Episode 1 is a well-delivered opener, introducing a character on the precipice of a hunch and going to depths to find out the truth.
This recap of Hulu’s No Man’s Land season 1, episode 1 contains significant spoilers.
We recapped every episode — check out the archive.
Episode 1 begins in Syria in 2014. A woman tells her comrades that they will be moving in 5 minutes. These are female volunteers who are fighting against ISIS who are named the YPJ. The group has a man named Antoine hostage, and they give him water.
5 days earlier, this man, Antoine, is in Paris waking up with his partner Lorraine. The couple is trying to plan for a family, so they head to a clinic to retrieve Antoine’s sperm sample. Antoine heads into a private room with Lorraine to collect a sample. When they leave the room, Antoine is drawn to the news on the TV about conflicts in Syria. As they try and clinically do a modern conception on his partner, Antoine seems distracted. Episode 1 begins Antoine’s hunch and one that ultimately puts him in danger.
Could it be Antoine’s sister?
When Antoine returns home, he watches a video of his sister who is presumed dead from a suicide bombing. He compares the news footage and the footage of his sister. Antoine shows his family the news footage, and it upsets his mother; there is a resemblance to how his sister Anna ties her hair which matches the footage, but the family and Antoine’s partner believe he’s after a red herring. The footage is not clear at all, so it’s understandable why the other characters are skeptical.
Trying to find confirmation
Antoine rings a journalist named Mehmet that puts him in touch with an American soldier; the soldier says he knows the French woman in the news footage. He sends a photo, but before the soldier confirms, there’s a disturbance on the other end, so he doesn’t get a concrete answer. Lorraine reminds Antoine that his sister died in a bomb explosion with a 96% DNA match.
Going to great lengths
The story flips on its head rather quickly and at pace. Antoine heads to Istanbul, but the American soldier is not there. Journalist Mehmet gives him another solution. Antoine then flies to Reyhanli, Turkey. He meets a man and Antoine asks if his sister is alive. After plenty of conversation, Antoine agrees to go to Syria with this man; the man claims it will not be that dangerous at all, but there’s an anxiety that can be felt with the music.
Heading into Syria
Both the man and Antoine end up in a refugee camp in Turkey. When they reach halfway through the camp, they cross the border to Syria and drive deeper into the country; Antoine is understandably nervous. On their journey, they meet ISIS soldiers who want to be paid — what follows is an explosion and gunfire. Antoine is caught in a crossfire.
The YPJ shows up and ask Antoine to get up after the gunfire ends. They ask him to take off his clothes and get on his knees. The women take him as a prisoner. He asks one of the women for help, and he asks about Anna. Antoine is told that this not the best day to join ISIS. They assume he’s part of the organization. No Man’s Land season 1, episode 1 is a well-delivered opener, introducing a character on the precipice of a hunch and going to depths to find out the truth.