Review: The Highs and Lows of Egypt’s Most Watched Series; Newton’s Cradle

While there were many shows this Ramadan season, there was one specific series that took the spotlight. From the actors’ and actresses’ performances and the suspenseful storyline, to the unexpected plot twists and the detailed characters and conversations between them, Newton’s Cradle has been nothing short of impressive from episode one, to episode 15. The thing we loved the most is that there is something happening in every single episode, so it rarely gets boring or unappealing. Although we did get annoyed midway with all the circumstances going against what we want, and actually what most of the characters wanted too, the unusual storyline still got us at the edge of our seats.

On the other hand, there were some incidents that we felt should’ve been better explored or explained to the audience. What happened to Shaheen who was killed by the bees? Where did his body go, and how did the authorities not find out or investigate his death? Who is Aly Kassem, and why did he appear in just one shot, watching a documentary about bees, and never reappeared till now? Lying to the authorities in the US about who the father of a child is cannot be that simple, and especially not in the US.

In this review, there were a few elements that we wanted to focus on, like Hazem and Hana’s complicated relationship, Hana’s personality and whether we blame her for the mess she got herself into or we sympathize with her, Badr and his difficult-to-understand character, and Mounis, who we’re slowly beginning to know how we feel about him. Apart from the interesting and well-written conversations between the characters and the gripping story development, the series discusses several important issues that touch on the lives of many Egyptians, who ultimately got attached to the series because of how they could relate to it. It discusses the desperation of many Egyptians over the American dream, the struggle to get pregnant, communication between couples, relationships in general, minor mental health issues, among many others.

The relationship between Hazem and Hana

In the very first few scenes, we were introduced to Mona Zaki, aka Hana’s character, Mohamed Mamdouh, aka Hazem’s character, and the relationship between them. And from the very first few episodes, it was quite evident that their relationship, like many relationships in Egyptian households, is flawed. Although they do love each other, and are crazy about each other, they have major communication issues. Hana isn’t confident enough for thinking her opinion would matter to Hazem or convince him, and Hazem lacks confidence in his wife’s abilities. More so, they lie to each other and are not committed to keeping their promises.

Right before Hana traveled, they decided that if things go wrong, she will go back to Egypt. Hazem lied about his documents to Hana, Hana lied about the apartment to Hazem, and when there was a chance for them to restructure everything and start over, Hana refused to to go back and stood her ground. She insisted on following her dream, regardless of the circumstances. Later on, Hana took it to herself to decide on the future of her son, without telling her husband the problem that she got herself into, and accordingly, dealt with it, without taking his opinion on the matter. Communication is key to a healthy relationship, and with such a flawed level of communication, it’s expected that it won’t last, especially considering the tough bumps they’re going through.

Hana’s personality and decisions

After we got to know who Hana is, we immediately started sympathizing with her, simply because she represents many women in our lives. A middle class, hardworking woman, who lacks self confidence and is constantly criticized for what she can and cannot do. Starting with her mother, who always saw her as lacking the skills and abilities to do anything. After which her husband followed the same path, blaming and criticizing her for everything, and treating her like a child who knows nothing, and is never able to achieve anything on her own. All this negatively reflected on her character, forcing her to become defensive towards her decisions, and behave carelessly, only to prove to them that she’s able to do more than what they expect of her. Throughout the 15 episodes, it’s very rare that we see Hana making the right decision, and she’s usually either angry, upset, or extremely tired. That being said, she also takes her decisions when she’s furious at her husband, so she’s usually not thinking straight, ultimately making wrong decisions.

Badr’s behaviour

Everyone on social media has been questioning Badr and his intentions; what he wants, how he reacts to everything in a very calm way, who his daughter is, and why he is being very suspicious. Played by Sayed Ragab, Badr’s personality is one that is not easily understood. From his open relationship with his girlfriend, to the way he’s convincing Hazem that he wants to be his partner, it’s all very confusing and rather deceitful. His cunning way of talking makes Hazem feel uncomfortable, making him feel like he cannot defy or oppose Badr’s views. However after the fourteenth episode, we began to rethink our views towards him; maybe he’s actually not so bad and is doing everything he can just to save his girlfriend’s life, who seems like she’s not doing well.

Mounis’ intentions

Now with Mounis, or Mohamed Farrag, at first we weren’t sure if we should like or dislike him. He seemed supportive and helpful to Hana. Later on, we found out that he has not-so-innocent intentions, and we started hating him. Right now, we aren’t sure if he’s helping her because she has no one else, or if he’s using her weaknesses and helplessness to get her to fall for him, which would be very cheap. On the other hand, we can’t help but sympathize with his wife, Sara, who’s being betrayed, but also manipulated into thinking she’s at fault somehow. As he’s getting more involved with Hana’s life right now, we can’t wait to see how the series unfolds.

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