Unorthodox Season 1 Episode 3 Recap – procreation is important

By Daniel Hart
Published: March 26, 2020 (Last updated: December 4, 2023)
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Unorthodox episode 3 - Netflix series


Unorthodox Episode 3 shows the horrifying treatment that Esther experienced soon after marriage. In present-day, it’s make or break.

This recap of Netflix Limited Series Unorthodox Season 1 Episode 3 contains significant spoilers.

Unorthodox Episode 3 begins with a flashback; Esther and Yanky live together. Their bedroom has separate beds. Esther enters her bedroom and then Yanky enters the bedroom. Yanky tries to robotically have sex with Esther but they have to stop as Esther states that the penetration hurts. Esther tells Yanky to be patient and that they will get it right eventually.

The routineness of this situation is shocking, but it gets worse as Yanky’s mother-in-law comes over to discuss sex with Esther. She gives Esther something to help her before “the boy loses his confidence”. This scene demonstrates how it is cruelly not about the woman, it’s only about the man and procreating.

In the present day, Esther goes into the program admin office and tries to cancel her application and audition. But the admin officer states how difficult it is to get an audition and advises against canceling. Meanwhile, her mother Leah received the letter to her address and she seems happy that her daughter is chasing her dreams.

As for Yanky and Moishe; Yanky asks Moishe the possibility if they find Esther, what if she does not come back. Moishe has the attitude that it is impossible.

Esther goes to speak to a doctor about her pregnancy. She tells the doctor that she does not want an abortion as they are rebuilding the “6 million lost”. Esther hears her baby’s heartbeat and sees the scan and then sheds a tear.

And then a flashback; Esther tells Yanky about her mother coming over regarding the sex tips — they try and have sex again and fail. Yanky doesn’t understand why they can’t have sex and it is frustrating him.

In the present day, Yanky and Moishe head to a strip club and Yanky accepts a dance. Yanky panics because he does not want to touch the stripper. He admits he does not know much about women and asks her what she likes and what gives her pleasure.

At the midway point of Unorthodox Episode 3, Yanky speaks to Leah again at her work. He tells Leah that his community takes care of women and Leah scoffs at that idea. Leah she says misses plenty but she loves her freedom more; she promises Yanky she will call if she hears anything. Meanwhile, soon after, Moishe snoops in Leah’s house and finds the letter to the music college.

Back to a flashback; Esther asks if she could learn about sex via YouTube as it’s not working with Yanky sexually. Malka does not want anyone to know that she’s “defective” Esther attends a lesson on sex and how to pleasure her husband. She is told that she has anxiety and has a condition called vaginismus.

What’s terrifying about this entire scene is that it’s the woman’s fault if the sex does not work, never the man’s. It must be that Esther has the problems and name her “defective”.

In the present day, Esther sees her friends and speaks to Robert. She states she needs help with her audition; she’s desperate for a scholarship because she cannot come back where she came from. Time is running out for Esther.

And we are treated to another flashback which is very difficult to watch; Esther enters the bedroom and she and Yanky argue about sex. Yanky says they have been married for a year and that they must procreate. Esther references how their religion states that the husband must ensure that the woman experiences pleasures, which annoys him more. Esther then states it is more difficult because the whole family is in bed with them and it’s off-putting.

Esther then gets in bed angrily, prepares it and lays down. She starts breaking heavily as Yanky gets on top of her and begins to penetrate. She is in agonizing pain but she tells him to keep going. Yanky finishes and he is happy, saying it felt amazing.

Yanky did not ask her if she was okay or how it felt for her — he must have known she was in a lot of pain. This was rape — the consent was born out of the threat of losing the marriage.

Back in the present day and Leah returns home and can tell someone has been in her house — she knows Esther is now in trouble.

Esther goes to a club with her friends — she’s shocked by all the dancing and energy. She experiences her first alcoholic drink and Yael is performing on the stage. Esther feels in her element and starts smiling and dancing. Moishe enters the club and sees Esther; he sees Esther dancing, completely enjoying the music and looking at Robert.

Unorthodox Episode 3 closes with Esther returning to Robert’s dorm — she kisses Robert suddenly and he kisses her back. This is a landmark moment for Esther as she learns the feeling of true intimacy for the first time, not the routine nature of her Hasidic community.

Additional Notes

  • Esther’s Grandma reveals that Esther rang her but she put the phone down. She is upset for hanging up.
  • Salim speaks to Esther and asks she asks how to use a search engine. She wants to know how she can make money fast.
  • Esther enters a church and hears a choir sing. She’s is consumed by it.

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