THE HOUR Episode 5 Review

The Hour
THE HOUR Season 1 Episode 5 – Thanks to a DVR malfunction, the failure of On Demand to update its listings and The Hour not being popular enough for BBC America to put whole episodes online (apparently), I didn’t get to see or review Part Four last week. But I’ve gone through several reviews of the episode from British news sources and here’s what I’ve gathered.

Bel and Hector’s affair might as well be out in the open as everyone from Freddie to Hector’s wife knows about it. A despondent Freddie wound up sleeping with Lix during his surprise birthday party. He then spent the rest of the episode trying to get Ruth’s frosty mother to talk about her daughter’s suicide (which was actually murder). Hints were dropped that Hector himself might have a shady past that involves spy work. Freddie also spoke to the dead Shadow Man’s wife which left him in genuine fear for his life, and Bel found out that she was only given the producing job because her bosses thought it would be easy to control a woman.

All right, now that we’re vaguely caught up, on to this week’s episode.

I’ve been a little worried about how so many big plot threads could possibly be resolved in just a few short hours, but it seems my worries were unfounded because instead of two big mysteries, it’s revealed that everything is really one mystery. The murder, the suicide, the spies, the government corruption…it’s all goes hand in hand.

First, the Brightstones. Who are they? Well, after Hector gets the jerky PM’s aide drunk and coerces him into talking, we discover that they’re people, specifically young, intelligent English people who the Communists thought might be willing to turn on their county and spy for Mother Russia. Ruth, our dead debutante was one of them, as well as the professor whose murder started everything and who also happened to (probably) be the father of Ruth’s child. But the big kicker? Freddie learns that he’s one of them, too.

It makes sense for the KGB to target members of the youth who are dissatisfied with an aging and bloated society…and it also makes sense for MI6 to keep an eye on the Brightstones when a list of their names are discovered. So when Ruth’s parents talk about how “they” killed their daughter, they don’t mean the Russians. It’s very heavily implied that Ruth was eliminated by her own government. But was she actually a spy? Or was she just an innocent caught up in a game that proved too big for her? Like Freddie.

I love that Freddie is shocked by this. For all of his bravado and willingness to question everyone and everything, it’s obvious that he’s never felt that anyone was really listening to his rants. And now that it’s revealed that some very big parties have been paying attention to him, he’s suddenly realized that being the loudest voice in the room isn’t always a good thing.

Speaking of realizations, in addition to facing pressure from the government to turn her news show into a talking-head for the prime minister’s office, Bel finds out what every woman in the workplace has known since one of us picked up a spear and went hunting with the men…there is a terrible double standard that exists between the sexes. Men are applauded for their affairs, while women are scorned and judged for their indiscretions.

In this case, though, I have to say I side a bit with Bel’s boss. Her affair with Hector is unprofessional and dangerous to everyone’s livelihood, as his wife knows all about it and his father-in-law is a source of big money for the BBC, Yes, we get that Hector is unhappy, but causing someone else unhappiness isn’t going to make his life better. Bel herself certainly doesn’t seem happy to be labeled a home wrecker, even if she does have his wife’s approval in that at least she’s not another secretary sharing Hector’s bed. But in the grand tradition of women who think for themselves, Bel decides not to heed anyone’s warning and to carry on.

But she still isn’t thrilled with the fact that Freddie and Lix hooked up. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too, Bel. If she wants Freddie, she can’t have Hector. But if she waits too much longer, she might not get either of them.

One more hour of The Hour to go and so many questions left to be answered…

What did you think of this week’s episode? Do you admire Hector’s wife for confronting Bel? Do you think the jerky PM aide was sleeping with Ruth’s fiancee? Let me know below!