In the future, a unit of soldiers from the Planetary Defense Coalition (PDC) parachute down onto a somewhat abandoned post. The unit finds themselves under attack by FreeLife and outnumbered. However, they are shot dead by Stripe, who played possum and was seemingly dead just moments before. She then pukes up three glowing blue coolant pods, known as glazers, which assisted with slowing down her heart rate.
Chapter One: Stripe
The PDC infiltrate the science station with one of their captives, Major Greenbone of the FreeLife, who explains that they were tracking the source of the spatial anomaly, the same as PDC. Boot announces their presence as the Planetary Defense Coalition, though the base is seemingly empty.
They ask Stripe about her pride, and she informs them that she's from the Forty-first Ground, out of Edinburgh. It was believed that no one got out of Edinburgh, but three did. The other two died on the walk down. The leader of this pride, Crescent, explains that they're from the Sixteenth Hailstormers, D-Field Green. Their Stripe had gotten taken down and they could use someone with her set of skills. Major asks for her name but is informed names are sacred. Crescent remarks that he's never seen anyone possum in such cold temperatures, but Stripe had no other choice, given that twenty FreeLife Marauders dropped in one hour before.
Knitter takes Stripe to the sickbay to get her regulated. She keeps asking for pheen, but Knitter refuses and asks for her PitSid level. "Too high to make Crescent, too high to go home," Stripe replies. Knitter asks if she gets flashbacks, which she admits that she does. Knitter then lies on the table while Stripe removes the bullet from her leg with a device. Knitter asks for Stripe's name, but she neglects to answer. She questions the legitimacy of their mission to find the Galanthi and how they're fighting over a side post in the middle of nothing because they saw a portal, which is how the Galanthi arrived in their world. Knitter then asks for her pheen back, which she saw Stripe slip into her sleeve. When Stripe refers to Knitter as a "spore," she corrects her and says the correct term is "empathically enhanced." Knitter explains that the spores are translators. They activate parts of the mind needed to comprehend Galanthi language and tech, though Knitter had never seen one herself. Knitter and Stripe then notice shelves with artifacts from the late Victorian era and sim-strips. Knitter then reveals that FreeLife bombed every site of a Galanthi project. There were twenty Galanthi, but there's possibly only one that remains.
The unit then discovers what they initially thought to be the Galanthi, but is actually a garden, from which Stripe eats a tomato. Stripe then notices a door in the back. She follows it to a shaft, where down below seems to be a dark bottomless pit. Hanging above is the bloody corpses of the science team. They find another secret door and, inside, they find the Galanthi hovering above through a dome of fat glass. Stripe warns them not to shoot, as bullets will only bounce back, but, as the Galanthi's blue translucent tentacles begin to approach, they fire anyway and the bullets ricochet. Stripe is hit and briefly has a flashback of being attacked and drowned in a small pool of water.
By the time she comes to, the unit has relocated to the main room, where Major Greenbone reveals that his team did in fact find the lab and kill the science team. However, they didn't have the firepower to kill the Galanthi, so they improvised: they lit the beacon and got clean in case they decided to set nukes. Stripe realizes that FreeLife hung the dead science teams' bloody bodies over the Galanthi as a means of torture, as the Galanthi had bonded with them. In addition to the torture, Major Greenbone called for a full incursion the moment they met resistance, as did the PDC, meaning full engagement between the two sides will commence soon. Major Greenbone suggests settling the matter and killing the Galanthi, saving many lives in the process.
When she notices her team considering killing the Galanthi, Knitter bribes Stripe with pheen to help her save the creature. Stripe questions why the portal remains open, as they typically close after the Galanthi passes through. This portal in question is more stable than most, Knitter explains. Command suspects that the science team was helping the Galanthi bring in reinforcements. Perhaps the twenty Galanthi they knew of were simply the scouts.
The unit finds and watches a recording of the science team interacting with a playful Galanthi.
