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DISCLAIMER: There are *minor* spoilers in this review. If you don’t want to know any of the general plot plus some details in between, I suggest you watch and then come back!

 

 Episode ONE: “The Immigrant"  FULL

“Last I Checked, You Work For Me.’”

 

THE FULL

  • The Mesmerizing grisly tint over the show’s opening. The accelerated energy of the opening sequence left me desiring much more as the credits began to roll. A Mystery is created.

  • The violence depicted in the first shot is easily missed however if seen is highly cringeworthy.

  • The satisfaction that Cohen’s character gets during his training scenes is just as satisfying for the audience

  • Not an essential not but when Cohen stares into the mirror halfway through the episode he looks almost identical to Freddie Mercury. Something that is reminiscent of  when Cohen was signed on to Bohemian Rhapsody.

 

THE SPILLED

  • Sacha Baron Cohen is fantastic in the role, however it takes some getting used to, to not hear the accent of Borat, Bruno or even Pirelli from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

  • There are a few confusing war conversations that go on throughout the first episode. One can only hope that after time the war plot will become more clear. 

  • Around the halfway mark, the episode loses a little bit of steam, however it quickly gains it back.

 

Deep Dive:

The first episode of The Spy is a gripping beginning with much more left to unfold throughout the season. Excellent performances may be slightly hindered by previous performances, but the story being told her is riveting from beginning to end - including its dazzling cinematography.

 

Episode Two: "What's New, Buenos Aires?" FULL

“You are a lucky cheat .”

 

THE FULL

  • Once again a stellar, tense and charming opening to The Spy leading Cohen on a slow crawl towards a woman he supposes is his wife. 

  • Such an engrossing way of filmmaking, the filter set over everything is wonderful and the incredibly unique way of displaying someone writing on a page, may seem pointless (and it is) but is delightfully charming

  • Consistently witty dialogue throughout that makes even the most tense of situations uplifting. 

  • Frightening and intense confrontation between Eli and fellow spy, Maya

  • Thrilling chase scene that feels as though it belongs in a high budget blockbuster

 

THE SPILLED

  • Wish there was a little more interest being gathered for Eli’s wife, Nadia’s side story.  

  • Confusing backstory remains as Eli infiltrates a party for… some reason. 

  • The closing moments left a bad taste in my mouth. The ending felt anticlimactic and lacking any emotional impact due to the characters actions a scene prior to this occurring.

 

Deep Dive:

Where the first episode lacked, the second makes up for in strides, removing a majority of the confusing backstory and instead letting Cohen’s Spy operate his mission. The episode is immensely tense, charming and witty - leaving only the question of what exactly the mission is about.

Episode Three: "Get Some"  FULL

“I’d Advise You To Keep Them Seperate From The Rest of Your Bars of Soap, So There’s No Mix Up.”

 

THE FULL

  • Eli learning about the gadgets and details of his mission is engrossing beyond a reasonable measure. You understand that this guy is a secret badass, just with some hesitation. 

  • The relationship he builds with the rich Syrian man entering the country is tense and all the more worthwhile as it develops

  • The toast eating scene is a nice emotional touch, bringing Eli's wife briefly back into the centerfold 

  • The costume department proves yet again that they know how to suit their characters and intrigue the viewer with glimpses of a 007 character design

  • The border scene is brutal to witness

  • The furniture export business is an incredibly clever way to relay information 

  • The motorcycle circumstance story is disturbing and opens up more possibilities of mission failure as the story progresses 

  • The contrast between the bleak world Nadia lives in and the colorful world that Eli has created is purposefully depressing to see throughout 

  • Even with some eerily slow scenes there's a drastic sense of tension - that suddenly creeps out of nowhere

 

THE SPILLED

  • I remain clueless of the mission at hand, what is Eli trying to figure out and why? Has this already been explained in a prior episode and I misunderstood? 

  • The attempted cheating scene contains less tension than it was intended, something that will most certainly be called back to in later episodes 

  • The episode races to establish the furniture importing business but suddenly jumps four months into the future. Why not jump sooner than it did? 

  • Eli's social skills seem heightened immensely between when he was a civilian to when he is a spy. A matter of years but this growth is barely shown

 

 

Deep Dive:

As the third episode concludes I remain satisfied with the show thus far, while the over linking story remains a mystery. While there are far more positives than negatives the slower moments of the episode dragged more than usual, mainly because it contains some of the most tense as well.

Episode Four: "The Odd Couples"  HALF

"By making his dreams come true, you've ruined mine."

