The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart: Black Fire Orchid and “The Selkie Story” from episode one

Episode one of “The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart”, an Amazon Prime Video miniseries takes us to the rural home of The Harts consisting of an abusive father, Clem, a kind but suffering and pregnant mother, Agnes, and their young daughter, Alice. While the opening scenes are pleasant enough, we discover that Agnes and Alice have discussed running away from Clem before.

The next day, Alice slips off into town and the library, where we meet Sally Morgan. She makes Alice a library card and calls law enforcement to notify them that Alice has bruises on her body. When we return home, Clem shouts at Alice and tears up her ID card. We then see him make Agnes and Alice stay quiet, while a local police officer and Sally’s husband,John, performs a welfare inspection of the home, and leaves Alice with some library books. Sally notices that Alice underlined the word escape in The Selkie Story when the book eventually gets back to her.

After reading about the phoenix, we see Alice fantasize about setting her father on fire. While exploring the shed outside of their house, we watch Alice gather wood and alcohol, before mistakenly beginning a fire and running in the home to hide from her father.

When John arrives at the Hart property we see both the house and the shed on fire. At the hospital we learn that Clem and Agnes have both died, while their unborn child faces long odds for survival. Alice is in a coma when Sally visits her. She begins reading to her while unconscious and discusses the possibility of bringing her home with John. We learn that the couple has lost a child before.

After the accident we meet June Hart, Clem’s mother, who runs a refuge called Thornfield with Twig and Candy. While experiencing a vision of her mother, Alice runs out of the hospital and encounters June, who decides that she will take the girl in. This saddens Sally who had prepared for Alice to join their family. As the episode ends, we learn that Anges gave Sally the power to take custody of Alice if June can’t provide a suitable home. Sally also uncovers a wood statue in the attic as we watch Alice move into Thornfield.

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A couple of notes and observations:

The black fire orchid or Pyrorchis nigricans are said to flower better after a summer fire. “The need to possess” phrase from the beginning may be tied to Clem’s abusive behavior, June and Sally’s push for custody, or both.

The Selkie story is the tale of a man who steals a shape shifting woman’s seal skin, forcing her to marry him and remain human. Spoiler alert for the story. The Selkie does eventually go home. This could be interpreted as the vision Alice sees of her mother walking into the ocean.

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