Following last week’s thrilling and action-packed episode, there were many unanswered questions left dangling such as who killed Samir Meshal and who kidnapped Kasim and why? Yet it could have been predicted that these answers would not be given away easily. Instead, more questions, intricate details, suspicious activity and conversations shrouded in secrecy are added to a puzzle of so many pieces.
The second episode of The Honourable Woman was quick to remind us of all the questions we had following the first episode, replaying key characters and suspicious events while repeating Nessa’s (Maggie Gyllenhaal) voice-over asking who can we trust? Jumping to “eight years ago” we see a dishevelled and scared Nessa and Atika (Lubna Azabal) in a Gaza holding house, with the sounds of screaming and barking making them flinch. If we can judge from the previous episode, this appears to be a rare moment of vulnerability that we have access to. But, The Honourable Woman surprises us with many moments of vulnerability but yet again leaves us with more cliff-hangers and questions.
Nessa sleeps with a mystery man who is revealed to be an MI6 agent working for Hugh Hayden-Hoyle (Stephen Rea). He tells her “you’re easy with your body, dead behind the eyes” before she returns to her safe room. Ephra’s (Andrew Buchan) wife Rachel (Katherine Parkinson) strikes out at Nessa believing that Kasim’s (Oliver Bodur) kidnappers were looking for her children just to get to Nessa. Nessa breaks down into tears when her mobile phone embarrassingly rings during a public speech. This episode shows numerous moments where Nessa is weak and exposed that question whether her strong and powerful business façade is fading fast. The episode is laced with additional twists: Ephra and Atika have sex while Rachel sleeps upstairs; Hugh investigates an FBI agent pretending to be Samir Meshal’s ex-mistress, who then gets shot. Hugh is also given a file containing photographs of Nessa and Atika holding a baby, which raises suspicions about what they have been through.
The second episode points towards the possible beginnings of Nessa’s downfall as she struggles to keep her secrets safe and her emotions guarded. However, with so many plot twists and doses of political and personal distrust and foul play, it seems impossible to think that we know Nessa at all.