The Big Door Prize Season 1 Episodes 1 and 2 Recap – What Does Dusty’s Morpho Card Say?

By Adam Lock
Published: March 29, 2023 (Last updated: March 8, 2024)
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The Big Door Prize Season 1 Episodes 1 and 2 Recap
The Big Door Prize Season 1 (Credit - Apple TV+)


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.

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. Season 1 Episode 1 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.

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.

The Big Door Prize Season 1 Episode 2 Recap

What does Cass’ Morpho card say?

The opening scene explains how Cass came to use the machine and what her life potential exactly is. We find her shopping for Dusty’s birthday with her friend Nat.

Cass must buy forty gifts for Dusty’s fortieth birthday and struggles to make the quota. Nat talks about getting money for the Morpho machine, but Cass hasn’t even heard of it.

Her friend pressures her to use the machine. Cass finally relents, but she won’t reveal her results. In the car, she looks at the card once more. Cass’ Morpho card says royalty.

The episode then returns to the final scene from the previous installment. Cass is in bed, looking at the card again, full of excitement and dread. Dusty returns and confesses to everything; he went to Mr. Johnson’s store and used the machine. His card said teacher/whistler.

At first, Dusty is annoyed by this outcome, but he is slowly accepting the result; it is validation, after all. Cass opens up, too, revealing her secret; she got royalty.

Dusty is stunned by her result, although he quickly dismisses it, stating that it is completely unattainable.

The Big Door Prize Season 1 (Credit – Apple TV+)

Who is Izzy?

Like most of the community, the card has given Cass a new lease on life. She drives to Izzy’s store to sell more of her own products. Cass makes and decorates an array of items for a living, including mugs, glasses, tea towels, and T-shirts.

During her conversation with Izzy (Crystal Fox), it is revealed that she is Cass’ mother, the mayor, and she was divorced from her partner Martha many years ago.

Cass asks why her products aren’t selling, and Izzy says that she cannot play favoritism as it appears to be nepotism, jeopardizing her career. Cass reminds her mother about Dusty’s birthday meal that night, which has already been rearranged numerous times because of Izzy’s busy schedule.

What is the meaning behind the word Morpho?

At work, Dusty talks more about the Morpho machine. The students seem clued up on the device, having researched the company’s name.

One student thinks it’s a conspiracy, data mining by a secretive company. Another student used the machine three times and always got the same result.

They state that the blue Morpho is a butterfly, like the machine’s logo. In Greek, it means shapely one, and the Ancient Greeks believed that the Blue Morpho butterfly could bring with it messages from the future, grant wishes, and tell you your destiny.

Jacob pipes up, adding that potential isn’t the same as destiny and that the results could be bad. Everyone, including Dusty, badges Jacob for his results, but he refuses to tell them what he got.

Jacob storms out of the classroom and heads into the woods. Here he finds Principal Pat lying on the ground; she has crashed her motorbike and has been badly injured in the accident. Jacob phones for help.

What did Eloise’s Morpho card say?

At Dusty’s birthday meal, viewers get a chance to meet Dusty’s whole family. They discuss the Morpho machine further. Trina’s card said she would be a potter, and Izzy’s said dancer. Next, Dusty’s parents, Cary (Jim Meskimen) and Eloise, announce they are getting divorced.

Dusty is stunned by this reveal and asks what is going on. The parents say they were inspired by the machine. Eloise’s Morpho card said healer, and she took this as a chance for self-healing. She wants to travel to Europe alone as a single woman to find herself.

Dusty comments on the fact that she is a doctor, so healer makes perfect sense, but she is beyond convincing.

Dusty’s father, Cary’s card, said, male model. He is now signed up with an agency and is working out nonstop. The parents admit that they probably should have gotten divorced years ago, but they didn’t want to upset Dusty.

They mention how separation can damage a child. This upsets Izzy, who split with her partner when Cass was young. She says Cass turned out just OK and then leaves, feeling offended.

Dusty’s parents are adamant that they still love each other but must be apart.

Eloise asks Cass for European recommendations, aware that Cass once traveled abroad. Cass admits that she only spent a semester in Italy, but the holiday profoundly affected her.

Cass loves wine and is quite the expert on the matter. She digs out a book for Eloise while Cary shows off his modeling skills and Dusty his whistling skills. The parents reiterate their love for Dusty and Cass, then call it a night.

The Big Door Prize Season 1 Episode 2 Ending Explained

After the parents have gone, Dusty and Cass debrief. Dusty is still shocked about the divorce news, believing everyone has gone completely mad because of this Morpho machine.

He asks why Cass bought him a theremin. She says that it is different and unique.

This kickstarts an argument between the couple. Dusty thinks this is a dig at him for being boring. Cass states that Dusty’s parents are trying new things; why can’t he?

The argument ends with them discussing their happiness, and Cass reveals that she wants to be happier in her life.

Trina overhears the argument and talks with her mother afterward. Cass shows off her wine knowledge, and they discuss how the machine changes Cass’ life.

The mother wants to be a better person, a better parent. The next day, she feels reinvigorated and motivated by the events that transpired the night before. She makes a new T-shirt that says royalty on it.

Then Cass confronts her mom, demanding all her products be removed from the store. She will sell them herself.

What does Jacob’s Morpho card say?

Episode 2 ends with Mr. Johnson asking Jacob to pose for a photograph. The shop owner has been snapping pictures of customers with their cards, focusing on the most successful ones only.

Jacob holds up his own card for the photograph; it says hero on it.

What did you think of The Big Door Prize Season 1 Episodes 1 and 2? Comment below.

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