It Starts On The Page: Read ‘Lessons In Chemistry’ Finale Script “Introduction To Chemistry” By Lee Eisenberg

Editor’s note: Deadline’s It Starts on the Page features standout limited or anthology series scripts in 2024 Emmy contention.

Forget Captain Marvel: Brie Larson plays a far more relatable feminist superhero in Apple TV+’s Lessons in Chemistry, an adaptation of the Bonnie Garmus novel about a brainy chemist who hosts her own 1960s cooking show. While privately mourning the loss of her soulmate, Larson cooks up a program that not only delights her homemaking viewers but empowers them with knowledge about the science of cooking.

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Here, Lessons In Chemistry executive producer/showrunner Lee Eisenberg reflects on the way too-limited series (come on Apple! This screams multiple seasons) — including taking on the challenge of adapting the book, having Larson as the lead and filming post-pandemic — before sharing his script for the finale, directed by Tara Miele.

There is little chance that you’ve made it to 2024 without reading Lessons in Chemistry or living with someone who does or, in some way, taking in the rightful phenomenon Bonnie Garmus’s book became. So, along with my partners, to take on the adaptation of such a beloved book felt like the most uphill and daunting challenge of our collective careers.

And then you add to that the fact that one half of one of the richest and realest and heart-flutteringiest on-screen romances unceremoniously gets hit by a bus just as their love story was actually beginning. And we were shooting with a baby. And a dog — who narrates.
But none of us could turn away from the story, from the characters, and from the message that the essential truth of life, even for a scientist who builds her life around rules and order and reason, is that we must remain open to surprise.

And there was plenty of surprise throughout the eight episodes of our season. “Intro to Chemistry” picks up after a cliffhanger. Elizabeth’s daughter—Mad, short for Madeleine but so named because the nurse asked Elizabeth how she felt post-labor— has been on a season-long quest to learn more about her father, Calvin Evans— a man whose death and legacy and cut-short love story looms over the series. But this is a story of hope and connection and resilience and Calvin’s death sets into motion a series of events that Elizabeth never could have imagined, one that changed the trajectory of her life, that stripped her down and filled her life up and brought her to places and people and a version of herself that she could never have set out to be.

There was no one to better embody our tall order than Brie Larson— star, executive producer, novice food stylist, and set morale booster. The show came at just the right time for all of us, post-pandemic, having lived through years that fundamentally changed everyone involved, and everyone who would watch this. And for me personally, it came at a time when I was a new husband and father, and examining the ways in which these central relationships would redefine and surprise and reshape my world and who I was going to be and who I would want in it. As Elizabeth says, “in science, discoveries often lead to more questions,” and it was an honor of a lifetime to get to ask them alongside a team of incredible actors, producers, directors, and collaborators, to have been a part of Elizabeth’s journey and the hurtling comet that is this book. I am eternally grateful to anyone—those who read “Lessons” and still opened their hearts to our interpretation of it, and those who came to it with fresh eyes—who spent time with these characters. I feel like a better person for having spent time in their world.

Check out the script below.

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