Utopia (2020) season 1, episode 1 recap – a bloody bid war

By Daniel Hart
Published: September 25, 2020 (Last updated: February 11, 2024)
View all
Amazon original series Utopia season 1, episode 1


Utopia season 1, episode 1 sets the stage rather well with an obsession over the comic and a naive group of friends who are unaware of the dangers ahead.

This recap of Amazon original series Utopia season 1, episode 1 contains significant spoilers.

We recapped every episode — check out the archive.

The opening

Episode 1 shows us a couple moving into a new house left by grandparents. The man (named Ethan) finds an old Utopia comic and he is rather intrigued. Of course, the man is thinking about the money and wants to sell it. He shares it on Instagram and there’s an interested person instantly — Sam. She messages her friends about it and they plan a trip to Fringecon to bid for it. The start of episode 1 gives a soft start — it gets crazy from here.

Ethan accept bids

Sam and the group head to Fringecon and they have an auction plan to deflate the bidding so they can swoop in. Wilson meets Ethan and looks at the Utopia comic and he is only allowed to see one page. He states it’s the original manuscript and asks questions about it — Ethan blags the answers and goes straight for the bid. When Becky looks at it, she wonders if there’s anything about a virus in the comic. When Ian looks at the comic he takes a sneaky photo while Ethan is distracted. Sam then walks in to see the comic and asks what the highest bid is and offers $6,000.

Episode 1 elevates the importance of this comic and what it means for salivating nerds. Afterward, Sam gets angry at a group that think the comics are cool. She tells them that what happens in the comics is real. They believe she’s a conspiracist which angers her even more — “This sh*t is about life”.

Here’s the money

At the bidding room, a man named Phillip Carson offers Ethan $20,000 and throws money on the table. As for Wilson, Becky, Sam, and Ian; they finally meet for the first time ever — from online friends to real-life friends — they all get to know each other. Sam wants an idea to finance their bid. But they don’t realize it’s sold. Grant is gutted when he shows up to bid to realize the comic is gone. Episode 1 shows naivety — these kids have no idea how incredibly dangerous this whole ordeal is.

I’m his son

Grant pretends that Phillip Carson is his father so he goes to the hotel reception for a key card to the penthouse. Meanwhile, a man named Arby also asks about the comic and wants a name. Arby’s friend Rod pulls out a gun. The scene suddenly turns very sinister and they drug Ethan, his partner, and his friends.

Fleeing away from danger

Grant has to hide in Phillip’s penthouse as the man arrives. When he arrives with a woman, Arby and his friend come to the room and stab Phillip’s hand to the table while asking for the comic. Grant flees the room with Utopia; Arby and Rod chase after him but he’s already gone. They return to the Penthouse and collect the names from the bidding names; they also kill Phillip and the woman. The violence that is going to run through this series is obvious from the start — there are no shortcuts.

The ending

Arby and Rod then head to each hotel room and start killing people on the bidding list with a silencer. Arby concludes they are missing four off the list including the young boy Grant. He also wants all CCTV removed so no-one can trace them. While this is happening, Sam and the group agree to stay at Wilson’s house — such innocent times for this group in episode 1.

As the episode closes, a woman walks into Ethan’s room; they have all been poisoned and are now dead — Ethan’s partner who is slowly dying asks who she is and she reveals herself as “Jessica Hyde” — the woman from the comics.

Utopia season 1, episode 1 sets the stage rather well with an obsession over the comic and a naive group of friends who are unaware of the dangers ahead. The Amazon series enjoys the violence very quickly and sets a production with no half-measures.

Additional points
  • The night before Fringecon Becky is having a fit and profusely. The meeting is a date and they hook up.
  • Ian and Becky meet each other at the bar and get to know each other.

Amazon Prime Video, TV Recaps
View all