A SundanceTV Original Series
Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal (Secretary), Stephen Rea (The Crying Game) and Janet McTeer (Damages)

“THE HONORABLE WOMAN” Recap: Episode 4 (The Ribbon Cutter)

Beginning an episode-long flashback to eight years ago, Ephra thanks the Steins’ supporters for their loyalty and announces the next phase of The Stein Foundation’s plans to facilitate education in Palestine, though a conversation with Nessa reveals she has been the plans’ architect.

Meanwhile, Dame Julia, currently MI6’s deputy head, is charged with engineering the removal of her scandal-smeared but stubborn superior, Sir Christopher.

Nessa meets her new translator, Atika, for the first time at a checkpoint on the border between Israel and Palestine on her way to announce The Stein Foundation’s new Palestinian education initiative. Atika asks about Ephra, for whom she has worked in the past, wishing him well.

After speaking at her event, Nessa asks school administrators about a million dollar grant which they say they never received. Nessa calls Ephra, who implies she has inadvertently revealed the existence of a Stein Foundation educational grant awarded to a different, Hamas-controlled institute in Gaza.

Ephra tells Nessa he thinks the Palestinian Authority funneled a contribution to terrorists through the educational initiative. Nessa is outraged by the possibility that the Steins have funded terrorism, but an annoyed Ephra tells her not to make waves and to “stick to cutting ribbons” in the future. When Atika tells Nessa she could help her gain entry to Gaza, Nessa disregards her brother’s warning.

Fearing for his safety, Atika’s local contact leaves the women alone. Atika tells Nessa they should leave, but Nessa insists on moving forward. When pressed, Nessa admits that she considers herself the heart and soul of the modern-day Stein Group and sees this as an opportunity to prove it.

While en route to a clandestine meeting Nessa’s car is attacked, the driver is shot and the women are captured. Ephra speaks to Dame Julia, who warns him that the government could enact sanctions against the Stein Group if they negotiate with the terrorists, who are demanding a million dollar ransom. Ephra gives Julia a threatening message to deliver to her boss, Sir Christopher: “He was happy to help us out last time. Why not this?”

Julia calls Ephra’s bluff, telling him she knows any collaboration with MI6 would have been protected under contract and if he leaks damaging information, he will be prosecuted.

Julia then meets with Monica Chatwin, who tells her Sir Christopher and Ephra arranged the reallocation of education funds to secure the release of an Israeli soldier, violating anti-terrorist policy at the behest of an American bankroller Harold Parr in exchange for a cushy job at a university after his retirement.

Monica tells Julia she can provide her with evidence of Sir Christopher’s corruption in exchange for the promise she will inherit Julia’s deputy position in the future, after Julia replaces Sir Christopher. Monica also stipulates that Julia protect The Stein Group’s public image because she genuinely believes the Steins are an asset to the peace process.

Julia takes over at MI6 and names her lover, Sir Hugh, her successor because she knows he’s pragmatic and will be easy to sweep aside in a few years when Monica decides to claim her position. Julia warns Hugh to keep out of the Steins’ affairs.Israeli officials tell a defeated Ephra they will find Nessa and bomb her if he negotiates with the terrorists.

A guard enters Nessa’s cell and tells her to lie down. Atika attacks the man, but when he starts to strangle Atika Nessa submits to rape while Atika watches. Atika takes the opportunity to set the guard on fire with his own lantern. Nessa becomes pregnant, revealing the present-day kidnapper as Kasim’s father and herself as the boy’s mother.

The kidnappers’ imams tell Nessa they will put Atika to death if she aborts the child, but they will release her and allow her to tell the world what happened if she carries the child to term. Nessa begs the men to guarantee Atika’s release as well and they agree.

The imams banish the rapist, who turns out to be the son of the terrorist leader who ordered Nessa’s father’s assassination. The leader, now in failing health, reveals that he also ordered Nessa’s rape to “infect” the Stein bloodline. He tells an imam he has big plans for Nessa Stein.

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