THE FULL:

  • Eli's unaltered state of mind as gunshots go off waking him to him suddenly having a panic attack, genuinely gives myself anxiety watching the crowd surround the spy 

  • Eli's loyalty to his wife is honorable but is likely to get him captured, or worse killed. 

  • The Morse code transmission and written note texts that appear on screen as they are read continue to be of interest, with immersive design. 

  • The Suidani conversation is threatening in all the right ways - a very fascinating dialogue that leads to a very interesting location

 

THE SPILLED: 

  • As the show is drawing to a close I'm worried that we still won't know what the ultimate story is. Eli is undercover in Syria to … I still have no clue  

  • The story jumps tremendous amounts of time per episode, leaving us to figure out the minute details 

  • The style of filmmaking has lost some of its flair in the fourth episode but at moments it still contains some of the most impressive cinematography 

  • The possibility of cheating between Nadia and Dan seems to stretch unnecessarily farther with each episode, but comes to an abrupt conclusion this episode

  • As in typical movie/tv show fashion, the soldiers are notoriously bad shots



Episode FIVE: “Fish Gotta Swim"  FULL

“You are a“After dinner, go to the terrace.” miracle.”

 

THE FULL: 

  • Not loyal for his cover but willing to ship a gift for his wife at home that may possibly spoil his cover identity. Let's see how this plays out.  

  • The deterioration of a relationship Eli built from the ground up for his mission is a sad moment, especially when Cohen has an intense physical reaction when he arrives home

  • Sacha Baron Cohen's performance is top tier in episode five, providing some of the best range he has given thus far 

  • I absolutely adore the soccer game on the television, the conversation between his home agency and his apartment is in a manner of speaking, "adorable" albeit compromising

 

THE SPILLED :

  • The episode hits the nail a little too hard on the head with the Bin Laden storyline 

  • The home life outside the mission is bleaker than usual and every time it cuts home, the depressing side of the Spy game is revealed. This is a fantastic contrast but it's suddennap

  • There is a perplexing transition to the board room (or dining room table) with the agency back home, how he managed to get there I'm honestly unsure. They mention his need to come home but never seem to plan it, so is he home or where is this meeting taking place?


Episode SIX: “Home”  FULL

"You Need to Rest, You Sound...on Edge."

THE FULL: 

  • Such a big mystery at the beginning of this episode, is this getting us to the very start of the series opening? 

  • The tracking shot on Nadia climbing  stairs of the embassy is hypnotic, as it is reflected in the style that she had very little care in being caught 

  • The greed the Israel government has towards Eli (Agent 88) is repulsive 

  • The reveal from the previous episode into this one makes it all the more worthwhile. The show relies on you remembering aspects of the previous episodes and waiting for the dots to be connected for you.  

  • Seeing the job dissolve his actual personality is a sad affair as Eli believes he'd be better off as his alter ego.

  • The manner in which the filmmakers have handled Eli's fate brought up in the opening moments of the series is beautifully done, it genuinely brought a tear to my eye

 

THE SPILLED:

  • The final scene didn't seem necessary, the show should have ended with the text on the screen instead of a sequel bait scenario (not saying that there will be)

 

Deep Dive:

A phenomenal final episode for this limited series, pieces finally shift together and story arcs are brought full circle to the shows beginning. By far the best episode in the set of six and while it's a great one time watch, I feel it may take time before I could consider going back and grabbing ahold of the hidden details I missed the first time around. The closing moments are beautifully done and brought to the attention the risks mentally and physically when dabbling in espionage

Season Thoughts:| FULL: 5, HALF: 1, SPILLED: 0 | VERDICT: FULL

 

Gideon Raff has created a deeply immersive series that follows a spy attempting to find out and (in ways) control the Syrian government's plans. Sacha Baron Cohen is absolutely riveting in the lead role of Eli Cohen, a distant relative of the man himself. The spy tale Eli finds himself engulfed in is thrilling, intense and a compelling time with a character we see grow from being an awkward civilian to a suave spy that can manipulate any situation. With all the positives, I'd just hope the story was a little more cohesive with a much more desirable resolution up to the final episode. When the final episode began from the first second to the credits rolling, I understood what the risks were for Eli, what the toll was for himself and his family, as well as the people he interacted with. The sixth and final episode of this limited run series is satisfying in almost every right, with only the end suffering from a nod to the persistence of the espionage business. The Spy is not a show to miss, just don't get bogged down by the profound reasoning of Eli's mission, it will all come together in the final moments.

  • Connor Petrey
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Show Review

A CASUAL      BULLET POINT

 Written By Connor R. Petrey

Published: 09.03.19

 NETFLIX

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RAW & UnEdited

Release: 09.06.19

     Genre: Drama. History.

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