’ inside him. There is something so insidious about an adult making use of a child’s talents but then proceeding to call him ‘broken’ just because he is different from the rest. The audience knows that this is a very classic manipulation, but as a child, the only thing Calvin could do was internalize that feeling, and he continued with it for his whole life until he met Elizabeth.
How does Reverend Wakely know Calvin?
It is a personal opinion that may seem too hung up on technical grammar, but men of ‘faith’ are not the same as men of ‘religion.’ Someone once said that those who cannot separate the two never find true fulfillment. Religion is ‘the path of faith,’ but faith itself is an intrinsic human quality, and people see it reflected in either God, a person, or anything else they find suits them. The difference is illustrated when, at the beginning of the episode, a nun tells Calvin that his curiosity is a bane, but later on, Wakely, himself a religious man, attends Calvin’s lecture because of his curiosity to know about the other side of things. Calvin and Wakely’s friendship was based on this very curiosity and how they found answers to their questions in different aspects of life. Wakely and Calvin never agreed on the relationship between science and God, but they found that these questions did not separate them as human beings. Wakely confided in Calvin about his Father’s treatment, and Calvin spoke to him about his loneliness and whether he would ever be able to find someone to love. Till the end of Calvin’s life, they were there for each other in a way only friends can.
Why did Calvin want to marry Elizabeth?
Calvin had always believed that he was ‘broken’ because of what the Father had said in his childhood. He achieved a lot in his career, but as a person, he could never combat loneliness. It is interesting to observe that Elizabeth was never shown as feeling these very things despite being very similar to him. It may have been because, unlike Calvin, Elizabeth had a family growing up, and she saw the worst of that instead of the best. Additionally, when she grew up, she realized what having a family meant for her identity as a scientist (a compromise Calvin would never have had to make), which is why she made peace with a solitary life. Regardless, when the two of them fell in love, there was no reason to withhold the happiness from her life.
Calvin was scared that if Elizabeth ever saw the ‘broken’ side of him, she would also abandon him. To compensate for that, he wanted to marry her, as he believed that it was a marker of a relationship being complete, which he wanted her to have. But he was unable to ask her since he did not know how she felt or if it would be dishonest to ask that when she hadn’t seen that side of him. But one day, Elizabeth had that talk with him after seeing his anger towards an employee at their workplace. In their own way, the couple was able to communicate that they loved each other, the good parts and those parts as well that they may consider being ‘bad.’
Do Elizabeth and Madeline find anything about Calvin?
When Elizabeth told Calvin that she was not looking for ‘markers of completion’ but for love, respect, and companionship in her life, Calvin knew that this was exactly what he wanted as well. He finally felt ‘complete’ because he knew that he was not unloveable but just needed to be with a person who understood and loved him for him. It is a tragedy that he never got to live that realization and had to pass away so soon after. One of the things that had always annoyed Calvin during his life was a letter from someone who claimed to be his family. Calvin was under the impression that his parents were dead, and these letters came from someone trying to capitalize on his fame. In fact, it was this exact kind of attention that had made him believe for the longest time that, if not for his work, he had nothing to offer.
In the present day, Elizabeth and Madeline go to St. Luke’s to find out more about Calvin. The Father is surprised to know who they are looking for, and while it is obvious that he is lying, there is no actual reason to call him out on that since the reason for that is not clear. He tells Madeline and Elizabeth that he doesn’t remember anyone by the name of Calvin, and any records pertaining to him had been burned in a fire long ago. Madeline is furious, and she refuses to accept this as an explanation. The little girl has worked too hard to get here, and she also discovered a long-lost friend of her Father, so it doesn’t make sense that she should not find anything at this point. With this exact belligerence, Madeline stomps into the library to look for more clues. Elizabeth already had very low expectations, but she sees the logic of what her emotional-looking daughter is doing. Therefore, at the end of Lessons in Chemistry episode 7, she joins her daughter in looking for leads, and she finds them in a copy of Great Expectations. The library card has Calvin’s name, and the book was donated by the Remsen Foundation, which is the place where they can look for more about Calvin.
Whatever anyone might say, Lessons in Chemistry is a love story, and it is racing towards its happy ending. It is too soon for this story to end, but the entire universe will bless everyone who decided to bring this story to life. It is one of the few stories that has made us happy at the end of the year, and hopefully, this standard continues.