“Two Worlds” sees Holly swap sides, but her ultimate intentions are cloudy as The Post suffers a backlash.
This recap of Press Season 1, Episode 5, “Two Worlds”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Holly (Charlotte Riley) has pulled off a major glow-up for her debut at The Post, strutting her stuff right past her old offices at the start of Press Episode 5 much to the annoyance of an aghast James (Al Weaver). But the funding and the resources and the unscrupulous morals of Duncan’s (Ben Chaplin) exploitative populist rag are what Holly needs to tell the kind of stories she wants to. One of them in “Two Worlds” is that of Adnan (Armin Karima), a struggling Syrian immigrant who witnessed the massacre of 93 people and might know where their bodies are.
The problem is, while The Post is perfectly willing to pay their sources, Duncan won’t part with any money unless he meets them personally first. And Duncan’s attention is already occupied, both by his lingering interest in the potentially PM-ruining “resonance” conspiracy, and by the fallout from a vicious front-page attack Ed (Paapa Essiedu) wrote about a teenage bully who has now killed himself.
Ed himself also has plenty to worry about. He’s being shadowed by a pretty, idealistic young woman on work experience, Jools (Georgia Landers), and he’s trying to impress her while keeping a lid on some of the things that he has actually done in the name of good, honest journalism — including writing a story that might have compelled a young man to take his own life. Oh, and Holly is giving him grief around the office after having already slept with him and thrown him out of the flat for stealing her story.
While Adnan is left waiting, Duncan holds an editorial meeting — attended by Holly, despite his insistence that she earns the privilege — during which The Post tries to minimize the backlash from the suicide. Only lily-livered Ed backs Duncan’s idea to stay on the story regardless of public opinion, whereas Holly, sympathizing with him over his wife and her new boyfriend trying to restrict his access to his son, instead convinces him to launch an anti-bullying campaign and pin the blame on Internet trolls (who else?). To season the dish, Duncan suggests getting the bully’s mother to be a part of it, and assigns Ed to the task of roping her in by any means necessary.
Press Episode 5 is perhaps the first time we’ve seen anyone stand up to Duncan the way Holly does. When Adnan leaves after having been left alone for so long, she refuses to give Duncan any more family advice. This is after invading two editorial meetings despite being told not to. She might only be a special correspondent, lower in the pecking order than Duncan, but she won’t let him get away with anything if she can help it. The problem in “Two Worlds” is that she can’t always help it.
Ed, for instance, secures the bully’s mother’s complicity with a cash incentive, and Duncan presses her into recording a video statement. Holly, appalled and reminded of some of her own trauma, is told by Ed that she’s not as different from Duncan as she’d like to believe. She agrees, snapping a photo of the event, partially giving away where Press Episode 5 is going — back to The Herald.
Speaking of The Herald, it’s still topsy-turvy. Peter (Brendan Cowell) has told his wife about his affair with Amina (Priyanga Burford), and there’s the small matter of nobody buying the print edition to contend with. Luckily Amina has some ideas. From now on, the physical paper is going to be free, with Peter and Leona (Ellie Kendrick) babying it, while in-depth online articles will be safely locked behind a paywall. It’s not ideal, but it should expand readership and potentially make more money, so needs must.
Holly has other ideas. Reappearing during the announcement, she has decided she wants to return to the paper as a reporter. And with the evidence she has accumulated over at The Post, she has a great idea for a debut story: How Duncan is running the paper unethically. It’s either that or the whole resonance debacle, which James is going to help uncover. Perhaps both at once? Meanwhile, she hands her advance in pay over to Adnan to help tell his story too.
Press Season 1, Episode 5 ends with Duncan being denied access to his son, even to deliver him a gift. There’s no wonder he’s always in a bad mood.