Events take interesting turns — from romances to mysteries — but nothing got revealed about what happened to Naomi.
The Essex Serpent Season 1 Episode 5 saw a significant uptick in the quality of performances and writing, even without putting the central mystery at the forefront.
Cora managed to go through a lot of emotional trauma during the 50-minute episode.
Her relationships got tested during the hour, and she ended up smashing things (as the title suggests).
She broke many different (expensive) objects in her house, but some of her friendships and relationships also got damaged.
Her friendship with Martha had always run deep, but they hurt each other with words that cut deep this time.
Martha got angry at Cora for her naivety and lack of compassion, and it exploded into a full-blown argument.
Martha felt unwanted, unloved, and underappreciated as Cora’s best friend and expressed her feelings to the equally-angry Cora.
Cora took great offense, and Martha stormed out of the house before either of the women could resolve anything.
This prompted Cora to smash things in her house once Martha left.
Martha crossed a line when making a bold statement about her dead husband, and Cora crossed a line when rejecting Martha’s help with recovering from her experience in Essex.
The women’s clash was also caused by an exciting proposal from Dr. Lukle: a literal proposal.
Dr. Luke got presented an award for his heart surgery success, and Cora joined him at the reception before the award dinner.
It was there at the reception that, while slightly drunken, Dr. Luke asked Cora to marry him.
Not in a drunk way; he spoke entirely seriously.
He also made some insensitive comments about Cora’s dead husband, similar to Marthas, on how she uses his death to excuse everything.
Cora did not take lightly these comments (or being proposed to), and she stormed out after sharing some strong words with the doctor.
The doctor didn’t accept his award, either: he ended up wandering the streets drunk.
This led to him getting mugged and stabbed directly in his dominant hand.
Getting stabbed in his hand opens up a whole new world of issues, as his surgery practice may need to be put on hold indefinitely.
Before all this, however, Stella got her diagnosis: Tuberculosis.
Essentially, she received a death sentence from Dr. Luke, and she refused experimental surgery (and experimental treatment).
We quickly shed a tear for her: she’s such a lovely character, and we had hoped the doctor would be able to save her (or that it wasn’t a severe disease).
Will agreed with her decision not to do the surgery, and they finished their visit in London at the museum.
Will happened to bump into Cora at the museum, and the tensions ran high!
Cora and Will are still emotionally recovering from having sex on the beach on The Essex Serpent Season 1 Episode 4.
The scandal gets worsened by Stella’s (pretty-much guaranteed) death sentence, and the Vicar tries to repent for his sins later in the segment.
Luke also used Stella’s diagnosis to hurt Cora by claiming that she’s a horrible person, wanting the wife to die.
The addition of the TB diagnosis, Luke’s injury, and Will’s mental state into the foray of (already messy) storylines puts a lot of pressure on the show’s finale.
This limited series only has one episode left to wrap up its many active storylines.
The show would have served better by introducing many things earlier (like Dr. Luke’s injury).
The previous chapters have felt exceedingly empty and lacked substantial plot development.
Adding the intriguing plot points earlier in the series (Dr. Luke and Martha’s sex scene, Dr. Luke’s injury, focusing more on Naomi, etc.) would have made the show more bearable.
Sadly, they saved all of the drama and intrigue for the final half of the penultimate episode and presumably the finale.
Luckily, we are in for an exciting ending to this uninteresting series.
Hopefully, the writers managed to wrap up many of the loose threads present.
There are many characters with unresolved storylines, the serpent to deal with, and the smaller stories involving politics that leave everything quite muddled.
We still have our doubts about whether or not the serpent is real, but that doesn’t change the fact that Naomi is missing (and Gracie is dead).
Something attacked these girls, or something drew them in through their sins.
Could it possibly be the devil? Could it be a real serpent? We don’t know.
One thing we do know: Cora continues to lose herself.
Seeing her destroy the mirrors and vases gave us an insight into what it may be like inside her mind: and it’s not good.
During these scenes, Claire Danes proved to be at her very best, showing incredible emotion in a woman who has lost control.
Hopefully, Cora lives through the show’s end, but the more she starts to lose her mind, the more we wonder if she’ll live or die.
Whatever the case, we’ll find out soon enough when the finale (hopefully) tells all!
So Fanatics, what did you think of the penultimate episode?
Are you looking forward to the finale? What do you think will happen?
Let us know in the comments below! The Essex Serpent Airs on Apple TV+ on Fridays.
Michael Stack is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.