Little Fires Everywhere season 1, episode 1 recap – welcome to the neighbourhood

March 18, 2020
Daniel Hart 0
Hulu, TV Recaps


Little Fires Everywhere Season 1, Episode 1 gives the audience a good base for the rest of the series as we are introduced to the Richardson and Warren family.

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Little Fires Everywhere Season 1, Episode 1 gives the audience a good base for the rest of the series as we are introduced to the Richardson and Warren family.

This recap of Hulu Series Little Fires Everywhere season 1, episode 1 contains significant spoilers. The first 3 episodes will be released on March 18th and then it will be a weekly series until the last episode.

A lot happens in Little Fires Everywhere Season 1, Episode 1; it builds a picture of the Richardson and Warren family but also throws in a lot of plot points; so here is a breakdown of what happened.

Episode 1 begins with what looks like a church on fire and fire engines arriving. Elena Richardson looks on distraught. The fireman claims there is evidence of an accelerant, which means it was done on purpose. The fireman asks if Izzy Richardson did this. Neither Elena nor her husband Bill Richardson knows where their daughter Izzy is.

And then Episode 1 jumps back four months earlier — so we get a sense of how far behind we are with the timeline. A Happy Elena is preparing for the day and getting breakfast ready for the family.

Outside of her work, Elena notices an African American woman (Mia Warren) sleeping in a blue car outside so reports it to the police. The reference that she is African American becomes important later…

Mia is moved on so she goes shopping with her daughter Pearl Warren. The mother and daughter are looking for houses — coincidentally, Elena shows them both a house. Mia wants a month-to-month rental contract because she’s an artist and sometimes there is no certainty, but Elena is not keen on that type of arrangement. As Elena sees Mia and Pearl walk-off, Elena has a change of heart and offers the month-to-month rental.

Very early on, it is clear Elena feels a connection to Mia and Pearl. Elena tells her family about Mia and that she felt good helping her when she was temporarily homeless. There’s clearly a problem with Izzy in the family; Elena finds Izzy Richardson setting her hair on fire on purpose. Bill tells Elena she needs to stop fixating on her and that “Izzy has always been Izzy”.

Mia and Pearl enjoy their new house. One of the Richardson teenagers, Moody, introduces himself to Pearl nervously, and they build a connection quickly, going out to town together.

And then the African American reference by Elena becomes more purposeful to the plot; Elena sees Mia working a minimum wage job and offers her a role as a housekeeper in her home. Mia is a little offended but Elena says she would pay really well but Mia declines. Later that day, Elena asks Bill if what she offered was offensive. Bill “kind of” implies it may have looked racist but obviously she had the best intentions — “You have the biggest heart”.

So far, Little Fires Everywhere Season 1, Episode 1 builds a race clash between a lower-class black family and a rich white family in the suburbs, so its obvious why Mia felt offended — it almost felt like she was going back in time.

Moody brings Pearl into his home and Pearl is impressed by the house. Pearl joins the Richardson family for dinner but Izzy will not join the table to eat. Afterwards, Elana drives Pearl home; Pearl compliments Elena’s home and tells Elena she writes as well — she delves into poetry. Elena says she is curious to read her work.

The next day, Moody introduces Pearl to a wreck den and confesses to reading her latest poem — they discuss some of the words as they become closer as friends. Moody gets out the guitar and starts playing some song and Pearl reads out a poem. Unfortunately, their night is shortlived as Pearl and Moody are caught in the wreck den which is classed as trespassing.

On the same night, at an orchestra event at school, which Izzy is a part of on stage, Izzy refuses to participate and just sits there while everyone else plays there instruments. Elena does not understand why she is acting strange. When Izzy faces the audiences it reads on her head, “Not your puppet,” in response to not being able to wear what she wants. Elena and Izzy had an argument earlier that evening about dress code.

As the night draws to an end, Mia is annoyed at Pearl for getting caught trespassing with Moody. Elena tells Mia not to be upset as they were only caught by neighbourhood watch. Mia gives Elena a stern look.

When they get home, Mia tells Pearl that “people like us need to be careful about the cops” and irrationally states they need to move to Connecticut. Pearl says she’s tired of moving around and not having a home. Mia fumes and asks Pearl to go to her room. Mia stands outside of Pearl’s room realising she’s made her daughter upset and bursts into tears — there’s a real sense of struggle between them.

Meanwhile, Elena considers talking to Izzy in her room and stands outside her bedroom door, but then changes her mind. Izzy sees her mother’s shadow.

As we approach the end, the next day, Mia catches Izzy outside using spray paint — Mia gives Izzy some artist advice. Mia listens in to Pearl socializing with the Richardson family and then picks her up — I think at this moment, Mia realizes she needs to let her past experiences go as she accepts Elena’s job offer.

Throughout Episode 1, Mia has had certain flashes of a man on a subway; near the end, Mia has flashes again of her spending time with a woman intimately on the subway, and then she sees Elena as well. There is a man looking at her and she freaks out. We don’t know what this subway flash means at this point.

Little Fires Everywhere Season 1, Episode 1 closes with Elena receiving a phone call in the middle of the night. It’s about a reference for Mia Warren — the man on the phone has never heard of a Mia Warren before. The last scene shows Mia producing a photo of Elena in a red light basement.

Additional Notes

  • Elena tells Mia that the grass in the house has to be under six feet as part of an agreement.
  • In her new house and putting Pearl to bed, Mia experiences a flashback of a man on a subway and panics.
  • Elena seduces Bill near the end of Episode 1 — “It’s Saturday” — and the couple have planned sex.
  • After their big argument, Mia gives Pearl a new bike.

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