Lessons in Chemistry (2023) s01e07 Episode Script

Book of Calvin

[NUN] How many times? Get
your nose out of the dirt.
[STAMMERS] I'm sorry, Sister. [GRUNTS]
One day your curiosity will lead you
down a path you can't come back from.
[NUN 2] "And die in an instant,
in the middle of the night.
His eyes are on the ways of
mortals. He sees their every step."
That will be a demerit for
tardiness, Calvin Evans.
Now, where did we leave off?
"There is no deep shadow,
no utter darkness where
evildoers can hide.
God has no need to
examine people further
that they should come
before him for judgment."
Eyes on the board, please.
The verse reads, "The Lord
is the maker of them all."
Sorry to interrupt, Sister Beth Ann.
- Children.
[NUN 3] Now, we just finished
the meeting with the bishop.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith are
ready to take him home.
there are some very special people
who have come back to see you.
- Say hi.
- Jeremiah. Hi. Let's walk outside.
- Thank you.
- God bless.
to your compositions.
"The Lord is the maker of them all."
All right, boys. Load her up.
[BISHOP] Same order for next week?
If you can double the output,
I'll make it worth your while.
Thank you.
[ORPHAN 1] Careful. Don't spill
any hooch. The bishop will kill us.
- Hey [SIGHS] bring me another empty one.
- [ORPHAN 2] Yeah.
[ORPHAN 1] Use this as a strainer.
Bottles go over there
when they're filled.
Oh, Calvin. There you are.
Everyone is really impressed with
the work you're doing down here.
I think it's time to
increase production.
Is that the temperature gauge?
Yes, the one you mentioned.
That's great. [CHUCKLES]
Now, what else do you need?
Put that over here. And careful.
Take it off your arm.
[CALVIN] Put that on that second stove.
- [ORPHAN 4] We're running out of room.
- [ORPHAN 5] Yeah, we need more crates.
- Holy shit, it's a limo!
- [SISTER BETH ANN] Language.
[ORPHAN 6] It's a Cadillac!
I bet he's a professional
baseball player or a movie star.
[ORPHAN 6] What do you
think he's here for?
[ORPHAN 7] Don't kid yourself.
I bet he's here for me.
[ORPHAN 6] In your dreams.
Calvin, I wanted to take a
moment to discuss your future.
You've become indispensable to
me, and that should be rewarded.
Which is why I'm excusing you
from your daily chores. [CHUCKLES]
Is something the matter?
Who was that man who came today?
I had a feeling he was here for me.
He was here because of you.
He-He's my father, isn't he?
Calvin, I'm sorry.
I told him everything
about you, and he saw you.
But he doesn't want you.
I'm sorry, Calvin.
But But what if I-I
could just talk to him.
- He'd see I'd be
- No.
Look, I I care about you too much
to subject you to those
hateful, selfish people.
It's bad enough that you have
to carry their brokenness in you.
That you will be burdened with it,
no matter how good you are,
no matter how hard you try.
Try and act natural but distinguished.
How much longer is this going to take?
Would it be good to do
one with the whole lab?
You worry about delivering
us another tennis trophy
against those sons of bitches from JPL.
- Let Dr. Evans have his moment.
- Of course, sir.
Those Those cables on the
electrophoresis are inverted.
No. I don't think they
Dr. Evans, lean a little to
your left. I'm catching a shadow.
I'm certain that I checked.
Goddamn it!
These samples are are
useless. This is no way to work.
There's too many people, too much noise,
too many unnecessary distractions.
- Dr. Evans, I can assure you
- You are completely right.
Tell me what you need.
I need my own space. No
chemists, no lab techs.
None of this attention. I
just I just need quiet.
By the time you get back from
Boston, you'll be all sorted.
Robert, you'll see to it.
Yes, sir.
Make Hastings proud.
And then hurry back.
Fame only lasts as long as you
give them something to write about.
So you can see now that every
living thing on our planet,
- from lichen to mice to Harvard students
forms its proteins from
the same set of 20 amino acids.
RNA and DNA may be comprised
of only four nucleotides,
but their chaotic processes
indicate that life is born of random,
infinite permutation, not stable
and efficient amino selection.
Thank you.
Thank you.
[WAKELY] Dear Dr. Evans, I
have no background in chemistry.
And yet, after listening to your
lecture, I felt compelled to write.
I find your work fascinating.
Downright exhilarating, in fact.
But I think your research may
be overlooking the mysteries
of the divine.
[WAKELY] What if God is
a spontaneous generation?
What if the missing link between
nucleotides and early life-forms
is in fact a force that
science alone cannot explain?
