In From the Cold season 1, episode 1 recap – what is Jenny’s secret?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: January 28, 2022 (Last updated: December 16, 2023)
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Netflix In From the Cold season 1, episode 1 - What Is Burning


For an opening episode, it’s a decent enough start in terms of story. 

This recap of Netflix’s In From the Cold season 1, episode 1, “What Is Burning?” contains spoilers.

Read the review of season 1.

In From the Cold season 1, episode 1 recap

The first episode of In From the Cold begins in Madrid, Spain, where during a rooftop dinner, one of the guests appears to suddenly go insane and throws one of the fellow guests to his death. Whilst on a bus journey towards the University of Madrid, a young male similarly snaps and hurls racist abuse towards another passenger. Elsewhere, a woman randomly stabs a young mother before she attempts to steal her baby. 

In much calmer scenes, Jenny Franklin (Margarita Levieva) and her daughter Becca (Lydia Fleming) check into a hotel within Madrid. They prepare for Becca’s upcoming figure skating competition. Before long, it becomes clear that there’s tension following Jenny’s recent separation from her husband, aka Becca’s father. After she forgets tampons, Jenny goes into a lift and gets attacked by black suits with a smoke grenade. 

Upon regaining consciousness, Jenny learns that they’re the CIA, with Chauncey (Cillian O’Sullivan) seemingly in charge. Chauncey believes that Jenny is, in fact, a former Russian agent named Anya Petrova, “The Whisper”. When Jenny refuses to cooperate, Chauncey orders her death, and so, she kicks their arses and escapes, pretty much confirming that she is Anya Petrova. But it was a trick, and Jenny gets knocked out. 

As Becca goes out for a meal with Maddie (Lola Mae Loughran), Jenny gets told by Chauncey that if she refuses to help the CIA she will be placed in prison, and as a result, Becca’s life will get ruined. With no choice, Jenny reluctantly decides to help. After meeting Chauncey’s tech support/hacker Chris Clark (Charles Brice), a spark occurs when they shake hands. Chauncey explains to Jenny that the recent violent attacks in Madrid maybe suggestions of her previous espionage. The three events have one thing in common, Austrian gunrunner Yannick Mair (Michael John Treanor). To get to him in the military hospital, Jenny must “slip on some heels and say hi”. 

A quick flashback to life in Moscow shows a younger Jenny/Anya (Stasya Miloslavskaya) with her girlfriend Faina (Anastasia Martin). They are verbally abused by three lads, although Anya and Faina have the last laugh as they attack them. It later becomes apparent that Faina is the daughter of Arthur Orlov, who is trying to get the secret Yaroslav Program out of Russia, and that Jenny/Anya was under orders to kidnap Faina. But Jenny went against the plan and didn’t as she believes it would be better not to scare Arthur. A woman in a black cloak tells Jenny/Anya that it’s not her job to think.

The ending

Whilst on the mission, Jenny successfully manages to place the device in the target’s eye although she becomes trapped in a prison, apparently set up by Chauncey. With prisoners chasing after Jenny, Becca returns to the hotel room, which is a proper mess. With Jenny unable to escape, has no choice but to body morph into an older male. “What the f**k is going on” Chris exclaims, and it’s likely many of us watching are thinking the same thing.

What did you think of Netflix’s In From the Cold season 1, episode 1? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Netflix. 

Netflix, Streaming Service, TV Recaps
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