The Honourable Woman Review: “The Mother Line”

(Episode 1.06)

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<i>The Honourable Woman</i> Review: &#8220;The Mother Line&#8221;

The Honourable Woman is slowly plummeting into a dark and twisted hole and there seems to be no way out—this is a good thing for the series. That sound of liquor dripping plays like a menacing weapon, as Nessa screams “Stop,” but is not heard. It’s akin to the sound of a gun falling from the young boy’s grip as Salel Al-Zahid threateningly reminds his host that he was never there. While bleak, this show has been keen on exploring the depths of silver linings, until now. Just as the viewer is losing hope, by the end of “The Mother Line” Nessa, too, is enveloped in feelings of regret, anger, hopelessness, and distrust.

Nessa is raped again, this time by a sleaze taking advantage of her status. Her sexuality, while empowering, is also her weakness. In an attempt to avoid her feelings for Atika, she tends to give herself to any man, making her highly vulnerable. This episode she hobbles along a sidewalk, bleeding from the head. In a stroke of luck (or maybe a perfectly-timed stakeout), Nessa is rescued and hospitalized. This finally creates a connection between Hugh and our honourable woman. The two plots merge, and Nessa wants to know what exactly Hugh wants from her. She has been burned before, and knows that even a small favor comes with a price. (Although saving her from bleeding to death is, really, no small favor.)

Later in the episode, Nessa attempts to publicly defend the Kiplan institute, the same one that Ben (the professor who closed out last week’s episode in a garbage can of lemons) had accused of corruption and ethnic racism. She says, “What happened was undeniably a tragedy, we are not yet in a position to pinpoint what exactly was the cause… we don’t know what he said was true.” I think, given the things turn of events and the fact that the Stein group is indeed corrupt, Nessa knows these events are linked, and not just coincidental. However, she remains composed, forcefully dealing with the chaos that the suicide of Samir Meshal continues to bring.

The new information that comes to light plays on Nessa’s vulnerability, causing her to reach a breaking point. The wiretap in the west bank is being traced. Interestingly enough, the payments are coming from Nessa Stein’s office. This can only mean one thing—that the person whom Nessa believed was as oblivious to the corruption in the West bank as she was, orchestrated the wiretapping. This shatters Nessa’s last bit of hope, and she removes Ephra from any sort of authoritative position in the Stein Group.

As she struggles, trying to hold her own, the telecommunications contract that was supposed to go to Samir Meshal is still up in the air. Jalal El- Amin approaches Nessa, calmly saying that she will give him the contract. Nessa refuses and Jalel El-Amin says, “Yes you are, because then your secret will be safe.” It seems as though El-Amin is a part of the Fatah group or, at least, in cohorts with Saleh Al-Zahid [the burnt faced man]. Startled, Nessa announces shortly thereafter that Jalel El-Amin has received the contract in the West bank. Nessa’s worst fears have become a reality: both she and the Stein Group have been compromised.

Other Notes on “The Mother Line” and questions for next week’s episode

•Who is the little boy strangely resembling Kasim? Is it Kasim, and is he alive?

•It seems anti-climactic that the Americans would be the ones to kill Samir Meshal. I am curious to see if there is a twist here, and how it will play out in the last two episodes.

•I continue to wonder, can Schlomo be trusted?

Lesley Brock is a Nashville-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter.