Scored with a faint humming tune and the sound of ice whirling the inside of a glass tumbler, a scene introduces Nessa (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and an unknown and fairly groomed man having drinks at a bar. Now inside his apartment, what once was a promise for drunken sex escalates into violence as Nessa pleas and whimpers, “let me go”. Standing above Nessa, the man delivers a prologue that introduces the next chapter of her story. “People didn’t know who you were, but now they do”, he remarks and then hurls a bottle of alcohol off-screen. Just before the opening credit sequence cues, the image lingers on the dripping alcohol bottle until it runs empty. Raped, beaten and dazed, Nessa is picked up by Hugh (Stephen Rea), who helps her get medical care. As Nessa appears hysterical and delusional, she retires to her safe room blooded and bruised; what looks like Nessa’s fracturing psyche is brought into clear focus in “The Mother Line”.
Throughout the episode, Nessa is forced to not only make many decisions, but also confront numerous issues. The contract initially given to Samir Mishal (Adnan Rashed) prior to his death is wanted by a Palestinian named Jalal El-Amin (Raad Rawi), later revealed to be implicated in Kasim’s (Oliver Bodur) kidnapping. He assures Nessa that if she gives him the contract then Kasim will be safely returned. El-Amin wants a Palestinian by her side to keep an eye on the increasingly suspicious relationship between the Stein’s and the Israelis. Nessa agrees and El-Amin is confirmed as partner for the next phase.
Nessa discovers that Ephra (Andrew Buchan) is to blame for helping the Israelis tap into the wires. The heated confrontation between Nessa and Ephra uses a shot/counter-shot sequence that gradually builds into a tightly framed close-up to surface the tensions between the pair. After the scene erupts into conflict, Nessa is profiled via distant, long shots that connotes her growing frustration with Ephra and her power. Meanwhile, Nessa’s kidnapper reappears living in a nondescript home. A low-angled shot is utilised as he packs various parts of a weapon into a rucksack. The careful construction of these sequences, employing these shot types, hints towards a potential power struggle building between Nessa and her kidnapper.
Hugh takes precedence in this episode as he begins to provide us with some more answers and relieves us from our suspicions of various character motives. When investigating Samir Mishal’s death, Hugh uses the sniffer to trace Mishal’s last call to Gaza where he said, “She. Has. Agreed.” Hugh traces the call back to the American consulate and ultimately Monica Chatwin (Eve Best). There is certainly suspicion surrounding Chatwin; who is she working for and, more importantly, why?
With only two episodes left in the series, The Honourable Woman is beginning to tie up its many loose ends. There seems to be an identity parade of suspects, a list of people who have kept secrets from Nessa, and are trying to manipulate her. Nessa is teetering between being a vulnerable mess and a strong, decisive woman, and it would seem the series narrative is about to burst into action. Just as the bottle runs dry at the beginning of the episode, Nessa’s strength too is starting to dwindle. As she realises that she has “nothing to lose” and the people she keeps close may be unworthy of her trust, Nessa is caught in a downward spiral but more surprises and secrets yet to come.