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ApathyMonger

The Honourable Woman

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Powerful businesswoman Nessa Stein is thrown head-first into a game of political cat-and-mouse when a Palestinian businessman with close connections to her family's empire is killed.

 

Blick hasn't picked up a talent for subtlety since The Shadow Line, I see. A literal scene of old men playing chess? Similar pacing too, though, from what I recall, more probably happened here than in the first episode of TSL.

 

The credits felt like an odd mix of Homeland and The Americans.

 

I'm on board anyway.

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This has the potential to be good.

 

However, there seemed to be a lot of stuff happening in episode one.  Two murders, a child kidnapping, a gunfight, British spies, Israeli spies, Palestinian spies, assignations past and present, everybody with something to hide...  I just don't know if it's going to be wildly confusing, or what.

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Nessa's past, including her kidnap eight years previously in Gaza, is dug up by MI6 boss Sir Hugh Hayden-Hoyle, who is intent on getting answers despite being blocked by the CIA.

 

Well, the plot's moving along a bit. I see they're taking time away from the leads to spend time with characters who are quickly disposed of too, like The Shadow Line did. I wonder if we'll get the equivilent of TSL's fifth episode, where none of the main characters appeared until about 40 minutes in, and we just followed an old man go about his day as a watch-maker in Dublin, until it's relevance became clear.

 

Being an IT Crowd fan, it's odd to see Katherine Parkinson in such a dramatic role.

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Nessa's security advisor follows a lead as he hunts down the missing boy. Meanwhile, her brother Ephra makes a startling discovery that could blow the family, and its work, apart.

 

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I probably should have seen that headshot coming, but Bloom surviving the previous attack mislead me into thinking he'd survive. Alas.

 

The stuff about Kasim being taken away if they tell the truth was interesting. Is it possible that neither Atika nor Nessa is the mother, and they stole the child from someone in Gaza?

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First, did anyone pick up that the name of Samir Mechal's company was Kasim Electronics??? first episode, when she announces the award of the contract.

 

Second, does anyone else think that Nessa just betrayed Nathaniel because he simply would not back off his quest to find Kasim, no matter how persuasive she was? I think she summoned man-with-burned-face to deal with Bloom, which is why she was so distraught at the end of ep 3. 

 

Why can't everyone just forget Shadow Line (I did not see it) and accept that while the plot IS convoluted, it is actually possible to follow the threads. Not being funny, but subtitles help, even if you are not hearing impaired.  

 

I just cannot bear to have to wait for another week. 

 

 

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I came out of this episode really chilled. Nessa sent her bodyguard to his death, knowingly. Not sure I can forgive her for that, no matter what the secret she is protecting.

 

Gonna keep watching to find out what that secret is, though!

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Second, does anyone else think that Nessa just betrayed Nathaniel because he simply would not back off his quest to find Kasim, no matter how persuasive she was? I think she summoned man-with-burned-face to deal with Bloom, which is why she was so distraught at the end of ep 3.

Yes, because that's what we were shown happened. She did everything in her power to dissuade Bloom from his investigation, up to and including attempted seduction (this woman uses her body as a tool, we already know that), but Bloom was too diligent, too loyal and too determined. She liked him, she trusted him, she had a strong, friendly relationship with him - but she absolutely betrayed him and knowingly sent him to his death. That was the killing call of the episode title. She cried while making it, but she made it nonetheless.

 

It wasn't so much 'summoning the burned face man to deal with Bloom', though. She wasn't hiring a hitman. She simply gave him the answer to a question knowing what he would do as a result.

 

So what secret is worth the life of a good, loyal man? Time will tell.

Edited by Llywela

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Going back eight years, a younger Hayden-Hoyle climbs the ranks of MI6 whilst Nessa and Atika endure atrocities during their time held captive in Gaza and their captors scheme as to how she can best serve their cause.

Some answers, hopefully.

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Love Tobias Menzies too. And he's really great in a quiet role here. MG is fantastic here even though at times she comes across as too mannered but I think that comes from being someone who's walking a tightrope, living a dangerous life, surrounded by bodyguards.

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Yeah, it had me at Tobias Menzies. He was in a rando episode of Midsomer Murders and when I saw him (SO YOUNG) I squeed right in my living room and scared the cat.

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As Atika and Nessa remain in captivity, the secret that will bond them forever is revealed. Meanwhile, an academic in Tel Aviv working at a university funded by the Steins uncovers corruption that could have far-reaching consequences.

 

Another flashback episode, it seems.

Edited by radishcake

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I was already in and then you mentioned Tobias Menzies and now I'm super excited. I have quite a thing for him.

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I just watched Episode 5, and am totally hooked. Won't spoil, but do warn that the series takes a while to get going .... I think it really only begins to take a clear direction in Episode 4. If you like really complex, multicultural drama filled with characters with shifting and murky allegiances, this is for you.

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I just watched Episode 5, and am totally hooked. Won't spoil, but do warn that the series takes a while to get going .... I think it really only begins to take a clear direction in Episode 4. If you like really complex, multicultural drama filled with characters with shifting and murky allegiances, this is for you.

