The Hour Review: "Episode Four" (Episode 2.04)
With only two more installments left, The Hour brought several of its simmering plotlines to a boil in its fourth hour.
Bel (Romola Garai) and Freddie (Ben Whishaw) are convinced that they are onto a big story of cover-ups and corruption. “You may have the story of the year, but dig deeper,” Head of News Randall Brown (Peter Capaldi) tells them. In today’s news world everyone wants to be first with a breaking story. Stories are often reported before facts are checked. How nice to harken back to 1957 when it was more important to be thorough and right.
Bel does dig deeper and arranges a secret meeting with showgirl Rosa Maria. Bel realizes that the corruption goes far beyond Commander Laurie Stern. El Paradis nightclub owner Raphael Cilenti (Vincent Riotta) gets powerful men to his club. He dangles beautiful showgirls in front of these men and then gets photos of the men in compromising positions. The photos are the perfect blackmail tool. Cilenti can get high-ranking government officials and law enforcement officers to do whatever he wants whenever he needs them to. Sex. Power. Corruption. It’s a by-the-numbers and not at all surprising reveal.
While Bel and Freddie continue to investigate, Hector (Dominic West) comes to the dawning recognition of just how terrible his friend Commander Laurie Stern (Peter Sullivan) is. “I wouldn’t do to my worst enemy what you did to that girl,” he tells Laurie about beating up Kiki (Hannah Tointon). Hector also realizes Kiki isn’t the first woman Stern has abused. He now remembers times, especially during the war, when Laurie was responsible for similar horrific acts.
Laurie wants his friend to put a stop to Bel and Freddie’s investigation. Hector says the most he can do is delay the story a week. In the midst of all of this, Hector gets a rather convenient offer from Angus McCain (Julian Rhind-Tutt): Hector can have the exclusive interview with the Chancellor, who is resigning because of budget troubles. That’s a big story. Despite Bel and Freddie’s objection, The Hour decides to go ahead with the Chancellor interview and postpone the corruption story for a week.
Meanwhile Freddie’s French wife Camille (Lizzie Brochere) is not happy, which is too bad considering she’s faring much better on The Hour than she has been on American Horror Story. I’m mean, buck up Camille—you’re not having an alien baby. Life’s not so bad. But Camille is not pleased that Freddie is always at work. Plus she senses something the whole audience already knows—Freddie and Bel belong together. She’s merely a distraction to keep the star-crossed couple apart. “Look after him. It’s what he wants. It’s what you both want,” Camille tells Bel before leaving.
Bel is currently smitten with ITV’s Bill Kendall (Tom Burke), a charming, if rather dull, widower. I’m still vaguely suspicious of Bill’s intentions. Perhaps it’s because if he were actually pursuing Bel to get inside information on the competition that would make him more interesting. When all’s said and done, I’m thinking Bel and Freddie have to share a kiss before this second installment of the miniseries comes to an end.
Randall tells Lix that he has found their daughter and that she is studying music. It’s a touching scene as they are both filled with simultaneous wonder and regret. But their subplot still feels wedged in. We have a lot going on in just six episodes. This is a storyline the show could have done without.
Things are not looking too good for Rosa. Cilenti knows that Rosa has been talking and orders one of his henchmen to “take care of it.” Bel tries to reach Rosa but there is no answer. She thinks it’s because Rosa is scared, but we know it’s because Rosa is dead. However before her death Rosa sent Bel a picture of McCain in a compromising position with another man. That’s when Bel and Freddie realize just how much they are being played, that Cilenti’s reach goes high up and he is truly pulling all the strings.
It was a great cliffhanger to end the episode on and, lucky for us, the show will be back with a new episode next week.