What happens to Elizabeth Zott in the Lessons in Chemistry book?

Lessons in Chemistry on Apple TV+
Lessons in Chemistry on Apple TV+ /

There were some substantial changes from the Lessons in Chemistry book in the TV series. One of those was Elizabeth Zott’s ending.

As many fans of book adaptations know, there are often changes from page to screen. This is sometimes necessary based on how books are written. After all, internal thoughts need to be shown on the screen in some way.

TV shows also tend to need to expand on other characters. That was certainly the case with Lessons in Chemistry, which gave Harriet a bit more of a voice and screen time in the way that the book didn’t.

A major change was at the end. In the series, Elizabeth quits Supper at Six to teach chemistry. That’s not how it ends in the book.

Elizabeth’s job in Lessons in Chemistry in the book

The book still ends with Elizabeth quitting her time as host at Supper at Six. However, she doesn’t go into teaching. Instead, she heads back to the Hastings Institute.

Sure, Elizabeth realizes that she still loves chemistry and that is something that she wants to do. However, with the character evolution in the book, it does seem like a bit of a backward step that she would go back into the lab, especially at the place that unfairly fired her simply for being pregnant and then stole her and Calvin’s work.

Why did the series change the ending?

According to Town & Country, the change to the storyline was due to the way Brie Larson brought Elizabeth Zott to life on the screen. It was clear during Supper at Six that she was a teacher. Women would have notebooks to be able to write everything down. She was teaching throughout the show, and that was something that many people wanting to keep women in the kitchen didn’t like.

It only made sense that she would use those teaching skills in the future. Instead of heading back to the lab, she would help to nurture the next voices and the next chemists. Going into academia made more sense considering the character evolution that had happened.

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Lessons in Chemistry is available to stream on Apple TV+.