Oh geez, I have to wait until ep 5 to get hooked?  So this is a slow burn? Will we find out the "secret" by episode four also?

If she has more than one secret, my guess would be.... Kasim is her son?  Whatever it is, she sure doesn't want it to get out.

 

It definitely was a slow first ep for me,and I nodded off somewhere in the middle,waking up near the end of the talk Nessa was having with that woman who I don't know her name(was she Kasim's nanny? I wasn't quite sure)  And where were they? At a restaurant/café? I kept thinking, why are they talking so openly in a place like that, won't anyone recognize her? Or is she not that well know to the general public there?

 

The last scenes at the music hall were the most interesting and of course the ending. I'm intrigued.

Edited by Valny

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This was crazy good, even with some improbabilities (like absolutely no one anywhere in sight during that final run through the park).  I have no idea what's going on and I don't care.  As our PTVmom said, above, MG is shining in Nessa's fierce confident public moments.  That glow really propelled me through the first part of the episode and made the breakdown in the cafe so much more intriguing.

 

I was relieved that they resisted having the little boy's "watch" left behind in the park repeating "Are you lost?"  Because I was worried they would go there.

 

This reminds me of way back when Masterpiece Theater mini-series.  That's a good thing.

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Only part flashback, for the first 15 minutes - after that, bang, we're back in the present with consequences and intrigue galore.

 

Every time we meet a new minor character and get to know them, I'm just waiting for them to die. That's how this show rolls, apparently. I was surprised Nessa's investigative engineer made it out alive.

 

It's compelling viewing, full of flawed characters acting in accordance with their own agendas and ambitions and motivations, I'm on board for all the twists and turns along the way.

 

But two episodes later and I still haven't forgiven Nessa for Bloom. Even if he was at least partly implicated in falsification of evidence in this episode - we don't know yet if he knowingly colluded or was played. Either way, I haven't forgiven his death yet!

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Pretty good on the whole, though like many first episodes / pilots, it could have expained things a little more clearly.

 

I understood why Stephen Rea snuck out of his house to visit his Israeli source (Posca from Rome I think).  I don't know why Maggie G had to sneak out since it looked as if she was seeing someone she'd see, and with whom she could have a private conversation, in the course of her regular day anyway.

 

I'm also a little unclear how MG's company/foundation is the one deciding who gets the telecom/cable biz for the West Bank.  I would have though the Palestinian Authority, perhaps in conjunction with the Israeli Goverment, would be deciding that.  I honestly don't know how that works in the real world, but even the show is accurate on that score, I think they should explain it.

 

MG also didn't answer why she had an Israeli passport.  Just because she can have one due to her ancestry, doesn't mean she's required to have one.  That's a choice she made, and an issue brought up, but then ignored for the rest of the episode.  I think it would be a hindrance given the goals of her charitable work.  Most of her answers in that interview were good, but that response was generally a clunker, as was the interviewer's failure to follow-up.

 

I think MG's brother is played by the same actor who played the father of the murder vicitim in Broadchurch.  Poor guy just can't get a parenting break.

 

I don't know why this airing in the US almost a month after the UK.  Downtown Abbey airs months later, though PBS uses the excuse about recutting the episodes (not that anyone asked them to do that).  Game of Thrones airs in the UK the day after in the US (though I think starting with Season 4, it started airing simultaneously in the UK for those fans willing to watch at 2 or 3 in the morning). I guess I just have to resign myself to getting spoiled.

 

And being the horrible person that I am, whenver I see a character in a lord's robes of state, I can't help but think about Blackadder & Mr. Frisky.

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I understood why Stephen Rea snuck out of his house to visit his Israeli source (Posca from Rome I think).

Posca! Thank you! I knew I knew him. :D

 

I think MG's brother is played by the same actor who played the father of the murder vicitim in Broadchurch.  Poor guy just can't get a parenting break.

Ephra is played by Andrew Buchan, yes. Ephra is not the father of the little boy who was abducted, though - Kasim is introduced to us in ep1 as the son of Ephra's housekeeper, Atika.

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I think MG's brother is played by the same actor who played the father of the murder vicitim in Broadchurch.  Poor guy just can't get a parenting break.

Yup, Andrew Buchan. He was also Matt Smith's brother in Party Animals, a series from 2007 no-one watched.

 

I don't know why this airing in the US almost a month after the UK.

The last Sundance/BBC co-production, Top of the Lake, aired in the UK three months after the US, so maybe they agreed to switch it for this series.

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Yup, Andrew Buchan. He was also Matt Smith's brother in Party Animals, a series from 2007 no-one watched.

I watched it! I loved Party Animals. Shame no one else did. I'm very fond of Andrew Buchan, I've followed him through a variety of shows now - he's one of those rare actors who really does seem to transform himself into a different person with every role he takes on.

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I was underwhelmed with the first ep, although I liked the performances. I'm kind of weary of everyone having Sekrits. I wouldn't be shocked if Nessa ended up having a child with a Palestinian that she's quietly supporting.

 

When was it said that Kasim wasn't Ephra's son? I totally missed that.

