Sunday, September 8, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Spy' - Eli Positions Himself for a Huge Promotion Despite the Numerous Risks in 'Fish Gotta Swim'

Netflix's The Spy - Episode 1.05 "Fish Gotta Swim"

After a bloody coup, Eli insinuates himself closer to the center of Syrian power. But the emotional demands of the job take a severe toil.

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.

"Fish Gotta Swim" was written by Gideon Raff & Max Perry and directed by Gideon Raff

Eli has had very different trajectories within the governments he has served. In Israel, he always presented as too eager to do the job. He was confined to a lowly position that didn't require a lot of security. It allowed him to be close to his family though. That was very important. In Syria as Kamel though, he continues to enjoy a meteoric rise to the top where he seems to have the ear and support of so many influential players. So much of this series has been about his rising story of success. He was planted as an Israeli spy to gather as much intelligence about their foe as possible. And now, he has proven to be so effective with the job that he is offered a top ranking position within the Syrian government. Sure, the Syrians understand that they have security breeches and it's possible that a spy is operating amongst their ranks. But no one questions Kamel's motives. They see him as a loyal patriot whom they can trust with absolutely everything. Loyalty is what Amin Al Hafez values above all else. As such, it's easy to understand why he believes he can trust Kamel. There is no evidence as to why he shouldn't. He has always been a supportive friend and ally in this cause. This hour begins with a violent coup taking place within Syria. Kamel plays a vital role in that takeover. It doesn't matter that one of the victims is Ma'azi's uncle. Eli sees that as an action that must be done to ensure that he remains close to the people making decisions within this government. Up until this point, he has been working his connections and essentially playing all the sides. He wanted to present as friendly and acceptable to everyone. And now, he is constantly throwing parties that attract some prominent people in this particular world. He has that influence and respect. No one suspects a thing. And now, he is starting to forget the life he left behind in Israel simply because it has been so long since he has returned home. Sure, there are still a few reminders of who he is and why he is doing all of this. He still continues to act in Israel's best interests. He hasn't been turned by the enemy because he has grown sympathetic to their cause after all these years. In fact, it's terrifying to think that the Syrians want to disrupt the flow of water to further condemn Israel in this war and their standing in the world. That further incentivizes everyone to keep Eli in the field gathering as much information as he can. He has already proven such tremendous results. The Israelis have been able to identify targets they otherwise would never have known had been operating in Syria. Right now, Mohammed bin Laden is seen in the country and asks Kamel to bring in a secret shipment for his business ventures. That's very tantalizing though it mostly feels like the show winking and nudging the audience about the rise of terrorism that is coming for this region in the decades to come. The threat is already clear and prominent. This story mostly just showcases how life is continuously perilous for Eli. He always has to watch his back. And yet, he is literally caught in the act here and is still immediately taken to Amin Al Hafez to get his potential job promotion. Eli still needs to check in with his bosses to see if he should accept it. But he is no where close to being discovered at this point. As such, it's up to him to remember everything of value that he has left behind. He reaches out for that personal connection. He sends Nadia a sewing machine to remember the past. He also talks about the soccer game with the guy on the other side of his communications. That is a risky venture. But again, it mostly seems like an idle threat because it doesn't bear any truly significant consequences just yet. That has unfortunately become a pattern for this show. It wants everything to be seen as serious and uncertain where any action could be the thing that exposes Eli. But the more everything comes across that way the less it starts to feel as if it could realistically happen before the finale. That's next so something big is about to happen even though a possible promotion would be absolutely huge for the Mossad agents who have been running this operation for years. Eli has done them a tremendous service that shows no signs of stopping any time soon despite the obvious threats. But again, it's hard to feel like things are really escalating in a way that differs from the tension earlier in the season.