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

“THE HONORABLE WOMAN” Recap: Episode 8 (The Paring Knife)

Sir Hugh shares his theories with Dame Julia, suggesting that Samir Meshal was a go-between for the US and the Palestinians. Hugh proposes that when Meshal called a Palestinian contact to confirm the Secretary of State’s agreement to an unknown plan, he inadvertently alerted the Israelis to the plan’s existence via the wiretap on Shlomo’s cables. Since the CIA was piggybacking on the Israeli tap, Hugh theorizes, they were able to take out Meshal before the Israelis could abduct and interrogate him. Dame Julia suggests that the Secretary of State might have been agreeing to Nessa’s assassination, but Hugh expresses doubt, guessing that Monica Chatwin independently arranged the attack on Nessa to curry favor with the CIA, ultimately gunning for Julia’s job.

Sir Hugh, Dame Julia, Monica Chatwin each watch as the Secretary of State condemns Israel’s failure to prevent Nessa’s killing and announces a major foreign policy shift: the US will no longer oppose Palestinian statehood.

Dame Julia confronts Monica, who smugly acknowledges her role in Nessa’s death. Monica justifies the killing by pointing out that in death, Nessa achieved her own goal of furthering the peace process.

Sir Hugh returns to his flat to find a recent photograph of his ex-wife alongside a smashed portrait of her. He tells Monica to stay away from his wife. Monica reminds Hugh that his marriage is over, suggesting he give up on keeping his job as well.

Shlomo receives a call from Nessa, apparently alive. In a flashback, a wounded Nessa is carried from the site of the bombing to a safehouse, where she is joined by an unharmed Kasim.

Palestinian officials tell Dame Julia they suspect Israel of secretly disposing of Nessa’s body. The Israelis deny this and tell Julia they can’t aid in the investigation on Palestinian soil, but encourage MI6 to do some digging of their own.

Sir Hugh meets with Atika in an interrogation room, arguing that her cause’s success depends on hiding the truth about the attack’s Palestinian origins to keep public opinion against Israel. Hugh points out that MI6 could easily leak the truth and offers Atika the chance to visit her terrorist group and try to secure Nessa’s release.

Atika joins Nessa in her cell and apologizes for failing to prevent Nessa’s rape, admitting that she was a willing participant in everything else. When Nessa asks why, Atika reveals that as a little girl her whole family was wiped out by a Stein-manufactured bomb. Nessa asks Atika if she wants her dead, but Atika explains that the only thing that truly matters to her is securing Palestinian statehood and ending the violence.

Atika takes Nessa to the terrorist group’s leader, Zahid, who tells Nessa he ordered her rape and her father’s killing. He finally informs her of Ephra’s assassination, placing a knife on the table before her and daring her to use it. Nessa refuses, and tells him she believes she deserves to suffer for the sins of her father. The answer satisfies Zahid and he tells her she’s free to go but Kasim will be staying.

Atika tells Zahid she didn’t know he ordered Nessa’s rape and asks him to let Kasim go with Nessa. Zahid reveals to Atika that Nessa will actually be executed and disposed of by Israeli soldiers upon her release. Atika accuses Zahid of risking the cause to take revenge on the Stein family.

Zahid stabs Atika in the stomach to prevent her from ruining his plan. Atika gets the upper hand and forces the knife into Zahid’s throat.

Atika calls Monica Chatwin, convincing her they need Kasim dead too, and escapes with the boy. She arrives at Nessa’s location in the desert and shoots the soldier assigned to execute Nessa and Kasim.

Atika, Nessa, and Kasim drive away, but the terrorist, still alive, follows and attacks the car. Atika gets out and shoots it out with the terrorist, sacrificing herself while Nessa and Kasim escape. MI6 bombs Atika and the terrorist’s location, obliterating both.

The getaway car breaks down and Nessa and Kasim walk to the Israeli border, where Nessa identifies Kasim as her son.

Shlomo welcomes Nessa home and the two share a tearful embrace.

Dame Julia arranges a “tidy-up” with a CIA official, and assassins quietly murder Monica Chatwin in her sleep.

Sir Hugh retires and sets his sights on a prestigious chancellorship at Oxford. Hugh’s ex-wife finally seems to thaw toward him a bit as he promises her he’ll never lie to her again.

Nessa visits Rachel and her newborn in the hospital. Nessa reflects on all the loss as her memory returns her to the Gaza cell where she once delivered Kasim.

Need to catch up? Read recaps of earlier episodes to get up to speed.

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