I simply share your affinity for
questioning commonly held beliefs.
Respectfully, Curtis Wakely.
Oh, that can go at the
end table there. Thank you.
[CALVIN] Dear Mr.
Wakely, Reverend Wakely?
I'm unclear when you
are bestowed the title.
As if it bears stating,
I am a staunch atheist.
But regardless of one's views, only
an intellectually dishonest person
could watch a chromosome undergo
the metaphase of cell division
and still believe that an
all-powerful bearded man
in the sky designed it that way.
But please, convince me otherwise.
I've never been one to shy
away from a good debate.
- Yours, Calvin Evans.
[WAKELY] Dear Dr. Evans,
Thank you for your response.
I have never had the pleasure of
watching a chromosome in metaphase,
so I will admit to my bias.
But I believe that the mystical
and the natural are not
fundamentally opposed.
The way I see it, science is
the how and religion is the why.
[CALVIN] Rather than
argue this with you,
I thought I would leave
it to Charles Darwin,
who proved that science
is the how and the why.
Do you hear that? Is that
Charlie Parker playing?
Ah, yes. My archnemesis. The
other Charlie in your life.
- Oh, my love. It's no contest. [CHUCKLES]
Ooh, these people got taste.
Probably can't hear over the music.
Uh, Harr, we should go back.
No, he's a white fella.
Uh, how can I help you?
Welcome to Sugar Hill, neighbor.
Oh. [SIGHING] Thank you.
[BREATHES DEEPLY] Come inside.
- There you go.
- [SIGHS] Thank you.
Oh, was that Parker I heard you playing?
Oh, yeah, good ear.
It's the B side actually.
Don Byas's single. Here.
Take it. Give it a listen.
- [STAMMERS] I couldn't. [CHUCKLES]
- Mmm.
She only says that when she's
definitely gonna do something.
I don't mean to pry, but, um,
how did you end up in this area?
Oh. I-I-I, uh I found this
place on one of my runs actually.
What kind of run?
Just jogging. You
know, exercise. [SIGHS]
- Oh, must be a white-people thing.
[LAUGHS] We're only 5.2
miles from where I work, so
Is the work that's 5.2 miles
away the Hastings Laboratory?
Um, yeah. I'm a chemist there.
[STAMMERS] And what What do you do?
I'm a resident intern
at Kaiser Hospital.
Huh. Yeah.
And I'm a legal aid in the offices
of Hollis, Morrison and Douglas.
[GASPS] Oh. Oh. Oh, this
is gr this is great.
That's great. I, um
Yeah. You know, I
[SIGHS] They did some press
on me, and ever since then,
I've been getting all
sorts of correspondence.
You know, religious threats,
proffers of marriage.
Even though my parents are dead,
people pretending to be my family.
They seem to have
confused being a chemist
with being a, uh,
Rockefeller. [CHUCKLES]
What, um Can you I don't
know. Can you help me with this?
Well, firstly, I'm a legal
aid and and not an attorney.
- Smartest attorney you'll ever meet.
But in my non-legally-binding opinion,
well, we could issue individual
cease and desist letters.
I would love for them to cease and
then for them to desist. [CHUCKLES]
[HARRY] I'd like you to
meet my new secretary
- Well, hello, everybody. [STAMMERS]
- Hi, Gracie.
[GRACIE] So you're the girl
Harry Morton's chasing after.
[GEORGE] Gracie, this
is Harry's secretary.
Oh, really? Well, you're
silly to chase after him.
She's much prettier.
- [HARRIET SCOFFS] Really now?
- [CHARLIE] She hasn't talked to you
in over a week,
- she assumed you must have died.
That's all with that woman.
I will call her when I am
good and ready. Excuse me.
I have the answer.
- I have the answer.
[CHARLIE] I got the answer.
- [CHARLIE] Just call on the doctor.
- [HARRIET] Oh, see. No! [CHUCKLES]
[WAKELY] Dear Dr. Evans,
Thank you so much for the gift.
I've been enjoying the read, and
my daughter keeps stealing it from
me to color in the
pictures of the birds.
[CALVIN] While I don't think Darwin
intended for his greatest work
to be used as a coloring book,
I'm glad it's getting
use from the whole family.
[WAKELY] Do you have
children of your own?
Aside from the occasional tantrum
and damage to personal property,
I'm a big advocate.
[CALVIN] To answer your question,
I have no wife, no
children, no obligations.
I'm married to my work, and
that's the way I prefer it.
[WAKELY] If there's one thing
that Darwin and I agree on,
- it's that man is not meant to be alone.
[WAKELY] Are you aware
that in The Descent of Man
- he mentions love 95 times?
