Episode 5 brings plenty of itchy feet for the lead characters as there is a desire to leave Syria, which means consequences.
This recap of Hulu’s No Man’s Land season 1, episode 5 contains significant spoilers.
We recapped every episode — check out the archive.
Episode 5 opens with a young Sarya. She looks out into the city, and she seems happy. It then flits to when she’s a little older, and her father is watching her in a dance class. They’ve obviously not seen each other in a while as she runs to hug him tightly. Her mother has died, which is why there’s sadness in the air. Sarya’s father wants her to return home even though she loves it in Paris — there’s nothing for her back in Syria; episode 5 shows a harsh reality for Sarya who once had it all in front of her.
Letting her guard down
In the present day, Sarya tells Antoine that he should go home and that she will help him. Antoine knows his sister is not in Syria and she’s dead — he now needs to leave. Sarya has let her guard down with Antoine — it shows in this scene by the way she looks at him.
ISIS social services
Nasser is given more orders from ISIS. His superior also tells Paul that they’ve found his child and they’ll be bringing him to Syria. Iyad tells Paul that he arranged it all; Paul hugs him. It’s ludicrous that you’d want your child in this place. Afterward, Nasser enters a room on his own to sit down and read the Quran. He’s disturbed by recent events.
Nasser meets the Head of Communications and Media at ISIS. He wants Nasser to record a video, but he tries to resist. He eventually decides to warm to the man, so he does not have to take part in the video. Nasser then meets the Minister of War. The minister tells Nasser that he’s been promoted to the military council. Nasser tells him he wants to stay on the field, but he’s told that the soldiers of God do not decide what to do. Episode 5 shows Nasser moving up in the ranks quickly, but it’s evident he does not want to be a part of anything.
Meanwhile, Sarya continues to escort Antoine out of Syria with an entourage, but they come across a roadblock that causes concern, so they go off-road.
Nasser speaks to Paul about his child
Nasser returns to Iyad and Paul and tells them of his transfer. Paul tells Nasser that he needs to shake off whatever is on his shoulders. Nasser is concerned that Paul is bringing his child here, but Paul tries to assure Nasser that this place is the best for his child now, and failing that, he’ll go to heaven with him. Later in the night, Nasser watches the video of him holding the soldier’s head in the air; the guilt is ripping him apart.
Due to going off roads, Antoine and Sarya have to stay overnight in an empty building. As Antoine goes to sleep, Sarya stays up listening to the radio in case of any activity. In the middle of the night, Antoine finds Sarya; she is upset that they are mounting casualties and losing ground to ISIS. She feels defeat is around the corner and begins to cry, so Antoine comforts her by holding her face. The pair then have sex. There’s a lot of despair and emotion in the room, and recent events have brought the characters closer.
Let’s get out of here
Nasser tells Paul that his child doesn’t deserve to be here and that he’s going to help him get out. Paul agrees to join Nasser, but they are worried about Iyad, who is in way too deep. Nasser doesn’t want to leave him behind.
In a flashback, it shows a younger Sarya return home as her father asked. She seems to have fit back in. One morning, she is greeted by YPJ soldiers. There’s a warm welcome in the village. In the present day, Sarya tells Antoine that her mother wanted her to take ballet lessons and believed France was cliché. She explains that she left France because Syria is home, but she does miss Paris. Antoine then asks her if that was her first time having sex. She scoffs at the idea, but there’s an element of confirmation in the way she brushes it off; they both agree that what happened between each other was real, but also, Sarya believes it was a one-time thing. But she’s not believable; she wants him to stay.
Stanley is not MI6
Nasser meets his real superior Stanley who has sent him into ISIS. He’s impressed that he’s got into the military council, but Nasser tells him he’s out, and he’s leaving with his friends. His superior tells him he is not from MI6 and that when Nasser returns, he may be detained by immigrants. Stanley reveals to Nasser that he works for Israel, not the UK.
On route out of Syria, Sarya’s entourage is stopped by ISIS. Antoine is hidden in the back. When Antoine’s hiding place is found, Sarya has no choice but to shoot at the soldiers, but then she’s held at gunpoint. Antoine shoots the man who is about to capture her. The pair hug each other after a dangerously close call and Sarya whispers, “I’d have liked for you to stay”.
No Man’s Land season 1, episode 5 brings plenty of itchy feet for the lead characters as there is a desire to leave Syria, which means consequences.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.