Great Expectations Season 1 Episode 1 Recap – what does Miss Havisham want to do with Pip?

By Ricky Valero
Published: March 26, 2023 (Last updated: April 19, 2023)
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The Great Expectations pilot is a technical achievement with brilliant writing to reel you into this world.

We recap the FX on Hulu series Great Expectations (2023) Season 1 Episode 1, which contains spoilers.

Great Expectations is a series based on an orphan who is down on his luck until running into Miss Havisham. The series stars Academy Award-winner Olivia Colman as Miss Havisham, with Fionn Whitehead playing Pip (the orphan). Let’s dive into the season premiere.

Great Expectations Season 1 Episode 1 Recap

The series begins in 1839 London, with Pip attempting to kill himself by tying a rope to his neck and jumping off a bridge. We jumped into the main title card and rewound seven years earlier.

A young Pip is working hard and sharing some Shakespeare while he does. Next, we move to this prison-like atmosphere where tensions are high, where two men (Maywitch and Compeyson) who hate each other yell about how much they hate each other.

A guard mentions they have no choice as they’ll be side-by-side until they get to Australia.

We see that Compeyson isn’t willing to stand by and stay in prison, so he causes a fire in his cell and begins his plan to get out of dodge. His mate in the jail, Maywitch, begs him to let him out, but Compeyson tells him to “burn in hell” and leaves.

However, we see Maywitch able to escape and take the guards out individually.

It’s Christmas Eve, and young Pip wants to visit his parents, but his sister Sara and Joe tell him it’s not a good idea with the cannons going off. Joe tries to calm the situation down and gets Pip to stay. Then, Joe tells Sara he will leave if she beats Pip again. Later that night, we see Pip sneak out of the bedroom window, leading to trouble.

Who takes Pip hostage for food?

While visiting his parents’ gravesite, Pip is snagged by Maywitch and told to get him food and things to keep him warm. If he doesn’t, he will put his sister and husband in a grave just like his parents.

Pip comes through as promised for Maywitch with a bunch of food and drink. Maywitch asks him to cut his shackles, then asks if he has seen anyone else like him (talking about Compeyson). Moments later, we see Compeyson appear and question Pip if he has seen Maywitch.

Of course, Pip is scared, lies, and tells him he doesn’t know anything.

What does Miss Havisham want to do with Pip?

Mr. Pumblechuck arrives for dinner with Sara, Joe, and Pip to announce Miss Havisham needs Pip. Over thirteen years ago, Miss Havisham had adopted a girl who needed company since they couldn’t find a boy of the appropriate class, and Mr. Pumblechuck selected Pip.

As Sara gets excited over the idea of getting paid for Pip to head to Miss Havisham’s, the guards storm into the house to announce that two men have escaped and that the soldiers must come out and find them.

Joe and Pip are forced to join the soldiers in the hunt for these men. During their trek, Pip tells Joe that he isn’t sure about the arrangement with Mr. Pumblechuck, but he does know he doesn’t want to take over the blacksmith shop.

The soldiers hear some chatter, and it’s Compeyson and Maywitch doing battle. We see the two covered in mud beating each other up, and as Maywitch is about to finish Compeyson, a soldier comes in and tackles him.

Then, the commanding officer asks Maywitch how he got his ankle chains off. While he had the chance to throw Pip under the bus, instead, he says he broke into a blacksmith’s house and got them off.

We see Pip and Biddy discussing his arrangement with Miss Havisham and how he uses it to help Joe and his sister. She isn’t fond of his arrangement and lets him know it.

Now, we see Mr. Pumblechuck and Pip are off to meet with Miss Havisham. Finally, Pip arrives at the house to meet Estella and Miss Havisham.

Great Expectations Season 1 Episode 1 Ending Explained

The episode ends with us seeing the meeting between Miss Havisham, Pip, and Estella, which goes as awkwardly as expected. Miss Havisham forces them to say something about each other and closes with, “I want to watch you play.” Colman makes her presence felt even with minimal screen time in the first episode.

What did you think of Great Expectations Season 1 Episode 1? Comment below.

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