Olivia Foxworth didn’t start out as a villain. Before she became the sinister woman who locked her grandchildren in the attic, she was a young bride swept off her feet by the dashing Malcolm Foxworth. But Olivia soon discovered romance was in short supply at Foxworth Hall, as seen in Lifetime’s four-part limited series Flowers in the Attic: The Origin, which premiered July 9. It’s based on V.C. Andrews’ book Garden of Shadows.
The first episode of Flowers in the Attic: The Origin explored the circumstances that led to Olivia’s marriage to Malcolm and the dark secrets she discovered once she arrived at her new home of Foxworth Hall. Episode 2 airs July 16. Before diving into that episode – which will feature new characters and more creepy developments – here’s a recap of the first episode.
[Warning: This article contains spoilers for Flowers in the Attic: The Origin Episode 1.]
Malcolm Foxworth sweeps Olivia off her feet in ‘Flowers in the Attic: The Origin’
When the Flowers in the Attic prequel begins, Olivia (Jemima Rooper) has resigned herself to being a spinster. But she’s happy working for her widowed father’s business, even though having a job isn’t seen as proper for a woman of her social standing (after all, women haven’t even earned the right to vote yet).
Everything changes for Olivia when Malcolm Foxworth (Max Irons) shows up in town. The scion of one of the wealthiest families in America, he’s here to do business with her father (Harry Hamlin). But Olivia catches his eye, and after just a few days, he proposes. Olivia has some concerns (as does her very religious cousin John Amos, played by Paul Wesley). But Malcolm says all the right things, and she quickly overcomes her reservations. Soon after, she’s on her way to Malcolm’s grand home, Foxworth Hall. But what should be a romantic honeymoon turns out to be anything but.
Olivia discovers Malcolm’s sinister nature
Malcolm was gracious and charming during his and Olivia’s brief courtship. But his attitude changes as soon as he’s married. His wife’s main duty is to be mistress of Foxworth Hall, he coldly informs her. Olivia’s new home is a dark and imposing mansion ruled over by the stern housekeeper Mrs. Steiner (Kate Mulgrew), who makes it clear that she doesn’t care much for Olivia. (She even intercepts Olivia’s mail.)
Olivia is ill-at-ease in her new home. To make matters worse, her husband shows no interest in consummating their marriage. As Olivia explores Foxworth Hall, she convinces a friendly maid named Nella (T’Shan Williams) to show her the attic (foreshadowing alert) where she discovers a perfectly preserved portrait of Malcolm’s beautiful mother, Corinne. She also stumbles upon Corinne’s perfectly preserved bedroom.
Malcolm is enraged when he discovers that his wife had been poking about in the attic and his mother’s room. But he does reveal some important details about his uncomfortably close relationship with his mother, who he’d previously claimed had died when he was a boy. She married his father young and fled the marriage in her early 20s. Malcolm married Olivia, he tells her, because she was the complete opposite of the beautiful, narcissistic Corrine. His comments are a blow to Corinne’s fragile confidence. Things only get worse at the pair’s wedding party. Malcolm tells his wife she looks like a whore. Later that night, he rapes her in his mother’s bed.
Malcolm’s father returns to Foxworth Hall, bringing trouble with him
Having realized that her husband is a monster, Olivia makes plans to flee Foxworth Hall and return to her father. But just as she’s preparing to leave, John Amos arrives. Her father has died of pneumonia and her childhood home has been sold to pay his debts. She never received word of his death because Mrs. Steiner has intercepted her telegrams. Olivia has no choice but to remain with Malcolm.
The discovery that she’s pregnant offers Olivia some solace, though Malcolm is upset that the baby is not a girl. Later, she gives birth to a second baby boy, and the doctor tells Olivia she can’t have more children, destroying Malcolm’s hopes of having a daughter.
Sometime later, Malcolm’s father Garland Foxworth (Kelsey Grammer) returns to Foxworth Hall with his very young wife in tow. Alicia (Alana Boden) is heavily pregnant, and she soon gives birth to a boy named Christopher. Olivia can’t help but be aware of the stark difference between Garland and Olivia’s affectionate relationship and her marriage to Malcolm. But she forges a tentative friendship with Alicia nonetheless. Malcolm seems disgusted by his father’s marriage, but he’s also captivated by Alicia. After all, as Nella tells Olivia, Malcolm “loves beautiful things.”
The episode ends with Olivia taking a stand
Malcolm’s fixation on Alicia has tragic consequences. One night, Olivia discovers the frantic young woman in her bedroom. Garland is dead, and Malcolm is looking on. Olivia sees her husband covering up a wound on his wrist. She swiftly decides that whatever has happened, it’s best to keep it in the family. Olivia bribes the doctor not to perform an autopsy on her father-in-law, to Malcolm’s visible relief.
Alicia is devastated by Garland’s death. She confesses to Olivia that Malcolm attacked her that night. He’s gone on to rape her multiple times since her husband died. She also reveals that she’s pregnant with Malcolm’s baby.
Malcolm’s latest betrayal pushes Olivia to take a stand. “I’ve made some changes,” she calmly tells her husband when he discovers she’s moved her desk into his office. She also informs him of Alicia’s pregnancy. “Congratulations,” she says. “You’re the father and the stepbrother. It’s all a bit confusing.”
Olivia informs Malcolm of her plan for dealing with Alicia’s pregnancy. She’ll be hidden away in Foxworth Hall, where she’ll give birth in secret. Olivia and Malcolm will raise the child as their own. Malcolm has to stay away from his stepmother, or Olivia will reveal the truth about how he killed his father. She also tells him that he has to set up hefty trust funds for both of their sons, which will eventually allow them to escape his influence.
What to expect from the next episode of ‘Flowers in the Attic: The Origin’
Olivia has the upper hand now, but how will things play out in episode 2? A teaser suggests a major jump forward in time, with Hannah Dodd appearing as Corinne Foxworth, the mother of the Dollanganger children from Flowers in the Attic. Luke Fetherson plays Alicia’s and Malcolm’s now-adult son Joel and Buck Brathwaithe plays their son Mal. Jordan Peters portrays a new character named Harry.
Flowers in the Attic: The Origin Episode 2 airs Saturday, July 16 at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
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