Season 1 Episode 1: Great Expectations (2023) Recap and Review!
Pip tries to hang himself and jumps off a bridge in 1839 London in the opening scene of this coming-of-age drama based on the Charles Dickens novel. The main narrative is immediately established, and we are rapidly whisked back seven years in time. An impressionable Pip is repeating Shakespeare while working very hard.
The scene then changes to a tense jail cell where two men, Maywitch and Compeyson, shout aloud about how much they hate each other. The guard informs us that they would be required to remain side by side until they reach Australia, leaving them with no other option.
Compeyson doesn’t appear to be willing to just sit idly by and be in jail, so he lights a fire inside his cell to start his escape attempt. Compeyson’s jailhouse friend, Maywitch, begs him to liberate him; instead, Compeyson tells him to burn in hell before walking away. But, Maywitch escapes and kills every guard he encounters on the way out.
The young Pip wants to see his family on Christmas Eve, but his sister Sara and her companion Joe caution him against it because of the cannons. Joe tries to make things right by persuading Pip to remain. Sara is then forewarned by Joe that Pip will leave if she whips him once more. When it grows dark, Pip then sneaks out of his room, which causes issues.
When visiting the graves of his relatives, Pip is stopped by Maywitch, who orders him to bring him food and other supplies to keep him warm. The prisoner threatens him with graveyard burials for both his departed relatives and his sister and her spouse if he doesn’t comply.
Pip gives Maywitch the agreed-upon amount of food and drinks. Maywitch asks him to take off his chains before asking if he’s seen anyone who looks like him. Compeyson appears a short while later and asks Pip if he has seen Maywitch. Naturally, Pip lies and says he doesn’t know anything because he is afraid.
When Mr. Pumblechuck, Sara, Joe, and Pip arrive for dinner, it is announced that Madam Havisham has ordered Pip to be sent to her house. Pip was picked by Mr. Pumblechuck because they were unable to find a boy of the appropriate class. He continues by saying that they believe Pip is intelligent enough to be Miss Havisham’s friend because she adopted a daughter who needs company.
As Sara gets excited about the possibility of getting paid, the guards break into the house to inform the men that two men have fled, and they immediately order the men to go outside and look for them.
Pip and Joe are under pressure to help the soldiers find the prisoners. As they are out for a stroll, Pip confides in Joe that although he is unaware of the terms of their arrangement with Mr. Pumblechuck, he is certain that he will no longer work as a blacksmith.
The soldiers overhear Compeyson and Maywitch engaged in combat. As Compeyson, who is covered in mud, is about to be killed by Maywitch, a soldier enters and challenges him. The commanding officer then asks Maywitch how he unfastened his ankle restraints. He says he made the decision to break into a blacksmith’s house and escaped with them.
About his agreement with Madam Havisham, Pip, and Biddy argue. He explains how he could utilize the funds to assist both his sister and Joe. She tells him that she disapproves of his proposal.
Mr. Pumblechuck and Pip are on their way to see Miss Havisham. Finally, Pip arrives at the house to see Miss Havisham and Estella. Before the episode closes, Miss Havisham, Pip, and Estella have a strange and unsettling dialogue in which Miss Havisham declares, “I would like to see you play,” after forcing them to talk about each other.
The Episode Review
The episode’s opening scenes set the tone for the plot. It also gives us a peek at the main characters in the plot, including Pip, Madam Havisham, Estella, Maywitch, and Joe.
The show’s jail setting is unsettling, yet it accurately depicts a frequently ignored group in Victorian society: the inmates. Dickens is renowned for highlighting the underserved groups in Victorian society. He sheds insight into the living circumstances of a blacksmith and a prisoner through this tale. The first episode effectively and unsettlingly illustrates these features.
Also, a small yet crucial storyline change is introduced to us. Pip reveals his disinterest in becoming a blacksmith even before meeting Estelle. He wants to develop into a gentleman so that he can be with Estelle, according to the novel. Nonetheless, the fact that someone would wish to belong to the upper class for a different reason shows that this show is probably a reworking of the novel.