Ridley Road Season 1 Episode 2 Recap: First Mission
Each season, GBH Drama gears up to bring you coverage of the latest and greatest in British drama. This month we get a whole new set of MASTERPIECE: Ridley Road. With an oft-overlooked plot, story, and dramatic storyline, this series does not disappoint. GBH Drama Contributor Amanda-Rae Prescott Is Here To Recap The Magic As It Happens.
Vivien’s curiosity about Jack/Peter’s recovery leads her to begin her first real mission as an anti-fascist with the group that meets in the tailor’s shop. This episode reveals that they are called the 62. Once again, Vivien must confront the leader of the National Socialist Movement, Colin Jordan. Will her beginner’s luck hold up under real experience? Let’s find out:
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Where is Pierre/Jack?
The episode begins where we left off, at Jordan’s office. Jane/Vivien claims that her father and grandfather were postal workers whose jobs were stolen by the Caribbean men who immigrated to England after World War II. The city wasn’t all white anymore and that’s somehow the fault of the British Jews. All of this showed Jane/Vivien that the only way forward was to become a fascist. Jordan and his henchmen push Jane/Viven into a car and speed off into the unknown. Uncle Soly tries to follow but is detained by anti-Semitic thugs. Meanwhile, Stevie is still on the outside trying to figure out where Vivien went but the racist cops force him to move on.
The mysterious mansion
Jordan and Jane/Vivien arrive at a very posh house that could be a place for anyone MASTERPIECE a theater costume. It’s the same house that was in the very first scene of episode one. Now, it’s clear that the blonde woman in this scene is Jane/Vivien, but we don’t yet know how she came to stay there and who the child is.
Jordan borrowed the house from a lord in order to plan more fascist action. Jane/Vivien meets another woman who is clearly a servant or governess, and the little boy from the opening scene, who is Jordan’s son. The boy is homeschooled because of bullying at school (that’s what happens when your dad organizes hate crimes). Jane/Vivien brings out another one of her skills: being nice to little kids, which Jordan notices. Peter/Jack is in another room of the house. Jane/Vivien sees him for a few minutes as Jordan stands to watch him in the hallway. Jack says he is still recovering from his injuries but is fine. Unfortunately, its location puts it out of reach of the group. Jane/Vivien keeps the ruse of being Peter/Jack’s girlfriend long enough for Jordan to ask if he intends to marry her.
Vivien/Jane returns to HQ 62 at the tailor with very useful information. She noticed that there were men going through a variety of military training in the house, which meant that Jordan was raising his own paramilitary force or fascist militia. The 62 determine that they need more hard evidence before they can take these charges to the authorities. Vivien also heard something about “they bury their dead quickly”, which is a hint that the fascists plan to disrupt the funeral of the young man killed by the molotov cocktail thrown at the yeshiva. The 62 thanks her for the info followed by a “don’t call us, we’ll call you”.
Ethel, Vivien’s landlady, learns that she has to leave her house and move into one of the new towers (apartment buildings) because the council plans to demolish all the old houses. There will be a free room in the new apartment so that Vivien can still be a tenant. As Vivien helps Ethel pack, she tells her that she is trying to avoid her ex so as not to draw attention to herself. Later, as Vivien is gone, Ethel looks at Vivien’s things and Vivien’s Hebrew prayer book falls on the floor. This is the first hint that Vivien hasn’t fully thought about where she is and what she needs to keep completely out of reach. Ethel is confused: will she use this information against Vivien?
Meanwhile, back in Manchester, Jeremy tells Vivien’s family that he is waiting for Vivien to return. If she doesn’t come back and the engagement is really over, Jeremy will raise the rent. As far as Vivien’s mother Liza knows, she’s in London with friends seeing random shows in the West End. David, Viven’s father, denies that his brother is involved, but later it’s clear he knows what Soly is up to, as David is called to London. Rosa shows Liza some letters that relate to 62.
Back at Barbara’s living room, Vivien refuses to tell Stevie what she was doing at National Socialist headquarters. Vivien is not at all happy that he followed her, and refuses to answer her questions. Stevie warns her that she is playing with fire. He’s legitimately worried, but Vivien also makes sure outsiders don’t know about the Anti-Fascist Action. Salon customers are listening to the radio where the announcer is talking about the death of Marilyn Monroe when Nancy, Uncle Soly’s wife, walks into the shop looking for a new hairstyle. She sends a message to Vivien to come to Pearlmutter’s later.
Vivien is officially inducted into 62 because she has proven she can act on her aversion to the fascist movement. His first real mission is to return to the mansion and plant a transmitter device in Jordan’s office so they can get proof that the paramilitary group is real. Nancy punches Vivien so now “Jane” can ask Jordan for help and a place to stay away from the “people” who attacked her.
A parallel quest
Peter/Jack lets Jane/Vivien into the house. The mysterious governess from earlier, who is clearly pregnant, helps Jane/Vivien change, but not before rummaging through Jane/Vivien’s pockets. She finds the living room’s business card but we don’t know if there is anything else useful. After Vivien changes, she follows the men’s voices to hear Jordan give another speech about how the fascists are going to take over the UK. She realizes that now is the perfect time to help Peter/Jack set up the transmitter as the men are extremely distracted by talk and alcohol. Jane/Vivien meets Peter/Jack in Jordan’s office and they start kissing, which doesn’t help the transmitter setup. Jack/Peter encounters technical difficulties so he asks Jane/Vivien to distract Jordan.
Jordan is clearly beginning to develop feelings for Jane/Vivien, as she is good with her son and can engage him in political conversation as well. Jordan tries to stroke her arm, which makes Jane/Vivien a little nervous, but she decides to play with it because she might be able to get more information out of it. Once Jack is done setting up the transmitter, he searches where Jane/Vivien went. He can hear from the stairs Jordan telling Jane how he wants her to be “his”. The episode ends with Peter/Jack realizing that the only thing Jane/Vivien is in danger of right now is breaking her heart.
Is Jordan looking for Mrs. Fascist or a babysitter with benefits? Will the business card or the Hebrew book end up betraying Jane/Vivien? Will Stevie end up in the loop with the 62? Find out next week on Ridley Road!