Tiny Pretty Things season 1, episode 1 recap – the opening chapter explained

December 14, 2020
Daniel Hart 0
Netflix, TV Recaps


“Corps” is a thriller-esque opener as the new, mysterious YA series opens up a world of student ballet with plenty of paranoia reeking in the air as we become accustomed to the characters.

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“Corps” is a thriller-esque opener as the new, mysterious YA series opens up a world of student ballet with plenty of paranoia reeking in the air as we become accustomed to the characters.

This recap of Netflix’s Tiny Pretty Things season 1, episode 1, “Corps” contains significant spoilers.

We recapped every episode — check out the archive.

The opening

“Corps” starts with a dancer on a rooftop in the city; she has confidence and flair — she’s at a party. A man with a hood she appears to recognize gives her a white rose before throwing her off the roof. In the next scene, a ballet teacher tells Neveah that Chicago has called — she has been accepted into Archer School of Ballet.

“Corps” launches straight into the story; there’s no slow-burn here.

Neveah’s first day

When Neveah enters the school, she is introduced to Monique who bigs her up. There’s a mention of Cassie Shore, the girl she has replaced — the girl who died. Neveah is then medically assessed to understand her bone density and frame. As Neveah understands her new world, Cassie narrates about the pressures of dancing, including distraction and survival. Tiny Pretty Things season 1, episode 1 has an eery feeling from the offset; something is off about the school that Neveah hasn’t sensed yet.

Neveah’s first class

Neveah is late to her first class. She keeps taking dancers’ places, but she finds a spot eventually. The teacher analyses her poses immediately and asks her to show up with better attire and shoes next time. In the class, Nabil catches Neveah’s eye as an impressive dancer. He was Cassie’s boyfriend. Of course, all suspicions point to him.

Neveah’s “first friends”

Bette and June introduce themselves to Neveah. They agree to be friends, but you can tell Bette is just scoping her out. One of the dancers named Shane gives Neveah the low down of the school to make Neveah feel comfortable.

As the police investigate, tensions between the men rise

Oren asks Caleb how it’s ironic how he came all the way to Chicago and then his girlfriend dropped off a building. The men end up scuffling as tensions rise. The thriller genre is shining through early. A police officer named Cruz keeps on questioning students, and Monique tells her to leave the premises as it has been a week and she’s made no progress — Monique puts it down to a tragic fall. Tiny Pretty Things is purposefully placing plot points to throw audiences down different routes; the series is presenting many questions.

The party

Neveah is called into the office by Monique. She tells her that she’s either the future or a bad gamble; she wants Neveah to impress the donors. Later on, Neveah attends a donors’ evening hosted by Monique; she announces that Ramon will be part of a full-length work in the coming year which annoys the man — he wants to leave. The party is full of mingling and small talk; it’s evident this where opportunities are made.

A dinner with mother

June speaks to her mother over dinner about striving to cast for the lead role. Her mother doesn’t believe in her but June remarks that Cassie is not around anymore, so she has a chance. There are frustrations between mother and daughter; the mother would rather she become a lawyer or a senator, not a dancer. This is a typical story of a parent living through their child. It seems to be an early theme in the series; the students are under incredible pressure to be someone.

Neveah is buckling under pressure

A drunk Bette tells Neveah that the only reason she is here is that Cassie fell; she gets nasty about it. After she storms off, Neveah rings Ty, and she asks him for money so she can go home. Ty tells her to stay as she has no choice. Nabil overhears the conversation and tells Neveah that she is a good dancer.

Neveah decides to fight against adversity, and she enters the pool. Bette looks irked by it.

Officer Cruz tries to speak to June

Officer Cruz finds June on her way home. She asks if she was Cassie’s roommate. June tells Cruz that Cassie slipped and that not many people liked her. Cruz states that Cassie landed on her back, and there were scuff marks on the roof. June is not interested in entertaining the conversation. The series is a “whodunnit” very early on.

A bad dream

When Neveah falls asleep, she has a terrifying nightmare about the school — the room she’s stuck in has Suspiria type red lighting. Cassie tells her she should never have come to the school and lets go of her hand, so she falls. Neveah suddenly wakes up sweating. The character is struggling to cope at the school early on — the stress is crippling her.

Morning advice

Early in the morning, Neveah catches Bette practicing in the mirror — she tells Bette that she’s trying too hard and teaches her how to turn on an axis. Bette tries out her advice. The next few scenes show how the pressure of ballet encourages bad habits; bulimia and painful damage to nails and skin; we’ve seen this in many narratives before about the art form.

Neveah impressed Ramon

Neveah and Oren are partnered in class. June is partnered with Nabil, which irks Bette. Topher goes through the motions and picks on Bette and her performance. Bette and Shane attempt a routine, but Bette ends up hurting herself. Monique and Ramon watch on as Neveah and Oren perform the same routine; Ramon is impressed, and the room is stunned as Topher has little advice to give. Ramon announces a new project — Jack the Ripper — and auditions will begin immediately. Whatever Neveah did in practice has encouraged Ramon to change direction.

The ending

After morning practice, Bette is upset about her fall, but Oren is not sympathetic at all. As “Corps” nears an end, it’s revealed that Cassie is not dead, she’s actually in a coma. June is sobbing at her bedside.

Tiny Pretty Things season 1, episode 1 is a thriller-esque opener as the new, mysterious YA series opens up a world of student ballet with plenty of paranoia reeking in the air as we become accustomed to the characters.

Additional points
  • Oren and Bette are sleeping together. Shane tries to cover for them from the dorm hall monitor officer.
  • Oren and Shane are also hooking up secretly.
  • June rings Officer Cruz and tells her that Cassie wasn’t alone and there was a secret party before putting the phone down.

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