Lessons in Chemistry – Episode 2 “Her and Him” Recap & Review

Her and Him

Lessons in Chemistry Episode 2 sheds light on why Elizabeth is so guarded. We see that when she was a PhD student, one of her superiors closed the door to her office and assaulted her. She was able to stop him by stabbing him with a pencil, but this gets her unfairly kicked out of the program.

In the present day, Elizabeth is unable to get permission to quit as Calvin’s lab tech, so she instead divides the workspace between them.

Later, Dr. Donatti threatens Elizabeth’s job if she doesn’t stop “distracting” Calvin from producing his research for the Remsen grant. Elizabeth then has to go to Calvin to ask him to work more, and they end up working through their problems.

Calvin asks Elizabeth on a rowing date, in which they not only kiss, but decide to follow through with a romance.

They start working on their abiogenesis research together, making a major breakthrough on Christmas. They have an amazing holiday celebration together. Calvin asks Elizabeth to move in with him (she agrees to), and Elizabeth gifts him with a dog leash so her dog Six Thirty can become his running buddy.

Everything has been going wonderfully for Calvin and Elizabeth, but unfortunately this means Calvin was too distracted to attend the meeting about the freeway like he promised Harriet. And the meeting did not go well without his support.

Later, when the Remsen proposals are due, it’s Elizabeth who presents their research as the lead scientist. But the board dismisses her and their research entirely, claiming Hastings would be a laughingstock if it submitted the work of a lab technician.

So, Elizabeth and Calvin decide they are going to submit their proposal without Hastings’ backing. After they get everything typed up, they have a conversation about their future. Elizabeth informs Calvin she doesn’t want marriage and children, and he says that he’s happy as long as he has her.

It’s a beautiful moment for the couple, but one that can’t last. When Calvin goes on a run with Six Thirty the next morning, the dog distracts him by tugging on the leash. A bus then hits the unsuspecting runner, killing him.

The Episode Review

Well, rip my heart out, why don’t you? That ending was absolutely criminal. Of course, Calvin’s death is so gut-wrenching due to the beautifully-drawn character and chemistry development that was so expertly contained in these two episodes.

One thing is disappointing, and that’s how I thought they were teasing potential areas for Calvin’s growth in his failure to show up for Harriet. The outcome does show, however, that Calvin’s missteps in this episode were less about him and more about Harriet. I do really like how the episode highlighted Harriet’s particular struggles, not only against the overtly racist councilmen who care nothing for Sugar Hill, but also against those who harm her cause by being oblivious to her uphill climb, like Calvin. I’m really looking forward to her further development as a character.

But I’m also incredibly anxious about what these recent developments mean for Elizabeth. I’m not ready for her to find out about Calvin! Not only will she have a broken heart, but she’s going to have a damn hard time getting a grant for their research without his backing.

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