With such an intricate and ever-developing narrative, The Honourable Woman can make for challenging viewing at times. The sudden outburst of graphic violence in the previous episode, “The Ribbon Cutter”, suggests that we may start seeing more vulnerability in the characters involved as situations become increasingly uneasy. Instead of moving towards a resolve in the series, “Two Hearts” leaves us second-guessing what we already know and attempting to read between the lines of these characters’ complex and secretive lives.
“Two Hearts” is certainly more soulful as it explores the story of Nessa's (Maggie Gyllenhaal) pregnancy and this episode is about new life, where “The Ribbon Cutter” was about death. After Nessa gives birth to Kasim (Oliver Bodur), she and Atika (Lubna Azabal) are rescued. Meanwhile, a stranger approaches Ephra (Andrew Buchan) and tells him to continue to install the Stein's first communication cable contract in the West Bank. Once completed, there is “something else” he must do and these two deals are made in the hope of getting Nessa back. Monica Chatwin (Eve Best) presents the increasingly distressed Ephra with a choice, she could call in a favour to rescue Nessa but that comes at the price of him resigning and giving up his position as head honcho of The Stein Group for his sister to take charge. The tension of this confrontation between Ephra and Monica is captured via close-ups of rapidly tapping fingers against the backs of chairs and the flurrying and flickering of eyes. Indeed it is these minute details expressed by the characters that portrays the crippling tension, growing suspicion and intense game of espionage that characterises “Two Hearts”.
In the present day, secrets begin to unravel when Ephra confronts Nessa and reveals knowledge of her relationship to Kasim. Not only do family matters become increasingly complicated for the Steins, but also Nessa finds out about Ephra and Atika’s affair. A flashback sequence recalls when Atika first met Nessa and it is suggested that Nessa might just be in love with her. As “Two Hearts” progresses, investigator Caleb Schwako (John Mackay) reappears on the scene with his characteristic quirky appearance, featuring a turtle neck and fancy moustache complete with a peculiar accent that lightens the mood as he emits an almost comedic aura. He delivers news to Nessa that indicates Monica gave the brutally murdered security officer Nathaniel a corrupted file that contains information on Shlomo (Igal Naor). Nessa employs a crew of men to investigate the cables at West Bank and accuses Shlomo of using them to tap into international communications. Meanwhile Ephra looks on silently, perhaps this is the “something else” he was told to do eight years ago after laying the cables?
Rather than tie up the loose ends of its developed story, it would appear The Honourable Woman weaves more plot threads into its narrative web with drama and cliffhangers aplenty. The series does attempt to explore the topics of racism, terrorism and conflicts in the Middle East on a larger scale that extends beyond the Stein family story arc. Yet, as the ending fades with a mysterious man watching on as Nessa leaves her house, we are reeled back into the Stein family drama once again.