‘We Were The Lucky Ones’ Episode 1 Recap & Ending Explained: Does Addy Make It Back To Paris?


It seems the entertainment industry has been possessed by a fervor to make wartime TV recently. I haven’t even finished AppleTV+’s The New Look, and here we are with yet another TV show set during World War 2. Hulu’s We Were the Lucky Ones tells the story of a Jewish family from Poland during the Second World War. I find the casting of this show rather interesting because, I suppose, it’s meant to evoke a sense of nostalgia amongst young viewers. I, for one, felt a sense of excitement when I first saw Logan Lerman’s face on screen despite the dark subject matter of the series. I suppose I could say the same about Joey King, who comes across as the true protagonist of the series. We’ve come a long way from “Ramona & Beezus,” though I will admit, the Polish accents are a bit undercooked—not terrible, but not great either. It’s Radom 1945, and a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Halina is awaiting news of her family; soon, we’ll learn it’s quite a large one. Halina’s called to the front of the line and handed her a letter. Halina exclaims in joy, and so we imagine it’s good news before we’re guided into a flashback from 7 years earlier.

Spoiler Alert

Does Addy get to return to Poland? 

In 1938, it’s the season of Passover, and a freshly successful Addy, Halina’s brother, is returning from the sunny city of Paris to join his family for the Jewish holiday. Though they’re a large family, we can see that they’re quite close-knit. Though it’s in a rush, the show does a fantastic job at establishing the Kurcs as individuals, each of them facing their own little troubles amidst whatever storm is coming for them. There’s a sense of joy and urgency at the beginning of the show, as well as anticipation. The Kurcs run a clothing business, and when Addy arrives, Halina goes to get him from the station. She’s a research assistant at her brother-in-law’s firm, where her sister Mila works as well. Mila’s got a bun in the oven and is excited to be together with the whole family for the holiday. We watch as the Kurcs tease each other and celebrate Passover as one big happy family. Food on the table and big smiles on everyone’s faces. It seems a man named Adam is courting Halina, but she doesn’t want to be trapped by marriage (she knows what’s up). 

It’s then 1939. A year has passed, and a little baby, Felicia, has joined the family. However, darker clouds are in the air, and a desperate Addy is unable to return to his home in Poland for Passover. It’s dangerous to cross the German border, and his mother, too, would prefer he stay back where it’s safe. Back home, Halina and Adam are now together, and Halina talks about wanting to leave and go somewhere safe with the whole family. We learn that her parents looked after the elder siblings during the First World War, living on scraps and facing danger head-on. She exclaims that it’s like talking to a wall because what’s bad when they’ve seen the worst? Adam tells Halina that they could run away, and she teases him about marriage. She says she doesn’t want to be left with a husband after the war is over. Though Halina seems to be calm on the outside, there’s a storm of fear brewing inside of her. On the other hand, Genec, her older brother, who’s just gotten married, discusses not having a baby during the war with his wife Herta. Already in Poland, things are looking terrible for the Jews, and Genec quits his job because he’s been removed from his position of authority for no reason. In the meantime, Mila struggles with postpartum depression, and her mother offers her help and suggests hiring someone to look after her. 

On September 1, 1939, the Germans take over Poland, and all the men are drafted for war. The Second World War begins. Halina’s brothers and brother-in-law leave for Lvov, while the women stay back at home. Seeing the situation on the streets, fear is instilled in the Kurcs. Halina brings Mila and Felicia home so that they can all be together in the dark. 

Are the Kurcs safe during the war? 

The Kurcs are thrown out of their own shop; apparently, a new administration will take over. Halina and her parents take all of their special supplies back home with them and hide them under the floorboards. Halina’s mother also decides to stitch some safety weapons into all their clothes. The family has to now go into forced labor work as Jews. Mila decides to take Felicia to work in the factory because she can’t leave her alone at home. Apparently, the baby is somehow understanding of the situation because Mila has completely changed since her husband left. Halina is made a farmhand, and she watches in horror as a woman gets beaten up for asking for help with food for her little starving children. She’s terrified by the situation, but when she gets home, she tries to maintain a calm demeanor. Mila helps her with her shoes and coat, acting like everything is normal. Her mother tells her that she’s just in time for potato soup, and this is when Halina breaks. 

Halina completely breaks down now and tells her parents that they cannot steal even potato peels because they’re nothing to the Germans. She fears they will be killed for even less. She’s the youngest of the family, and I suppose she has been holding onto a lot all this time for her to breakdown like this. She’s always been feisty with her family, and now she’s mad that they didn’t leave like she had asked them to, going somewhere safe. Amidst the chaos, there’s a knock at the door. It’s Bella, Jakob’s girlfriend (one of Halina’s brothers), and she has news about Mila’s husband, Selim. Unfortunately, Selim has been missing ever since the men left for Lvov. Halina’s mom tries to calm her daughter by telling her that he’s a doctor and he may be needed for assistance somewhere. However, Mila reminds her that he’s merely a researcher. 

At the end of We Were the Lucky Ones episode 1, it’s the dead of night, and Bella exclaims to Halina her desire to go to Lvov, where the Soviets seem to be kinder to the Jews. She believes it’ll be better for her to be where Jakob is as well, and ultimately, Halina gets convinced to go with her as well. There’s a piercing sense of dread as the episode passes, and We Were the Lucky Ones does a really good job at making us feel the intensity of the situation in a short amount of time. Of course, without a doubt, we’re already vouching for the Kurcs. 

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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