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The Honourable Woman Review: “The Unfaithful Husband”

(Episode 1.02)

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<i>The Honourable Woman</i> Review: &#8220;The Unfaithful Husband&#8221;

“Easy with your body. Dead behind the eyes.”

That awkward moment when the guy you’re sleeping with is also your security guard, but is also spying on you for another organization? Well, that was no problem for Nessa in this episode. She calls Nathaniel out, just moments after their tousling about on the coach accidentally turns on her projector. As her father’s voice enters the room, she fumbles for the remote, and then makes it clear that she knows Nathaniel is working for Sir Hughs and MI6. Awkwardness all around—but we’ve seen Nessa in a new light here. Even when she appears to be playful and vulnerable, she’s keenly aware of her reality.

Just before all of this we see some images from eight years ago on the Gaza strip. More and more, it’s becoming clear that the first kidnapping is connected to Kasim’s. The driver and witness to Kasim’s kidnapping finally wakes up in the hospital. But one phone call from them, and he immediately injects something into his blood stream. He’s dead, and takes whatever he knows with him to the grave.

This loss weighs heavy on the family, as it becomes clear that the kidnappers are running this show. Rachel (who has some of the loveliest maternity wear ever) is flipping out because the police are crawling all around her home; she blames Ephra and accuses him (and the rest of the Stein’s) of operating from a position of vanity (“It’s all vanity,” she shouts, giving us those good, ol’ Ecclesiastes vibes). We’ve seen her character before—the unhappy, ball-busting wife who’s eternally dissatisfied (she throws another fit after they are attacked at an event—that gorgeous white dress was dripping in red something, and she was furious). One can’t help but hope that we get to see other sides to her character. Right now, we sympathize with Ephra, which makes things a bit more interesting when we see the scene towards the end of the episode between him and Atika. Still, we get the sense that Rachel is on to them both, and has been for some time.

While these steamier scenes were great, the false love affair in “The Unfaithful Husband” was even more exciting. Sir Hugh faces off with Meshal’s self-proclaimed American mistress,Tracy. Meshal’s wife, however, proves that her husband would have been incapable of having an affair (he was very sick, and very impotent), which makes Tracy’s tales about how they “f—ed like rabbits,” a bit problematic.

Can we just take a moment to acknowledge that Sir Hugh is amazing? Those stone-cold facial expressions he threw at Tracy, whilst demanding to know the details of her love affair were perfect.

So Tracy got caught in her lies, and was also tricked into running away from her safe spot. The cabbie (who was clearly not a cabbie) kills her, and then an unknown woman kills him. So much happened in this episode, and it still feels like we know so little!

“The Unfaithful Husband” also gave us a glimpse at Nessa and Atika’s time in Gaza. Now, someone had a baby during that awful experience. It looks like it’s Atika’s baby at first, but we also see Nessa in photos with the infant as well. When the kidnappers call her on that special kidnapper burner phone saying, “We know your secret Nessa Stein,” it’s easy to assume that the baby has something to do with it. Alas, we’ll have to wait and see.

Stray Observations:

Gyllenhaal gave a great performance in the car scene, where she was weeping and trying to explain to her assistant why she needed to keep working.

The recap that opened the episode with Nessa’s voice-over is a much cooler way of saying, “previously, on The Honourable Woman. Our American shows need to get up on this.

At some point, I’m going to need more information about Nessa’s sleeping quarters.

“Yes, they did. No, you can’t. But, yes you should. See? I can read your mind.” Dame Julia is my hero.

Shannon M. Houston is Assistant TV Editor at Paste, and a New York-based freelance writer with probably more babies than you. You can follow her on Twitter.

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