Tribes of Europa season 1, episode 1 recap – “Chapter 1” crash landing

February 19, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Netflix, TV Recaps
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This recap of Tribes of Europa season 1, episode 1, “Chapter 1”, contains spoilers. You can read out spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.

In a standard bit of opening expository text, Tribes of Europa episode 1 gets some of the macro worldbuilding out of the way nice and early. We’re in Europa, 2074, being led through some narration by Liv of the Origines. In 2029, a sudden global blackout led to complete anarchy and the inevitable emergence of micro-states with their own beliefs and cultural identities — tribes, in other words. Liv’s tribe, the Origines, have lived happily in harmony with nature, staying out of everyone else’s business, believing themselves to be safe. But no such luck, obviously. Tribes are fighting for supremacy throughout Europa and, thanks to happenstance, she and her family will be drawn into the conflict whether they like it or not. Spoiler alert: They don’t.

Liv has two siblings, Elja and Kiano, who all witness an aircraft crash nearby while out hunting. It’s a snazzy craft that didn’t exist prior to Black December, the much-talked-about but never properly explained end of the modern world, so it must have come from the so-called “New World”. But nobody we see early on in Tribes of Europa seems to have any technology at all, let alone any that flies. The Origines are isolationist Luddite hunter-gatherer types leaving in a woodland hideout called the Refugium, and they’re pretty staunchly anti-technology since they believe that it precipitated the ruin of the old world.

It’s established quickly in Tribes of Europa season 1, episode 1 that this aircraft, then, is the source of some concern. Elsewhere, it turns out that Lord Varvara of the Crows is also looking for it at the behest of her androgynous Kapitan since Atlantian technology holds the key to dominating Europe. When Liv, Elja, and Kiano’s father, Jakob, agrees to head out into the forest to find the wreckage, it’s obvious that these two factions are on a collision course, which might be putting it mildly.

It’s the Origines who get there first. They find the wreckage, which is of an Atlantian Hoverjet, apparently, but sans its pilot. Elja also stumbles upon an Atlantian cube, but he pockets it sneakily and goes to place it in his little secret bunker of old-world technology, including a PSP and an iPhone and news clippings that chronicle the downfall of civilization. He also, as luck would have it, finds the pilot there, bleeding out and in a desperate search for the cube.

Tribes of Europa episode 1 is smart to give us an idea of how the Crows do things before they inevitably turn up in the Refugium. Jakob and one of his buddies — I never caught his name — venture to a nearby settlement that has been ransacked, and the only survivor lives just long enough to let us know the Crows are responsible. Thanks to this, when Jakob returns to the Refugium and finds the injured pilot and the cube there — the kids brought him back for medical attention — it’s a pretty major deal when the Crows arrive at the Refugium. They all take a big huff of something or other and then set about the Origines. In all the chaos, the pilot, knowing hope is lost for him, passes the cube on to Elja, which scans him and will apparently protect him, though perhaps not from some mysterious calamity on its way from the East which will be mentioned again before long.

The fight doesn’t go well for the Origines. Kia enables Elja to escape with the cube, but he and Jakob are taken captive, while Liv is stabbed and presumed dead. Tribes of Europa season 1, episode 1 ends with her eyes snapping open, but by then it’s too late — her brother and father have been taken captive, her other brother is missing, and everyone she has ever known is dead and dying around her. Quite a start.

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