Saturday, September 7, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Spy' - Eli Heads to the Front Lines of the War and Examines All That Syria Is Capable Of in 'The Odd Couples'

Netflix's The Spy - Episode 1.04 "The Odd Couples"

Eli's mission takes a dangerous turn as he tries to report on a secret military installation. Back home, Nadia struggles to raise the children alone.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's The Spy.

"The Odd Couples" was written by Gideon Raff & Max Perry and directed by Gideon Raff

It's absolutely miraculous to see how much access Eli manages to get during his time in Syria. Sure, it comes from years of cultivating relationships with people so that they let their guards down around him. He also boasts that money makes people respect and admire him right away even though he has no business being in a military zone. This has been his life. He still has strong connections back home. And yet, he is only able to be with Nadia for a week essentially every year. It's enough time for her to get pregnant again. But he doesn't have any meaningful relationships with his children. He isn't there to help parent them. Instead, the burden is entirely on Nadia. She is overwhelmed. Her dream was always to be together with Eli. He saw this job as the opportunity to pursue his greatest ambitions in this world. He is living that now. It's just proven to be so destructive for Nadia. She pleads with Dan to bring Eli back home so that they can be happy again. And yet, Eli continues to prove his worth because of the results he brings to the front lines of this war. It's alarming when Eli wakes up to gunshots in the streets and dead bodies being paraded around. It hits him in such a visceral way. It's also alarming that he runs into Ahmed Suidani again. Those interactions occur during his most vulnerable moments where his cover identity could be exposed. Eli has to run away from the sight of dead Israeli soldiers continuing to be tortured. He also has to inform his fellow Mossad agents of all the information he has gathered during his time on the other side of the war. Those are crucial for his mental health. It just proves how this is a world full of precarious moments where he could have easily been caught at any time. It just takes the right person being aware of how suspicious his actions truly are. That's certainly not Ma'azi though. He is eager to prove that he is worthy of respect in this world as well. He wants to show off the military zone he serves in to his best friend as a way of further illuminating just how strong and proud the cause is. There is a reason why the citizens of Syria should be supporting the war effort. But Ma'azi is also so curious of Eli. He wants to understand what he has that makes him so special. The generals all gravitate towards him. They respect the gifts he sends and the words of encouragement he gives. It's not just the money involved. There is the idea that he needs to be pleased even though he really has no standing in this government. That may soon change because Amin Al Hafez is planning something major and needs Eli's help to pull it off. A regime change could destabilize this whole region. But it may also allow Eli to grow his access. He won't be able to return home anytime soon though. That is not in the cards for him. He is making too much progress. No one has any reason to question him either. Sure, it's intense to watch as he covertly sneaks around the military base gathering as much information as he can. He even has to desperately send word to the other side that an attack is coming. His efforts are rewarded. His cover is maintained. But the threat of exposure is always present. The audience understands that his luck is bound to run out at some point. The tension remains high because it could realistically happen at a moment's notice. Eli is stealthy and successful. He is also very lucky. But that luck is so disruptive to the people he left behind to serve his country. That is becoming more obvious and painful because it's really inappropriate for Dan to keep teasing Nadia along. He shouldn't comfort her unless something drastic happens to Eli's status in this world. Sure, the show also reassures the audience by saying Eli hasn't slept with anyone else during his time away. But it's also awkward how the show handles the moment in which Ma'azi questions Eli's motives about refusing the services of a woman also brought to the camp. That whole questioning is a little too vague and noncommittal to be all that effective.