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The Slap

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The Slap

Season 1 Episode 1

"Hector"

Hector hosts his own 40th birthday party while he secretly struggles with a forbidden desire - until one shocking moment changes everything.

Synopsis

On the day before his 40th birthday party, Hector Apostolou has only one thing on his mind: Connie. Connie assists Hector's wife Aisha at a clinic and often babysits their children, Adam and Melissa. That's how he knows Connie, mostly - or how he got to know her. These days, Hector and Connie share a special, if not secret, connection - everything he seems to love (jazz, architecture, cigarettes) she too learns to admire. Their connection reached a tipping point recently when Connie surprised Hector with a kiss - and he kissed back.

Connie is also 16 years old.

Although the moment went no further than that kiss, the predicament plagues Hector before the next piece of news crosses his path on his final day of being 39. Despite claims to the contrary, his expected promotion to deputy commissioner at City Hall instead falls to another candidate. He attempts to hide his disappointment at home and lies about the mayor delaying the announcement while Aisha plans tomorrow's party and requests that he corral their children.

Hector manages one minute alone, his eyes closed, jazz on his headphones... and envisions Connie. And this time their kiss lasts longer, it's more passionate, more dangerous - but his reverie again is interrupted and Hector's vision disappears.

On the morning of his birthday, Aisha bounces from one task to another in preparation for the party, and Hector leaves intent to pick up Valium at her clinic to ease his mind. Once again, Connie pops into his head and he wonders, what would happen if he pursued this further? Humiliation, divorce, loneliness? Suicide? He visits the clinic anyway, and when he and Connie end up alone, he invites her to the party.

He returns home to a flood of guests: family friends Gary and Rosie and their rambunctious son Hugo; Hector's retired parents Manolis and Koula; Hector's cousin Harry, his wife Sandi and their teenaged son Rocco; family friend Anouk and her much younger boyfriend Jaime; and finally Connie, who brings along her friend Ritchie, a budding photographer and fellow teen.

With few exceptions, everyone at Hector's party knows each other well. They tease, drink, speak freely, offer opinions and counter opinions. Meanwhile, the children run around and play - disrupted often by Hugo, who scatters Hector's prized jazz vinyls across the floor. The women discuss Jamie, a budding actor on Anouk's TV show, while Gary and Harry talk politics, art and economic disparity, butting heads at every turn.

And Ritchie, quiet and careful, captures every second with his camera.

When it's time for presents, Manolis and Koula announce their huge gift - a trip for the whole family to Greece, with all the dates and details finalized. The gesture leaves Hector speechless, but Aisha fails to disguise her frustration with the gift and then rages in private to her husband, irate that his parents expect her to drop everything at the clinic for a surprise vacation she can ill-afford to take.

As the BBQ continues, the tensions rise - Hugo digs up a garden (and Rosie breastfeeds him to calm him down), a slightly inebriated Gary chips at Harry's nerves, and Hector steals seconds to himself where he takes valium and spies on Connie from a distance.

To help with the restlessness of the kids, Hector organizes a makeshift whiffle ball game. This seems to distract them just long enough for Hector to seek out Connie in peace, and they share a drink and chat about the nature of their relationship, speaking lowly and closely, touching...

Until they hear screams and see Hugo swinging a baseball bat wildly, within inches of Rocco's face. Before Hector can react, Harry rushes to the scene and in a flash it happens - Harry takes away the bat, Hugo kicks Harry in the shin, and Harry slaps Hugo.

The party erupts into chaos - Hector holds back Gary as he lunges at Harry, insults fly from every direction, and lines appear drawn. Was Harry way out of line? Did Hugo deserve it? Any sense of celebration dissolves - along with all the partygoers. Gary vows to sue; Harry remains unapologetic.

Later, Hector and Connie pick up trash in the yard and agree to stop their indiscretion, perhaps snapped into reality by the stunning moment. The slap too seems to influence Hector when he joins Aisha to clean the kitchen, where he finally reveals the truth - the deputy commissioner job went to someone else. Their elevated emotions lead to an extended hug, a kiss - and then to sex.

In the end, though, as Hector enjoys what he deems his final cigarette, he believes that the slap may have saved him from a disastrous mistake. Aisha, on the other hand, believes the slap may live on - if Rosie presses charges, this could all get very, very ugly.

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