Episode 4 sheds more light on Antoine and his sister’s past as secrets are revealed, providing more context to why Anna disappeared. At the halfway point, it’s unclear where this story is going to lead — it’s on a knife-edge.
This recap of Hulu’s No Man’s Land season 1, episode 4 contains significant spoilers.
We recapped every episode — check out the archive.
Episode 4 starts with Antoine having sex with a woman, and it seemingly looks casual. They are definitely enjoying the honeymoon phase, ordering pizza between sex. The next day, his sister Anna introduces Antoine to the guy she is seeing — Navid, the pizza delivery man. Over family dinner, it’s revealed that Navid had to leave Iran for political reasons and he’s trying to achieve asylum status — Antoine offers to speak to his friend Alex to help Navid get approval. But there’s something not quite right — despite Antoine’s kindness, there’s a certain shot where Navid looks suspicious of Anna’s brother.
In the present day, Antoine is carrying a coffin with Sarya for a funeral. They are mourning the death of their own. The YPJ stand solemnly next to the burial. It’s fascinating how quickly they have to grieve and move on. War is not a game of time.
Nasser is asked to lead a squad for ISIS and Paul, and Iyad congratulates him for his promotion. There’s evidently consequences of him leading, especially as he’s a mole in the terrorist organization.
What will you do when you meet your sister?
As for Antoine, he’s earned the trust of Sarya. She teaches him how to use a rifle and sets out some targets and is showing how relaxed she is around him. Antoine seems to have immersed himself in conflict rather quickly. Sarya asks the important question — what will he do if his sister is in Syria? He’s not thought that far ahead.
Anna loves Navid
In a flashback, Antoine is asked by the police about Navid. Apparently, he’s been involved in an armed robbery. Anna claims to know nothing in front of the police — she tells Antoine that Navid wasn’t involved and he must hide or he will get deported; his asylum was rejected. Antoine has a different opinion — that Navid hiding is dangerous. Anna tells Antoine that she loves him. The siblings erupt into an argument about it. After the argument, Antoine speaks to his parents about the situation. These flashback scenes put Antoine into a completely different light — his meddling with someone’s life does not bode well for his character.
Preparing for attacks
In the present day, Sarya prepares Antoine and thanks him for helping YPJ. She clearly sees him as a useful person to have, and there’s sympathy in her voice. Meanwhile, Nasser, Iyad, and Paul are getting ready to fight.
YPJ ready themselves. Antoine now bears a weapon as ISIS draw nearer to them. Meanwhile, Nasser’s squad send a suicide bomber into a village before opening fire. One of the YPJ soldiers unclips a grenade to kill a group of ISIS soldiers but kills herself in the process. Nasser ends up killing one of his own men to stop them from killing one of the women soldiers. However, then he ends up killing them anyway — the reasons for still killing the soldier is unclear, but you can tell it inflicted his mind — it’s possible that he didn’t want her to be a prisoner under ISIS and suffer. Nasser’s squad succeeds in taking over a village.
Back to Sarya and Antoine; they are still waiting for ISIS forces to move their way. However, they learn that ISIS will not be arriving in their area.
Nasser has won the trust of his superiors as they praise his good judgment. He’s asked to cut off the head of the dead female soldier. As everyone chants, Nasser has to slowly cut off the head and raise it high. Episode 4 sees Nasser’s involvement in ISIS grow even more difficult for him. He has to partake in unspeakable and unforgivable actions that will horrify his mind for the rest of his life.
In a flashback, Anna has received news from an NGO in Iran. Her partner Navid was executed and hung. She’s upset and angry and wants to take it to journalists. Antoine tells her that journalists will state they followed immigration law. Anna senses Antoine knows something, and he tells her that he and their parents were trying to help, insinuating that they took it to the immigration authorities. Anna slaps him, dismayed that her family would do this — she accuses them of killing Navid, and she tells Antoine that she never wants to see them again.
In the present day, Antoine is in deep thought as more YPJ soldiers join them. He meets a soldier named Shamaran, and she tells him she is Swiss, not French. She also tells him she was there the day Luke got hurt; Antoine tells Sarya that she isn’t his sister and she consoles him with a hug. At this point, the series is putting in the consideration that Antoine’s sister may not be alive at all.
No Man’s Land season 1, episode 4 sheds more light on Antoine and his sister’s past as secrets are revealed, providing more context to why Anna disappeared. At the halfway point, it’s unclear where this story is going to lead — it’s on a knife-edge.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.