Tehran season 1, episode 1 recap — the premiere explained

By Daniel Hart
Published: September 25, 2020 (Last updated: February 11, 2024)
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Apple TV+ series Tehran season 1, episode 1 - Emergency Landing in Tehran


Episode 1 is a thrilling ending; the answers are light so the thriller is still a headscratcher for the audience but the lead character is intriguing enough to sustain interest.

This recap of Apple TV+ series Tehran season 1, episode 1, “Emergency Landing in Tehran” contains significant spoilers. Apple will be releasing the first three episodes and then it will be weekly.

We will be recapping every episode — check out the archive.

The opening

It starts in Amman, Jordan at an airport. A woman wearing a hijab boards a plane and the man accompanying her tells her everything will be okay. The plane goes through heavy turbulence and the lights go out — the captain announces that the plane is having an engine problem so they need to land in Tehran. A couple on the plane are distressed and tell the cabin crew that they are Israeli and they cannot land in Tehran or they will be arrested. When the plane lands, the cabin crew insist that the couple has to leave or they will be forcibly removed.

This is a sharp start to the series — the anxiety can be felt as this couple fears for their lives by what seems to be an emergency landing.

Passports please

When the couple leaves the plane, they are immediately asked for their passports. The pair are escorted away. Meanwhile, the woman with the hijab trades clothes with a flight attendant — the woman now dressed as the flight attendant is Tamar.

I recognised the flight attendant

At Israeli Headquarters, they have an update from Tehran airport that they will have the codes later and they believe Tamar can handle it. Back at the airport, the couple (now named as Shira and Yoni) are taken to a room. Shira tells Toni she recognised the flight attendant from the base. The story is already intricately linking characters together as tensions heighten.

Did they notice you switch?

While out with his wife, Faraz gets a call about two Israelis that landed in Tehran airport and that they are held in the special section. Meanwhile, Tamar gets inside a taxi and drives through Tehran — she sees a man who has been hung in the middle of the city and gets tearful.

I think this scene demonstrates that despite Tamar’s espionage skills, she is not desensitized to violence yet.

Tamar enters a house and a man shows her the room she will be staying in. She rings Israeli Headquarters and updates them. HQ wonders if anyone noticed that she switched at the airport.

Interviewing Shira

At the airport, Faraz interviews Shira and reassures that everything will be okay but there’s a sinister undertone to what he’s saying. He asks her what she did for the Israeli army. She explains how she helped soldiers who had welfare problems — Faraz wonders if she handled classified information but she denies that’s the case. Faraz then reads a transcript where Shira claims she saw a flight attendant in the airport bathroom that she believes was from her base back in Israel.

Of course, this is all circumstantial for Shira, but not for Faraz who is desperate to find out if his country has been infiltrated.

Let them go

Faraz asks Shira about her encounter in the bathroom, but with little answers he hits her. Shira cries and states she is just going to India. Faraz keeps pressing her about the flight attendant. Faraz rings his boss and he tells him to let the couple go as they don’t want an international incident.

The couple manages to get on the connecting flight. Meanwhile, Faraz looks at security footage at the bathroom — he believes the woman entering and the one leaving is two different people. He asks for the connecting flight to be stopped. However, it’s too late — the plane is already in the air. Faraz tells his wife that he has to stay. She tells him she’s sick of all the promises that he never sticks to.

So the series is establishing that Faraz has marriage problems due to his dedication to work; this will probably unravel as the story progresses. It’s difficult to gauge Faraz at this stage — he shows very little emotion.

The ending

Tamar heads out and one of Zhila’s friends asks if she can see her face as apparently, she’s been abused by a man — so this scene establishes that Tamar switched clothes with a woman named Zhila at the airport. She heads into a building and checks out the server room. She messages her hacker and asks for a password. Israeli Headquarters are alerted to the progress of Tamar’s hack. Suddenly, a man enters the server room and chases after. Israeli Headquarters loses connection. The man chasing after Tamar mocks her about her husband and starts kissing her. Tamar takes off her hajib and kicks him to the floor. She accidentally kills him as he suffers severe head trauma as he lands on the ground.

Tehran season 1, episode 1 is a thrilling ending; the answers are light so the thriller is still a headscratcher for the audience but the lead character is intriguing enough to sustain interest.

Additional points
  • Tamar prepares her makeup and then the man at the house speaks to her — he’s upset that his wife Zhila has swapped with her and doesn’t believe she will be coming back.

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