‘The Clearing’ Episode 1 Recap & Review: Are Adrienne And Freya Related To Each Other?

A new mystery thriller from Hulu called The Clearing features a fictionalized version of the Family, a real-life new-age cult founded by Anne Hamilton-Byrne. Based on the book by J. P. Pomare, the television series The Clearing is about a cult that Adrienne, also known as Maitrya, is setting up, in which she coerces her followers into thinking that Adrienne is a supernatural person. However, the plot also focuses on a single mother, Freya Heywood, who seems to have a strange connection with this cult, leaving her always worried that her son would be taken away by them.

Spoilers Ahead


Who Was The Leader Of The Cult?

Episode 1 began with a young teenage girl named Amy, who had bleached white hair, reluctantly assisting two others in kidnapping a little girl named Sara. They brought Sara to a mysterious location, where many other children with bleached white hair welcomed her. Tasmin, one of the supervisors, gave Sara a new name, Asha, but Sara was unwilling to accept it. Amy appeared tense and guilty about capturing a little girl but felt compelled to follow the rules of the cult.

In addition to Tasmin, the group had two other supervisors: Hannah and her husband, Henrik. All the children in the group wore blue tracksuits and had bleached white hair, with Sara’s hair forcibly painted white. While the other children seemed obedient to the supervisors, Sara proved to be a challenge. Since she was brought into the group against her will, she found it difficult to adapt to her new environment. However, the environment itself was far from ideal for the children. Amy was repeatedly beaten by Tasmin. The children were provided with limited food, which seemed like a form of torture.

Sara attempted to escape the area multiple times but was unsuccessful. Eventually, the leader of the cult, Adrienne, also known as Maitrya, was introduced. The children referred to her as “mommy,” but it was Amy whom Adrienne considered her own daughter and an ideal disciple. Adrienne arrived with her secretary, Dr. Latham, and it was revealed from their conversation that the rest of the children in the group were usually not abducted like Sara. However, the origin of the other children, including Amy, remained unclear. Later on, Sara became an even greater problem for the cult. She made another escape attempt, but Anton, one of the children, found her and brought her back to Tasmin. Tasmin covered up the incident when reporting it to Adrienne, but Anton boasted about it in hopes of gaining Adrienne’s favor.


In an alternate timeline, possibly in the future, Amy had grown up and became a young mother whose real name was Freya Heywood. Although The Clearing didn’t explicitly confirm that Freya was Amy’s future self, it can be inferred that she is indeed Amy. Freya was fiercely protective of her son, Billy, and had learned of the kidnapping of a little girl named Carrie Anderson in her timeline. Not having heard the entire news report, Freya assumed that the cult from her past was responsible for the abduction. Fearful of history repeating itself and her son suffering a similar fate, Freya became hyper-vigilant in safeguarding Billy.

Freya had a strained relationship with her mother and preferred to keep her at a distance. Despite this, at Billy’s request, Freya reluctantly allowed her mother to visit. During her mother’s visit, an accident occurred, resulting in Billy getting injured in his eye due to Freya’s negligence. Freya downplayed the incident, recognizing it as an accident, but her mother appeared unwilling to let it go. Haunted by memories, Freya found herself recalling the days when Sara had escaped from the cult and wandered through the forest. She could almost envision Sara running through the woods. Meanwhile, her attention was fixated on a white van, the same type of vehicle she and Adrienne had used to kidnap Sara. Freya grew increasingly worried that the new child, Anderson, might have been abducted in the same van. She made continuous calls to the police to report the vehicle, but they required evidence linking it to the kidnappings. In her desperation, Freya reached out to an old acquaintance, Joe Saad, a former inspector, and urged him to investigate the van. However, Joe displayed indifference toward the information.

A significant surprise awaited Freya, further suggesting her connection to Amy. She went to a house where she spoke to a male nurse about her mother’s health. It was then revealed that it was Adrienne, whom she was calling her mother. Adrienne had aged significantly and was now ill. Freya sat by Adrienne’s side, her eyes filled with compassion and kindness, but Adrienne still exuded an air of malevolence. Just as she had once embraced Amy, Adrienne embraced Freya and referred to her as Amy.


Final Words

The first episode of The Clearing created a dark and gritty atmosphere, instilling a constant sense of fear and unease. The portrayal of the cult and the suffering of the children within it weighed heavily on the audience’s hearts, allowing them to connect with the plight of these children. It not only generated fear and suspense but also sparked a strong desire to delve deeper into the story. Numerous questions arose, such as why Freya was taking care of Adrienne. To address this question, it can be speculated that the cult had disbanded by the time Amy grew up. Despite her troubling history with Adrienne, Freya may have felt a sense of obligation or a deep-seated bond that prevented her from ignoring Adrienne’s needs. However, with the cult disbanded, what happened to the little girl named Anderson remains unknown. Let’s find out in the next episode.


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Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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The first episode of The Clearing created a dark and gritty atmosphere, instilling a constant sense of fear and unease.'The Clearing' Episode 1 Recap & Review: Are Adrienne And Freya Related To Each Other?