Based on the novel of the same name by Sarah Perry, The Essex Serpent’s trailer looked promising for the horror fans. Also, with big names such as Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston in the lead, the show was bound to deliver as Apple TV+ has never compromised with quality. Taking a look at the same, here we are breaking down Episode 1 of The Essex Serpent Season 1 to figure out if the show manages to live up to the story it is presenting.
The very first episode saw the beginning of Cora’s new journey after the death of her husband. She was finally free, and a conversation with her new friends encouraged her to chase a dream which led her to the town of Essex. A town where people believe the Devil in the form of a Serpent is haunting them and picking them one by one. So here is what went down during Cora’s first day in Essex.
The Essex Serpent S01E01 Recap
The Essex Serpent Season 1 Episode 1 opens the show with two sisters, Gracie and Naomi, near the Essex Marshes. While performing a ceremony, seagulls begin to screech, and something from the sea appears and takes Gracie away while Naomi runs away in fear.
Meanwhile, back in London, we meet Cora and her husband, Michael, on the verge of dying. Dr. Luke Garrett suggests surgery might ensure the life of her husband. But Michael vows that he wants to leave the world just the way he entered it.
Cora soon becomes a widow and is now free to do whatever she wants to after getting out of that abusive relationship. She befriends Dr. Luke Garrett and his colleague Dr. Spencer and learns from Luke about his goal to perform a heart surgery one day. The conversation inspires her to look for a goal of her own when she hears about a serpent appearing in Essex from her attendant Martha.
So Cora, Martha, and Cora’s son Francis leave for Essex, hoping to find answers. The Essex village, on the other hand, was haunted by the disappearance of Gracie. They believed the Devil was coming for them as well.
Cora met a vicar named Will, who will be guiding her during her time in Aldwinter. During the dinner with Will and his family, Cora expressed interest in knowing more about the serpent from the family. Will, on his side, never believed in such a thing and was quite adamant about it.
Will’s wife Stella suggested taking a look at the curate at the church to Cora. The curate suggests the possible existence of such a creature. Cora sits on the serpent-carved pew with villagers looking at her. Soon a word comes that people might have come closer to finding Gracie. The episode comes to a close with Cora discovering Naomi with the body of Gracie in her hands near the Marshes.
Apart from all of this, back in London, Luke fails in one of his attempts at heart surgery, resulting in him breaking down. This sees Spencer suggesting that they should take a break. So Luke and Spencer arrive in Essex to reunite with Cora, Martha, and Francis.
The Essex Serpent Season 1 Episode 1 Review
The Essex Serpent Season 1 Episode 1 certainly established the atmosphere will be in for the rest of the show. The gothic vibes and the slow but effective presentation of the story are one for horror fans. It may end up reminding you of shows such as Penny Dreadful.
Despite being a slow burn, you may not find yourself leaning back even for a bit. The way story of Cora is presented, each sequence gets enough time so that viewers can get invested.
Right from the time she lost her husband to the time she found her new goal, it’s not too much nor too little. The cuts between Essex and London might hurt the viewing experience and the main plot. But even Garrett’s story is worth looking into. The one that inspires Cora to chase her goal in the first place.
Apart from all of that, The Essex Serpent continues to play on the conflicts and different beliefs of the people from back in time. That’s where the show might be headed as we lean further into coming episodes to figure out if the Serpent the show is all about is real or just a myth, as Will believes.