Don’t forget to catch up on our review of episodes 2 and 3!
In episodes 4 and 5 of Cable Girls (aka Las Chicas Del Cable), the stakes became a lot more real for our four leading women. The feminist message behind the show is coming face-to-face with real situations, as Alba and her friends must figure out what they’re going to do with the cards they’ve been dealt. As ever, spoilers ahead…
Cable Girls is still a beautiful show, with genuine chemistry and really romantic moments filled with far more natural passion than our buttoned-up British programmes. However, it’s not afraid to back off from the darker side of relationships, most prominently in the home life of telephone worker Angeles. Having discovered in the earlier episodes that her husband has been cheating on her, she tries desperately to decide what to do in a situation that has only become more complex with an early pregnancy.
What follows is genuinely horrendous, and yet it’s a scenario that is still known to many today. Bruised and broken, Angeles paints over her marks, yet her colleagues see through the facade quickly. As painful as it is, there’s a slightly on-the-nose scene in which Angeles is told that she has very little rights to a divorce – surely she and the women around her would have been well aware of this?
However, regardless of the reality of that particular revelation, the situation she now finds herself is no less important. It draws an interesting parallel to another recent portrayal of domestic abuse in HBO’s Big Little Lies. In that show, the quiet Celeste has to deal with the fact that abuse isn’t a simple ‘just leave’ situation – every relationship comes with a history and sometimes with a deep love, even if it’s poisoned from the inside. Yet, unlike Angeles, she has the financial means and rights to make an escape, with support of course. Angeles’ situation stops at square one: she can’t deal with complexities if she can’t even have the option to leave on the table. It’s important to have screen portrayals of both situations on screen.
Angeles isn’t the only one having a difficult time either. Francisco has not made a good example of himself in recent episodes, and as mentioned in the last episode recap, it’s important to worry about his fragile wife Elisa (Ángela Cremonte) . Her own pivotal scene is shockingly graphic as her own mental health crumbles, and it’s awful to watch Francisco continue to lie to her to save his own skin. It’s a brave choice on the part of the writers – after all, Francisco began this series as the clear romantic lead, but he’s certainly not acting like it now.
Fidelity has become a huge theme in this series so far – whether it’s Carlotta’s brief clinches with her manager Sara, Angeles’ rotten husband or Francisco’s deception. At times it amplifies the very shaky rock that these women occupy during the period, since their own life decisions, romantic devotion and financial status are so often tied to the man that they have no choice but to depend on. If that man gets restless, there’s little that they can do about it. In Carlotta’s example, her own impulses fortunately don’t have any marital ties, but it will be interesting to see how she deals with her uncertain sexuality in the next few episodes.
Despite this rather glum review, it wasn’t all rough for episode 4 and 5 of Cable Girls. Carlos is taking up Francisco’s previous role as the romantic lead, and coming across as a genuine and kind companion (albeit with a slightly playboy past!). My favourite Marga delightfully got her own romantic happiness, and long may it continue. That’s one with something bright in her life – now we just need to hope that Alba, Carlotta and Angeles have a better time ahead. At the very least right now, they’ve all started to really trust and support each other.