Created by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen, ‘Somebody Somewhere’ is a comedy-drama series on HBO. It follows Sam Miller, a Kansas native in her 40’s who struggles to cope with the death of her sister Holly. Trying to process her grief, she also feels alien to the environment of her hometown and grapples to find acceptance. However, when Sam meets a spirited community of different individuals, she gets encouraged to heal with the help of her passion for singing.
The never-give-up spirit of the community members and their refusal to conform to societal judgments eventually motivate Sam to finally feel liberated and find her place in the world. Here’s everything that happens in the series premiere of ‘Somebody Somewhere,’ along with an explanation of the bittersweet ending! SPOILERS AHEAD.
Somebody Somewhere Episode 1 Recap
Episode 1 of ‘Somebody Somewhere’ is titled ‘BFD’ and opens with Sam, who works at a standardized test grading center in Manhattan, Kansas. She feels stuck in her present life, living in her late sister Holly’s house and having no one she can open up to. When she has a sudden emotional breakdown at work, she is comforted by her colleague Joel. She lost her sister six months ago and gets reminded of her while grading a student’s essay.
Joel consoles Sam and reveals that they used to be in the same choir group named Show Choir in high school, and hence, a sweet friendship begins between the two. Sam shares a fun equation with her niece Shannon, even helping her dye her hair and lending her Holly’s clothes. However, this doesn’t sit well with Shannon’s mother Tricia, who gets livid at her sister for indulging the girl. When Sam visits her parents, Tricia confronts her and berates her for being aimless in life. She further states that Sam uses Holly’s demise to cover up her lack of achievements.
Tricia also goes on to blame Sam and Holly for always neglecting her and disapproves of Holly for being a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Appalled by Tricia’s comments, Sam moreover notices that her mother is starting to struggle again with her alcohol addiction. While Tricia’s husband Rick laughs about it and behaves indifferently, a concerned Sam tries to speak to her father Ed about it.
Later on, Sam and Joel bond further when they attend the book signing of one of their high school classmates. Seeing the book reminds Sam of her choir days, and Joel praises her singing talent. After Sam has another emotional episode at work, Joel invites her to the choir practice meetings that he organizes at the Presbyterian Church in the mall. Though initially reluctant, she agrees to attend and is amazed at its concept. In the end, Joel nudges Sam to come on stage to sing, where she gives a tear-jerking performance.
Somebody Somewhere Episode 1 Ending: What is Choir Practice?
“Choir Practice” is the covert name of the meetings Joel holds along with a group of outsiders with different vocations and backgrounds. Joel has taken permission from the church authorities to conduct choir practice on the church premises. However, he secretly organizes these “unsanctioned” gatherings, where people whom the church otherwise wouldn’t accept meet and mingle.
Apart from Joel, the members also include the dynamic emcee Fred Rococo and Michael, Sam and Joel’s colleague from the LGBTQ+ community. Upon arriving at the meeting on Joel’s invitation, Sam gets shocked to see the unconventional and lively nature of its proceedings. She also sees her brother-in-law Rick arrive at the meeting, but he leaves hurriedly after seeing her.
Joel quickly introduces her to various members and they surprisingly warm up to her, thus making her gain confidence. When Sam shares an embarrassing high school incident with the group, they all motivate her to take ownership of the very traits in her that people make fun of. Choir Practice thus provides a safe space for people deemed as misfits, to sing, dance, and celebrate their identities. Does this mean the beginning of a new phase in Sam’s life? Will Choir Practice play a significant role in her life?
The answer to both questions is a definite yes. Having felt unworthy and like an outcast for major years of her life, Sam finally finds a community that doesn’t judge her past and welcomes her. Upon Joel’s insistence, she goes up on stage and sings her heart out, thus freeing herself a bit from the fears that hold her back. Finding her voice again among a group of people who don’t let society define them gives Sam the push she needs. As she performs a powerful rendition of the song “Don’t Give Up” with Joel, Sam embarks on a new path of self-discovery and healing.