Tensions rise with a simmering love triangle and some horror-tinged filmmaking. This is a return to form for the Victorian drama.
This recap of the Apple TV+ series The Essex Serpent season 1, episode 3, “Falling,” contains spoilers.
Having kicked up a storm in last week’s episode, Cora Seaborne strives to make amends in “Falling”, recruiting the good doctor Luke Garrett to help dispel fears in the local community. The third installment piles on the pressure with another possible flying serpent sighting and attack, whilst the intense love triangle between Cora and her two sparring romantic candidates continues to wage on. This Victorian drama amps up the romantic tensions in a much more entertaining chapter.
The Essex Serpent season 1, episode 3 recap
The period adaptation opens with three men on a boat out in open waters. One of the fishermen is Naomi’s father, who spots ripples beneath the waves. It’s an ominous start as their boat is rocked, their netting dragged in and an individual is then consequently thrown overboard. There’s strong Jaws nostalgia, with the monster’s POV camera angle and real tension looming in those shadowy depths. The fishermen escape unharmed, but their story quickly spreads throughout the village causing further paranoia as it transforms into a heroic yarn.
A regretful Cora tries to set things right as her servant Martha consoles her. The widow blames herself for the children’s outburst at the end of episode two and desperately wants to right this wrong. She returns to the scene of the crime and attempts to help Will’s daughter Jo find her voice again, after being turned mute by the event. Luke suggests hypnosis and mother Stella (Clemence Poesy) consents. The medical magic works a treat and Jo begins to speak once more, although this wizardry sparks two issues. One, the daughter admits to summoning the sea beast herself when she cast a spell, and two, an enraged Will returns, pinning poor Luke against the wall. This brewing love triangle has really intensified over three short episodes, surely heading towards a tumultuous end.
The era was awash with cutting-edge technologies and exciting new discoveries, which The Essex Serpent dutifully tracks, giving the show a revolutionary verve that can be captivating at times. Cora unearths what looks like a fossilized vertebra and previously, Doctor Luke successfully attempted the first-ever heart surgery. These two radicals seem the perfect match, but Tom Hiddleston’s hot vicar may be on hand to ruin all that chemistry. The two singletons return to the village only to be met with skepticism and abuse from the locals. Cora’s coincidental arrival and the sea monster’s possible return converge for the simple townsfolk into more than just bad luck; they believe it’s all her doing.
Some horror-tinged sequences and tantalizing romance bring rejuvenated energy to the series. This is a much better offering, with characters appearing more realistic and relatable. Will and Cora’s constant tug of war between science and the supernatural is intriguing, whilst the town’s hysteria starts to build traction. Hopefully, all these moving parts can combine to uplevel this show and deliver some more breath-taking drama that Apple TV+ is becoming renowned for.
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