The Hour ended its second installment by thrilling, delighting and then horrifying viewers.
After waiting five excruciating episodes, Bel and Freddie finally kiss. So close to uncovering the scandal, Freddie realizes that nothing is impossible. “We talk too much. Instead we have to do something,” Freddie tells Bel before gathering her in a passionate embrace and giving her a kiss to end all kisses. “You are possible with me,” he exclaims. Sigh. It was the perfect romantic exchange that rewarded fans who have long awaited this moment.
Freddie has gone to convince Kiki Delane to come on The Hour and tell everything she knows. “I can’t promise to protect you. I was wrong to promise you that,” Freddie tells Kiki before sending her to the newsroom to meet with Bel. He stays behind at the movie theater to distract Cilenti’s henchmen, which turns out to be a very bad move. They want to know what Kiki has told him. Freddie admits nothing. When Kiki comes on the air, he knows the story will get out. In a strange way, he seems to have made peace with dying for the story.
Freddie gets a few more pointed digs in at Cilenti before Cilenti beats Freddie senseless and leaves him for dead in front of the office. “You don’t have a face for television now,” he sneers.
As the episode concludes, Bel is running towards Freddie as viewers hear in voiceover the letter she wrote Freddie but never sent. “I love you,” she declares. The final moments of the episode with Freddie uttering “Moneypenny” (his nickname for Bel) as he lay dying were heart-wrenching. Since there’s no word on whether there will be a third installment of The Hour, it is a particularly cruel note to leave viewers on. Freddie must live!
Besides the declaration of love, so much more happened in this episode. Hector’s wife Marnie admitted, in the vaguest of terms, that she too had strayed from their marriage and that now she is pregnant. Hector knows that he can’t be the father (remember he confessed that to Bel last week) but is ready to accept the child as his own. “Isn’t that wonderful? Isn’t that what you always wanted,” Hector says to her. Their whole conversation—which said so much while actually saying very little—was very, very British. Marnie never actually even said the word “pregnant.” The two were speaking in some sort of code the MI5 would have trouble breaking.
McCain redeemed himself by offering to help The Hour break the story, and you almost felt a little sorry for the man who is forced to live a lie in his personal life. He’ll have a new career as Kiki’s (or Patricia’s) spokesperson. Rosa helped Kiki from beyond the grave. Kiki found the photo negatives in a lipstick tube Rosa gave her before she died, so when Kiki went on the air she had the photos to back up what she was saying. A convenient plot twist for sure, but one that really worked.
If last week it seemed like Stern might be trying to right his wrongs, this week it became exceedingly clear that he remains a pathetic man. He used the photos Kiki gave him to blackmail his way into a promotion. “You live in this place where you don’t acknowledge anything,” Hector tells him. Stern committed suicide after Kiki exposed him on television of not only being blackmailed by Cilenti but also of abusing women.
In a very sad scene, Randall and Lix learn that the daughter Lix gave up for adoption died years ago, during an air raid. Peter Capaldi and Anna Chancellor brought emotional resonance to the scene that lingers with me today. This is a plotline that existed solely through their dialogue and didn’t always work, but, man, did it pack an emotional final punch.
The season finale deftly mixed triumph, romance and pathos. Can we start a campaign now to demand a season three?