The Essex Serpent Episode 1 and 2 Review: Mysterious Start to Tom Hiddleston and Claire Danes’ Apple TV+ Show

The Essex Serpent Episode 1 and 2 are now out on Apple TV+. Directed by Clio Barnard with Anna Symon’s screenplay, the show is based on Sarah Perry’s book of the same name. The star cast includes Tom Hiddleston as Vicar/Priest Will Ransome, Claire Danes as Cora Seaborne, Hayley Squires as Martha, Frank Dillane as Luke Garrett, Jamael Westman as Dr George Spencer, Clémence Poésy as Stella Ransome, Dixie Egerickx as Jo Ransome, Ryan Reffell as John Ransome and Michael Jibson as Matthew Evansford.

The first two episodes are titled ‘The Blackwater’ and ‘Matters of the Heart’. The show’s synopsis reads, “set in Victorian England, the series follows London widow Cora Seaborne (Danes) who moves to Essex to investigate reports of a mythical serpent. She forms an unlikely bond with the village vicar (Hiddleston), but when tragedy strikes, locals accuse her of attracting the creature.”

The Essex Serpent Episode 1 and 2 Review Contains Spoilers

In The Essex Serpent Episode 1, Cora Seaborne from London loses her abusive husband to an illness. Her husband was seeking treatment by Doctor Luke Garrett. After her husband’s death, Cora becomes friends with Luke. However, the news of the deadly Serpent returning to Aldwinter catches her attention.

Cora is a well-read woman who has a great interest in such myths. Cora moves to Essex with her son and live-in maid, Martha, without any second thoughts. Later, Garrett and his friend Dr George Spencer also go to the town to meet Cora.

In Aldwinter, she meets Vicar Will Ransome. Will doesn’t believe the myths and rumours about the Serpent. It is said that the Serpent punishes people for their sins. Will describes the talks about the serpent as ‘A myth carved in oak’. However, something tragic happens at the end of episode 1, which instils the fears among the people of Essex. The tragic incident also shakes Will and Cora.

In The Essex Serpent Episode 2, Cora decides to go back to Aldwinter with her son despite everything that happened in the first episode. Garrett is not pleased with her decision. Martha returns to London with Luke and George. In the second episode, Will and Cora try to dig deeper into the myth or truth about Serpent. However, the episode ends with another startling twist that leaves the door open for various possibilities.

The Essex Serpent Episode 1 still

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Apple TV+’s The Essex Serpent takes its sweet time to give us an idea about every important character. In the first episode, the idea is laid forward about what Will and Cora think and what the people of the town believe. We see how intimate Will and Cora’s equation is in the trailer. Will is married, and Luke like Cora. So the show also has additional drama to spice up the plot and the major trouble – the serpent.

Even though the first two episodes don’t give a lot to discuss on the table, they are engaging. It is crucial to building the tension with such Victorian myth-based shows where mystery has to be sensational. The makers do that at the end of the episodes. The cinematography of the show is also good. The scene at the end of episode 1 where the camera zooms out and captures the Aldwin lake like it’s seen is the map is quite brilliant.

Tom Hiddleston is an outstanding actor, and you’re immediately drawn to his character Will Ransome. He’s intelligent, knows his job well, empathetic, and a bit rude (and hot). Playing a character like this isn’t much of a challenge for such an amazing actor like him. However, I am looking forward to how his character grows further as the story gets more intense.

The Essex Serpent Episode 2 still

Claire Danes are brilliant as Cora Seaborne. The immediate transition in her character after her husband’s death is commendable. In the first two episodes, actors Hayley Squires, Franke Dillane and Jamael Westman also do a good job with their characters Martha, Luke and George.

The Essex Serpent Episode 1 and 2 Review: Final Thoughts

Overall, it’s a good start for Tom Hiddleston and Claire Danes’ mythical show set in the victorian era. There’s not much to discuss yet as not much has been revealed. But the eerie ending of episode 2 will build the curiosity to watch the next episode.

Watch the first two episodes on Apple TV+.

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