Citadel Season 1 Episode 1 Recap – what is the Citadel?

By Adam Lock
Published: April 28, 2023 (Last updated: March 12, 2024)
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Citadel opens with an effective and highly entertaining premiere, introducing the main cast, the heroes, and the villains. It feels like a Bond movie made for TV, showcasing its expensive budget with a cinematic sheen and some breathtaking international settings.

We recap the 2023 Amazon Prime Video series Citadel Season 1 Episode 1, which contains spoilers.

Prime Video is renowned for throwing big money at its original content. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is the most expensive television series ever made, with a rumored $58 million per episode. The streamer’s latest original series, Citadel, may come close to reaching that awe-inspiring budget, with a rumored $300 million spent on its six-part first season.

Citadel Season 1 Episode 1 Recap

The fruits of this hefty production can be witnessed in the opening scene, set onboard a glamorous train in the Italian Alps. Secret agent Nadia Sinh (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) steals terrorist Gregor Yovanovitch’s wallet and sifts through her purse of spy gadgets created by tech genius Bernard (Stanley Tucci), who talks in her ear.

Nadia’s mission is to stop this villain, who has a bag full of uranium with him. Ex-teammate and ex-lover Mason Kane (Richard Madden) enters the carriage, worried Nadia will mess up the mission on her own.

What is Gregor’s mission?

Mason takes on Gregor’s goon while Nadia flirts with the head honcho. Gregor is aware that Nadia works for the Citadel, though he reveals that he’s tricked her into this assignment. He’s actually been quite a busy villain, killing off all of the other Citadel agents, and he’s now come for Nadia.

As Nadia takes on a carriage full of gunmen, Mason kicks his rival out of the toilet window. The two agents are soon reunited for a final shootout. The good guys manage to end victorious, but Gregor awakens to throw a spanner in the works.

The terrorist states that Manticore will find them before he blows up the train and himself. This explosion causes the train to derail, and the two Citadel agents are hurled into a nearby river.

The explosion leaves Mason with an extreme case of amnesia, and he spends the next eight years of his life as Kyle Conroy in Eugene, Oregon. Certain events trigger vague memories from the crash, but otherwise, Kyle feels completely alone, without a past to cling to. He takes a DNA test, eager to find out about his history and relatives.

Who is Dahlia Archer?

At the same time, the US government finds a case containing the Citadel’s darkest secrets. UK Ambassador Dahlia Archer (Lesley Manville) wants the whereabouts of this case, and she manipulates Secretary McCulough into revealing its hidden location.

Dahlia sends twin agents Davik and Anders Silje to Miami to retrieve this important information, including the world’s nuclear codes. Bernard finds out about this secret mission and heads to Kyle’s home to awaken the amnesiac agent. He needs Kyle’s support in intercepting the case.

Bernard kidnaps Kyle, his wife Abby, and his daughter Hendrix, taking them to his secret base in Wyoming. He shows Kyle photographs and footage of them both interacting with each other, adding that they are old friends. Bernard tells Kyle that he was a spy called Mason, and that Kyle was just an alias.

What is the Citadel?

He explains that Mason worked for the Citadel, a spy organization that was loyal to no man or nation, an agency that protected all of the world anonymously. They helped to positively shape every significant event of the last 100 years. The Citadel are the good guys.

Eight years ago, they were double-crossed by one of their own, an unknown agent, who gave away a list of all the Citadel’s agents. This information was given to Manticore, a rival spy network founded by eight of the wealthiest families in the world. These are the bad guys, of course, orchestrating terrorism and pure chaos in the world for their own financial gain.

Citadel Season 1 Episode 1 Ending Explained

Bernard has been searching for survivors all that time. Now he’s found Mason, he needs his help. Their mission is to grab the nuclear codes before Manticore can unlock them and cause further carnage. This, in turn, will protect Mason’s family. Bernard will then unveil more of Mason’s past.

Mason doesn’t feel like a secret agent, though, and Bernard is forced to highlight his potential skills instead. He throws a knife at Mason, and the agent catches it, surprised by his own hidden talents.

Bernard then shows Mason a photograph of Nadia, his old partner, who is now presumed dead.

The premiere ends with a flashback to the crash site from eight years ago. Nadia crawls out of the river, having survived the explosion. She must be still out there, alive in the world, living heavily undercover.

What did you think of Amazon Prime Video’s Citadel Season 1 Episode 1? Comment below.

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