Episode 2 of Stateless begins with Sofie awakening in Barton Immigration Centre and heading out to the yard, looking upon the various different migrants there. One of them talks to her about getting back home and looks incredulously at Sofie as she claims to be German and wants to be deported.
However, a news crew fly overhead and see two Tamil men on the rooftop holding signs asking for help. As Sofie scrambles for cover, we flash back in time and see the moments she was saved from the water and brought back home by her concerned family. However, given what she learned at GOPA about finding her true self, she rejects their help.
Instead, she manages to convince Wilhem to help by kissing him and convincing the man to drive her away. She heads to a club and starts dancing where she meets a girl named Eva and takes her identity for herself, determined to get into Germany.
Back in the detention centre, in the morning she has an interview adopting Eva’s identity and comes out smiling when she learns she’s going to be deported back home. Only, given she’s taken someone else’s clothes for this interview, it causes issues across the yard and a fight to break out.
Cameron & The Guards
Cameron settles into his role and offers a kind and sympathetic hand to all those in need. This gets more than a few disapproving gazes from some of the other guards, calling him a “care bear” and bemoaning his friendliness.
This could get him in trouble though as he works security at the entrance, letting a nun in without checking her veil.
Clare Kowitz arrives to oversee immigration at the Centre. As she heads through the security barriers, she meets Brian in his office and immediately sets to work trying to stifle the frustrations various immigrants are feeling across the compound.
First port of call comes from the Tamil migrants on the roof and with a translator by her side, tries in vain to get them to come down.
Back home, Cameron shows his wife their new house which includes a sparkling pool outside and a separate bedroom for their daughter. While they celebrate, Clare sifts through her paperwork while watching the news reports about the Tamil protestors putting pressure on the government.
In the morning, she decides to get around the Tamil migrant issue by restricting airspace over the detention centre. It turns out the duo have been in the compound for 4 years and because of that, they’re bored and have nothing to do.
At the same time, Cam is shocked and appalled as the guards take one of the frustrated migrants out back and start beating him with a baton. This certainly takes its toll on Cam as he returns home and immediately collapses on his bed.
As we soon see later on in the episode, this incident later comes back to haunt the guards as the final shots of the episode show that photos have been smuggled out the detention centre depicting that very same beaten inmate.
Ameer arrives in Australia and straight into an interview about what happened down by the docks. It’s here we learn he fled from Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban arriving and to avoid his daughters being taken away by them. He made a tough choice and was essentially forced out, deciding instead to head East.
Despite telling them everything he knows, Ameer is taken to Barton Detention Centre. In the morning he begs the other migrants for help until he runs into Farid who also happens to be there. Desperate for help, he eventually strikes lucky when Mina arrives.
Unfortunately her grave face paves way for some heartbreaking news – Sadiqa and Najeeba both drowned on the crossing over to Australia.
The Review Write-Up
With all the characters starting to join up now and most of the drama revolving around what happens inside the Detention centre, this scrutinous focus helps to add layers of political intrigue to the fold.
Seeing the bigger picture with the news reports against what’s actually happening inside the centre is a nice reminder of how much of the truth we’re restricted from seeing.
The heartbreaking story for Ameer, losing everything and half his family in coming to Australia, is a harsh and poignant tale of just how difficult life is for men and women fleeing their home country. One particular shot of a man sitting with his briefcase, waiting patiently to leave, is arguably the best shot of the entire series so far.
As we approach the halfway point of Stateless it’ll be interesting to see what direction this one goes next but for now, this limited series continues to deliver some great drama.