Dear Edward

Dear Edward season 1





Paul Asay

TV Series Review

He survived. That’s all.

When Trinity flight 1483 tumbled from the sky and into a barren patch of Colorado, the debris stretched for acres. The real wreckage, though, spread around the globe. The crash wasn’t just about mangled metal and charred suitcases and bodies barely recognizable. It was about lives gone, families broken, secrets uncovered. Futures stopped.

Nearly 200 people died in that crash. Everyone but Edward.

It was a miracle, some say. How else could you explain a 12-year-old boy surviving such a catastrophe? How else can you explain that he suffered just a handful of minor injuries? Only a miracle can explain how Edward made it out relatively unscathed.

But, as Edward will tell you, he didn’t. He suffered plenty of wounds. You just can’t see them.

In Case of an Emergency

Edward didn’t lose his life in that crash, but he lost everyone and everything else. His mom, his dad, his brother were all aboard that flight, and they didn’t walk away.

He’s living with his Aunt Lacey and her husband, John, now. And while they’ll do whatever they can to give Edward a new home and a new family, it won’t be the same.

Other survivors are struggling, too. Dee Dee lost her husband in the crash—and found a secret life he’d been hiding for months. Adrianna said goodbye to her grandmother—a powerful congresswoman—and wrestles with how best to honor her. Before the crash, Kojo was a porta-potty impresario in Ghana. Now he’s in New York, caring for his dead sister’s daughter and feeling way out of his depth.

They all do, of course. Death has a way of dumping problems on the living—piling onto the grief with duties and decisions, the detritus of survival.

Edward carries an extra burden, being the boy who lived. He’s the feel-good story in the midst of tragedy—even if he doesn’t feel good at all. Soon, he’s receiving letters. Dozens of them. Hundreds of them. “Dear Edward,” each begins, but what follows is as unique as a fingerprint.   

He survived. That’s all. But for some, that’s everything.

Letters of the Flaw

Apple TV+’s Dear Edward is based on a bestselling book of the same name by Ann Napolitano. And while the show’s plot turns on a terrible disaster, it’s not as gloomy as you’d think. To be sure, Dear Edward is about grief, and it sure doesn’t sugarcoat the trauma associated with survival. But it’s about hope, too. And community. And finding new purpose when you feel like your life is pretty much done.

“We will come out of this,” a grief counselor tells a roomful of crash “survivors”—friends and family members of those who died on Trinity 1483. “But none of this will come out of this unscathed.”

It’s true. Grief and loss leave their marks. Things never go back to the way they were before. But we can, and we do, go on.

Dear Edward is a powerful, poignant and, sometimes, surprisingly funny story about plowing through grief and finding new life on the other side. But it has its own problems. The language would be R-rated in most episodes. Some sensuality and skin can take center stage. It deals with some pretty difficult issues, including infidelity and miscarriages, that might be difficult or even a bit triggering.

The show acknowledges that faith can comfort in the midst of trauma and grief. And it has a lot of good, maybe even important, things to say. But how it says them? That may be a difficult barrier for some would-be viewers to overcome.

Episode Reviews

Feb. 3, 2023—S1, Ep1: “Pilot”

Edward and his family—Mom, Dad and beloved big brother, Jordan—board a plane bound for Los Angeles, where they’re moving so that Edward’s mom can pursue her career as a television writer. Edward’s not looking forward to the move at all: To have his life upended like this feels like a betrayal. Little does he know just how upended his life is about to become.

Meanwhile down on the ground, Edward’s Aunt Lacey and her husband fight over trying to have a baby, given Lacey’s series of miscarriages. Wealthy socialite Dee Dee and her daughter, Zoe, eat their shared birthday lunch together and send selfies to their traveling father—a guy they think is flying to L.A. on business. Adrianna has just turned in her resignation to her boss, Congresswoman Washington (who also is Adrianna’s grandmother), before the politician boarded the flight. And little Becks begins counting down the minutes before her mother—flying to L.A. to try out for a movie role—returns, safe and sound, just like she promised.

The plane is filled with plenty of prayer as the passengers begin to understand that they might not make it. We hear people say portions of both the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23. A Jewish man prays in Hebrew. A funeral takes place in a sparsely filled church.

