The Big Door Prize Season 1 Episode 1 Recap – what does Dusty’s Morpho card say?

March 29, 2023 (Last updated: last month)
Adam Lock 0
Apple TV+, Streaming Service, Weekly TV
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Cleverly written and quirky in tone, The Big Door Prize opens with an intriguing premise. Just like the cards from the Morpho machine, this series is brimming with potential. Hopefully, it can continue to build upon this promising opener.

We recap the Apple TV+ series The Big Door Prize Season 1 Episode 1, “Dusty,” which contains spoilers.

Apple TV+’s original series, The Big Door Prize, is a sci-fi dramedy from David West Read (Schitt’s Creek), based on the novel of the same name, written by M.O. Walsh.

This high-concept series focuses on a small town in America that is blessed with the introduction of a mysterious new machine that can tell you your life potential for a small fee.

Episode one, “Dusty,” focuses on the titular character, a history teacher called Dusty Hubbard (Chris O’Dowd), who ponders the ramifications of this simple gesture.

The Big Door Prize Season 1 Episode 1 Recap

We’re introduced to Dusty on his fortieth birthday. He celebrates with his wife Cass (Gabrielle Dennis) and daughter Trina (Djouliet Amara).

Dusty is given a new scooter and a theremin for his birthday, with his wife commenting on Dusty’s love of whistling, inspiring the musical gift. After a lovely breakfast with his family, Dusty heads into work, first stopping off at the local general store for a drink.

He notices that they have installed a new machine, a futuristic booth that stands out within the store, catching Dusty’s attention.

The store’s owner Mr. Johnson, explains that the Morpho machine was delivered while he was out, but it seems to be doing well for business so far.

At Deerfield High, where Dusty works, the staff and students are already discussing this mysterious invention. One student was told he had the potential to be a meteorologist, and Principal Pat has been inspired to buy herself a new motorbike because of her Morpho card.

Why won’t Dusty use the Morpho machine?

That night, Dusty and Cass go for a birthday meal at Giorgio’s Italian restaurant, where their daughter works. Everyone is discussing the machine here too.

Dusty thinks it’s a scam and refuses to use the Morpho machine himself. He’s happy with his life the way it is, although he can’t stop thinking about the machine regardless of what he says out loud. Even later, in the bedroom, his mind wanders, thinking about the potential of this unusual machine.

The following day, Dusty finds three peculiar blue dots on his skin. Aside from this worrying development, he feels completely deflated after a fantastic birthday celebration the previous day.

At work, Dusty finds someone’s card in the bin, and theirs says liar on it. Here we see a darker side to the machine; not all the wishes are good.

Dusty catches a wayward student called Jacob (Sammy Fourlas) in the hallway and speaks privately with him. Jacob was working at the general store the moment when the machine was installed. But he doesn’t want to talk about it.

Dusty mentions Jacob’s brother, Kolton, who recently died in a car accident. Jacob also reveals that Trina has been dropping classes.

Why is Trina struggling?

Back at home, Dusty talks with his wife about their daughter dropping classes. Cass says that Trina is currently struggling as she is still grieving her boyfriend, who died a few months ago.

This implies that Trina was dating Kolton, Jacob’s brother—Dusty worries that Trina doesn’t talk to them anymore, but Cass defends her daughter’s secrecy.

Dusty asks if Cass is happy, and she dodges the question. Dusty retires to his man cave and tests the theremin for the first time.

The next day, Dusty has developed extra blue spots on his derriere and now counts five of them. He seems unhappy with his life in general, though, and takes his scooter to work.

As he passes the many houses in the neighborhood, Dusty realizes that seemingly everyone has used the Morpho machine, and they are now trying out old or new hobbies. Everyone seems rejuvenated and altered by this machine, although there is a sense that people are acting strangely and selfishly as well.

What did Mr. Johnson’s Morpho card say?

There’s a vast queue inside and outside Mr. Johnson’s store as word has spread about the machine. One customer tries to break into the machine to reveal its hidden secrets, but Mr. Johnson urges them not to break it. He gives the customer a refund, performing magic in the process. Mr. Johnson’s card told him he had the potential to be a magician.

Angered by the machine’s popularity, Dusty urges his students to decide their own life potentials. Later he goes to a local bar for a drink and meets with Father Reuben (Damon Gupton).

Dusty confesses to the Father, mentioning his medical issue. Reuben advises Dusty to see a doctor, although Dusty explains that the only doctor in Deerfield is his mother.

Then, Dusty complains about the Morpho machine some more, worrying that he has squandered his life. Dusty admits he has no talents and has only been in one relationship.

To him, his significant life change was moving to America from Ireland. Has he reached his full life potential? Father Reuben says that making decisions naturally leads to regrets, as you can always take more than one path.

The Big Door Prize Season 1 Episode 1 Ending Explained

What does Dusty’s Morpho card say?

This conversation gets Dusty thinking, and he decides to use the machine.

That night, he walks over to the store and enters the booth. Dusty is asked to enter his social security number and provide his fingerprints. This implies that the Morpho machine is actually gathering data on the town with potentially immoral goals.

Dusty’s card tells him that he has the potential to be a teacher/whistler. This infuriated the man, who assumed he’d reached his life’s potential anyway. The card confirms it, but deep down, Dusty was hoping for something more.

The premiere ends with Dusty angrily leaving Mr. Johnson’s store. Back at home, Cass looks at her card, which she has hidden in her bedside drawer. She looks at the card and smiles. Cass then inhales deeply, implying that her card is quite daunting, possibly leading to a major life change for Dusty’s wife.

What did you think of The Big Door Prize Season 1 Episode 1? Comment below.

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