‘Essex Serpent’ is a mysterious season series that revolves around Cora Seaborne, a London-based widow who moves to the city of Essex in search of a mysterious snake. The series is based on Sarah Perry’s novel of the same name and adapted to television by Anna Symon. The first episode of the series, titled ‘The Blackwater,’ introduces viewers to Cora (Claire Danes) as she arrives in Aldwinter with her caretaker, Martha, and her son, Francis. Meanwhile, Father Will Ransome (Tom Hiddleston) talks about the little girl’s disappearance.
Episodes 1 and 2 of Essex Serpent: Episode 1, entitled ‘The Blackwater,’ opens with Naomi seeing her sister Gracie disappear into a swamp outside the town of Aldwinter. In London, Cora Seaborne’s husband dies of throat cancer. After her tragic marriage ends, Cora decides to seek a new purpose in life. He meets with Drs. Luke Garrett, a surgeon, soon became friends. Luke expresses his desire to have heart surgery successfully. Cora’s caretaker, Martha, tells him about newspaper reports of a vicious dragon-like snake near the town of Essex. Cora decides to visit Essex and learn more about the mythical creature.
On her first day in Essex, Cora runs to Will Ransome, a pastor in Aldwinter, a town in Essex. Will learns about Gracie’s disappearance from the girl’s father, Henry. In London, Luke loses a patient during a heart attack. To the delight of Luke, his friend, and colleague, Drs. George Spencer suggests taking a trip, and Luke decides to visit Cora in Essex.
After a brief encounter with Luke and George, Cora’s friend has dinner with Will at Aldwinter. Cora becomes Will’s friend and family. He decides to stay in the village to learn more about the snake while Martha returns to London with Luke and George. Eventually, the locals find Gracie’s body and are afraid that the mythical snake – the devil’s physical form – is helping them.
The second episode, entitled ‘The Story of the Heart,’ sees residents pondering the meaning of Gracie’s mysterious death. Some residents believe the snake found her, while Will thought it was dangerous and Gracie just drowned. Naomi tries to convince Thandeka that she has seen the snake, and however Will refuses to believe her. Meanwhile, Martha assists Luke and George with heart surgery on a foreign Indian in London. Cora teaches the village children a science lesson so that they do not succumb to the superstitions about the serpent. However, the class ends in disaster after Naomi has a strange mental illness.