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Homeentertainment'Treason' Review: Netflix's Spinoff New Spy Series

'Treason' Review: Netflix's Spinoff New Spy Series

As we head into the Christmas break, it seems like a good time to discuss the opening of my semi-annual in medias res. You know, a minute or two of exciting but confusing stuff happening at the top of a TV episode, and then you get a “two weeks early” title card.

You see they’ve always been, and mostly, I hate to say, they’re not great.


Bottom line Ordinary British spy hijinx.

As I thought, there are exactly two correct usages of in medias res opening.

Use one: Showing a scene so outlandish, full of odd details, curiosity is inevitable. A man wakes up in bed. The camera pulls back to show him flirting with Dr. Ruth. The camera pulls back to show the man and Dr. Ruth surrounded by 46 cute white rabbit corpses. The camera zooms out further to show that the bed is actually outside, on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. The man looked down at Dr. Ruth. He is confused. “Grandma?!?” he said. Cut to “a week ago”.

This situation is totally in need of explanation, if you promise me a satisfactory solution, I will look at 20 seasons of prelude in order to reach that destination. Cut to stark contrasts, curiosity is inevitable. A woman with bright purple-red hair is tortured by men who yell at her in Mandarin. Under the pressure, she appeared helpless and frightened. Switching to the same woman, now a brunette, in a gorgeous but comforting college exam room, facing the pressure of… completing her exams. Yep, that’s the first two minutes of Alias, one of the best two-minute pilots in TV history.

Nobody did it on the medias res opening and JJ Abrams and company on Alias( At least for a while), which is why in the medias res, the opening credits to a pair of new Netflix spy shows are so disappointing and unnecessary. If Abrams made A-lias, Netflix’s The Recruit and 1235282808 treason is basically C+-lias — not terrible, but inevitably in the shadow of the premium originals available for streaming, if You just go to Hulu instead.

Both programs also make the exact same mistake in their respective in medias res openings – this error points out that both programs core flaws. They start with utterly unremarkable, utterly genre-standard spies—a man running through the snow with a gun, two men ominously observed by a sniper—so utterly forgotten that when the main story When catching up on the opening, I forgot that the in medias res opening exists.

A good in medias res opening needs to be memorable. It needs to be something that 24% of your brain is always thinking, “is this part of the show explaining 46 cute dead white rabbit?” Otherwise, you’re just using structured tools as a perfunctory excuse to start taking some action in order to buy yourself 15 minute follow-up, which is definitely what The Recruit and Treason are doing matter.

My speech is over Opening in media res. Regarding Treason, honestly, it might be more like 24 instead of the C+ version of Alias, but 15 has its own structuring device that allows it to immediately tell a gripping story without resorting to the “two weeks ago” shenanigans.

Charlie Cox plays Adam Lawrence, MI6 Deputy Director or possibly MI6 Deputy Director. It’s unclear if that’s a real difference, or if the show cares if it’s a difference. Adam’s boss is Sir Martin Angelis, an intelligence service legend played by Ciaran Hinds who gets credit for “With” here — two facts that should immediately become minor spoilers.

Martin is soon poisoned to death by a mysterious Russian woman (Olga Kurylenko). She’s Kara, she has a professional and personal past with Adam, and she’s invested in Adam’s rapid ascension to the top of MI6 (which again makes no sense in this context, but you either accept it or you don’t).

Adam must figure out what Kara’s motives are and whether she’s the only foreign agent targeting him and his volatile division. The evidence starts to mislead everyone but the viewer (and making the viewer overly informed was another odd choice) Adam could be hurt because he could be committing the show’s title.

Adam’s wife Marty (Oona Chaplin) worries about the risks of his new job and son Callum (Simon Leakey) is excited about the benefits , sullen teenage Ella (Beau Gadsdon) is a teenager in a TV political thriller, so her only character traits are “sulky” and “easily kidnapped.” This is hardly a spoiler, since that’s basically the sole purpose of teenage daughters on a show like this, especially in a country where there’s no supply of menacing cougars. Long live Kim Bauer.

Created by Matt Charman (Bridge of Spies), Treason is only five episodes long, Each episode is under 46 minutes, making it one of those shows where brevity is both the best and the worst quality. No doubt it would have played with the same momentum without the in medias res opening – the characters kept rushing to secret meetings in various London locations, apparently because Large signs identifying places like Soho Square and Borough Market. It’s not condensed to that 24 level, but the events of the story happen at a time that might take two Three days in the making, and too derivative to be as plot-driven as it could be, and too rushed to be as character-driven as it could be.

Conspiracy with political elements, set against the backdrop of the UK general election, but without any depth enough to count as nuance. There are elements of contemporary resonance, with Russian intelligence as a nefarious antagonist, but without enough depth to count as nuance. The presence of a completely random CIA agent (Tracy Ifeachor as Dede) to mess everything up could count as a commentary on the state of American imperialism, but nothing the character does for five episodes makes sense. Treason too often relies on the familiar genre trope of supposedly smart people doing stupid things – a parallel with Apple TV+’s London-set spy drama Slow Horses, where the characters do stupid things, but those stupid things are based on character-driven flaws, and are nicely balanced by the smart things they do.

Treason The main characters each have a trait or backstory detail, while the supporting characters are just… there. Adam has at least three or four colleagues in his MI6 inner sanctum who have almost no names, let alone personalities, and when one turns out to be surprisingly corrupt and the other surprisingly honorable, the fact that To feel heavy or surprising. You can’t do a role reversal without an established starting point for them to reverse.

The characters may be skinny, but the cast is good. Cox conveys a general sense of common-man decency—though, even if he’s not as compromised as his enemies think, he’s more compromised than the show makes it out to be. Kurylenko is actually enigmatic, even though the show doesn’t give us the information necessary to judge her, let alone understand her. Chaplin’s performance is probably the best in the series – with the possible exception of Hinds’ effortlessly aloof arrogance – even though the character is defined solely by his service in the military.

Netflix is ​​calling Treason a “limited series”, but the finale sets up a second season, which may be even more exciting than the first Fun and more unique. I still prefer to know what happened to those cute dead bunnies.



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