The third episode of The Honourable Woman, ominously dubbed “The Killing Call”, begins with a nameless woman climbing out of a car boot, opening a bag that contains a large sum of money and a note that instructs her of her silence. The Honourable Woman beckons us into the ever-complex and thickening mysteries of its plot each week as we try to understand Nessa’s (Maggie Gyllenhaal) hidden secrets and the role that each of the characters play in the unravelling of her story.
Nessa awakens in her clinical safe-room, which is lit in a deep shade of red that reflects her passionate personality. This is contrasted with the hovel where Nessa and Atika (Lubna Azabal) were brutally beaten and kidnapped for a year in Gaza, Israel. The once-vulnerable and scared Nessa now appears stronger and more focused and yet is riddled with stress and burdensome secrets. Nessa’s troubled psyche is reasserted when she shares an intimate moment with her security officer, Nathaniel (Tobia Menzies). He believes that the embittered Nessa is full of rage, despite her role as peacemaker. Nessa thrusts herself at him in what appears to be a pursuit of love and yearning for safety from her many troubles and overwhelming loneliness. Will she ever trust anyone?
Nathaniel is a beacon of light in an otherwise murky world and seeks answers to how Kasim’s (Oliver Bodur) kidnappers’ operate. However, answers to the looming questions of the show remain withheld as a mysterious man with a burned face calls Nessa asking if her secret is still safe. There is no diegetic sound, instead dramatic music builds tension as this strange man travels the escalators, shows his Israeli passport, swaps bags, and loads a gun at an airport. Full attention is drawn to the man’s movements as he navigates the airport and there is eeriness created via his precision and discipline.
Meanwhile, Nathaniel realises that Kasim’s kidnappers are the same group of men that previously abducted Nessa and Atika and that they reward people for assisting in the kidnappings. Nathaniel finds the family of the driver involved in the kidnappings, a man named Michael Gatz (Ben Smith), and proceeds to track them down as they spend their reward on a £15,000 car. Gatz’ wife leads Nathaniel to a slaughterhouse where the same threatening man sporting burn scars executes him with a single shot to the head and hangs his corpse like a swine ready for the meat-grinder. The scene is sadistic and tortured as blood trickles and drips everywhere. The gory-spectacle signals the entrance of this new character and is suggestive of a more gruesome, graphic and potentially violent explanation behind Nessa’s secret. As more secrets surface, we can predict that the show will only become more graphic, terrorising and dramatic amongst all the excitement and espionage.