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When was it said that Kasim wasn't Ephra's son? I totally missed that.

I can't remember if it was said. It was shown. I knew immediately, when we were shown everyone gathered at that fancy dinner - Rachel making a fuss about finding food that 'the girls' would eat, no mention of Kasim; both Rachel and Ephra fussing over the girls and pretty much ignoring Kasim to the point that while Atika was running their errands the boy wandered off and no one noticed; Atika flew into a panic and went searching for him - the worried mother - while they remained blase. He's been raised in their household but is Atika's child, the housekeeper's child, not theirs. But if I go any further down this road I'm wandering into spoilery territory for those just starting the series.

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The reason we know that he's [acknowledged as] Atika's son is that, when she found him at the hotel, she said something like "your mother will be worried, " clearly indicating herself.

My brackets aren't to indicate a spoiler, just my very early guess about something.

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I just re-watched this episode and as I remembered, it's pretty specific about showing us that Ephra, Rachel and the girls are a family while introducing Atika as Kasim's mother, fussing over him and singing him to sleep at night. I'm 5 episodes in now, so it was really interesting to come back and see how much was set up in this first episode, little things that may not have seemed important at the time. One thing I'd forgotten was how secret Nessa and Atika's friendship was - in public they were formal and distant, as befits a baronness and her brother's housekeeper, only revealing their true relationship in private, a meeting that Nessa went to great lengths to keep secret. Also loads of tiny details - little glances and camera angles - that make much more sense now that I know more of the undercurrents.

Edited by Llywela
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When a Palestinian businessman makes Nessa an offer regarding the cabling initiative in the Middle East, Nessa discovers the full cost of her release from captivity eight years ago.

 

 

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'Isn't Episode 2 kind of early to "love" any character on a show?' She's played by Janet McTeer. 'Oh, got it. Carry on.'

 

I haven't seen ep 2 yet but I was happy to read last Sunday she was in the cast. First time I'd seen her anywhere was in the movie Tumbleweeds, which she was nominated for an Oscar.  I enjoyed her also in the last season of Damages and she was great in Albert Nobbs. which she was also nominated. Also...she's really tall.

 

I actually totally forgot I was watching this show! If I didn't come here and see the feature article, I wouldn't have remembered.    So how was the second ep?  I didn't want to read ApathyMonger's above post and be spoiled.

 

ETA- ooh and I see she's going to be in Vince Gilligan's new series called Battle Creek. So yay!

Edited by Valny

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Nitpick from the article:

 

Julia -- excuse me, Dame Julia, which means either that her kick-assitude was conferred by birth or that it's been recognized and solemnized by the Crown

 

"Dame" is a conferred title only. If she had a title at birth, it would be either Honourable (as the daughter of a viscount or below) or Lady (daughter of an earl or above).

 

I laughed about her wearing kitten heels, because I'm sure it was to keep McTeer in the frame more than for her character to be intimidating. Hee.

 

I had some problems with this ep, mostly during the intelligence scenes. The dialog was so arch.

 

Kasim is so Nessa's son. The anvils were deafening during the conversation Nessa had with Rachel.

 

I knew the cabbie would end up killing the FBI agent.

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Nitpick from the article:

 

Julia -- excuse me, Dame Julia, which means either that her kick-assitude was conferred by birth or that it's been recognized and solemnized by the Crown

 

"Dame" is a conferred title only. If she had a title at birth, it would be either Honourable (as the daughter of a viscount or below) or Lady (daughter of an earl or above).

Nitpick addendum:

Every once in a while a woman inherits a baronetcy. Just as a baronet is referred to as Sir, a baronetess is referred to as Dame. So it is possible to inherit the title of Dame, though it rarely happens.

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I have never seen a plot twist coming before other TWoP/PTV peeps, so I am going to, just this once, say:

Called it.

I'm glad they've let us know in ep. 2 so we know there's more to the story than that.

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Hayden-Hoyle uncovers an international government cover-up in relation to the Stein wiretap and Ephra is drawn into making a fatal mistake. In Palestine, an act of terrorism stuns the Stein family and the wider international community and has far-reaching repercussions.

 

And ApathyMonger wrote:

 

Well, that was a lot of things happening.

I'm mostly surprised Hayden-Hoyle hasn't died yet. Still time, I guess.

Are Sundance in the US allowed to show nudity, or will that scene be censored for the US broadcast?

 

So sorry, AM! I was in a hurry and got thrown by the date and merged the wrong thread!

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Blimey.

 

That episode was a lot to take in! One thing I am sure of, though: Nessa Stein will rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

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Well, I was wrong about Kasim being Nessa's son, but perhaps he's Ephra's. That was never cleared up.

 

Hugh is stalking his ex-(?)wife, and that's not cool. Snap out of it, Hugh!

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I LOVE Tobias Menzies however he's given to me. Even in a dumb 1700s wig. I hadn't started watching "The Honourable Woman" yet, because my dvr is overloaded, but now that I know Tobias isn't around for more than a couple of episodes, I might not start the show at all. Harrumph!

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