Zoe wants to find out who she really is in White Lines Episode 5, but it leads her to hard decisions she can only make alone.
This recap of White Lines season 1, episode 5, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
At the start of White Lines Episode 5, Zoe turns up at her dad’s camper van and asks to stay with him. She has been out all night, and a call to Joanna promising to explain what she’s been up to suggests we’re going to be catching back up to this moment. The reveals here are predictable but handled effectively, and boil down to the simple idea of Zoe trying to work out who she really is. It’s a journey that a few other characters go on with her.
Kika is one of them. So is Boxer, who she calls and informs that Andreu has been in a serious accident. They both go and see him in the hospital, where they learn that he will likely be paralyzed and never walk again.
Conchita, meanwhile, speaks with Rafael, her sudden spiral of ambition having been brought to an abrupt end, and her current situation brought into starker focus. The priest recommends that she lay out the truth to her family.
The truth is a slippery concept here, one that Zoe’s dad isn’t particularly interested in. He meets with an old friend and fellow cop, Miguel, and states outright that he doesn’t care what happened to Axel twenty years ago. All he’s bothered about is getting Zoe off the island before she ruins her life since he has convinced himself that she’s in the middle of another breakdown. This is, in some ways, a continuation of the conversation that Zoe was having with Joanna. She said that she’s not herself here; her dad expresses basically the same sentiment.
Zoe’s conflicted about everything, but of particular concern to her is the fate of Romanians. She tells Marcus that Boxer killed them, and Marcus thinks he’s a hero. It’s an uncomplicated way of framing it, but it helps Zoe, I think, to think of what he did as protection. Boxer, meanwhile, goes to sort out Oriol, who is in quite a state following his ayahuasca trip. In the midst of a wrecked hotel room full of women and a half-full bathtub, for whatever reason, Oriol asks Boxer if Andreu ever asked him to do anything to Axel for sleeping with Conchita — he, after all, asked him to beat up Axel for being with Kika. Why not his own wife? When Boxer reveals that Andreu is paralyzed, Oriol breaks down somewhat. When he attacks Boxer verbally, Boxer dunks his head in the bathtub, claiming this is what he did to Axel on Andreu’s request. Oriol asks why Boxer didn’t protect Andreu from the Martinez family, who’re responsible for the accident. He takes it to heart.
Axel’s relationship with Conchita is explored from another angle as Kika and Conchita discuss it at the hospital. In interspersed flashbacks, we see Conchita be charmed by his enthusiasm and energy; we see her play on the fact that he couldn’t refuse her requests; we see her offer him a large sum of money to leave Kika. We also see that he never did.
Since everyone seems to be getting things off their chest in White Lines Episode 5, Zoe confesses to Anna that she slept with someone else — I don’t think there’s much of a mystery about who she hopped into bed with, but it takes a while to get there. Anna thinks it might make her feel good about herself and actually help her marriage to Mike, but she says she just feels ashamed. She goes to see her dad and says she wants to go home; there’s no point in her being here. He’s thrilled by this news and says that the fastest way to get her off the island is to show the authorities her psychiatric reports and claim she relapsed; the ease with which he suggests using her mental health history in this way is disconcerting, to say the least. Luckily they’re interrupted by a call from Kika, who tells Zoe that Andreu has been in an accident and asks to see her.
Zoe and Kika can both relate to how much their lives have changed over such a short period of time. Zoey says again that she’s doing things here that aren’t her. At the same time, Zoe’s dad calls Joanna, though we aren’t made privy to the conversation. Kika asks Zoe if something else happened, which leads us into the most significant series of flashbacks in the episode. After finding Zoe missing at the end of the previous episode, Boxer went out looking for her. He follows her, and they argue about the murder of the Romanians, which she still blames herself for to some degree. He won’t go back to the club without her; when we cut back there, they’re together, dancing. Is Boxer the most quintessentially Spanish man who ever lived? He just might be.
Zoe and Boxer share a romantic meal and a romantic movie, and they sleep together. Kika, in the present, asks how it was and Zoe says the most beautiful night of her life. Boxer tells her about his past, about his parents abandoning him for a good time. It’s all shot for romance and passion and for the most part it works. Zoe tells Kika that, as good of a night as she had, she can’t just ruin her life. Kika suggests that perhaps she can. Perhaps it’s already ruined since even if she leaves the island, it’s her who has changed.
Conchita and Andreu share a nice moment in the hospital. Anna and Marcus share one of their own, a bit more sexually charged, and you can strike that prediction from the previous recap off the list of to-dos. This was very much an episode about reconciliation. But it’s also about significant change. We catch up with Zoe’s latest call to Joanna, and we learn that, after hearing from Zoe’s dad, Joanna has decided the calls can’t continue. When Zoe confronts him about his interfering, she confesses to him that her suicide attempt was not because Axel didn’t come home, but because she couldn’t face a life on her own with him, with his seriousness and unhappiness. It’s a powerful scene. At the end of it, she says that she needs him to leave so that she can find out who she is, who she was meant to be. And he leaves.
In a final montage of White Lines Season 1, Episode 5, Zoe goes skinny dipping; Kika, Oriol, and Conchita all crowd around Andreu’s bedside; Boxer calls Zoe and tells her that last night was the closest he’s come to love in ten years. It’s a fitting climax to a character-driven episode that most thrillers wouldn’t have bothered to include. I’m glad this one did.
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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.