The Spy Recap: Would You Lie For Your Country?

September 6, 2019
Daniel Hart 0
Netflix, TV Recaps
3.5

Summary

The Spy Season 1, Episode 1, “The Immigrant” feels thin in parts with the world Eli resides in, but it has promise as a Netflix Limited Series.

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3.5

Summary

The Spy Season 1, Episode 1, “The Immigrant” feels thin in parts with the world Eli resides in, but it has promise as a Netflix Limited Series.

This recap of Netflix Series The Spy Season 1, Episode 1, “The Immigrant” contains significant spoilers. The Spy is based on the life of the Israeli spy, Eli Cohen. You can read the spoiler-free review of Season 1 by clicking these words.


The opening scenes in The Spy presents a dishevelled looking Eli Cohen (Sacha Baron Cohen). He is speaking to a rabbi, presumably in a prison cell. His wife hears that a spy named Eli has been arrested. The ends of his fingers are noticeably tortured — no nails — and stained in blood.

Then Episode 1, “The Immigrant” flits to 6 years earlier, giving us a perspective whiplash. Eli is happily doing admin work in a store, looking at a lovely note from his wife, Nadia Cohen (Hadar Ratzon Rotem). The news confirms there are more attacks on the Israeli/Syrian borders.

We learn of Eli’s paranoia. At a party that he and his wife attend, he snarkily explains that the hosts only invited them because they are “brown” and that they only see him as an Arab.

After a brief glimpse into Eli’s development as a faithful, adored husband, Episode 1 switches its focus to the Israeli government requiring a spy in Syrian lands. Syria are building something in Golan.

Eli applies for a role for the government, and they half-heartedly peruse his application before accepting it. They put Eli through a series of tests and training exercises; knowledge about aircraft, applying attentiveness, learning morse code, building strength and stamina, but most importantly, knowing his surroundings and the people. Episode 1 reeks of patriotism, with the minimum requirement that he will do anything for his country — even lie to his wife.

As he heads to Zurich for a debrief, and his wife believing he is now a flashy international buyer, Eli becomes Kamel Amin Thaabeth — a man born in Beirut in 1915, but his parents moved to Buenos Aires. He expresses his love for Damascus.

The Spy Season 1, Episode 1, “The Immigrant” was a fairly impressive start, but at times felt a little flaky with the character building.

Historic Observations

  • Eli used to smuggle drugs from Egypt to Israel.
  • Eli was given a choice on the high-risk mission. He could have backed out.

You can read the recap of the second episode by clicking these words.

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