Major Greenbone attempts to convince Boot to help him escape. While he may not like the Galanthi, Boot admits that they're needed for the survival of all. Major questions what if thousands more come through the portal. If not millions. Boot replies that it's the Crescent's call.
Knitter continues to try and convince Stripe to help her, reasoning that saving the Galanthi could save the world. However, Stripe questions why the Galanthi reinforcement hasn't come through the portal yet if that were the case. Better yet, why they didn't save the five billion people that died. The base then shakes, and the lights momentarily shut off before cutting back on. Knitter asks Stripe to have some hope that they make it right. However, Stripe fears that it's too late and refuses to die waiting on a savior. She remarks that change is too scary, even for the people who fight for it, which is why FreeLife always wins. They essentially own history. Knitter then reveals that she was FreeLife, born and raised. The spores didn't make her brilliant or brainwashed, they were a question, and nothing will crack their world harder than one gentle question. She had hoped for a better world and asks the same of Stripe.
Suddenly, Knitter and Stripe hear gunshots. They follow the noise and find the Boot laying on a poodle of blood. In the main room, Major has killed the second Boot, shot Byner, ans had Crescent at gunpoint. Byner reveals that the portal is in the opposite direction. The Galanthi isn't calling for reinforcements: it's leaving. This discovery dims any hope of a better future in Knitter's mind. Stripe then shoots Major Greenbone, and the Crescent recovers his weapon. Byner then reveals that Rex tripped the safety and that the Galanthi locked them out. It's got enough power now to get up to the portal. Knitter looks at Stripe and says that she was right and that it was always going to end this way, before getting shot by Boot, who was playing possum. Stripe then shoots him and goes to Knitter. As tears fill her eyes and Knitter breathes her final breath, Stripe attempts to console her and says that the Galanthi isn't leaving them, rather going back for help. Just as Knitter is about to tell Stripe her sacred name, which begins with an "H," she passes away.
Stripe makes her way back to the garden, where she takes a seat in the back corner and drinks hazardous waste. In her final moments, the Galanthi passes through her and flies away.
Chapter Two: Molly
Varnum Dale enters the baked goods shop, where Amalia, who goes by Molly, works behind the counter. She offers him a French cake, which he praises, before tending to her duties. A pregnant Gert then asks Molly if she's going to accept Thomas True's hand in marriage, but Molly isn't sure, as she's more interested in Varnum. However, he's not got the money to marry, nor has he said that he would if he could. Gert advises Molly to think about her future. She then informs Molly that her daughter, Jenny, is coming in 12 this autumn and her labor is free, thus meaning they will no longer be needing Molly. However, the shop still requires for the rolls to be delivered, which Gert is willing to pay Molly a penny for her to deliver for the bakery.
Molly has married Thomas True. He takes her home and introduces her to his sick mother, Mrs. True. Some time has passed, and Molly has continued to deliver bread for Gert and has already suffered two miscarriages. However, she assures Thomas that the next one will take. Not long after, Thomas dies and Molly learns that his debt was outstanding. While picking up her next delivery of rolls, Molly learns from Gert that Varnum is back in town after a promotion; he's in charge of the whole office. He even asked about Molly and invited them all to attend his housewarming. However, Gert says that his wife is seven months pregnant and a barren woman like Molly would bring bad luck. Molly is left to take care of Thomas's ill mother and the debt is piling up in the process. However, she finds the time to bake French cakes and leave them at Varnum's doorstep.
On her final delivery, Molly passes down an alleyway. She heads in the opposite direction and jumps into the river below. The Galanthi then flies over above and emits the spores, placing Stripe in Molly's body, who had died from the drowning. Stripe is fished from the docks and taken to an asylum, where she has rippling of being attacked with a knife.
