Sunday, September 8, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Spy' - Eli Questions Just How Long He Is Willing to Be a Spy for His Country in 'Home'

Netflix's The Spy - Episode 1.06 "Home"

While Israel prepares to strike a Syrian target identified by Eli, suspicion closes in around him. Retaliation is swift - and ruthless.

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 series finale of Netflix's The Spy.

"Home" was written by Gideon Raff & Max Perry and directed by Gideon Raff

The series opened with the suggestion that Eli had gone so deep in his cover identity as Kamel that he forgot who he was. That wasn't actually true. When he signs his final letter to Nadia, he writes down his name perfectly. He never forgot who he was. His brain was simply rewired because of the amount of time he was spending as Kamel. Even when he returned to his family in Israel, he couldn't leave his life in Syria behind. That is the reverse of the struggle he had when he first embarked on this mission. He was constantly thinking about Nadia in the beginning. As the years dragged on though, it was easier for him to forget. His children essentially have no idea who he is. He presents as a stranger in their house. He isn't the father they have always known or heard stories about. That's tragic. Nadia has long understood that Eli and Dan weren't being truthful about the important work they were doing together. Dan could always justify keeping her in the dark because the truth is so much scarier than what she currently fears. But it's a painful reminder for Eli as well. He doesn't want to be causing his wife so much pain. He doesn't want to marry a woman in Syria just so no one suspects him of being abnormal in society. He doesn't want to make that sacrifice. Of course, he still goes through the motions because the mission is simply too important. That was the decision the leaders at Mossad came to. His access as a high-ranking member of the Syrian government outweighed any personal risks to his continued safety. They have never had an agent get this close before. They weren't going to let anything jeopardize it. Dan and Maya can make the arguments for how this could all expose Eli much more quickly. Eli has had a great deal of influence. But he has remained out of the scope of suspicion. This promotion could unravel everything they have worked years to achieve. Eli may not even be in the proper headspace to embark on this mission once more. At a certain point, one has to ask just how long the Israeli government expects him to do this work. They believe they can justify everything that was done because of the results Eli produced. An argument could be made that he never had to return to Syria. Mossad already had the coordinates of the facility to attack. That mission is a success. They just followed through on the attack after Eli had returned to his life as Kamel. He had to be having dinner with Amin Al Hafez in order to prove that he should still be trusted. He has to be seen as viable for this government position no matter what. Of course, he never actually assumes the role. Eli returns to a radically changed Syria. He wasn't gone that long. It was just enough time for Dan to think he decompressed. He was immediately sent back into this war. And now, the Syrian government is monitoring its citizens in order to root out any potential spies. They are living in an increased military state. One where the power goes out just so the government can monitor any kind of illegal communications. Eli understands this as part of a pattern. He accepts that he shouldn't be sending out messages during that time. He does so anyway. It's an active choice on his part. His government tells him to go radio silent. Instead, he sends out one more transmission. That may be the event that seals his fate. The next morning he is arrested. There is nothing the outside world can do to prevent him from being executed. Dan and Nadia mostly go through the motions of making a human rights plea. It doesn't matter. The Syrian government needs to make a show of force to prove that they command this region with strength. That's the outcome of all of this. In the end, Eli was proud to serve his country. He dies for it. He dies never having the opportunity to return to his home. To this day, he is still a prisoner in Syria. That is absolutely devastating. He did such a great service to Israel. And the government simply moves on to developing the next spy to see if they can do any better for their country. It's unlikely simply because Eli was so influential and special. His efforts led to victory in the Six Day War. The Israeli forces took the Golan Heights. But that region continues to be in turmoil to this day. That is inherently tragic as well. The show chooses to end on a focus of family. This is incredibly personal to Nadia. She never remarried. She devoted her entire life to Eli. He has been gone for so long but this is still a fight worth pursuing. Enough people just have to care. Even then, it may be a daunting prospect because Syria remains a country with a terrifying stance on the global stage. The next generation of spies may absolutely be necessary. It just comes with the unfortunate and grim reality that there will be no way their service can ever be repaid.