It’s taken me awhile to write this second episode recap because procrastination tends to rule my life and as such I end up with a long list of things to do that pushes blog posts to the very bottom of the priority list (insert very sad emoji). In episode two we get to know Kate Ashby a little more or even a lot more. She comes of as a character with a resilient, tough exterior who (and I love her character for this) clearly lacks a social filter but as you watch this episode you realise how it’s done to hide her vulnerability and loneliness despite being surrounded by people who love her…
**As always, my tv recaps contain SPOILERS, so if you're planning to watch this, then do not read on** Episode 1 ended on a somewhat cliffhanger which I'm sure is bound to be the recurring theme throughout this season. You can catch up on my recap of season here. The episode begins with the Hague, where Goodwin Hall, Eve Ashby’s assistant is stood in an empty courtroom surveying what is to be their battleground later, an usher speaks from the public viewing gallery above (which will be an important setting for a scene later in the episode) asking Goodwin if he thinks it’s impressive, Goodwin replies that it depends on who wins.
The court case begins and the scene cuts to the two men passing through security but at the very moment the x-ray machine picks up their guns, a woman starts vomiting violently nearby which distracts the staff and allows the two men to walk through without being stopped or frisked. They sit in the public viewing gallery just as Eve Ashby makes a statement to the judge that she will be submitting evidence Nyamoya outside of the court’s mandate but will help to establish a “predisposition of character” on his part. She goes on to state to Nyamoya’s team of lawyers, that it is one thing that Nyamoya thought everyone would forget about, the evidence is contained in a package that she has.
The camera pans back to the two men in the public viewing gallery, who are clearly there to kill someone, they’re now joined by a school party who seem to be there for an educational excursion. The one who seems to be the younger one of the two seems to be unnerved by this sudden influx of people in the gallery and both men stand to leave, mission is aborted. They get into their car parked outside of the Hague which has a driver already in it, the older man of the two who were in the viewing gallery is not happy with the younger man and berates him in the car. The scene ends with a highway patrolman on a motorcycle watching them as their car passes him.
Outside the court, Eve and Godwin await their transport and spot Nayamoya being brought out through a side entrance to his own transport. He is handcuffed and there are two guards with him. Eve walks towards the holding cage where Nyamoya is waiting to get on his transport. They exchange words and it seems like there is going to be a plot twist, Eve is mid-sentence and says, “My daughter deserves…” when a gunshot rings out and Eve is hit. It’s the highway patrol officer who had been watching the other three assassins from earlier who had left in the car. He walks up to Nyamoya who is yelling out to the guards to get him out, he shoots Nyamoya where he stands, handcuffed and trapped. Goodwin who is standing nearby puts his hands up to plead to the assassin not to shoot but he is also killed. This scene shocked me, like I wasn’t prepared for one of the main characters to die so early and dead Eve Ashby really was. Hugo Black ensures that we are not spared of any of the gory details as the shot cuts to Eve lying dead on the pavement with bits of her brain in the pool of blood forming around her head and upper torso.
In the next scene Kate is shown to be at the morgue and tells the mortician that although her mother still wore her wedding ring, her father had died a long time ago. A news item on tv reports the aftermath of the shooting at the Hague, with the two would-be assassins and their drive now added to the body count. Everyone taken care off by the real assassin who had been the Plan B for whoever had planned the entire assassin in the first place.
Its back to the UK now, Alice Munezero, former general in the Tutsi army, arrives in the UK for Eve’s funeral, following a call to Eunice Taylor in the US who still seems to be on diet that is making her feel weak, not sure why it’s included in her character storyline but hey ho, scriptwriting for you. Her and Michael seem to know each quite well. They are at the hospital where Harper, Michael’s ex-wife’s partner, Harper is also. The story they tell Harper about how they know each other seems like a coverup for what must be a deeper story to come later, we confirm this when Alice leaves and Michael asks Harper not to let his ex-wife know that Alice had stopped by to see his daughter. However, before Alice leaves she asks Michael a question which makes you wonder why Nyamoya and Eve had to die, she says, “Is it all set up?” You wonder what “it” is and why did Michael need to set anything up.
