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Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Honourable Woman: No sign of slowing down


I began this episode in mute horror at poor Nessa having to endure another rape. Although, it was helpful to see examples of rape happening in all sorts of situations, while I imagine many Western women will never be raped by a terrorist who has kidnapped them, having a terrible experience with a man who has picked you up in a bar is likely to be much more familiar. I praise the Honourable Woman for dealing sensitively with these issues, although it would have been nice if Nessa had been able to have her rapist arrested. Still, her refusal to be victimised is welcome.

If this episode taught me anything, it was that all the bad guys are as bad as each other. It’s been impossible to maintain neutrality with the actual Israeli-Palestine conflict, as the news has filled up with unfathomable images of violence. But HW keeps things relatively simple. Everyone has a price, everyone is out for what they can get and that includes those darned Americans.


As we knew, or long suspected, the Americans had that nice Samir killed. Although the Israelis would have done it anyway. Sigh. Anyway, the Americans got their information by tapping the Israeli tap on the phones, that’s hidden away in the Stein Academy. This is the price Ephra had to pay for his sister’s freedom, and even though that does technically make him a hero, he’s such a whingey little brat that I had zero sympathy for him as first Nessa and then Rachel had a go at him.

It was brilliant to finally see Katherine Parkinson, so ably playing Rachel, get her moment. Her character is a deliciously quiet presence in this drama, and I often wonder if she isn’t secretly behind everything that is happening. Could Rachel be the ‘she’ who has agreed? It’s presumably either her, Nessa or Atika, although quite what else Nessa could have agreed to is beyond me. Word on the internet suggests Atika is a double agent and she has certainly worked hard to gain Nessa’s trust. With Monica (presumably working with the Americans) and El-Amin (Palestinian) both desperately wanting Nessa in place, what is it exactly that she is going to have to do?

Of course, as true fans know, none of the above matters because HW is actually all about the adventures of Hayden-Hoyle. Even if he does listen to Neil Diamond, though I suppose every hero has to have his foibles. Once again, our man at MI6 stole all the best lines, I particularly enjoyed his dithering metaphor on cricket, which led me to wonder whether Stephen Rea had misplaced his script and was being allowed to improvise. That said, he was nearly upstaged by the dog, choosing to relieve himself in a bush to illustrate H-H’s frustration. Magnificent.

Some questions for next week, we’re only 3 quarters of the way through so frankly anything could happen. Answers etc to @QueeniePrior c/o The Stephen Rea Fan Club.

Did anyone else feel a tiny bit sorry for Burnt Face Man?

OK, I know he’s a super nasty evil terrorist but...we all know about brainwashing and this guy is clearly a former child soldier. His speech to the young boy (even with it’s tragic consequences) showed a man who felt his life had chosen him, not the other way round. It’s clearly far too late for any sort of rehabilitation, but knowing his life will either end in prison or death makes me very sad.

What does Anjelica have planned?

If I have one complaint about HW, it’s that they cast Lindsay Duncan in what appears to be a minor role. Will her rendezvous at 8pm ramp up her storyline, or is Hugh’s romantic subplot destined to be HW’s one week link?

Similarly, can we have more Frances?

Icily capable and beautifully dressed, Frances is one of my favourite characters, despite her not being on screen for more than five minutes per episode. There’s definitely more to her, but will the final two episodes reveal her true intentions, or has Blick uncharacteristically wasted a very good opportunity?

Final thought: more Caleb next week please!

The Honourable Woman Continues Thursday's at 9.00pm on BBC TWO.

Contributed by Vicky Priror
Read our Review of Episode 5
Read Our Review of Episode 4
Read Our Review of Episode 3
Read our review of Episode 2
Read our Review of Episode 1 

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