The Queen has run for five thrilling seasons during which viewers have been served with action, intrigue and romance. But Friday’s episode was arguably the best since season one; anger, revenge, hatred, blood and explosions. All the ingredients to great television.
Hector chooses peace
From the moment the Khozas paid their respects after Mpho’s death, Thando had them as prime suspects for her sister’s murder. She wanted revenge. But Hector demanded concrete proof. He refused to sanction a revenge attack on the Khozas.
Meanwhile, at the Khoza mansion, Harriet only just convinced her sons and Brutus not to make a second assault on Sebata. It was a decision that the Khozas would later regret.
Thando had been twice denied the opportunity to get the truth out of the bedridden assassin who was in hospital under police protection. But after Brutus and Shaka laughed at Mpho’s funeral, Sebata began to sense that Thando’s suspicions weren’t without merit. Hector thought Mpho was the only family casualty of the birthday party attack but the doctor told him his sister Dodo might never walk again. As if that was not enough, Thando mocked him for being “weak” because he had “done nothing to avenge Mpho”. As if seeking her permission, Hector visited Mpho’s grave. Even though he seemed set on joining Thando’s revenge mission, he looked unsure of the morality of this decision.
Hector and Thando removed the gunman from hospital and took him to a secluded warehouse for questioning. The man refused to cooperate even when the Sebatas threatened his son. But a bullet to the leg accompanied by some torture soon loosened his tongue.
He promptly revealed the name of his employer; Harriet Khoza. Sebata shot him dead. The real Hector was back, at least the version of him that Thando loves.
Party at the Khoza mansion
Meanwhile at the Khoza mansion, the inhabitants of the double storey monstrosity were in a festive mood. It was a ceremony in commemoration of Kea’s life, a year after she died. Goodness, who still remembers how Mvelo was kidnapped at the last such event, was reluctant to leave her daughter unattended. But after Kagiso posted not one but two security guards outside Mvelo’s room, Goodness finally agreed to join the party.
Harriet and Shaka gave moving speeches about the slain slay queen, Kea. And Brutus, who is routinely drunk at such events, slurred through a short speech in which he publicly acknowledged Olerato whom he introduced as “part of the family” to the Khoza friends and business associates.
No special occasion — whether celebration or mourning — ends without drama on The Queen. Mzi Khoza died on Kea’s first wedding during the pilot episode of The Queen. Lindi was killed by Diamond Mabuza on her wedding. Shaka almost lost his second bride, Mmabatho, when Diamond blew up the boat on which the wedding was held and Siyanda fell from the first floor balcony of the Khoza mansion on her own day of nuptials. So, to anyone who has followed The Queen since season one, if the Sebatas were going to attack, Kea’s memorial ceremony was the perfect time. But, to everyone’s surprise, not even a wine glass was broken on this day.
Gunfight on The Queen finale
It was a chilly wintry morning, just before dawn, when the attack came. The Khozas were still in dreamland when one by one their guards fell and Thando, leading a ground assault, broke through the gate. They had two armoured vehicles packed from chassis to the roof with gunmen. Up above, Hector, balaclavad and ominous looking, hovered over the Khoza mansion in a helicopter. Upon hearing gunshots, Kagiso, Shaka and Brutus armed themselves and went out to meet the attackers. It was scores of men versus the heavily outnumbered Khozas. It was a cold morning; rifles spat fire, huan mouths emitted steam as men fell and spent shell casings showered the lawn.
Up in the sky, Hector lowered himself from a rope, military style, and landed on Harriet’s balcony. Inside the mansion, Goodness, with babe crushed to bosom, Olerato with hands on head and eyes the size of saucers, Khaya equally frightened all hid inside the wine cellar. As Hector shot the sliding door before barging through it in a shower of broken glass, Harriet awoke and instinctively thrust her hands in the air in surrender. When Hector pulled away his balaclava to make himself known, Harriet demanded to know what the effe. I’m here to kill you, he announced with rifle aimed.
Downstairs, the Khoza brothers and their uncle, outnumbered, retreated indoors where they continued to put up a brave stand. The gunmen entered the home, firing indiscriminately; the sofa cushions vomited goose feathers, Harriet’s precious trinkets shattered and the expansive array of wine bottles exploded to the dismay of liquor starved South Africa.
Finally the gunfight ended with Thando’s men rounding up the Khozas and shepherding them into the living room where, in another lifetime, she may have sat next to Shaka as Mrs Khoza Junior.
As her father had done, Thando announced that she was here to kill everyone. Your mother is already dead, she told.
Upstairs, Harriet — defiant as ever — had told Sebata that she was not going to beg for her life. There was an exchange of outbursts before the two grieving parents slumped down on the bedroom floor, side by side, with their backs against Harriet’s bed. Hector un-shouldered his assault rifle, put it aside and, rather than hot bullets, began to unload his innermost feelings about the loss of a child. Harriet reciprocated.
Downstairs, Thando was ready to begin the massacre when Hector descended the steps with Harriet unharmed. Why is this b*tch still alive, Thando fumed at Hector. And when Hector announced that there would be no killing — disregard the expendable security guards, because they don’t count to rich people — Thando, in frustration, fired several rounds of ammunition against the ceiling as if the Khoza mansion had killed Mpho.
Bring on Season Six please. We are ready.
Bad special effects on The Queen
I have seen some great episodes of The Queen; the dramatic drive-by shooting of Mzi Khoza, the shootout with Diamond Mabuza at Shaka’s wedding, the wedding boat explosioni, the exchange of bullets between the Khozas and Diamond Mabuza’s gang, the Blue Moon shootout between Harriet and Gracious and the golf course aerial assault by Jaros. But the Khoza mansion siege was on a completely different level. No expense was spared, I mean Hector brought two armoured personnel carriers transforming the Khoza front garden into Baghdad. The shooting was almost lifelike especially from Loyiso Macdonald who owes us no less because he has an acting award on his mantelpiece.
But this memorable episode was ruined by bad special effects. I wanted to see bits of concrete flying off the walls as the Khozas took enemy fire, because come on, in a built up area, bullets have to bounce off something, if they miss their target; a tree, a car, a wall, something. As the gunfight moved indoors, we saw wine bottles breaking, but the walls stood unscathed. The scatter cushions on the plush leather sofa were sacrificed as they let fly their feathery contents. But the actual sofa stood there as if it was made of Kevlar. I mean, even a bulletproof vest suffers some kind of damage if shot at. Kagiso hardly gave up a teaspoon of blood despite his “flesh wound”. And when Thando shot up the ceiling, if the special effects team took their work seriously, there should have been a shower of dust from the plastered surface and the obligatory tinkle of falling shell casings. This is what separates good filmmaking from great filmmaking. All the same, a good effort by the cast and production team.
Till next week, my pen is capped
The Queen airs weekdays at 9:00pm on Mzansi Magic
Follow the writer on Twitter for daily Mzansi Magic television commentary @RewindMzansi