We are taken to Eve’s funeral in the next scene where Kate is giving a eulogy. In pure Kate fashion she delivers a rather awkward, blunt eulogy in which she states rather coldly, “Eve was not my mother.” You kind of understand that she was trying to say that Eve was more than just her mother but it doesn’t translate as such and you overhear Alice asking Michael if she is reliable. Later Kate meets Alice where she gets handed a copy of photograph of Alice, Michael, Eve and Ed who is Kate’s late father. We learn also that Ed died in a plane crash a week after rescuing Kate from an orphanage. As she hands Kate the photograph, Alice tells her to remember the picture in the days to come. Shortly afterwards Alice is intercepted at the airport as she is about to fly back to Rwanda and is arrested. It seems she has been expecting them. This is the “it” that we were told of that had been set up.
Kate and Michael are in the back of a car in the next scene. Kate pops a pill into her mouth as Michael looks on. As if to offer some support he tells Kate that he drinks a lot. We later see him pissing blood into a toilet bowl and so the question is whether he is dying and if he is the next character to be killed off! He tells a somewhat confused Kate that to her mother, Nyamoya was not a national hero as he seemed to carry himself off as but that she had seen the act of prosecuting him as a “destination, not a bridge.” I’m as confused as Kate by this to be honest lol. Michael and Kate are in the courtroom where Alice is before a British judge and where she agrees to be extradited to France on a war-crimes charge of killing a priest. Kate is hocked and seems to want to get up to protest but Michael holds her back. He explains to Kate that Alice just wants to get the case sorted once and for all but Kate seems to sense that he is holding back the real reason for the acquiescing to extradition by Alice. Michael and Kate seemed to have come to a silent agreement of being each other’s replacement for father & daughter, Kate an orphan twice over now and Michael with a comatose daughter he cannot share life moments with.
After Alice appears before a French magistrate, Kate goes to meet the witnesses who will help piece together what actually happened. The first is Jacques Barré an advisor to the Elysée Palace in the lead up to 1994. His family it seems made their fortune in the exporting & importing of rubber, he is also behind the whole prosecution of Alice for the death of the French priest. When Kate speaks with him you can almost feel the animosity through the screen as Barré refuses to apologise for his role in advising the French to support the “democratically elected” Hutu government. He even goes as far as to imply that a portion of the blame for the genocide lay on the minority Tutsis and their invading army. You see Kate fighting sop much anger and disbelief as she looks at him quite visibly offended at what he is inferring.
After her meeting with Barré, Kate goes to meet a Hutu doctor at a refugee camp who is supposed to be the witness that ties Alice to the killing of the priest. She manages to trick him into lending her his phone to use and by doing so sees which number he had last dialled, the number of a member of the French Secret Service. The plot thickens here as it makes one wonder why a secret service agent is in contact with a doctor working in a refugee camp, especially one tied to a very important international case. Kate goes to visit the secret service and meets what seems to be a Tutsi lieutenant who warns her that if she knows about the secret service agent then she should be careful because he most definitely will know about her.
The end of the episode shows Kate swimming in a hotel pool and as she nears the end of the pool the automatic shutter is activated and it seems like she will be trapped under water. The shutter goes over her head and I must admit I thought that was it for Kate’s character because they seem to like killing everyone off, but she barely escapes as the shutter reopens. Shes in the changing room when she sees the vent above and decided to climb up into it but as she slides through the vent she starts to have flashbacks of being trapped in a hole and someone reaching down and rescuing her, it’s the same animated scene from the beginning credits of the show itself. She recovers quickly and slides back into the change room only to find the word “STOP” written into the condensation on the shower door, confirming that her being almost killed in the pool was not an accident after all.
Black Earth Rising is seriously giving me life with its storyline and Michaela Coel’s’s acting, BBC have not come to play with this latest TV series neither did Hugo Blick with his directing of it.
If you’ve watched the show so far, let me know what you think.