Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Places in the Heart : Part V

You've read so far ? ... we are almost done just a little bit more :)

….Meanwhile at the penitentiary the rival gang is planning another attack against Magda and Lina (Amy) who is now their enemy as well. They are using anti-Arab rhetoric with their co- inmates to stoke the fires of hatred and patriotism following 9/11. Though how could criminals be patriotic too I can’t fathom. . anyway they are able to buy the silence of the other prisoners , who will look the other way. These evil women are plotting to lock up Magda and Lina in the washing room with all the pressure equipment and set fire to that. So while Lina and Magda are quietly discussing what Magda would do once she served her sentence and is free to leave in a few days time, Lina is asking her to take care of Ahmad for her and make sure he is well brought up and loved. They both reminisce about Egypt and the beautiful memories there. Their rêverie is abruptly interrupted by the prison gangsters barging in and starting up a fight. They beat up both women almost to death, with everyone including some prison guards looking the other way, they then set the building on fire and lock the metal doors. The loud explosion brings the chief of prison and the guards to the site and by the time the fire brigade arrives the room where Magda and Lina are locked also explodes with the boilers . So the chief of prison is able to get in only to find two disfigured women wearing the same red overalls, one of them is still barely breathing and he calls her ‘Magda my love’ and asks her to hang on.

At this point I was crying and angry and frustrated because although I loved both characters I did not want Lina to end up dead. If one had to die it should be Magda, she did have some kind of history even though she had served her time. I was thinking about what kind of message the producer wanted to imply, was he fed up with the length of the series and wanted to shorten it ? Did he want to be politically correct ? Did he have a fight with the actress? Did he chicken out ?

Well Magda it turns out is alive, she is on the operating table and the doctors are looking at photos of her face to repair the damage. They tell her that they will be able to do it and hide most of the scars but her hands are beyond repair, they will get her the motion back but the scars are terrible..
The chief of police is happy since he has the gold locket in his hands now and hopefully Magda will make it. He comes to the hospital to visit Magda and tells her that she will be soon okay and that Lina did not survive. Magda asks him for the locket and he refuses to give it and so she tells him it was Lina’s but that she used to keep it for her ( as we had seen at the beginning of the series). They have an argument and he walks out with the locket. Bakr comes to prison administration to collect the body for burial and Lina’s belongings , he also visits Magda in prison and arranges for her repatriation after she heals since she will be out of prison anyway. He still can’t get to Ahmad and now he has no case since Lina is dead.
In a fit of conscience, the prison chief decides not to keep the locket after all since now he knows who its rightful owner is and he hands it also to Bakr. Magda is healing well but her voice is changed because her vocal cords were damaged. The police tell her that when she leaves hospital she must leave the US on the first available flight, she was persona non-grata after she served her sentence. She calls Bakr to tell him this as she is crying that she cannot fulfill Lina’s wish and take Ahmad with her to his homeland.
Bakr is drowning in trouble caused by his ex-wife Tracy, who has been dumped and cheated on by her last boyfriend and who in hoping to return to Bakr allows him to put her in an institution for the alcoholic to try and treat her. Bakr who is busy trying to find Ahmad and catch up with Magda about to be deported misses the visitation day with his daughter to Tracy. Leila has to ask her mum’s boyfriend to take her there. When Tracy sees that no Bakr arrived , and that her ex- is with a girlfriend and obviously happy she gets angry and discharges herself from hospital and takes her daughter Leila with her and goes to join this anti-Arab / anti Muslim group and totally prevents her daughter from contact with her dad. Tracy has now lost hope in getting back Bakr and only wants to get BACK at him.

Bakr is driving like a demented person to the airport to catch up with Magda, he asks the police escorting her to come in with her and they say no he is not allowed but that he can say goodbye at the entrance for a few minutes. So Magda comes over to him and tells him farewell and he gives her Lina’s locket .She hides it quickly and asks him to find and get her Ahmad, That’s how we find out that it was most probably Magda who died and not Lina. Especially that this girl’s hair is now blonde. Lina (Amy) with the face and name of Magda arrives in Egypt only to be arrested at the airport for the murder of her husband. Lina (Amy) is shocked to find that Magda had fled from Egypt as a suspected murderer so she has escaped the death penalty in the US only to be faced with it back home in Egypt and she is twice innocent.
Oh the cruel irony of faith.

