Bentley discovers drugs, Tara engineers a prison break, and SoYun goes on holiday in “The Bentley Lament”.
This recap of Treadstone Season 1, Episode 5, “The Bentley Lament”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Following on directly from last week, Treadstone Season 1, Episode 5, “The Bentley Lament”, opens with Doug (Brian J. Smith) leading his new Scooby gang of masked-up mercenaries into a drug-processing plant, guided by flashbacks of the building’s blueprints and the newfound recollection of all his programmed special skills. Those skills include, but are not limited to, waltzing around on operations with his face clearly on display, noisily starting a gunfight to distract his accomplices from his actual assassination mission, and trying to figure out what on Earth is going on by finally cornering his target — a woman in a gold shellsuit, like an Eastenders extra — and killing her just as she gets chatty. He also briefly runs into his pal Mike (Ian Davies), whom he tells to forget he ever saw him there. He could have just worn his balaclava, to be honest.
But it’s a solid, action-packed opening to “The Bentley Lament”. Following it, we head to 1973 Budapest, where Bentley (Jeremy Irvine) is morosely combing through dossiers of the CIA assets he was brainwashed into offing during his Treadstone training. Last week’s episode wasn’t as temporally playful, so it’s nice to pick this subplot up again. Bentley interrogates a local barkeep who clearly recognizes him and then does what any self-respecting high-level government assassin would do in the same situation: He sits and gets drunk until the barman turns on him and reinforcements arrive. Ambushing the reinforcements, Bentley fishes for more information, his amnesia making for an unintentionally comedic interrogation in which he asks why he had spent months threatening these men — he was part of a KGB group that was terrorizing them — and where he lives. He’s given an address, at least.
A brief trip to Accra, Ghana, proves that Treadstone Episode 5 remains better in motion than it does in conversation, as Tara (Tracy Ifeachor) hooks up with her journalist friend Meghan (Rachael Ofori) for some artless expositional dialogue and a new plot thread to tug on. She’s looking for more information about Treadstone and Stiletto Six, and her old associate Sebastian (Eric Kofi Abrefa) might have some, but he’s currently in prison for smuggling weapons. That should make having a chat with him a bit challenging, but no obstacle is insurmountable when you’re an implausibly resourceful journo.
Things aren’t exactly straightforward on the Yalu River in North Korea, either, where SoYun (Hyo-Joo Han) needs to cross into China on a rickety smuggling boat. Her escort reckons he’s a dab hand at this kind of thing, but the authorities promptly arrive and demand his papers, which are immediately identified as forgeries, and then he’s shot in a scuffle once SoYun is discovered hiding among his cargo. RIP to the most useless middleman in espionage, I guess. SoYun has no qualms about engaging whooping mode and dealing with the current problem ballistically, but that leaves her with another: She has to row across the river herself, and she left behind a tell-tale cuddly toy on the riverbank, right next to the guard she murdered. Oops.
Speaking of China, “The Bentley Lament” reveals that another familiar face is there: The very pretty and I believe thus far nameless — credited on IMDb as Nira Patel (Shruti Haasan) — Treadstone asset who was activated in India and offed the heir to a pharmaceutical empire with a quick spray of deodorant. She’s directed to a locker full of guns and a picture of SoYun, her next target, which bodes well as far as the audience is concerned. A scrap between those two promises to be fun, and Treadstone Episode 5 continues its season-long trend of having its female characters be significantly cooler and more interesting than its blokes.
As if to prove a point, we rejoin Tara in Ghana, arriving at Elmina Island Prison to see her old pal Sebastian, who it turns out isn’t difficult to get an audience with at all. She’s whisked straight inside by her local contact Kofi (Benard Affat) and then Sebastian just waltzes her right into general population — surely that isn’t how prison visits work, even in Ghana? Sebastian is rather pitifully in love with Tara and shows her a romantic momento he smuggled inside to make a point, but much to his annoyance she’s only interested in Stiletto Six — not just a story, which apparently she’s always chasing, but the story, even if the only story Sebastian seems interested in is the one about he and Tara potentially being together and having kids. Call me cynical, but I’m not sure this guy has properly come to terms with his current predicament.
Neither, for that matter, has Bentley, who back in 70s Budapest arrives at his old apartment, where he apparently spent four months and which has been perfectly preserved in his absence. His name is scratched over and over again into one of the walls, which makes him cry while looking at himself in the mirror — but the mirror is two-way glass hiding a morbid-looking secret observation room with video cameras and recordings of Bentley interrogating his friend Matheson (Oliver Walker) for the pleasure of the KGB and specifically young Petra (Emilia Schüle), who the footage shows him passionately smooching. The paid-off proprietor of the apartment building fills in some blanks for Bentley, who apparently confided in him about how in brutally torturing his fellow man he had found his true purpose, which naturally Bentley is horrified by. Does it really make sense that the KGB would have left this guy alive to reveal crucial plot details?
Anyway, Bentley has no choice but to get drunk and make crank calls in another local watering hole, where he meets Katya (Maja Simonsen) — pretty women just flock to this guy, it seems — who can help him get rid of some of that bottled-up trauma by leading him to a subterranean drug den and feeding him acid tabs. At least he gets a smooch out of it.
Despite his reticence, Sebastian has no choice but to help Tara in “The Bentley Lament”, since she gets Kofi to have a follow inmate stab him and whisk him from the prison in an ambulance. He’s surprisingly okay with this given how he had previously stated explicitly that he wasn’t interested. Perhaps he sees it as a romantic gesture. Either way, he and Tara hook up with Meghan, and the three head out to purchase the launch codes for Stiletto Six.
Doug, returning home after his successful mission, discusses it with Sam (Tess Haubrich), who remains as delusional about their relationship as ever. “Are we okay?” she asks him, after revealing that he is in fact from Boston whereas her entire identity was a fabrication so she could better program him into a brainless assassin. No, you’re not okay, Sam!
Neither, as it happens, is SoYun. She comes ashore in Dandong, China, and pays off a people-smuggling trucker to drop her off in the rural east of the country, where she hooks up with Nira and hands her documentation on Stiletto Six. When the intel triggers some memories for her, SoYun tries to snatch it back, but she gets into a tussle with Nira. It’s a bit anticlimactic, all things considered. Treadstone Season 1, Episode 5 ends with SoYun being shot in the gut and collapsing to the ground on a Chinese hillside, many miles from home and considerably more from understanding who she really is. Maybe she’ll take some acid next week.