“The Honourable Woman” Season 1 Episode 4 “The Ribbon Cutter” aired on Thursday, July 24, 2014, at 10:00 p.m. on BBC Two. The episode was a flashback to the events leading to Nessa and Atika’s abduction in Gaza eight years ago. The show finally gave some answers. Read on to learn more.
“The Ribbon Cutter” opened to the time when Ephra (Andrew Buchan) was the head of the Stein company and Nessa (Maggie Gyllenhaal) was merely doing her brother’s bid, sitting on the sidelines and attending functions on his behalf. She was his ribbon cutter.
There was a party for Judith, the daughter of Ephra and Rachel (Katherine Parkinson), at the Stein’s residence. Even Shlomo Zahary (Yigal Naor), their father’s old time business associate whose proposals Nessa turned down in the present day (as seen in “The Killing Call“), was in attendance. Ephra gave a speech about thanking everyone for being there to celebrate Judith’s birthday, and he also announced plans for the company, saying that in a matter of days, Nessa would be headed to the West Bank to open a computer facility supported by the Stein’s Foundation, with Shlomo as their business partner.
Nessa arrived at the West Bank, meeting Atika (Lubna Azabal) for the first time. Atika was hired by Ephra as her translator. From the way she talked, it was obvious that she was fond of Ephra.
After the opening of the facility and giving a speech in front of the students, Nessa talked with the administration of the university and, in passing, mentioned that she hoped that they would be able to make use of the US $1.5 million fund their company donated. They were baffled because they never received anything that substantial.
Nessa frantically called her brother to clarify this because if she slipped up, she would apologize for it. Ephra said that he didn’t know anything and wondered how come Nessa found out about it. Nessa told him that she’s not just a ribbon cutter. She has read all the documents and papers about the company, and she saw this money in an excel entry. The two argued, with Ephra insisting that Nessa left the way things were. Ephra knew that exposing corruption in this part of the world would be dangerous, but it was the one thing Nessa wanted resolved.
Ephra had lied about not knowing where the money was used for. According to Monica (Eve Best), the British Foreign Office tactician based in Washington DC, the US $1.5M had been used as ransom money paid to the Fatah in connection with the release of an Israeli soldier. Monica told this fact to Julia (Janet McTeer), the head of the MI6. This was probably why, back in the present time, the CIA had been closely monitoring Meshal’s suicide case and the Steins, hoping to find a connection.
Nessa wanted to dig deeper into where this money went, after having talked to leaders, who told her that it was a mistaken entry and that they have corrected this with the funds going to concerned parties. Atika warned her that she’s threading on a dangerous territory, especially when Nessa planned on going to Gaza to find answers. But en route to Gaza, Nessa and Atika were kidnapped. It was the scene that played over and over in the past four episodes of “The Honourable Woman.”
Julia of the MI6 tried, but failed, to arrange for their release. Ephra was upset with the British agency, but she warned Ephra to hold off any plans of rescuing his sister using the Israelis, as this would spark war. This scene between Ephra and Julia showed stellar acting. It was a verbal face off that showed how intense the conflict was.
Back in Gaza, Nessa was raped by one of the Fatah guards, Saleh Al-Zahid, who apparently was only ordered to do this, motivated by the fact that it was the Stein family who killed his wife and children who were casualties of war. The Stein’s main business before shifting to telecommunications was dealing with weapons with Middle Eastern factions. Hence, Al-Sahid believed that the Steins were responsible for his family’s death. He was also the son of one of Fatah’s most influential leaders. He was the same man who kept calling and harassing Nessa in “The Killing Call”; the man who kept asking if her secret is still safe. He was the man who killed Bloom, Nessa’s chief security.
Ten weeks after the rape, Nessa and Atika sat before the Sharia court, who told them that they could be released if Nessa agreed to keep the baby, which would grow up to be Kasim. She begged the elders to release Atika with her, and her request was granted.
— BBC Two (@BBCTwo) July 24, 2014
— Maggie Gyllenhaal (@mgyllenhaal) July 24, 2014
One of the Sharia elders later talked to a sick man, who turned out to be the Al-Zahid’s father. The elder told him that his son was banished from the community for the rape. But the father was more concerned of the fact that Nessa was pregnant because the child will have his blood and the blood of Eli Stein (Nessa’s father) flowing inside him. This was his revenge. He told the elders that he still had plans for Nessa and the baby. He was the one who ordered Eli Stein killed in “The Empty Chair.”
Back home, Ephra was inconsolable while talking to the Israelis, who told him that with the way things went, they already owned him.
This week’s episode also gave viewers some background between the MI6 agents involved and how they operate.
So the secret is out. But is this really the big secret, or is there more to it than what was already answered? What about the plans for Nessa and her baby? Was Nessa working with the faction because of this?
This was what happened to “The Honourable Woman” Season 1 Episode 4 “The Ribbon Cutter.” It aired on Thursday, July 24, 2014, at 10:00 p.m. on BBC Two. Check back for more about this show only here on Movie News Guide (MNG).
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Mutari