Black Cake – Season 1 Episode 3 “Eleanor” Recap & Review


Episode 3 of Black Cake begins in the past when Covey is still at the hospital. She is recovering from the shocking news about Eleanor and also in anticipation of a new chapter in her life with a new identity. Nurse Ethel points out to her that Covey will have to stay in bed for weeks. As a result of the accident, she sustained a serious laceration on her right thigh. It might not even heal fully but Covey knows she has to take charge from now onwards.

For the time being, Ethel promises to put Covey in a guest house where the nursing staff often stays. She refers to her as “one of their own” since the real Eleanor had a nurse training certificate. After being discharged from the hospital and taking up in the boarding house, Covey looks for a job next. She goes to several places but is rejected for many reasons, such as being overqualified for a job or not belonging to the “community.” Her struggle to walk stands in stark contrast to her days as the golden girl of Portland Parish.

We have quite a few flashbacks in this episode that mainly revolve around Covey and Gibbs spending time together. Is it foreshadowing a possible reunion in the upcoming episodes? Honestly, a break cannot come soon enough for Covey. In the flashback, we see that it was Covey who approached the “new boy” from school who only stared at her during practice. It is also confirmed that Bunny had a crush on Covey. At present, she is finally able to land a job as an assistant to the bookkeeping department at a trading company. The boss takes exception to her CV and shows compassion due to the accident.

Covey is optimistic about starting afresh and enjoying a new life. However, much of that is drained out on her first day of work. The other bookkeepers, most prominently Beatrice, are unwelcoming and indifferent to her presence. She is burdened with the work of cross-checking accounts and the companies’ ledgers, making her stay till late at night. In one of the flashbacks, Covey reveals to Bunny about her “Swimming date” with Gibbs. He is a nice lad who did not lay his hands even once on Covey, confirming in her mind his honest intentions.

However, Bunny is displeased when she learns this. She professes her feelings for Covey, compelling her to warn her best friend never to mention it again. The Islands were not a kind place for people of her sexual orientation and that is exactly what Covey had to do in Glasgow: pretend to be someone else by hiding her true self.

Gibbs and Covey’s relationship grew in stature as he revealed how his mother also left him when he was only a child. His family lost almost all their wealth due to his father’s misgivings, mirroring Lin’s debacle with gambling. At work, Covey notices gross mismatches in an account handled by Beatrice. When she brings her attention to it, Beatrice brushes her away and rejects the chance to go over the accounts again.

Later that night, Covey goes with this discovery to the boss who takes the files from her and promises to cross-check. The next day at work, he admonishes Beatrice for her sloppy work and even invites Covey to dinner at his house with his wife. She is quite the character and expresses to Covey her keenness and intrigue about the accident. Perhaps that is why the boss hired Covey in the first place. Anyway, the couple reveals their plans to host a fundraiser for the Carribean community in the region, which will be endorsed in Covey’s name.

She is hesitant to come in the public light like this and politely declines the offer. After work the next day, the boss informs Covey that they are cancelling the fundraiser. The main reason for this is his suspicions about Covey’s true identity. He correctly guessed that she didn’t have nurse’s training as she jumped at the sight of blood when he was injured. She breaks down in tears and he holds her in his arms, proceeding to pin her against the table and rape her. All of this happens so quickly and abruptly that Covey does not have time to process it.

After the event, she struggles to come to terms with it. Beatrice notices her disposition and the news about the event has spread. She follows Covey into the washroom and shares her own similar fate when she first joined. The boss is a predator who preys on vulnerable women who have nowhere else to go.

Covey takes a dip in the ocean after work, still numb from what happened to her. Lin is left alone by Pearl after she finds him in the ocean. Before leaving him for good, Pearl reveals that the police have apprehended a man named Short Shirt as the prime suspect in Henry’s murder.

As she is going away, Pearl notices she is being followed by the Henry brothers, who are shown to be stopping Pearl in her strides. The camera pans away ominously before revealing what happened. Covey decides to go back to London, as it is “the devil she knows,” even though the chances of her getting caught there are more. During a stroll in public one day after spending months in anonymity, she spots Gibbs (and he her) protesting with his fellow university students against systemic racism.

The Episode Review

Episode 3 moves on familiar genre beats to firmly establish Covey’s character trajectory. The momentum in the storytelling has ebbed and flowed, following a steady line in London. It is hard not to feel compassionate toward Covey at this point in time for everything she has gone through. Mia Isaac has simultaneously looked age-appropriate for the role and brought maturity to a role that required it. Her portrayal has been very impressive and I like Covey’s prospects because of her.

Yet, Black Cake has not sprung any surprises till now. Apart from the main focus on Covey, the other parts have been subpar. The execution is a little rough around the edges. Although I am not a big fan of interruptions in the depiction of different timelines, I think constant intertwining of the past and present, as was the case with the opener, could be immensely useful.

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You can read our full Season 1 review of Black Cake here!

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