The Honourable Woman Review: “The Killing Call”

(Episode 1.03)

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<i>The Honourable Woman</i> Review: &#8220;The Killing Call&#8221;

The Honourable Woman is more of a mystery than your typical “spy thriller.” Not a “who-dunnit” mystery, but rather, one that requires sophisticated thinking and a deep understanding of the plot to answer questions raised. To look for explanations, viewers must keenly observe surroundings, camera angles, subtle movements, and other elements not usually required to grasp contemporary television. The questions posed in the show are left up to the viewer to answer. This is what makes The Honourable Woman compelling and all-together thrilling.

The appropriately titled “The Killing Call” tiptoes around issues raised by the previous episode, and instead left me with a whole new set of questions from start to finish. I like how The Honourable Woman hooks your attention immediately with a gripping, opening scene for each episode. As darkness fades away, and a car trunk door opens, out climbs a woman stumbling towards a black bag. The bag contains a large sum of money and comes with a sign of newspaper-clipped letters saying, “SILENCE.” Who is she? There is little time to think when—boom! Cue the opening sequence.

“The Killing Call,” focuses on two intertwined stories: One is the the relationship between Ephra, Atika & Rachel, the other, Nessa & her trust issues. (“Who do you really trust?”)

Let’s start with the former: The episode opens with a seemingly insignificant scene where Ephra is watching Atika brushing her teeth, as Rachel is watching Ephra. This scene is a prime example of one where viewers must be keenly observant. It is both a development in Ephra and Atika’s relationship—which, as we saw last week, has surpassed employee/employer boundaries—and something that will become important later. Look elsewhere for even a fleeting moment and you miss it.

The next time we see the toothbrushing trio, Atika tells the other two that Kasim’s kidnappers are the same ones who kidnapped her and Nessa in Gaza seven years ago. She asks them not to go to the police. Rachel is not convinced, and as Ephra agrees that Atika should have the final say, she huffily tells Atika, “Actually, Mrs. Stein is fine,” reaffirming to Atika just who is in charge and who is married to Ephra.

As if things were not already mildly uncomfortable, Ephra is asked to take a paternity test to see if Kasim is his son. Per Rachel’s insistence, he agrees, and the toothbrush, the same toothbrush Atika was using, is brought to the lab for examination. Perhaps Atika or Ephra know something that no one else does, because why else would they send a toothbrush to the lab that is very clearly not Kasim’s own?

Indeed, the toothbrush does not contain Ephra’s DNA, nor any paternal DNA. Everyone seems relieved.

It would be an interesting twist of events if Kasim ended up being Nessa’s son. And, maybe, her chasing after him, running so hard that she vomited, in episode one is a clue to that theory. It would also make sense given Nessa’s actions in “The Killing Call.”

Back at her house, she receives yet another phone call similar to the one that triggered her breakdown last episode. The caller asks, “Is your secret safe?” Nessa challenges him, demanding that he identify himself. He responds with, “you burnt my face.” This upsets Nessa, and the next time we see her she is with Atika, confirming that it is indeed them, referring to their kidnappers (though all we know about them is that one has a burnt face).

Last we saw of Nessa and Nathaniel, he saved her life while nearly losing his own. However, the two reunite in the hospital. Nathaniel tells Nessa he is trying to figure out why Michael Gatz killed himself in hopes that it will lead them to Kasim. They figure out the nurse was paid to give Gatz the phone last week. Nathaniel is excited about the investigation and, “finding answers.” Nessa then makes a move on him.

At first I thought that maybe she was just looking for love. But now, thinking about last episode with the bodyguard and this episode with Nathan, I think Nessa understands the power of her sexuality, and uses it to get what she wants—in this case getting Nathaniel to stop investigating. But he says it is, “professional suicide.” Interesting choice of words.

The other underlying plot revolving around Atika and Ephra carries similar importance. Hugh—who in this episode delivers important messages to others while his own character growth is put on hold—then shows Ephra a photo, revealing that he knows Atika and Nessa were kidnapped in Gaza—it’s a photo of the driver.

In a domestic dispute between Ephra and Atika, we find out the photo shows that the driver is a woman. So, who is Atika protecting? It seemed at first, with the toothbrush trickery, that they were protecting the identity of the father. But could it be the identity of the mother? This is another question for next week’s episode.

After a meeting with Hugh—delivering the other important message of the episode—Shlomo has the proof to clear his name from the Hezbollah scandal. However, Nessa is unconvinced and chooses not to trust him.

Nessa has gathered the intelligence for Nathaniel, but has asked Mr. Schwako to watch him. She also asks Nathaniel, once more, to stop looking, but even in the face of her threatening to fire him, he refuses. Nessa finds out from Mr. Schwako that Nathaniel is using the computer program to track the Gatzs’.

Almost immediately, she receives another phone call asking if “her secret is safe,” to which she responds that it is not. The man asks, “Why not?” and the scene cuts. Next, she is at Ephra’s house telling Atika she has done something terrible.

Cut to the man with the burnt face, smuggling an extra large rifle through airport security, and I assume that Nessa has given the green light for Nathaniel’s murder. Hence, “The Killing Call.”

Sure enough, without the police knowing, Nathaniel tracks the Gatzs’ to the house of the mystery blonde woman, who we learn is Gina Gatz. Gina begs him to permit her to see her mother before they talk to the police, so they go to the stone factory. How a PI could not have known the difference between a meat packing area and a stone factory, is beyond me. Nonetheless, he follows Gina inside, and is shot in the head by the man with the burnt face. Only this time, the shot is fatal.

The episode comes full circle, with Gina Gatz surrounded by these same troubling windmills. Only this time, instead of alive in the back of a trunk, she is dead in the bed of a truck.

Other Thoughts on “The Killing Call”

•I feel empathetic towards Hugh and hope that Angela will forgive him or that his boss will love him. Also, how much does he know about what happened in Gaza? I think he is much more informed than we are aware.

•Is the man with the burnt face a friend or a foe?

•I was impressed by Rachel holding her own this episode and think that she may be stronger than she lets on to the other characters.

•Who is the real protagonist? Can Nessa be The Honourable Woman if she is indeed a cold blooded killer?