Cameron & The Guards
Episode 5 of Stateless begins with Harriet filmed while walking through the compound where Kasim is unfortunately removed and sent back to Baghdad. It’s a harrowing moment and his cries can be heard reverberating throughout the Centre. It’s an ominous reminder that life inside Barton is finite.
Clare decides to introduce a series of measures to prevent another break-out. This includes the cafeteria shut until further notice and a new barrier constructed between the two compounds. Genevieve appears at the end of this meeting and tells Clare that human rights are due to arrive during the next week to oversee what’s happening.
On the back of Cameron’s decision, none of the UNCs want to talk to him and he starts to fall into a depressive downward spiral. After work, he talks to Janice about what happened. Tears staining her eyes, she tells him Javad’s one chance at being with his family has been ruined by Cameron’s decision. Even worse, Clare may face dismissal from her role too given the escape attempt.
The decision to separate the two sections of the compound results in things turning ugly. Clare decides to double the guards on duty but Farid warns Brian that “you can’t put a lid on a pot that’s bubbling over.” Despite already completing a 12 hour shift, Cameron is forced back into the compound to try and help stifle the growing unrest. It’s one step too far for him too and when he returns home he walks into a mad house.
With his two boys rebellious and not listening, Cameron manhandles them on the sofa with a little too much force and they immediately cower away from him. Angie sees this in horror and tells him to leave the house.
Back at Barton, Brian undermines Clare and re-opens the mess hall. He eventually comes to blows with her over what happened and warns that the nature of their job can seriously mess with your head. As we soon see through the Ameer storyline, this is most certainly true.
Ameer receives an interview from his DIMA case officer who asks questions relating to his decision in putting his wife and children ahead of him on the boat. Learning that the interview is part-character assessment too, he lies about how he obtained the money (the stolen tin from the scammers) and tells them his brother Nasim posted the money via cash.
As the interview ends, Ameer speaks to Farid and pleads with him to try and ring a lawyer. Because of the situation inside the compound however, that’s easier said than done. As we soon see via flashbacks, Mohsid stabbed one of the men during their escape and when Farid hears about this, he tells Ameer sternly that what they did is a crime and their VISA will definitely be denied if they learn the truth.
Ameer’s lies bring more red flags as discrepancies in his story are brought to light. In a separate interview, we learn Ameer’s brother died months before the money was sent over, meaning his alibi doesn’t hold weight. Given Clare is sitting in on this interview, she tells him he needs to reveal the truth. Instead, he asks to speak to a lawyer.
It doesn’t take long for Clare to understand what’s really happening. Courtesy of someone filming inside the hotel, she sees footage of Ameer handing money to the smugglers and decides to change the questioning to that of Oshan instead. Ameer stays quiet and keeps his anger bottled up until after the interview is complete. He immediately confronts Mohsin afterward believing he’s the one who told the officers the truth about what happened.
As things start to turn violent, Ameer is taken away from Mina and thrown into isolation. However, that’s the least of his problems. Ameer’s simple decision to take the cash and hand it over means he’s going to face stiff consequences for his actions moving forward. When Clare learns this though, she remains conflicted over the best way of moving forward.
Sofie’s mental state continues to deteriorate while kept in isolation. Following the protest and the need to throw the ringleaders in isolation, Sofie is released as a matter of formality and thrown back into the yard. She hugs the officer and thanks him for saving her but starts seeing flashes of Gordon following her time at GOPA.
Taking her mattress outside, she lies down and speaks to the kids about flying while moving her hands around rhythmically in the air. Harriet has heard enough though and demands Cam take her back inside. As he drags her mattress away, she begins pleading with him to stay outside.
On the back of this, she’s forced into talking to a doctor about what happened. Lying, she tells him she doesn’t hear things despite Gordon constantly whispering antagonistically in her ear. Suddenly she snaps and cowers in her seat, begging Gordon to stop as the Doctor watches on with a concerned look. This causes him to believe she needs psychiatric help.
Interwoven around this we see flashes of the past where Sofie was taken out the airport by officers. On the way, she caught a glimpse of her ex-boss momentarily but hid her face from him while being escorted out the building. Margot questions him and learns that Sofie may still be in Australia.
Sofie goes completely off the rails inside the compound though and as we jump back to the past once more, we see she was sexually abused by Gordon which explains why she’s been acting the way she has. As she’s restrained and eventually knocked out, the situation turns serious as Cameron and the others realize she definitely does have some mental health issues.
The Review Write-Up
What’s particularly great about this penultimate episode is the way it brings up ideas surrounding mental health while keeping the story ticking along at a good pace. Seeing the effect from working in such a highly stressful place like this makes Cameron’s character arc all the more tragic. Seeing him deteriorate from this gentle and kind soul to one that’s been completely warped and distorted by this job is certainly difficult to watch.
Equally, Ameer’s journey has seen him lose everything and one simple decision – an act of kindness no less – could prove to be his undoing. In a way this is probably the most important narrative to take away here as it shows how you can take multiple interpretations of the same act and lose the true meaning of what’s happening.
Sofie’s mental health is a lot more volatile and the decision to add her shocking and tragic past into just why she’s desperate to escape helps to adds more understanding and depth to her personality too.
So far though Stateless has been a real firecracker and it’ll be interesting to see just how this one comes to an end.