Facing the prospect of never cycling competitively again, Zoe takes a long, hot shower and emerges determined to take back what Kate “stole” from her: her daughter. The most immediate problem with this plan is that, unbeknownst to Zoe, Sophie happens to be in the middle of very serious surgery in the hospital. Thus Zoe hightails it to the hospital to tell Sophie the news.
Call me slightly thick but it took me a day or so to make the connection between this setup and the infamous scene in The Empire Strikes Back , despite it being specifically referenced through Sophie’s drug-induced dreaming. We get the sense that Zoe’s telling Sophie would be such an emotional blow to her that it might tip the scales of her chances of surviving the already risky surgery. I at least got the sense that Zoe was not armed so much with news, but with a dagger.
This idea is of course justified by Kate’s desperate attempts not to let Zoe tell Sophie. Just outside Sophie’s hospital room, Zoe attacks Kate, saying that she shouldn’t have gotten up after the crash to re-race Zoe.
Kate looked up at her though tears. “Is that what this is about? Because you can have it. You can have my place in London. I’ll phone British Cycling right now. I’ll tell them I cheated. I’ll tell them I sabotaged your bike. I’ll tell them anything you need me to, Zoe, just please leave Sophie out of it.”
Here’s Kate’s heroic moment— her realization that she is a mother first and an athlete second. That nothing is more important to her than Sophie.
Again, it reminded me of Annie-Marie Slaughter’s piece on working women, specifically this sentence:
When I described the choice between my children and my job to Senator Jeanne Shaheen, she said exactly what I felt: “There’s really no choice.” She wasn’t referring to social expectations, but to a maternal imperative felt so deeply that the “choice” is reflexive.
Thankfully (and unlike Sophie’s Star Wars dreams), Zoe sees this as proof of Kate’s tremendous sense of motherhood, and ultimately tells Sophie not that she is her mother, but instead that she is so lucky to have the parents she has.
Who’s your favorite character so far? Zoe, Kate, Jack, Sophie, Tom? The Millennium Falcon that gets vomited on?