When push comes to shove at the airport she declares her true identity and tells them she is Lina Adams and not Magda but that a terrible accident happened to her and this is how the surgeon made her face, they ask to prove it , but her fingerprints as we remember are burnt without recognition. So for all purposes she is Magda to the authorities until proven wrong. Her best friend and business partner Marwan is at the airport waiting for her, he is also a lawyer and gets her out on bail. The guy thinks she is Magda and we find out that there was more going on with him and Magda than meets the eye- they were lovers. She tells him that since her accident she has memory loss and cannot always remember every detail. Anyway as soon as she is settled in Magda’s home an old man demands to see her and talk to her in person. She lets him in as she realizes there are many darker aspects of Magda’s life she was unaware off. The guy explains to her that he has her confession on paper that she instigated the murder of her husband and that she has promised to pay him a million Egyptian Dinars to do that during a birthday party. The old man has been waiting all these years along with the lawyer who helped him make this shady deal and he wants his cut now that she is back, she asks him to bring the paper as she cannot remember making this deal at all she says. The old man shows her a photocopy and Marwan confirms it is her signature. So now they need to shut up the guy, because although she is suspected of murder they had never found any substantiating evidence. Meanwhile Lina/Magda is frantically calling Bakr to ask him to help , he gets in contact with the authorities and find they can prove who she really is with dental records just like they do in forensics. Which is what he does, and the authorities are satisfied that she is Lina and not Magda , even though she still has kept Magda’s name and face.
Marwan is not convinced and he tells her that she is the Magda he always wanted to have, the same face and body but with such a caring spirit. But evidently he comes round. With the threat of her imprisonment gone and Magda truly dead they manage to get the old blackmailing man and his partner arrested. Lina is now at least safe in Egypt, and has inherited Magda’s empire which was made before the murder of her husband.

On the other side of the world in Margaret’s household we find that she calls Ahmad, Peter and orders him to forget his name was ever Ahmad, we see that John look-alike is being pursued by the mob for debts and he asks Margaret to withdraw the money he put in trust for Peter from the bank because he needs it. She refuses as he already took her share , squandered his and she did not want him to take Peter’s money, as they paid dearly for all that. We find out that he is really John Adams , under a new name, he is a criminal, a thief, a gambler and mafioso, and also he beats Margaret and Ahmad.

Back in Egypt Lina contacts her family as Magda, she cannot face them as Lina because of her face. No one recognize her and she gets to check and visits her mum and sister and takes care of them as Lina’s best friend she also informs them that she is trying to get Ahmad out of the US back home. Her mum has a heart attack and needs surgery, her sister Marwa does not want to sign the release papers because it is a very delicate operation. But Marwa does not see the logic that anyway her mum is dying like this so might as well give her a chance. Marwa throws a tantrum and tells Magda ‘she is not your mum anyway’. But Marwa is a little confused because Magda has made some gestures that only Lina used to do when they were kids. Marwa is being arrogant and difficult, until Lina has to given and tell her the truth and prove it to her in many ways. Lina still cannot believe it, but they sign the papers and the mother is saved. Later when she is convalescing they tell her the good news and that restoring her with Magda’s face was the only to save her from an unjust death in America as she needs to live to get her boy and prove her innocence. Her mum tells her that she felt all along that she was her daughter but could not pinpoint exactly or believe it.
Things are getting more intense in the US. Bakr is booed and pelted at the political campaign rallies , after all Arabs are very discriminated against after 9/11. Bakr asks the prosecutor that he wishes to clear Lina’s name of the murder and needs to reopen the case. And the prosecutor tells him it is over since she died . Bakr reminds him that they have no body and that there is a guy with John’s face living with Margaret and Ahmed. That he believes in American judicial system and the US Constitution, that he is American and so was Lina by choice and marriage and that she is owed due process even posthumously.
The prosecutor tells him to stop bothering him with this case, and that unless he has a valid concrete proof that could stand in court he will not promise anything and he does not want to be involved if this is obtained but it has to be legal. Bakr tells him ‘trust me , as long as I have your promise , you will get your evidence’.

