‘Fatal Attraction’ Episodes 1, 2 And 3: Recap And Review – How Is It Different From The Original Film?

Everyone who has loved thrillers from the 1980s will recall the Michael Douglas-Glenn Close starrer, the 1987 thriller “Fatal Attraction.” It showed how a weekend of passion beyond the sanctity of marriage led to a family coming to the verge of destruction when the scorned Alex Forrest decided she wanted Dan Gallagher all for herself, even if it meant killing his wife. Paramount+ has brought us the reimagined version of the story with Joshua Jackson and Lizzy Caplan as Dan and Alex, with a handful of other talented cast members making up the show. The series is engaging and interesting and shows the way a disbalanced woman’s brain functions. The story is told with a lot of back-and-forths, going back and returning to the present, but to aid you readers, let’s look at the events that transpire in the present day.


Spoilers Ahead

Paroled After 15 Years

Paramount’s series opens with the aging Dan Gallagher presented before a parole board, where he admits to being guilty of murdering Alex Forrest and claims that he’s spent his waking moments reflecting on the decision that made him take her life. He adds that if he’s granted parole, he will reconnect with his family, while unbeknownst to him, his daughter Ellen, now a psychology student, sits in the background. After being granted parole, Dan meets his daughter for the first time in 15 years and explains that even though he said what he had to to get parole, he didn’t kill Alex Forrest, and he’ll spend the rest of his time proving the same.


Ellen’s Relationship With Her Father

Ellen, who speaks with her therapist regarding the situation she’s facing, has her father wanting to come back into her life, while her mother, Beth, doesn’t want her to meet Dan. Torn between the choices, Ellen purposefully doesn’t pick up her father’s phone call on the day they’re supposed to meet yet again at a cafe, although she can see him from the other side of the road. When Dan gets up to leave, she decides to follow him distractedly, which is when a biker crashes into her. Dan rushes back to help his daughter up and showers an immense amount of concern and care on her, whom he’s missed immensely. Later, Ellen tells her therapist that the ideal relationship she’d like to have with Dan is one where she could hold his hand—a favorite memory from her childhood.

Searching For The Truth

Dan meets with his old detective buddy Mike Gerard and asks him for all the fingerprints he can find from Dan’s case 15 years ago. The detective decides to help the recently released man because the two have been friends for decades, and he even visits Dan’s ex-wife Beth at her new home to inform the wife and daughter about his decision. He even agrees to offer Dan his mom’s house, free of rent, because the former DA is rather tight on cash and needs a place to seek shelter. Mike is a true friend through and through. Episode 3 ends with Mike coming to Dan with the news that one of the fingerprints from the past has come back with a hit, and it belongs to someone called Paul Halliwell, someone serving time in Calipatria. Although the name means nothing to Dan, for those who’ve watched the movie, it holds significance. For the ones who didn’t, though, here’s what happened 15 years ago.


Who Was Dan Gallagher?

In the flashback to 15 years ago, Dan Gallagher is a confident DA of the court, on the fast track to becoming a judge, just as he’s about to turn 40. He’s happily married to his beautiful and loving wife, Beth; they’ve got a sweet little daughter named Ellen, and they’re making plans to sell their current house and move to a bigger place. Things are going rather perfectly for Dan when he meets Alex Forrest, a new employee in the Victims Services department, and Alex seems to happen to show up at places where Dan is. From winking at him at the courthouse to being present at the restaurant Dan frequents, they chance upon each other quite a few times, and the sexual tension quickly rises, coming to a titillating crescendo at the elevator, where they almost kiss.

The Infidelity 

While his wife is on a school trip, Dan meets Alex in a bar, and when the sprinkler system suddenly sprays water, the two must return to Alex’s place to dry themselves. Dan severely tries to suppress the extreme physical attraction the two share and begins walking towards the elevator, but he changes his mind and comes back. The two enjoy a passionate, erotic, and wild lovemaking episode, and later, they even visit a beach along with Dan’s pet dog. Even after Beth comes back, Dan continues seeing Alex, and when she arrives and makes conversation while he’s speaking to his long-time friend Mike Gerard, the detective takes note. He warns Dan to be careful in his endeavors, and even so, he drives to her place for yet another love making episode. However, things start turning sour when Dan gets up to leave, and after an argument, Alex pretends to have swallowed a box of pills. Panicking, Dan drives her to a hospital, but outside the building, it’s revealed that she didn’t take anything, and she’s driven back home.


