The Truth Will Out
Episode 3 of Little Birds begins with Cherifa taking her anger out on clients at work. She’s aggressive, perhaps too aggressive, while Leo is put in his place by Cherifa’s boss. He receives a light slap upside his head for his troubles and is forced to leave.
In the morning, Lucy continues to take her pills and gets ready for her upcoming lunch with the Secretary. Meanwhile, Vaney discusses Hugo’s proposition and tasks his right-hand man to dig deeper and find out what’s really go on with him.
Lucy makes her way up to the mansion and sits down to eat lunch with the Secretary. He admits that he’s good at reading people and sizes her up. The conversation soon turns back to food and in particular Ortolan. This small bird is quite the edible delicacy but also a powerful symbol. Vaney uses this as a metaphor for French rule in Morocco.
After feeding her the bird and pausing during the uncomfortable silence afterward, Lucy shows him her gun. As the balance of power turns, she shows just how confident she is, shooting a cigarette straight out the Secretary’s mouth. He looks at her in shock and tells her to leave.
At the bar, Hugo finds himself out of his comfort zone as he tries to sell the gun. He struggles to find the right words for his pitch and runs into problems. Instead, he sits up at the bar and speaks to the barman about his marriage. As Hugo struggles to hold back tears, he’s obviously not happy.
Leo bites his tongue though and continues to work at the Contessa’s house, doing everything the women ask him to. At the same time, Adham winds up sleeping with another man, which Hugo sees when he returns home.
In the presence of this other man, Hugo and Adham discuss the consummation of his marriage. Adham bites back when Hugo monotonously spews half truths and cliches. “Marriage is about love!” He screams, as silence descends between them.
Adham then gives him a proposition. There’s an Egyptian town that recognizes same sex marriage and tries to hint to him. Unfortunately, Hugo isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed and doesn’t get the hint. This leads his lover to leave.
It turns out this barman actually happens to be a spy called Bill and phones his contact, telling them he doesn’t trust Hugo and Lucy. He sees straight through their marriage and wonders quite what this all means.
Vaney meanwhile decides to deal with Hugo, despite the pleas of his right-hand man not to. Given Hugo is willing to deal with the French, he worries that he could also be talking to the Nationalists and wants to nip that in the bud right away. With the King set to return at any time, he keeps his wits about him and decides to deal.
Meanwhile, Frederic arrives at the brothel for his usual session. Only, when he asks for things to be rough, Cherifa takes things one step too far and winds up killing him. As she heads downstairs and informs the madame, Cherifa is forced to leave.
While Lucy heads to the club and drinks, Cherifa sneaks out and goes on the run. Hugo and Adham however give in to temptation and make love. When Lucy returns home in her drunken state, she notices Hugo and Adham in bed.
In a bid to explain himself, Hugo tells Lucy it’s “just what these people do.” It’s a horrible statement and one that sees Adham leave in disgust. With the truth revealed, Hugo finally spills the truth about what’s happening.
Hugo’s family is broke and he was paid by Lucy’s father to marry her. All of this was pre-arranged and it’s a bitter pill for Lucy to swallow. Heading off alone, she wallows in grief as the episode comes to a close.
The Episode Review
With big drama flaring up and spilling over throughout the episode, all of this capitulates at the dinner scene with Vaney. Seeing the contrasting balance of power shift as Lucy’s unpredictable confidence grows is a really powerful statement. It’s also one that perhaps hints at a foreshadowed sign of things to come.
There’s more melodrama this time around too and an artistry to a lot of the scenes that helps this one shine. The French Jazz that underscores a lot of this is an interesting stylistic choice too but at times only serves to distract from the slow pace.
With secrets spilled and plenty of drama to chew over, it remains to be seen where the second half of this drama goes from here.