- Oh.
[WAKELY] Exposing the experiment
of your life to outside variables
might just yield a result
that surprises and delights.
So, I implore you, do not rule
anything or anyone out just yet.
Food for thought, my friend.
Sorry that took a second.
I bumped into a coworker in the
bathroom. What a funny coincidence.
What coincidence?
Oh, I just mean it's a
small world sometimes.
Me seeing her, you and I here tonight.
It's more of an unremarkable
statistical likelihood, right?
I mean, most people eat dinner
between the hours of
six and eight o'clock,
and there's only four
restaurants in the area.
If you and your friend live
nearby, then [INHALES DEEPLY]
there's a pretty high probability
of you bumping into each other.
You seeing her tonight is not
because the world is small,
but predictable.
Sorry. I think I'm being rude.
No, not at all. [INHALES SHARPLY]
I was so excited when
you finally called.
I had the perfect dress picked out,
but of course, I spilled
nail polish all over it.
So I put on this old thing. [CHUCKLES]
[STAMMERS] Did Did the
fabric have acetate in it?
- I'm not sure.
- Because if it if it did,
you should not use acetone and water.
It'll ruin the fabric. Always
use one part coconut oil
to one part solvent.
Oh. That's resourceful.
Might be five restaurants in the area.
[CALVIN] Personal history has
proven the experiment of my life
does not mix well
with outside variables,
and the results are
reliably futile. [SIGHS]
Someone once told me
I was broken. [SIGHS]
Maybe they were right. I'm best alone.
[WAKELY] I hear the hurt in your voice,
- even on paper.
I'm so sorry that
someone said that to you.
I disagree.
But there is no denying that
love opening ourselves to it,
losing it, falling short of it
- makes us vulnerable to hurt.
- Dad.
Normally, I would argue
that it's all worth it.
But I'm afraid I'm in no position to
lecture anyone on faith in this moment.
The doctor said put your
- Yeah, yeah.
[WAKELY] My father has
cancer of the gallbladder
and is refusing treatment,
choosing prayer to take away
his illness from his body.
I hate to admit this,
but I'm angry at God.
How can he leave the most pious
among us gasping for breath?
[LECTURER] in his innocence,
and questions why God
[CALVIN] I'm truly so sorry
to hear about your father.
I have enclosed a paper
from Yale School of Medicine
that's found a chemical agent
producing temporary remissions
in some patients with Hodgkin's disease.
Apologies if overstepping.
[WAKELY] Thank you for your kindness.
I must say, whatever my doubts and
whatever your resistance to faith,
I can't help but see the proof
of the divine in our friendship.
This sort of unexpected
connection? That's God.
I hope you'll continue to
stay open to unknown variables,
because, Calvin,
no one is best alone.
[CALVIN] Curtis, truthfully,
I didn't take your
words to heart until now.
May I join you?
You may.
[CALVIN] I have met someone.
Someone so unexpected
that her happiness supersedes
my former life's pursuits.
[CALVIN] I-I I want
to give her everything.
Be everything for her.
[CALVIN] She is my
how, and she is my why.
[WAKELY] Calvin, I am
overjoyed to hear this
and not too humble to take
just a little bit of credit.
By the way, I have some
good news of my own to share.
My father has agreed to treatment.
Happy holidays to you and your someone.
Can I help you find
something today, sir?
Oh, I'm, uh I'm not
sure. I was just walking by.
[GROANS] Yeah, I wouldn't know
where to start, really. [CHUCKLES]
Well, what's your girlfriend like?
Uh, she's not my girlfriend. She
is, um, something else entirely.
Okay. Take a look at this one.
Now, this is what all the
ladies want right now. Trust me.
[LAUGHS] No, Elizabeth doesn't want
what what all the ladies want.
She doesn't even believe in marriage,
really. Or she didn't. [CHUCKLES]
But that was before.
You know, things are
things are different now.
Everything's different since we met.
Sorry. I shouldn't be saying
all this to a stranger.
No, that's more than okay.
Most men who come in just want to know
what's the cheapest
or the most expensive.
I have a feeling that's
not the case here.
She's simple.
No, what am I saying? She's not simple.
She appreciates
simplicity. Practicality.
She doesn't wear jewelry normally.
But if she did, it would
be complex but clear.
It's not a big stone,
but it is the clearest
diamond in the shop right now.
The most facets too.
Tilt it around and see
how it catches the light.
[CHUCKLES] Yeah, it's her.
Got the red nose on already?
- Do you have the
Did you just flinch? You're
acting very strange today.
I think it's I think it's strange
that you think I'm strange. [CHUCKLES]
Okay, you strange, strange man.
