Unorthodox Season 1 Episode 2 Recap – feeling disconnected with freedom

By Daniel Hart
Published: March 26, 2020 (Last updated: December 4, 2023)
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Unorthodox episode 2 - Netflix series


Unorthodox Episode 2 shows the rituals Esther had to go through for her wedding and the shocking realization that freedom is much harder than she thought.

This recap of Netflix Limited Series Unorthodox Season 1 Episode 2 contains significant spoilers.

Unorthodox Episode 2 begins with a flashback; Esther is getting taught how to be a good wife and providing purpose, which is procreation. She is also taught the strict rules of when they can have sex and share the bed. Esther is confused, however, wondering whether she has a “hole for sex”. The woman tells her she does and asks Esther to self examine.

What was horrifying about this scene is how women in this community had a strong misunderstanding of sex and their sexual organs as they enter adulthood.

In the present day, Esther is found sleeping in the college and a teacher asks her to follow him. Moishe and Yanky arrive in Germany to find Esther.

The teacher takes Esther out for food. Esther expresses her desire to start a life in music. There’s a strange moment after her admission where she bites into a sandwich, learns there is ham inside and panics believing she will suddenly throw up. When she realises she will not throw up, Esther tells the teacher that where she comes from there are many rules. The teacher recommends she applies for the college, which will require a very strict audition.

Esther wants to apply for the Special Training Programme so heads to the admin office; she tells the admin officer that her circumstances are extraordinary — the officer explains she will be getting an audition but not to get her hopes up.

Moishe and Yanky get comfortable in their hotel. Yanky is worried that Esther may be in danger but Moishe is fairly relaxed. Yanky finds a gun that Moishe has had delivered to the hotel.

Yanky and Moishe meet Esther’s mother Leah and ask where her daughter is. Leah explains she has no idea before shutting the door on them. Leah tells her partner Nina that they will have to wait for Esther to come to them.

We are then treated to a flashback where Esther is getting married, which is a long day of traditions and celebrations. Leah watches on. Esther seems happy when they are finally officially married.

Back in the present day; Esther overhears her new friends discuss how she is ultra-unorthodox and is essentially a “baby machine”. Esther calmly tells her friends that she is not a “baby machine” as she walks in. Esther attends a class and watches them practice. Afterwards, Dasia invites Esther to a dinner party.

At the midway point of Unorthodox Episode 2, we are back to the flashback and at the wedding; Esther is enjoying dinner with Yanky – he has bought her a ring. As he leans over she asks “what if we are caught” so they hold hands instead. At the wedding celebrations, Leah is asked to leave.

It’s pretty clear that Leah is been pushed out of Esther’s life.

Back to the present day, Esther heads over to the dinner party with her new friends. Her friends ask her how she learnt how to cook and she says she was raised by her grandma. Robert explains that he was raised by his grandparents too but they died. Esther is then awkwardly asked if she escaped. Esther kindly replies that she was not in prison but she did leave without telling anyone and wants to find her own path.

This scene shows Esther’s willingness to show her own independence, despite feeling like she was actually in a prison.

And then the next scene is a flashback and an emotional one; after the wedding, Esther has her hair shaved — she starts having a panic attack as everyone watches and she bursts into tears. This scene shows how her freedom was officially removed; losing her identity by means of her hair was a truly traumatic experience.

Back at the dinner party in the present-day, Esther is taken back slightly as she notices two of the men kissing at the table. Her friends ask Esther why she left New York, a place full of music — Esther explains she did not fit in. Esther’s friends ask her to play music in front of them. Esther plays the piano and it’s sad, melancholy. They all agree it is beautiful but Yael says while it was good she will not make it into the programme as she has no time to catch up. This upsets Esther and she runs off.

Unorthodox Episode 2 ends with Esther walking down the streets of Berlin crying. She finds a street phone and rings her grandma and tells her she misses her — her grandma puts the phone down. Esther is distraught.

I believe Esther has finally realised that if she is going to have to enjoy her newfound freedom, it’s going to be way harder than she originally believed to make it work.

Additional Notes

  • Moishe has a smartphone. Yanky asks why he is allowed one.
  • Esther tries on jeans and a skirt as she gets used to an entirely new life.
  • Yanky gets impatient with Moishe, asking how they can find his wife.

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