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Gaslit Episode 1 Recap and Ending Explained

The Watergate Scandal has been reinvented numerous times on both large and small screens. What distinguishes ‘Gaslit’ is because it focuses its narrative not on the iconic break-in, but on the women touched by it and how they responded. This is also the first time Oscar winners Sean Penn and Julia Roberts have collaborated on a project. In the pilot episode, titled ‘Will,’ John N. Mitchell (Penn) summons John Dean (Dan Stevens) to his office and explains the Democrats’ spying plans. Mitchell’s wife, Martha (Roberts), feels the First Lady is behind a plot against her. Dean meets Maureen “Mo” Kane, and his life is changed forever. Here’s everything you need to know about the episode 1 ending of ‘Gaslit.’ WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.

Recap of Episode 1 of Gaslit

The first episode of the series is titled ‘Will,’ after G. Gordon Liddy’s (Shea Whigham) 1980 autobiography. In the first episode, Liddy makes one of his iconic commitments by placing his hand over a candle flame. This nicely establishes the character, as well as the setting and tone of the program. Dean, who works for Attorney General Mitchell, is concerned that he will lose his job during Mitchell’s spring cleaning campaign. Dean casually stares out of his Porsche as he drives through the streets of Washington, and the vast socioeconomic inequity and turmoil reflect back.

When he arrives at the White House and learns about Mitchell’s plans to spy on Democrats, he is naturally perplexed. Their President is polling well, so he sees no reason to do anything that could damage Nixon’s re-election campaign or land some of them in jail. Mitchell, on the other hand, makes him complicit by appealing to his ambition. Dean offers Liddy as general lawyer for the espionage team, with him functioning as an advisor, and Mitchell agrees.

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Gaslit Episode 1 Recap and Ending Explained - ThiruttuVCD
Image Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/Starz Entertainment

Martha is a former Arkansas socialite. She is one of the most well-known members of the Nixon administration. Because of her popularity, she believes Pat Nixon is envious of her. Despite the fact that she and her husband clearly love each other, they frequently dispute about his intense commitment to Nixon. In this episode, their dispute escalates into violence, with both of them slapping the other person. Mitchell offers a peace offering of plane tickets to California the next morning.

Dean and Mo meet through a Washington dating agency, and the first impression the former leaves on the latter is unimpressive. He takes her to a gathering at the Mitchell home for their second date. Mo sees a new side of Dean there when he speaks to Marty, John and Martha’s daughter, while her parents argue in another room.

Ending of Gaslit Episode 1: Does John Dean Resign?

No, John Dean is not stepping down. He has been worried since learning of the CRP’s (the Committee to Re-Elect the President) efforts to spy on the Democrats. He initially declines the offer, but Mitchell persuades him by explaining that Nixon has specifically requested him. Jeb Magruder (Hamish Linklater) also appears and states unequivocally that the President will never be involved in anything unlawful. Almost every scene in the show contains a biting farce.

Gaslit Episode 1 Recap and Ending Explained - ThiruttuVCD
Image Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/Starz Entertainment

Dean subsequently realizes Mitchell lied, and after chatting with Mo (albeit without revealing anything to her), he chooses to submit his resignation letter. He types it up and proceeds to personally give it to Mitchell. His supervisor, however, is not at his office at the moment. As he prepares to leave the letter, he observes many notes on Mitchell’s desk, which he believes were placed by his secretary. The secretary informs Mitchell in one of the notes that the Chief of Staff has called. Nixon appears to be impressed with Dean and wishes to meet with him. Dean’s resurrected ambition quickly snuffs out his desire to do the right thing. He accepts his letter and swiftly departs, leaving no one the wiser.

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What Does Martha Notice About John’s Papers?

Gaslit Episode 1 Recap and Ending Explained - ThiruttuVCD
Image Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/Starz Entertainment

As the pilot episode comes to a close, Martha notices a few lines on her husband’s paperwork, such as “bugging and sound equipment” and “automated telephone wiretap devices (3).” Meanwhile, Liddy, James McCord (Chris Bauer), and their team travel to the Watergate building to witness their “destiny.” Martha’s future and place in history will be shaped by her actions from this point forward. On a personal level, it will undoubtedly have an impact on her marriage, as Mitchell will be forced to choose between his wife and Nixon.

TV Status: Returning Series

Duration: 60 min


TMDb: 7.7


Gaslit Episode 1 Recap and Ending Explained


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