In Apple TV+’s ‘Lessons in Chemistry,’ we follow Elizabeth Zott and her tireless efforts to prove herself a capable chemist, even if the rest of the world tells her otherwise. One of the things that turns around her life is meeting fellow scientist Calvin Evans. Despite not knowing each other for very long or very much about one another, Calvin and Elizabeth fall in love.
Before they can spend the rest of their lives together, getting to know everything about one another as they’d planned, Calvin dies, and Elizabeth is left with no information about his past. She remains curious but doesn’t get the time to tap into that mystery about seven years after his death. It turns out that the answer to her questions, as well as Calvin’s, was always right there.
Calvin’s Parentage Was Hidden in Plain Sight
Calvin Evans never knew his real parents. The people who adopted him died in a tragic car accident, and the only living relative from that end also died when he was young. He was sent to live in a boys’ home, where he hoped to find a new family, or better, be reunited with his original one. He always hoped that his parents would come looking for him someday, but all his hopes were dashed when he was told that his father came by and revealed his desire to have nothing to do with Calvin, leaving the boy to fend for himself.
What Calvin didn’t know was that his parents, or at least his mother, had tried to find him and even got close to the reunion if it wasn’t for the man who ran the boys’ home. In the final episode of ‘Lessons in Chemistry,’ it is revealed that Avery Parker, who created the Remsen Foundation, was Calvin’s mother. She got pregnant with him when she was still a teenager and was forced to give him up.
The identity of Calvin’s father remains a mystery, but considering that Avery got pregnant when she was about sixteen, it is fair to assume that the father was also most probably a teenager. Considering that her parents forced her away from the man as well as the child, we believe that the father might have been someone Avery’s parents didn’t approve of. This is why Calvin’s father was never in the picture and would possibly have been unaware of the fact that he had a child. Avery, however, missed her son, and once she got her part of the family fortune, she decided to do whatever it took to find Calvin.
She was aided in this search by Mr. Wilson, who became her father figure. His search eventually led him to the boys’ home where Calvin lived, but by then, the boy had proved himself indispensable to the place. The priest in charge of the place didn’t want to give up Calvin, who had helped turn things around through his scientific mind and earn money for the home. The man told Mr. Wilson that Calvin had died, dashing all hopes of Calvin as well as his mother.
It wasn’t until years later, when Calvin was featured on the front page of Scientific American that Avery Parker realized her son was alive. She tried to get in touch with him through letters, but Calvin thought it was junk like most other letters and sent a cease and desist, so Avery couldn’t contact him anymore. She thought Calvin hated her for abandoning him, so she decided to keep her distance and help him through the Remsen Grant to fund his research.
If it wasn’t for the misunderstanding, Calvin could have met his mother and gotten to know her. He could have had that part of his life, but it wasn’t meant to be. Avery, however, got the chance to follow her son’s life and achievements and even saw him one day, living happily and in love with Elizabeth. She didn’t intervene then, but when she discovers that Calvin has a daughter, she expresses her desire to be a part of Mad’s life. She loathes that she couldn’t get to know Calvin better, but she wishes to stay in touch with him through his daughter and be a part of the family she always wished for.
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