Chapter Three: The Madwoman in the Thames
Stripe looks around and talks out loud about her suspicion that she's in a sim. She then looks up the stairs and sees Maladie, known then as Sarah, who asks Stripe to play with her. The Matron then strikes Stripe and warns her to keep a civil tongue. Stripe strikes the Matron back, before being taken by the orderlies and restrained to a bed. Stripe awakens to find Sarah hovering over her. Sarah is amused by Stripe's attack on the Matron. Stripe is convinced that she's in a sim when Sarah so easily offers her sacred name. Stripe questions why she's not dead and begins to struggles as she realizes that she's not in her own body. Sarah holds her close and comforts her as she sobs.
The following day, Molly joins Sarah and Mrs. Hundley. Sarah claims that she saw the Lord and that He presented himself as a great light. She claims that He was shaped like a dragonfly and came apart similar to snow or sparks. Stripe suspects that she's referring to the Galanthi and spores. Sarah goes on to explain that he swooped over her and that she saw them come down in a flash, like a noiseless explosion. Stripe, now realizing that she's in the body of a woman named Amalia True, is approached by Horatio, who is a physician at the asylum. She has a rippling in which the two of them are having sex.
During her checkup, she asks Horatio if there's been any talk about a light in the sky. He questions if that's how she ended up in the river. Stripe then asks if anyone has shown any improvement in behavior since her arrival. Before he can answer, they hear a commotion coming from the lobby, where a patient is threatening the others with a blade. The patient slashes Stripe on the wrist before Stripe disarms her. Horatio then leads her back into his office, where she reveals that she saw this happen before it actually did. As he's checking the gash on her arm, which would normally require stitches, his hands begin to glow. He hovers his hands over her wound and heals her within moments.
Stripe explains to Horatio that aliens from the future came to Earth and gave them powers. However, the spores don't usually give random powers or affect everyone they hit, though she isn't sure why this time was different. Horatio finds in the newspaper multiple reports of unexplained powers, but they've yet to come across anyone who is empathically enhanced to guide them. Horatio suspects that this is Stripe's mission, though she insists that it isn't, after having already spent a lifetime fighting only for it to make no difference.
Sarah receives a letter from her husband. He says that she can return home soon and that the light in the sky might've been a German balloon. However, Sarah believes that God has a mission for them. They are joined by Dr. Hague, who believes that they may be among the Touched who have blossomed up in London over the past couple of months. Dr. Hague is looking for someone to do a special study with at his facility and wants to spend a minute with each of them separately. Dr. Hague starts with Amalia. He asks her about her turn and the lights in the sky when Stripe was admitted. In fear of being taken and failing her mission, Stripe feigns ignorance and says that she was only humoring Sarah's delusions of the light to make her feel more comfortable. Stripe then goes over to Sarah and encourages her to tell Dr. Hague everything she saw, setting her up to be taken away.
Stripe finds Mrs. Hundley and takes speech lessons to learn a proper British accent and etiquette. After becoming comfortable enough with her lesson to pass as a proper English woman, building her strength, and learning more about the Touched, Stripe goes before the review board. Her release is rejected after they uncover a cache of weapons under her bed. Stripe meets with Lavinia Bidlow, who asks her about her turn and if she saw ahead of time that she would be rejected for release by the board. Lavinia suspects that Stripe could've been miles away a long time ago if she truly wanted to escape, but she has no place to go. This is why Lavinia is offering her board at her orphanage for the Touched.
After having sex with Horatio, Stripe tells him that Miss Bidlow has directed her to an Irish girl who builds things to take in as a ward.
Chapter Four: True
Amalia, Bonfire Annie, and Augie fight off the soldiers beneath the Royal Military Army base while Horatio continues to drill. Amalia then falls into a sinkhole. Equipped with oxygen and a bright light, Amalia proceeds further into the tunnels on her own. Eventually, she finds the Galanthi trapped within the earth. Amalia is disgruntled with the creature, who has left with for so long without any form of guidance. She asks why it is hiding and what went wrong, questioning if it's her fault. Amalia remarks that the Galanthi should've brought Knitter or anyone else less broken than her. The Galanthi begins to shake, causing the tunnels to rumble as well. Amalia loses her footing and falls back off of the platform as she's having a rippling, memories of Amalia's past and future.
