• Isabella Naiduki

Black Earth Rising - Episode 5 Recap

Episode 5 follows on from unveiling of secrets from episode 4 (which you can read here) to what feels like a return of withholding of secrets from Kate. Hugo Blick does another brilliant job with this episode by again using animation, montage and theatrical set pieces to further the narrative and intensify our understanding of the 1994 genocide and its consequences.

Episode 5 begins with us seeing the end of Blake Gaines. He is in his office when representatives of the Universal Church of Christ the Peacemaker enter to inform him that they will not be paying their legal fees. Gaines threatens to sue them and uses borderline racist terms however their conversation comes to an impasse as neither is willing to stand down. As the representatives leave, Gaines doubles up and vomits into his bin by his desk. The camera pans to an envelope on his addressed to Michael and it’s marked, “In the event of my death, Love Fischer” in reference to their chess-related duelling with each other last week.

In the next scene, we see Gaines walking down his long driveway and having a conversation with his driver Samson, who seems like a seemingly unassuming, tender character. Samson somehow manages to convince Gaines to enter into one of his cars in the garage and then traps him in it. It is whilst he is in the car that Samson reveals to Gaines that Samson is not his real name and that only God is his master. He goes on to say that he is there to carry out Christ’s parable of the rich fool. It turns out that “Samson” is a member of the congregation of the Universal Church of Christ the Peacemaker who it seems is not one to mess with. Gaines tries to escape as the hiss of fumes can be heard within the car, but in the end, he succumbs to it and meets his doom.

We are back to Kate who is about to deliver a speech at a school assembly, one which her mother Eve had been due to give. It is a monologue on evils, the evil she says her mother had wished to watch her outgrow. Kate tells the young people present, “Nothing you can do will ever defeat it,” it leaves the students somewhat stunned and its no surprise that she receives a rather reluctant smattering of applause.

The next scene is the back story to who President Bibi Mundanzi is. Hugo Blick use animation to tell the story of how she was discovered as a child under horrific circumstances, how she was adopted and ultimately became the leader who reclaimed the country from the Hutus with her sister Alice.

We are taken back to the present day where Alice and Michael are mulling over the issue of the sibling rivalry now brewing between the two sisters in Rwanda. Michael tries to suggest that Alice should use the rumours circulating that Bibi is some kind of witch to campaign against her. Alice seems offended by the notion to do so and responds, “Ours is a modern society.” Michael then asks Alice why she had given the piece of fabric to Kate especially at this particular time, Alice responds, “the moment she hears the truth, everyone else has to hear it too!” Michael doesn’t seem satisfied and questions her ethics of using a traumatised 28 year-old girl as part of her wider strategy, to which Alice replies, “in my country, we all are traumatised.” That puts an end to Michael’s line of questioning.

At a clinic on the Swiss/French border, President Mundazi is undergoing tests to determine the cause of the return of the seizures she suffered as a child. She is advised to wear a device that will help rectify her condition, it resembles a hearing aid. She is reluctant to do so as she is afraid that her opponents will see it as a sign of weakness and see it as an opportunity to attack her capabilities. She finally acquiesces to the request and her spin doctors come up with a soundbite to explain the device, she wears it because she has been deafened by the guns of liberation. Whilst at the clinic, a meeting is arranged between her and her daughter Mary who is studying astrophysics. It does not go well for Mundazi. Mary is not very receptive of her mother’s efforts to reconnect and tells her how she felt neglected and un-mothered growing up. She is angry at the terrible hand that she has been dealt being the child of the liberator of Rwanda. Mundazi leaves the clinic and whilst in the car she confesses to David that she is tired, and whether being President for a third term is best as she is already in defiance of the constitution.

Back to Kate, she is with Michael and telling him that she will be resigning as she is intending to go out to assist David who hopes that Ganimana can be extradited to Rwanda. Michael tries to reason with her and tells her that Rwanda is incapable of staging a fair trial. Kate is angry and demands to know why Michael and her mother were keener on prosecuting Nyamoya, a man who helped stop the genocide rather than the very man who was one of the main participants of it? Kate goes to meet David who tells her that everyone is lying to her and that Alice & Michael are actually part of a conspiracy to destabilise Rwanda which he refers to as one of Africa’s most forward-thinking nations despite it’s past. He urges her to help him.

The next scene has Kate tracking down one of her mother’s former associate who tells her that he has the file that she is looking for. She is on her way to meet him, when she is accosted by Ganimana’s lawyer to tell her that her client has asked for a sit-down. In what would seem to be a foolish move, Kate agrees, but this could be because she is tired of everyone giving her half-truths and has decided it is time for her to find out the truth.

Kate finds herself in a rather seemingly luxurious and rather gaudy house in an embassy street. There she meets Ganimana. He tells her that he has paid for the price of his actions and seems plagued with agonising remorse. Kate is besides herself and reminds him that it was the million people who died that paid the real price. Ganimana tells Kate that he did not kill her mother or Nyamoya, that he was not responsible for ordering that hit. He also warns her that it is others and not him that she should be afraid of. He leaves her with “God bless you Kate Ashby,” as she takes her leave full of rage but also not so sure about all that she has been told by everyone else in her life.

There's so many unexpected plot twists in this series which makes you look forward to what happens in the next episode

Bella x

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