Lina tells Bakr she needs to get to the States to be near her son she cannot wait like this indefinitely, maybe she can try to talk to Margaret and convince her to testify and give John to the authorities. The problem is that Lina cannot be resurrected with a death sentence hanging on her head , and Magda cannot get in because she was deported. So they plan to take a risk and smuggle her in through Mexico. Bakr starts immediately with his team to plan this. Margaret has a job and she leaves the child with a nanny. So the nanny is taken care of and Maggie has to look for a new one. Bakr also enlist the help of the mafia boss whom John Adams cheated and who loved Magda very much as she used to work with him before. Alfonso ( the mafia boss) arranges to smuggle Magda ( he does not know she is Lina) via Mexico through his drug gangs. Lina arrives safely in the States and is greeted by Bakr and his team and taken to the city where Maggie ,Ahmad and John are living. She gets interviewed as a nanny after Bakr pulls some strings and is accepted so she stays close to Ahmad and works as the maid and also can search for concrete evidence in the house. Maggie starts to rely on her a lot as Lina is very helpful and good with the boy. Ahmad likes her a lot too and tells her that he is not Peter but Ahmad and that Maggie is not his real mummy , who died but that they are playing a game.
Maggie does not wish to yield to John’s demands for Ahmad’s trust fund and she gets beaten and is given an ultimatum. She also catches Lina looking around the house then Ahmad remembers that he had met Magda in prison with his mum and tells his dad and Maggie. John knows his game is up because Maggie can set the record straight in a trial. So he wants to run away but needs to kill Maggie and Magda and get his son who has millions of insurance money in his name. He is armed and dangerous. Lina convinces Margaret to testify and she finds evidence in the house which she hands to Bakr who gets the prosecutor to finally move and grant them a search warrant. Margaret leaves the villa to go and give herself up but is intercepted and killed by John on the way to the police. John owes tons of money to the local sharks again and they are breathing down his neck. John rushes to the villa, and cuts the phone cable. Lina has been waiting for a showdown with him for so long , to find out WHY he did this to her when they loved each other ?, she also needs to clear her name and can positively recognize it is her husband . Him being alive clears her of the murder conviction. So Lina tells Ahmad to run to safety to the villa across the road where team Bakr is camping, and faces John alone. John tells her how much he hates and despise her, that he needs Ahmad because he needs the money right now. He tells her that he had been cheating on her for a long time with other women and her best friend. That he married her because she was something exotic like a forbidden fruit and that it was fun at the beginning but now he got fed up Also that he always gambled etc….and he thought this scheme with Margaret to get the insurance money, it was easy to frame her as she was so gullible. Anyway the police and prosecutor ( who is called McCarthy by the way ) arrive at the scene just as John takes her as hostage. To cut a story short , the prosecutor by now has all the evidence he needs and it is being enacted live before him. John shoots at the police and hits some of them and they retaliate and kill him.
End of story? No …

4 comments:

Mohamed said...

This story started so nice and realistic, but I guess it's starting to be really far fetched now, I'm still hooked anyway, it also seems that the writer knows a lot or did his homework about life in the us.
Thanks Highlander, waiting for the rest.

highlander said...

Mohamed, I summarised in 5 parts :) what I thought were the main points of the story which is 35 episodes at least... so you guys missed a lot of subtelties..there is one more post about this topic though so glad at least someone is reading it :)

Did you read the links about it that I posted ?What do you think ya Mo.

Mohamed said...

Yeah thanks, and I also did my own search, and one really interesting person who wrote about the series (and the ramadan series in general) was an american reporter who lives and writes from Egypt, her name's Ursula Lindsey, what I liked most about her writings is that she's really level headed and fair minded with non of the usual preconcieved stupidity some westerners have before even setting a foot in the middle east blinding her judgment.
Here's the link
http://www.popmatters.com/columns/lindsey/051024.shtml

highlander said...

Thanks for the link Mohamed, I already discovered a few errors in it though as I've watched many of the series she is writing about :)