As ABC’s mini-series The Slap edges closer towards its finale, a level of intensity is in the air. In episode seven, Sophie Okonedo stars as Aisha. The episode sees escapism and infidelity surrounding Aisha and the disconnect she feels from her life.
An interstate conference trip, followed by a weekend getaway to resort to celebrate her sixteenth wedding anniversary places Aisha outside of her familiar family home. Tensions are high, due to the alliances that have been pledged after Harry slapped Hugo. Within seconds after Aisha has separated from Hector, the physical sign of relief and relaxation becomes clear on her face.
Seduction from escapism taunt Aisha and see the episodes best moments where she has time to reflect upon her past, present and maybe even consider her future. At home, Aisha is the outsider. But this outsider knows far too much to remain distant. Her knowledge of Harry’s violence renders her an active participant in her life with Hector. Her reticence to participate in Sandy’s pregnancy
Director Rob Connolly and screenwriter Emily Ballou present the tender and slightly agonising portrayed of a woman who is forced to surrender against her own loyalties. Anthony Partos score also helps reveal the tenderness in Aisha’s story. Her own infidelity is less present as it was in the novel, and could have benefited from a tad longer screen time. At first, it is only hinted at and is a mystique that is slowly revealed as a bigger event than it originally seemed. But of course, her infidelities present a bigger problem than the act in itself.
Sophie Okonedo is naturally brilliant and perfectly exudes a sense of disconnect in her extended family. Her desperate yearning to escape is painfully clear and the scornful hurt after Hector reveals his infidelity hits as hard too. Jonathan LaPaglia is also quite good and even gets a better chance to act than in his own episode. Melissa George also shines in a heated dispute with Aisha at a café. Valentino Del Toro also gets a quick chance to entice and tempt Aisha as Art.
The Slap presents a portrayal of normal life, as it is extremely difficult to fairly and objectively take sides. Each character’s choices do not always come from appealing options. The choices are difficult and the loyalties that are tested between friends and family tear relationships apart. Naturally, the wonder of another life, nonexistent of children, marriage and in-laws becomes more than an appealing option.
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The Slap airs Thursdays at 8.30pm on ABC1. It also airs on ABC2 and is on iView.