We don’t see the plane crash, but we do see the aftermath, including a couple of lifeless and charred bodies. Edward bleeds from several spots when he’s found, but otherwise seems relatively unharmed. We learn that someone commits suicide.

Lacey and husband John engage in sex—apparently an effort to get pregnant. It’s obvious what’s going on, but we don’t see anything critical. (We hear that they’ve dealt with at least three miscarriages in the past. John worries what those miscarriages have done to her body and suggests they think about adopting—something that Lacey refuses to consider.) Edward accuses Jordan of wanting to go to public school to meet girls (saying that he’s being led around by a critical anatomical part). Dee Dee considers setting Zoe up with the waiter during their lunch, but then wonders whether either the waiter or Zoe might be gay. A couple cuddles before the man goes through airport security.

Congresswoman Washington asks Adrianna to a local bar for a drink and conversation—referencing an old saying that “gin makes you sin” and adding that she thinks the adage is false. Several people order drinks on board the plane. A rescue worker takes drugs before heading off to a crash site. Dee Dee and Zoe order a bottle of champagne, despite that Zoe is apparently underage. An actress practices her lines aboard the plane, trying to sound like a heroin addict.

Zoe expresses worry that her parents aren’t as happily married as they pretend to be. We hear a half-dozen f-words and several other profanities, including “a–,” “d–n,” “h—” and “d–k.” God’s name is misused about 10 times, twice with the word “d–n.”

Feb. 3, 2023—S1, Ep2: “Food”

Edward has found a home, for now, with Aunt Lacey and John. But part of him believes that his brother, Jordan, also survived. Meanwhile, doctors warn Lacey that Edward is losing weight. If he doesn’t start putting on some pounds, they’ll need to put him in the hospital and put a feeding tube down his throat. Adrianna begins to wonder whether she should’ve thrown her hat into the ring for her grandmother’s congressional seat. And Dee Dee discovers that her husband was keeping some damaging secrets from her.

Secret No. 1: Cameron (Dee Dee’s husband) lost his job 18 months ago, and they were deeply in debt. Secret No. 2: Cameron also owned a condo in Los Angeles that Dee Dee knew nothing about—and one that apparently serves as a home to another woman. (Whether Cameron is guilty of having an affair or even being a bigamist, the episode does not reveal.) All those times that Dee Dee thought her husband was away on business, he was living a double life.

Dee Dee and daughter Zoe visit Cameron’s grave, marked by an elaborate Christian headstone. They puzzle over his last text to them, in which he called himself a “lonely pilgrim.” A lavish funeral takes place in a church where a gospel choir pays musical homage to the deceased.

Jordan (a hallucination of Edward’s) prays in Hebrew, telling Edward that they should start believing in God so they can have hope that their whole family will be reunited someday. Edward points out several flaws in Jordan’s logic: One, you just don’t start believing in God because you want to. Two, Jordan’s prayer is typically one that blesses wine. And three, Jewish lineage typically goes through the mother’s side of the family—and it was their father who was Jewish. (But despite all that logic, Edward offers his own prayer in Hebrew anyway.)

Edward hallucinates and sees his brother elsewhere, too, including at the wreck site where a bloodied Edward crawls to a bloodied-but-alive Jordan. Only when a stranger approaches Edward in a supermarket and offers her condolences for his brother—giving Edward what appears to be a shrunken head—does it dawn on Edward that Jordan is really gone, too.

Edward meets Shay, the roller-derby-loving daughter of Lacey and John’s next-door neighbor. The two kids compare scars, and Edward’s look especially revolting. A lonely Edward asks to sleep over at Shay’s house, which she allows.

We hear that a woman whose boyfriend died in the crash is 16 weeks pregnant with his baby. “My boyfriend is the only other person who knows, and he’s dead,” she confesses. A neighbor gives Edward a selenite wand, a New Age talisman that’s supposed to cleanse spaces and whatnot. Lacey denigrates adoption. An orderly sticks a needle into Edward’s arm and tells him, “God saved you.” Kojo talks about his porta-potty business. We hear nine f-words, five s-words and one use of the word “d–n.” Characters misuse God’s name seven times.

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Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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