The Growing Unease

The following day, Alex apologizes to Dan for her actions, and she promises to be friends with him, but he’s starting to back out of the situation. Slowly, we start to get insights into what had happened in Alex’s mind when she met Dan. We learn that Alex repeatedly tries talking to her former therapist, who doesn’t want to interact with her, and that she has certain grounding techniques to calm herself. At other times, she intentionally spends several hours every day at the restaurant Dan is known to visit just to get to meet him. Additionally, she was the one who had set a fire in the bar to intentionally trigger the sprinkler and take Dan home, which shows just how disturbed Alex really was. As if this wasn’t proof of her being wacked in the head, she regularly harms herself by burning her fingers, bruising herself with kettlebells, and suffers from severe intrusive thoughts. We also find out that she’d had a relationship with her neighbor, Paul Halliwell, and would constantly bug him to talk to her; it was the same person whose prints would be discovered 15 years later.

Signs Of Crazy

The tension reaches a crescendo when Dan comes home to find Alex at his home speaking to Beth during the open house, posing as an interested buyer, and he’s absolutely shocked to learn that she’d lied about a witness. Alex had claimed to have had a conversation with a patient in the hospital while she’d been brain dead all along. This is the cherry on the icing of the crazy that defines Alex, and Dan barges into her home to confront her and demands that she stay away from his family. On his way back, Dan finds out his car has been destroyed by having nitric acid dumped on it, and we know it’s Alex who did this because she’d spotted a bottle of the corrosive liquid in Paul’s empty apartment after he moved out.

When Episode 4 drops, we’ll get to dig deeper into the crux of the matter and probably find out what really happened that led to Alex’s death and why Dan is so confident in saying that he’d not killed her. Moreover, we need to find out if Alex harasses Dan’s family anymore and, if so, how psychotic she was in her attempts to snatch Dan for herself.

Review: How Is It Different From The Original Film?

Alexandra Cunningham and Kevin J. Hynes, the talented creators of the series, have made enormous efforts to make the TV adaptation of the 1987 thriller as closely related to the original movie as possible. With little call-backs to the movie, like the snow-white hare Dan spotted in the corridors while returning from Alex’s apartment and Alex telling Dan, “I’m not going to be ignored,” lovers of the movie will appreciate, but beyond such surface-level details, the real magic is hidden in the way we’re kept in the dark in the first two episodes about what’s really going on in Alex’s head. We’re led to believe that just as Dan considers this a casual fling while his wife is out of town, Alex will be equally on board for the same, but Episode 3 reveals the additional scenes that we weren’t shown initially, where Alex’s real self comes out. She’s presented as a suicidal, maniacal, and sociopathic person who’s extremely quick to expect a tremendous commitment from someone and resort to dangerous methods when she doesn’t get her way.


The series also shows just how Dan differs in the two different periods. Dan, in his 40s, is confident, suave, and self-satisfied with himself. The one who’s stepped out of prison is hunched forward, tired, and confused by the modern world. It shows just how prison can change a man, and if Dan’s story is to be believed, he might’ve spent almost two decades behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. Everything from the crisp dialogue to the perfect use of lighting and camera work makes the series an engaging watch, and it’s definitely something best enjoyed if you binge it completely.

Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh has a master's degree in English literature from Calcutta University and a passion for all things in cinema. He loves writing about the finer aspects of cinema, although he is also an equally big fan of webseries and anime. In his free time, Indrayudh loves playing video games and reading classic novels.

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Everything from the crisp dialogue to the perfect use of lighting and camera work makes the series an engaging watch, and it's definitely something best enjoyed if you binge it completely.'Fatal Attraction' Episodes 1, 2 And 3: Recap And Review - How Is It Different From The Original Film?