[FRAN] Come on, you scrooges.
If I don't see you during lunchtime
carols, I'm writing you up.
- After you.
- Coward.
I thought Six Thirty could
be your running buddy.
Because I sure as hell will
not be doing that with you.
- Oh. It's perfect.
I have one last thing. It's small.
You should move in with me.
- [ELIZABETH] Hello?
- One second.
I used my key.
- What are you doing?
- Oh, just tidying.
- Tidying? Any particular occasion?
- Someone's coming to stay for a while.
For a while?
Should I carry you over the threshold?
No, that's for marriage.
I, uh I-I bought forks.
Impressive. How many did you get?
Enough for two people
to have a to-go order.
- So, two.
- Two.
[CHUCKLES] Did you
get spoons and knives?
- Shit. [CHUCKLES]
[ELIZABETH] I am excited
to expand our library.
How many times can one person
read Great Expectations?
[CLICKS TONGUE] You have made the
same lasagna dish, uh, 79 times.
That is not a fair comparison.
- It's slightly different every time.
- Hmm. Same thing with a great book.
- How is that possible?
- 'Cause the book stays the same,
but you don't.
Oh. Well, you didn't tell
me that it's a magical book.
- Tell me your secrets, magic book.
- No, it only speaks to me.
- It's my book.
[CALVIN] A new kind of question for you.
How did you ever get
up the nerve to propose?
I've never felt more certain
about anything in my life,
and yet I am completely
paralyzed by fear.
Paralyzed by the idea
that as soon as I ask her
to spend the rest of her life
with me, it'll break the spell
and she'll realize I'm
not good enough for her.
[ELIZABETH] Breakfast?
[CALVIN] Perhaps the church did a better
job of intertwining love and fear in me
than I realized.
[WAKELY] Dear Calvin, My best
advice is not to overthink it.
All we can do on this
earth is love generously
and hope that we are
given the same in return.
None of us is perfect.
That's why wedding vows include
the words "for better or for worse."
Scripture tells us "above
all, love each other deeply
because love covers over
a multitude of sins."
But perhaps it misses something.
In order to truly love and be
loved, you must love all of someone,
including their most difficult truths.
Perhaps especially those truths.
Working on a sermon?
More of a sermon for one.
Writing a letter to a friend.
Ah. [CHUCKLING] Let me guess.
The godless man of science?
The one who sold me on chemo as
"God's way of restoring
his original creation from
- wayward cells."
- "Wayward cells." The very same.
[CLICKS TONGUE] Some coincidence
the timing of this friendship.
Well, "when coincidences
start happening,
they go on happening in the
most extraordinary ways."
Did you come up with that?
No, that is Agatha Christie.
- [CHUCKLING] Boy, you need to quit.
- [CALVIN] Dear Curtis,
Believing that love can conquer all
is a beautiful idea to aspire to.
I will give you that.
Unfortunately, I fear
for me, it is different.
I have spent a lifetime hiding
the worst elements of myself.
I am terrified to think that anyone
would have to witness my defects.
[CALVIN] Especially someone
I care so deeply about.
Gasoline is jammed.
Hmm. Shall I call maintenance?
They expect us to prepare for
the Remsen under these conditions?
Absolutely ridiculous.
Thank you.
[CHUCKLES] H-How many times?
I specifically redirected these
correspondences to my lawyer.
I cannot work when I am being inundated
by these unceasing and invasive lies.
I-I'm sorry, Dr. Evans.
- I wasn't instructed to sort any
- Unacceptable! Who is your supervisor?
Thank you.
- Why did you do that?
I just need them to stop.
It's like no one appreciates what
I'm trying to accomplish here.
Right. Well, I will let you
get back to your important work.
Didn't think you'd be here.
Of course I'm here.
You still want to be around me?
Yes, I do.
I lost my temper.
People lose their tempers. I'm
more interested to know why.
Calvin, it's not like you've been
spared from the worst parts of me.
Doesn't make me like you any less.
Well, what if I told you I
feel the same way about you?
Try me.
It's all gonna come out eventually
anyway, whether we like it or not.
Um, don't wouldn't
know where to start.
Start slowly. Tell me
what happened today.
My parents abandoned
me before they died.
Those letters,
people pretending to care about
me, claiming to be family
It's It's salt on a corroding wound.
I'm glad my parents are dead.
It makes moving on simpler.
It's hard to say aloud the things
we can barely say to ourselves.
starting slowly. [CHUCKLES]
[CALVIN] Dear Wakely,
I'm sorry it's been a
while since I've written.
[CALVIN] I feel as if I've lived
several lives since my last letter.