She recalls one of her earlier conversations with Penance, where she reveals to her that she's actually from a grim future and that the real Amalia True is dead. Penance says that they'll have to forge a new, brighter future and that her being Touched is a gift. In one of these visions, Myrtle says: "Oh, Amalia. This is a long time from this little cave. This, I will need you to forget." When Amalia hits the ground, she sees the masked men charging towards her, so she locks herself inside a lift. The only thing between her and her attackers is a thin metal sliding door. Elisabetta uses her levitation turn to aid Amalia and send the elevator up. Amalia makes her way to the surface to regroup with the others.
In the courtyard, Amalia awaits Penance's return. Their missions were equally unsuccessful. Aneel comes rushing in with flowers towards Harriet, who is being healed by Horatio after she was trampled during their mission. Penance reveals that they didn't save Maladie, though Amalia assures her that it was the right call to at least try. She then tells Penance that she failed to find out who their enemy is, though she did find something out. Amalia decides that the time has come for her to tell the wards everything about Galanthi, the future, and the impending war. She reveals to Penance that her sacred name is Zephyr Alexis Navine. Amalia and Penance then notice Penance's prototype invention flying away.
- Laura Donnelly as Amalia True
- Ann Skelly as Penance Adair
- Olivia Williams as Lavinia Bidlow
- James Norton as Hugo Swann
- Tom Riley as Augustus Bidlow
- Pip Torrens as Gilbert Massen
- Denis O'Hare as Edmund Hague
- Rochelle Neil as Annie Carbey
- Amy Manson as Maladie
- Zackary Momoh as Horatio Cousens
- Nick Frost as Declan Orrun
- Ella Smith as Désirée Blodgett
- Vinnie Heaven as Nimble Jack
- Kiran Sonia Sawar as Harriet Kaur
- Viola Prettejohn as Myrtle Haplisch
- Claudia Black as Stripe
- Domenique Fragale as Beth Cassini
- Pui Fan Lee as Su Ping Lim
- Brett Curtis as George
- Okezie Morro as Crescent
- Ellora Torchia as Knitter
- John Macmillan as Byner
- Matthew Marsh as Major
- Nicholas Nunn as Boot
- Rita Bernard-Shaw as Second Boot
- Ravi Aujla as Scientist
- Nelly Currant as Jenny
- Lee Armstrong as Varnum
- Catherine Skinner as Gert
- Daniel Hoffmann-Gill as Thomas True
- Nicola Sloane as Mama True
- Glen Davies as Dr. Campbell
- Terence Frisch as Solicitor
- Zee Asha as Matron
- Mark O'Sullivan as Orderly
- Abigail Thaw as Mrs. Hundley
- Stacha Hicks as Nurse #1
- Anna Munden as Nurse #2
- Toby Mace as Predatory Man
- Freya Parker as Doris
- In its original American broadcast, the episode was seen by an estimated 552 thousand household viewers, receiving a Nielsen rating of 0.08 among adults aged 18–49.
- Zephyr compares her surroundings to the English novella A Christmas Carol (1843).
Behind the scenes
- "HBO Drama Series THE NEVERS Debuts April 11". WarnerMedia, March 23, 2021.
- Jennifer Maas, "'The Nevers': Laura Donnelly and Ann Skelly on Amalia's Origin Story, That Galanthi Vision and Part 2 Plans". The Wrap, May 16, 2021.
- Anna Grace Lee, "The Nevers Star Laura Donnelly Explains What Really Happened in the Part One Finale". Esquire, May 16, 2021.
- Marc Berman, "Sunday Ratings: ABC and CBS Share Dominance". Programming Insider, May 17, 2021.