Playing The Piano
Episode 2 of Unorthodox begins with Esty taught how to be a wife in her community, submissive to her husband’s every needs. Esty tries to smile through her disdain, especially when she learns that she and her husband will be sleeping in different beds for half the month. At Mikvah, Esty begins her journey as she submerges in the water and plunges into this new life.
In the present, Esty wakes up after sleeping in the studio with the cleaner reporting her to the teacher. As Yanky and Moishe touch down in Berlin, Esty is greeted by the teacher, whose name is Karim. In a cafe nearby, she tells him she’d love to play piano and be in the orchestra. Despite her unable to pay her way, Karim offers her a chance to enroll by performing in an audition and filling out an application form.
Yanky admires the smartphone given to Moishe, shocked as he tries in vain to use it to find Esty. They make it to the hotel and after obtaining a package from behind the till, head inside their room and recite prayers together. Afterward they do their best to blend in, complete with baseball caps, until Yanky opens the package and finds a gun inside. Soon after, they head to see Esty’s Mother and demand to know where he daughter is. Only, Leah hasn’t seen her and threatens to call the police if they don’t leave.
Esty’s application goes through successfully and she prepares for the next steps in her journey. In the music class, she sits and listens as the orchestra play. Karim steps forward and gives them all words of wisdom, before issuing a harsh reminder to Dasia as she plays off-key.
That evening, Esty meets Robert, Dasia and the others and agrees to play piano for them. Although it’s a beautiful piece that she serenades them with, Yael gives some harsh criticisms and tells her she’s not a pianist.
In the past we see Esty reciting her words and preparing for her wedding as the men eagerly await her arrival. She overcomes her nervousness as the glass is smashed and they’re joined in marriage together officially. During the celebrations, Esty’s Mother is escorted out the building while the duo’s first dance ending with Esty watching in horror as her hair is shaved off completely.
As the episode closes out, Esty phones home but her Grandmother hangs up, leaving her to weep uncontrollably as she realizes she’s all alone and may have made a big mistake leaving the community.
While the episode itself serves as a stepping stone to further the plot for the future episodes, what’s particularly interesting here is the way the flashbacks complement the main story. The early submerging scene is almost a complete contrast to the empowering nature of the lake, this time feeling claustrophobic, close and trapped. It’s a subtle change of tone and mood but one that works beautifully here to show the early oppression in Esty’s life.
On top of that, the various scenes showing Esty succumb to nervousness contrast that to what she’s dealing with now and this really helps the show deal with its characterisation and stand out. Quite what will happen next remains to be seen but one thing’s for sure – Unorthodox is quite the unorthodox drama.