Lessons in Chemistry Season 1 Episode 7 Recap – What clue is found in the library?

By Adam Lock
Published: November 17, 2023 (Last updated: March 20, 2024)
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Lessons in Chemistry Season 1 Episode 7 Recap
Lessons in Chemistry Season 1 | Image via Apple TV+


“Book of Calvin” certainly sneaks up on you. It starts off quite underwhelming, like your typical flashback episode, but it quickly develops into something else entirely.

The penultimate episode of Apple TV+’s Lessons in Chemistry focuses on the life of chemist Calvin Evans. In Season 1’s seventh installment, “Book of Calvin,” viewers are shown Calvin’s entire life story, starting from his early years at St. Lukes all the way to his whirlwind romance with Elizabeth in the fifties. Wakely and Calvin’s friendship is handled sweetly in Episode 7 and Calvin and Elizabeth’s romance is beautifully realized once again.

This is another emotional episode that sets things up perfectly for the season one finale.

“Book of Calvin” starts in 1930. Calvin is an orphan at St. Luke’s Boys Home. There he uses his chemistry expertise to help the Home’s bishop make illegal hooch for profit in secret. The mysterious Wilson (Beau Bridges) then comes to visit. Calvin believes that this rich man is his father, but the bishop doesn’t want to lose Calvin to anyone. The bishop lies to Wilson and the boy is forced to stay at the home to continue his work.

How does Calvin and Wakely’s friendship start?

Fast forward to 1948, Calvin is now a famous chemist at Hastings. He asks for his own laboratory and then goes to lecture at Harvard. Reverend Wakely happens to be in the audience during one of these lectures and is impressed with Calvin’s knowledge. He writes Calvin a letter, debating the age-old argument of religion versus science.

These two men may disagree on their faiths, but they continue to write to one another, with a playful back and forth. Calvin then moves in across the road from Harriet and Charlie. The neighbors introduce themselves to each other. Harriet states that she is a legal aid. Calvin asks for her help with some unwanted letters. Harriet proposes that they issue a cease-and-desist against the letter writers.

Wakely and Calvin’s correspondence carries on. They discuss family and children. Wakely has both, but Calvin is entirely alone in this world. The Reverend urges Calvin to start dating and to look for love. Calvin listens and goes on a terrible first date, fearing that he’ll always be alone. Wakely updates Calvin on his problems — his father has cancer. Calvin suggests a treatment and Wakely’s dad eventually agrees to chemotherapy.

In 1951, Calvin falls head over heels in love with Elizabeth. He informs Wakely of the good news. That Christmas, Calvin even considers proposing to Elizabeth. He buys her an engagement ring in secret. The couple then spend the holidays together and Elizabeth eventually moves into Calvin’s home.

Calvin starts to have doubts about the engagement though, worrying that Elizabeth will reject him. He writes to Wakely again, discussing this dilemma. The Reverend suggests that Calvin is more open with Elizabeth. They both need to accept one another’s faults and foibles.

Why is Calvin angered by the letters?

These flaws come out when Calvin is angered at work. Calvin eventually opens up to Elizabeth more, talking about the incessant letters he keeps receiving. He admits that his parents abandoned him when he was young and since their death, many strangers have pretended to be his family. This upsets him greatly. Elizabeth comforts her partner.

Calvin writes to Wakely once again. Elizabeth has confessed that she never wants to marry or have children. Calvin is surprisingly accepting of Elizabeth’s wishes. He is just happy to spend the rest of his life with her regardless of old traditions. Wakely replies, stating that he is moving to California.

Then comes Calvin’s death for the second, heartbreaking time. This time though, the death is signified by Calvin’s empty lab. Wakely’s letter is of course returned unopened. The Reverend must eventually discover that his pen pal is dead, but we don’t get to see this play out.

This brings us back to the show’s present in 1958. Madeline and Wakely have been working together on hunting down Calvin’s boys’ home. Of course, Wakely wasn’t aware for the majority of that journey that Calvin was Madeline’s father. After that meteoric revelation, Wakely meets with Elizabeth again. He hands Madeline all of Calvin’s old letters.

Elizabeth and Wakely have already met before, but this time, they have their friendships with Calvin in common. Wakely and Elizabeth discuss Calvin and religion. Elizabeth worries that Madeline may be emotionally scarred by this investigation, she doesn’t want to upset her daughter by pursuing the matter further.

What clue is found in the library?

Regardless of her worries, the mother and daughter travel to St. Lukes anyway. The bishop at St. Lukes acts rather suspiciously though, lying about his knowledge of Calvin, stating that the records were burnt in a fire. Madeline is angered by the bishop’s lies and investigates further in the home’s library.

Madeline finds Calvin’s name inside the library’s copy of Great Expectations, Calvin’s favorite book. The book was donated to the home by the Remsen Foundation.

How does Lessons in Chemistry Season 1 Episode 7 end?

Elizabeth informs Madeline that they have a lead in the case now. The episode then ends at the Remsen Foundation.

It is revealed that Wilson still works there and Calvin’s photograph is framed and displayed in their offices.

What did you think of Lessons in Chemistry Season 1 Episode 7? Comment below.


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