[CHUCKLES] Left hand
over right. That's good.
Always left over right.
How is it? It's good. Nice.
Your instinct's to put
your thumbs on the end.
- Do you know why? Yeah.
Hmm Oh. [STAMMERS] Freddie.
Hi. Um, I just wanted to
apologize for the other day.
Again, I'm sorry.
I don't want to get married, and
I don't want to have children.
Thank you for telling me. Now I know.
Know what?
What you need.
As long as I have you and you are
happy, that that is enough for me.
Hey, buddy. Oh, are you
ready to go on a walk? Okay.
You wanna lick this
stamp for me? [CHUCKLES]
Okay. Let's go. Let's go.
[CALVIN] As you know,
I didn't want marriage.
And then I f I found myself buying
an engagement ring of all things.
- I think
- Very close.
I was compensating
for what is broken in me
- Yes, we're going.
- grasping for something whole
and perfect to give her,
'cause I wanted to be
perfect for her so badly.
All right, Six Thirty. You
ready? Let's go. Come on. [KISSES]
[CALVIN] But as always,
she surprised me.
She has seen the worst parts
of me, and still she loves me.
Marriage, all those traditional steps,
they may not be for us,
but we are for each other.
[CALVIN] We are for
each other. [CHUCKLES]
That sums up the whole damn
universe, wouldn't you say?
[WAKELY] Dear Calvin,
How can you say you
don't believe in miracles
when a man as certain as you of
being alone finds a love like yours?
It seems to me you may have
disproven your own philosophy.
I am thrilled for you.
My family is preparing to return
with my father to California,
and perhaps we can celebrate in person.
[CHUCKLES] Come on. Hey, come on.
- Six Thirty, it's okay.
Thirty, come on. Hey, come on.
What should I do with
Dr. Evans's mail now?
Babe [SIGHS] something for you.
Mom! He's here! He's here!
- Mr. Wakely.
- Hello.
We called the boys home in
Modesto and are visiting next week.
Can you believe it?
Hello. Good to see you again.
Wow. I had no idea you
were Calvin's Elizabeth.
It's incredible. I brought
these letters he wrote me.
- Thanks.
Come with me.
So, what are your plans?
Honestly, all of this
business of Calvin's history,
rifling through his past
I would never withhold answers from Mad,
but I am afraid of bringing people
into her life that I can't trust.
I get it. You're afraid
of unknown variables.
Calvin really rubbed
off on you, didn't he?
- Or maybe I rubbed off on him. [CHUCKLES]
- Oh. Makes so much sense now. [CHUCKLES]
Truth is, we changed
each other for the better.
So [SIGHS] a
priest and a chemist.
What do you think
brought you two together?
We both knew how little we knew
and preferred asking
questions to answering them.
What about you two?
I think we found faith in each other.
That's a funny word to
hear coming from you.
How so?
You do know that religion
is based on faith?
And you know that faith isn't
based on religion, right?
Yes, indeed. You two are
perfect for one another.
Mmm. I didn't know him long enough.
No, you didn't.
Do you know what it means
to temper your expectations?
To measure them?
Close. It's to keep them low, in
case we don't get what we want.
Okay, I will temper.
No matter what comes of this, I
love you, and your dad does too.
Mom, you always say that.
But how can Dad love
me if he never met me?
Because, Madeline Evans Zott, some
things defy empirical evidence.
How can I help you, Mrs. Zott?
Miss Zott, not Mrs. My father
and mother weren't married.
You had a boy here named Calvin Evans.
He was my father.
And does your [CLICKS TONGUE]
father know you're here today?
He passed away.
I see. Well, I'm very
sorry to hear that.
My daughter found several demerits
from this institution
in his personal effects.
The name doesn't ring
You must have some sort of system here.
Records or files you could refer to.
Happy to check. What year did
you say your father was here?
1921 to roughly 1939,
give or take a few years.
Hmm. [CLICKING TONGUE] Before the fire.
I'm sorry to say that unfortunately
many of our oldest records burned.
Are you sure you don't remember him?
He loved science and books. He
was very smart and a fast runner.
Might I suggest [SIGHS] that
you look to the Heavenly Father
to help heal what you're missing?
- Mad. I'm so sorry, bunny.
- Bunny, I know how disappointing this
- It doesn't make any sense! He's lying!
- Mad.
[SIGHS] I don't want another dead end.
- I'm sorry, bunny. I
- I know he was here.
There's gotta be proof.
All right. I'll help you.
Mom, look.
What is it?
A lead.
You were right.
- I'm heading out. [CHUCKLES]
- Good night, then.
- And don't stay too late.
- Okay.
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