Queen’s Gambit Season 1 Episode 1 Recap – Openings
Published 1 year ago
[00:00:10] The year was 1967; the location was Paris. Elizabeth Harmon woke up due to someone knocking on her door. To her surprise, she slept inside a bathtub, clearly she forgot the events that transpired last night. Elizabeth opened the door and spoke to the staff. After getting ready, she rushes to the elevator barefoot. As the elevator reaches the ground floor, Elizabeth dashes across the hotel into a private hall. Flashing light bulbs and murmurs from the press awaited her as she entered the room. As Elizabeth approached the table, she apologized for her tardiness. Her opponent extends her a greeting by shaking her hand. Elizabeth sat down at the table where a chess board was at the ready. Before Elizabeth made the first move a flashback was shown; presumably her childhood and how she arrived at this moment.
[00:03:25] The flashback begins showing us an accident involving a truck and a car. The vehicles collided with each other on a bridge. The car was driven by Alice Harmon, Elizabeth’s mother. It’s shown that she died during this incident. The police state that it’s a miracle that Elizabeth survived without a single scratch on her. She’s taken to an orphanage as she no longer has any relatives to take care of her. During her trip to the orphanage, the lady who picked her up explained to Elizabeth that her mother passed on and someday she’ll see her again.
[00:05:12] As Elizabeth arrived at the orphanage, she’s welcomed by Mrs. Helen Deardorff. She introduces Ms. Lonsdale and Mr. Fergusson who both serve as the staff of the orphanage. We hear a girl shout that all the staff are a bunch of cocksuckers, her name is Jolene. Mr. Fergusson attends to Jolene and Mrs. Deardorff shows Elizabeth around the orphanage. Helen tells Elizabeth that there are a total of 21 girls within their care. She advises Elizabeth that prayer and faith is the key to overcoming her grief and that they will be good friends. After their conversation, Ms. Lonsdale gave Elizabeth a haircut and Helen provided her with a new set of clothes. She told her that they will burn her old dress that had her name on it. Helen leaves as Elizabeth falls in line along with all the other girls.
[00:09:12] Elizabeth meets Jolene, who asked her a few questions about her parents. Elizabeth dodge the questions by answering that she didn’t remember. Mr. Fergusson then hands out pills to the girls and he advises Elizabeth to take both pills. After taking the pills, Elizabeth immediately felt its effects as she slowly wobbles while walking. Jolene and the other girls laughed at Elizabeth. She told her to take the green pill before sleeping. As Elizabeth gets ready for bed, she reminisced about the time she saw her father. Paul was arguing with Alice stating that she wasn’t taking care of herself and that Elizabeth shouldn’t be with her. Paul had given up chasing Alice around, he told her that he will no longer return once he leaves.
[00:14:00] The next day, Elizabeth attended her classes within the orphanage and finished her paper ahead of everyone else. The teacher asked her to head to the basement to clean out the erasers. She sees a man playing chess. As the day goes by, the girls line up again to get their pills from Mr. Fergusson. Jolene showed Elizabeth that she didn’t take the green pill. Before Elizabeth went to bed, she took the green pill and it took effect immediately, giving an illusion that the shadows of the trees change into a chess board.
[00:17:20] Mary-sue, one of the other girls in the orphanage gets adopted. Mrs. Deardorff assists her in packing up her things. Jolene approached Elizabeth and complained at how unfair life was. Furthermore, Jolene told her that they’re too old and that no one will adopt them any longer. One day, Elizabeth decided to skip church and go to the basement. She approached the man asking what he was doing and if he’s willing to teach her. The man replied that the game is called chess but he doesn’t play with strangers. Elizabeth continued to take the pills and now she’s able to see chess pieces on her shadow board. In the morning, she approached Jolene to inform her that the pills do work better at night. Jolene scolded Elizabeth to take it easy and not get used to those pills.
[00:20:50] Once again, Elizabeth goes to the basement to clean up erasers and tells the man that she’s not a stranger. She showed him that she knows most of the chess pieces and how they move by just watching. The man invites her to play and she lost instantly. The man continued to play chess with Elizabeth until they got into an argument and she called him a cocksucker. After their argument, Elizabeth could no longer go inside the basement. Full of regret, she asked Jolene what a cocksucker was and Jolene explained. A confused Elizabeth told Jolene that men urinated from that area but she assumed that it can be cleaned. Since she was unable to play chess, she needed to find other things to do but the urge to play became stronger each day.
[00:28:50] Finally, Elizabeth was able to open the door to the basement again and the man was waiting to play with her. Elizabeth got better and better. The man decided to teach her more advanced and complicated strategies. As she continued to play chess, she also continued to take more pills and it already became an addiction, she would keep on taking the pills every night and each night would be a higher dosage. The pills allow her to play chess using her imagination as she spends countless hours practicing in her head
[00:31:00] Elizabeth continued to play chess every day and even though she could see other people socializing, she no longer cared for anything else. The moment of glory finally arrived when Elizabeth got her chance to play the white color. The man explained that the game was played by taking turns on who would have the first move. He also gave her a book that contains countless strategies in chess stating that she would need the book as it contained everything she needed to know. Elizabeth continues to focus on chess, everything else was second best.
[00:36:00] The man she was playing with in the basement was Mr Shaibel. He introduced her to Mr. Ganz, the coach of the Duncan High Chess Club. Elizabeth played with Mr Ganz, and although he was the coach of a chess club, she still beat him. She continued to play with Mr Ganz until she was playing both of them simultaneously. Elizabeth won, crushing her opponents with relative ease. Mr Ganz expressed his gratitude by giving Elizabeth a doll, which she immediately threw away.
[00:40:00] Mr. Ganz approached Mrs. Deardorff asking permission to have Elizabeth play in Duncan High with his chess club. Elizabeth agreed to play but she encountered a problem, she no longer had any green pills. She was experiencing withdrawal symptoms, so it seems. As it turns out, the pills were tranquilizers and the state government issued an intake ban for children. Luckily, on the day of her match Jolene gave her a few pills to take the edge off. She went to Duncan High where she played all the members of the chess club simultaneously and destroyed them all.
[00:49:00] As she returned to the orphanage, she told Mr. Shaibel everything that happened on the day of the match. She bragged at how she crushed all the competition and that no one was as good as her.
[00:51:00] Elizabeth demanded Jolene to give her more pills but she didn’t want to discuss it openly. Instead, she introduced her to Samantha who was the new kid in the orphanage. Elizabeth greeted Samantha and went on her way. She decided that she was going to steal the pills herself so she went to the basement. There she found a screwdriver and headed over to the clinic.
[00:55:00] Elizabeth arrived at the clinic doors. When she was able to open the door, she immediately went inside and started consuming as many pills as she could. She filled her pockets with pills and headed out the door but it still wasn’t enough, she wanted it all. Elizabeth took the jar of pills and was planning to take it with her but Mrs Deardorff and the rest of the orphanage emerged across the hall. Before anyone could react to what they saw, Elizabeth dropped the jar and fell to the floor, it seems she was having an overdose.