The Spiderwick Chronicles (2024) – Episode 1 Recap & Review


Welcome to Spiderwick

A man stands on the bridge with a dark and beastly figure on the other side. He informs that the Grace family are on their way to the Spiderwick Estate and implores the figure to return his daughter. A teenage girl runs towards the man but he’s suspicious about her behaviour. Finally, determining that the girl is not his daughter, he questions about who she is, to which she answers that it’s a wrong question as a troll snatches the man from underneath the bridge and eats him. The beastly figure, a hideous ogre, transforms into the man. 

Episode 1 of The Spiderwick Chronicles introduces us to Helen Grace, the great-granddaughter of Arthur Spiderwick, her eldest daughter Mallory and two fraternal twins, Jared and Simon. As they move to the Spiderwick Estate, we learn that the family has relocated to the town to get Jared treated in the psychiatric hospital by renowned psychiatrist Dr. Brauer for his affinity to cause problems. 

They reach the mysteriously Victorian Spiderwick house where a tree stands right in the middle of the hall, planted by Arthur Spiderwick. It is known to ward off evil, like a shield. Grace informs them about her Aunt Lucinda’s stories about the tree. Although the fruit of the tree is poisonous, she said, but a few drops protects one against ogres and can even make one invisible. They spend time discovering the dusty landscape of the abandoned house, it’s little quirks and creases.

Simon wants to have his own room but Jared seems he doesn’t want it to be that way. Later, Jared expresses to his mother how different Simon and him are. While everybody likes the fun and knowledgeable Simon, nobody likes him. He also thinks that he is the problem and the reason behind their relocation, which is partly true and a festering wound with all the members of the family. Nevertheless, Helen reassures him that they will get him help which Jared isn’t particularly excited about. 

Late at night though, Jared hear noises and thumping footsteps. He goes to discover the cause and grabs Mallory’s sword. Inside a cupboard, where the sounds seem to be coming from, he pokes into the air and sees blood on the tip of the sword. There he also finds a ghastly portrait of an ogre with something written in another language. 

Simultaneously the ogre in a man’s skin, who we would later find to be Mulgarath in Dr. Brauer’s body, along with the creature who has taken the form of Dr. Brauer’s daughter, Calliope, go back to Dr. Brauer’s house. Here we learn about their plan: find Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide, kill and eat all the humans and rule over all Fae and magical creatures. 

The next day at Spiderwick estate, Simon’s pet mice, Lemongrass and Jeffery go missing. The entire family look for them in the kitchen cabinets when Mallory enters after a run. Jared tells them about the weird noise and about the blood on the sword. Mallory is upset that Jared used her fencing gear without her permission and of course, nobody believes him. 

While looking for Simon’s mice in the town, which is seeped into folklore and tales about faeries. Simon tells Jared how the townsfolk celebrate firefly catching festival thinking the fireflies are faeries and would grant them a wish. Then, the twins find an elaborately decorated secret fairy door with a curious little symbol. Jared tries to make Simon believe that they need to leave and that the house is dangerous but Simon just scoffs it off. 

Back at the house, Helen remembers the incident where Lucinda told her about the fruit of the magical tree and how a few drops helps to protect against dangerous creatures and even make one invisible. She offers the tea to Helen but Helen’s mother stops Lucinda, screaming that it would kill Helen. A realtor then visits her offering to sell the estate for her which she refuses. 

Mallory goes to her first fencing class in the town where a renowned but vision-impaired maestro. However, after a brief session of mental sparring with her, the maestro tells Mallory that she cannot coach her since she’s too rigid with her ways. Mallory argues that she had been practicing since she was 6 years old and had great plans but to no avail. 

In the meantime, Jared and Helen visit the hospital for Jared’s session. Helen leaves him to visit Lucinda. Jared meets some more people his age who are waiting for their sessions, Emiko and Hatcher. However, after briefly talking to them, Jared decides to skip the session and goes over to Lucinda’s room where his mother is talking to a silent Lucinda. She tells her about how she has had a divorce because Richard, her husband, felt that she made him small and the problems with Jared. When helen mentions Spiderwick mansion though, Lucinda goes out of control, telling them to leave. 

Elsewhere, Mugarath or Dr. Brauer and Calliope visit a museum of sorts where they are especially interested in an enamel egg. The employee informs them of the mysteries inside the egg but from her demeanour, we understand that it is not for sale. However, Dr. Brauer signals Calliope, who eats the egg, and they find a moving creature inside what looks like resin. 

Back at the Spiderwick mansion, while they are sitting for dinner, they hear the same noise and Helen ends up poking into the wall. They all proceed to tear the wall down to reveal a dumbwaiter with dead mice hanging from it. Jared tries to go up the dumbwaiter but Simon stops him. They have a heated argument where Simon tells him to stop his antics because the family had to leave their house because of them. Later, Simon ends up going to the fireflies festival alone, he texts his dad but is brushed off. After this, he is successful in trapping a firefly, who transform into a faerie, shocking Simon as the firefly escapes from the jar. 

Back at the house, while Jared is cleaning, he finally goes up the dumbwaiter into the attic where he finds Arthur Spiderwick’s things. He also finds the field guide with it’s pages torn. At this time, on the mirror someone writes “Click clack, watch your back” with a boggart looking at him. He screams and run to inform his family but they don’t believe him. Helen finds out that Jared ditched therapy and is furious. She takes him to the psychiatrist’s house, Dr. Brauer and the episode ends. 

The Episode Review

Episode 1 of The Spiderwick chronicles began quite well although with certain scenes of average production quality. The magical creatures and intricate Victorian set seem very amusing and interesting. The show seems to be quite close the original story and has constructed the creatures based on the original illustrations of the book. 

Right now, it is too early to comment on it since the first episode has only laid the foundation of this dark fantasy series. However, the mystery feels compelling with a curiosity to meet all the magical creatures and their role in the story. 


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