Zoe takes matters into her own hands, which spells trouble for everyone in a very solid second episode of White Lines.
This recap of White Lines season 1, episode 2, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
White Lines Episode 2 opens in Manchester, 1996, which is really to crack a window into the charismatic personality of Axel, who is on trial (along with young Marcus and young David) for DJ’ing an illegal rave. It’s a funny sequence, with the judge asking if there were a lot of people there, if the music was too loud for conversation, if there were drugs involved, and so on, and so forth, as we see the party get raided by the police and erupt into a riot. Axel has the kind of brash, rebellious idealism that you imagine would attract people to him. His friends are different; Marcus is not as ambitious, and David is too pilled-up to know what’s going on.
We see this dynamic reflected somewhat in Axel’s 22-years-later memorial service, ministered by David, now a spiritual cow-hugging hippie after a stay in India, and attended by Zoe, Anna, and Marcus, who whips the crowd into a frenzy on the decks but is clearly struggling with several matters. The first is guilt. Axel is dead and he lied to Zoe about where he was, which makes him not only culpable in her myriad mental health issues but also suspicious in Axel’s death. The second is the fact he can’t sell drugs in any of the Calafat clubs, which means he can’t pay off Grigor and Yuri. It’s fitting that the only place he can get his mind off things is in the midst of the weird kind of party anthem cult that has amassed to celebrate Axel.
Zoe once again calls Joanna, so we get the same kind of framing device as seen in the previous episode — a video call that is later caught up with after we better understand the context. She explains that everyone is suspicious. Her new plan is to take the cocaine from Marcus’s house and refuse to return it until he comes clean about whatever he’s hiding. To pull this off, she asks to borrow Boxer’s car, and since he’s impressed enough with her to have been telling people that his harpoon injury was caused by “getting shot with Cupid’s arrow”, he lets her.
When she arrives back at Marcus’s house she finds his older daughter in a state of undress with a lad, and his younger daughter locked in a room binge-eating; this is referenced again later, by Marcus and Anna, since the girl is being bullied and is turning to food as an escape. It’s just another thing for Marcus to worry about, and his problems are only compounded once Zoe loads his cocaine into the trunk of Boxer’s car. Zoe doesn’t answer her phone when he calls, so she’s shocked to see him turn up out of nowhere on her scooter. Andreu wants him to pick up his daughter Kika from the airport. Zoe negotiates her way into driving him there.
We meet Kika in White Lines Episode 2, and various flashbacks begin to characterize her relationship with Axel, who pursued her back in the day when she was with the well-off Cristobal. In the present, she takes Zoe to his favorite place. We’re starting to get a sense of their romance, but the show is still playing its cards quite close to its chest in that regard.
Marcus, meanwhile, goes to see Yuri and Grigor, who are initially against the idea of him returning the merchandise to them. They give Marcus a fairly basic supply and demand lesson — they’re the wholesaler, he’s the retailer, etc. — but eventually acquiesce, given the circumstances. But along with the drugs he also has to return 15% of the investment, which equals about thirty-five thousand euros. Needless to say, he doesn’t have that kind of cash.
A noteworthy nugget dispensed in this episode is that Zoe and Axel’s dad is a copper. Zoe calls him and he has the preliminary autopsy report of the mummy found in the desert: it’s Axel. The contents of his lungs suggest he ingested a lot of pool water, but drowning wasn’t the cause of death. His ribs were broken, he was paralyzed by a neck injury, and he attempted to crawl away, but was subsequently stabbed through the back and died from massive loss of blood. We see snippets of this occurring in flashbacks, though whether they’re accurate or not is anyone’s guess at this point. We also see how Zoe takes the news, which isn’t well, but probably better than expected. She wants the unfiltered truth, and her dad loves her enough to give it to her. Back in Manchester, he argues with Zoe’s husband, who confirms that, when she originally learned Axel wasn’t coming home, she tried to kill herself. Her father declares he’s going out to Ibiza to bring her back.
Zoe, meanwhile, meets more of the Calafat family. Andreu tells her that the family is with her, and she can use their extensive resources in her search, but she interrupts his dog’s funeral to basically accuse him of killing Axel. It certainly doesn’t look great that his daughter’s boyfriend was found dead on his land, and Laura Haddock turns in some great work here. Immediately afterward she calls Joanna, so we catch up to the framing device again.
White Lines Episode 2 reveals that Anna is getting remarried to George, whom she suggests Marcus goes to see about a loan. He does, which is awkward, first because George happily presents himself completely nude to Marcus, and then because he verbally savages him about being an immature waste of space. Marcus tearfully fires back, but he leaves with no money and is ambushed by Grigor and Yuri on his way out.
More on this in a moment. At King’s funeral, Andreu announces that Kika will be taking over his responsibilities in the company. She’s reluctant, but as Oriol explains, Andreu suspects him and Conchita in Axel’s murder. Oriol resolves to do whatever it takes in order to prove his innocence in that regard, which means that virtually everyone on the island is looking into the same thing at this point. Except the police, obviously.
Zoe, though, has more immediate concerns. She asks Siri how to hotwire Boxer’s car but doesn’t have much luck, so she tries to transfer the drugs out of the car. He catches her in the act, though doesn’t see precisely what she’s doing, so she loads the bricks of cocaine back into the car and takes his offer of a lift, if not necessarily his offer of a bed. She’s married and has a child, after all, and isn’t looking for a holiday romance, much to Boxer’s polite dismay.
In a telling scene, Conchita tells Rafael, the priest, that they need to find a way to take control of the business away from Andreu since someone who buries his dog with such a ceremony isn’t mentally well enough to keep it going. Rafael isn’t majorly keen on the idea, but she’s able to persuade him in a rather predictable fashion. A sexually weak-willed man of the cloth? You kid!
Anyway, Marcus returns home with Yuri and Grigor to find his dog in the pool, presumably dead. White Lines Season 1, Episode 2 is the place to be if you’re looking for dead canines. Luckily he’s able to give the pooch CPR and revive it, but it doesn’t do him any favors. As they discover the drugs are missing, we flash back once again to Axel’s trial from the top of the episode, where he gives a keen speech about being allowed the freedom to live. Young Marcus didn’t handle that situation particularly well either. In the present-day, Yuri and Grigor write down various body parts on pieces of paper and put them in a jar. They draw one at random, which is the leg. “Beginner’s luck!”, they chuckle, as they break Marcus’s leg and tell him that if he doesn’t get the drugs and money to them in 24 hours, they’ll pick his daughter up from school.
This would have worked as an ending, but White Lines Episode 2 opts for a cliffhanger just to be on the safe side. As we see the final glimpses of Axel’s speech from the dock, Zoe and Boxer get pulled over by the police, and she finally sees fit to mention how much cocaine there is in the back of the car. Oops.
- Zoe and Axel’s dad was a policeman.
- Marcus has his drug suppliers saved as “Popeye and Olive” in his phone.
- When Conchita “persuades” Rafael, she suggests he picture her with her husband. Is this a dig at his sexuality or am I misreading the scene?
- Yuri chastises Marcus for letting his dog fall in the pool. “If you’re not responsible enough to look after your animal you shouldn’t have it!”. Hilarious.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.