What happens to Calvin Evans on Lessons in Chemistry?

Episode 2. Lewis Pullman in "Lessons in Chemistry," now streaming on Apple TV+.
Episode 2. Lewis Pullman in "Lessons in Chemistry," now streaming on Apple TV+. /

Calvin Evans is Elizabeth Zott’s love interest in Lessons in Chemistry. The scientist is a star in his field, however, his manners leave much to be desired. Often, Calvin is brusque in nature but he does respect brilliance and is kind to those he takes a shine to like his neighbor, Harriet Sloane, and, of course, Elizabeth.

Over the course of the Apple TV+ original‘s first two episodes we learn a few key things about Calvin. He’s a chemist with an immense amount of pressure on his shoulders as he tries to untangle himself from a dead end in his work which is needed to keep the Hastings Research Institute funded. Calvin’s means of releasing stress is going running, he loves to row, and he enjoys the chaos of life.

While he and Elizabeth bond over their shared love of chemistry, they’re actually complete opposites. She’s orderly and loves the predictability of routine. He slows down around her, letting himself breath and rest. In contrast, Elizabeth tries new things with Calvin and amends the structure of her life to make room for him. They’re an adorable pair thanks to the on-screen chemistry between the two actors, Brie Larson and Lewis Pullman.

There is, however, foreshadowing in the premiere, “Little Miss Hastings,” that Calvin is going to come to an untimely end. By the time we get to the end of episode 2, “Her and Him,” the chemist’s time on this Earth is done. Here’s what happened.

How does Calvin die on Lessons in Chemistry?

Episode 2. Lewis Pullman in “Lessons in Chemistry,” now streaming on Apple TV+.
Episode 2. Lewis Pullman in “Lessons in Chemistry,” now streaming on Apple TV+. /

In the series opener, Calvin is nearly hit by a bus while on a morning run. This small moment, which may have come off as a throw away to viewers, was actually a nod to his fate. While out with Six Thirty, the dog he shares with Elizabeth, Calvin is hit by a truck.

Moments prior he had been on his usual morning run but then Six Thirty started fussing over his leash. The two were wrestling with it as the pup didn’t want to continue on in their exercise for some inexplicable reason. But as they were both tugging on the leash, it slipped Six Thirty’s neck and Calvin ended up stepping into the path of an oncoming vehicle. He never saw it coming.

Lessons in Chemistry episode 2 ends with only the audio of those in the neighborhood reacting to the accident as the credits roll. One bystander notes that he’s not moving. While Calvin isn’t declared dead in “Her and Him,” he’s not expected to continue on in the series as he also dies in the book the show is based on. That’s not to say viewers won’t continue to see Pullman in some capacity as the series continues its eight episode run.

Minor spoilers for later episodes of Lessons in Chemistry are mentioned below.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, director Sarah Adina Smith revealed that the chemistry between Pullman and Larson led to the actor appearing in more episodes than had been planned. She said the following:

"“We realized we had something magic there between them. Lewis was only supposed to be in I think two or three episodes, but because he was so magnetic and watchable, we felt like this was the heart of the show. Lee [Eisenberg], being the really smart showrunner and flexible writer that he is, saw what the universe was giving him and pivoted to make sure that we could keep him longer.”"

Pullman, and the relationship between Calvin and Elizabeth, struck such a chord that viewers can expect an episode about the renowned chemist that’s told from his perspective. Editor Matthew Barbato shared in the same interview that the episode gives viewers insight into Calvin’s backstory and shows his side of how he and Elizabeth met.

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