Julie and the Phantoms season 1, episode 1 recap – “Wake Up”

By Daniel Hart
Published: September 10, 2020 (Last updated: February 11, 2024)
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Netflix series Julie and the Phantoms season 1, episode 1 - Wake Up


“Wake Up” is a firm introduction to the story.

This recap of Netflix’s Julie and the Phantoms season 1, episode 1, “Wake Up” contains significant spoilers.

We recapped every episode — check out the archive.

The opening

It begins in Hollywood, 1995. A band named Sunset Curve is performing at a theatre — it’s a soundcheck. Rose is very complimentary of the band. They are all very excited about playing, believing tonight will change everything. Three of the band members eat some food and one of them ironically states that street dogs haven’t killed them yet. Well, there’s always a first time.

Lack of confidence and moving home

Julie and the Phantoms episode 1 then flits to 2020, Los Angeles in Los Feliz High School. Julie has a point to prove in music class. She gets up to play the piano but she can’t do it — Carrie mocks her. When Julie gets home, her father talks to her about moving house and packing their things. He asks her to deal with her mother’s studio. The conversation suggests that the mother is not alive. “Wake Up” gives the basis of Julie’s drive for music.

The ghosts

Julie enters the studio and apologizes out loud to her mother for not visiting this area of the house. She checks out the instruments and then sees a disc for the band Sunset Curve and plays the music. Suddenly, the ghosts of the band appear and Julie screams and quickly runs off. The father checks up on her after she claims she saw ghosts.

Julie returns to the studio and screams when she sees the ghosts again. The band claim it used to be their studio and is confused that a lot has changed. Alex asks Julie why she’s in their studio and reveals that they are Sunset Curve. Julie googles them and confirms they died 25 years ago. Julie’s brother enters the studio and he cannot see them. Luke and Reggie also introduce themselves. Julie can only see the ghosts it seems.

Family meal

Julie returns to the house for a family meal. The brother Carlos tells the father that Julie was talking to herself in the studio. They talk about moving out. The ghosts then appear which makes the dinner awkward for Julie. The father speaks to Julie about music after struggling in class. He tells her to give herself a chance. Julie returns to the studio as the band is playing music and she asks them to stop. The band is surprised that everyone can hear the music but cannot see them. Her father then enters and tells her that they are going to figure out the music programme.

We are not giving up on music

Luke speaks to Julie privately and he expresses how radical it is that people can still hear them play — he apologizes and claims they feel alive again and they will not be giving up on music. Julie asks the band if any of them have seen her mother. Luke says that Julie’s mother was really talented based on the song they saw written in the studio. Julie tells the ghosts that they can stay.

The ending

The next morning, Julie enters the studio and the ghosts are not there. She plays the piano and sings a song. Julie is clearly talented. “Wake Up” is a firm introduction to the story. The whole idea that Julie’s grievance over her mother brings back the band and encourages her to get back into music is an emotionally engaging narrative that works.

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