Citadel: Secrets In Night Need Early Rains & Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – While it sort of sticks the landing, it is a season where the issues greatly outnumbered the positives.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this series.

A surgery under fire.

Citadel Review

I am unsure what I expected when I sat down to watch the groundwork for a new multi-series spy universe. Maybe I was hoping for some good spy shenanigans, boundless chemistry, or even the odd action scene. However, while it started strong with The Human Enigma, it soon fell apart as the seams became apparent. Today we are looking at the finale and this season as a whole to see if they stuck the landing or floundered like a ship on the rocks.    

So to set the scene, at the end of Tell Her Everything, we discover what Nadia (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) has been hiding from Mason (Richard Madden). She has a daughter she did not tell Mason about, and Dahlia Archer (Lesley Manville) has now captured her. They must land on a Russian automatic submarine and then steal all their nuclear cores to see her alive again. Oh, and only Mason can do the jump, and he still can’t remember his time as a spy. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode and season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

Mason stares with anger.
This was a season bogged down in the past. Image Credit: Amazon Prime.

Before we delve into the season as a whole, we need to take a look to see if they stuck the landing. Well, without holding off anymore, it did stick the landing oddly. We had probably the most competent episode of the series since The Human Enigma. It had focus and drive, and it let Lesley Manville actually tear up the set with a ripper of a soliloquy. The sequence in the nuclear submarine had a bit of tension, even if the places targeted on the map did not quite align with the dialogue. Some good gadgets, a decent action scene or two, and even a heroic rescue.

As an episode of television, it was fine, but it was a bit lacklustre for a season finale. We get the big reveal of who Mason is. He got his memories back, then we cut to black, and I honestly felt, ‘Is that it?’ Back in the day, I think Alias and Chuck went through the same narrative scope in their respective pilot episodes, than it took an entire season to build up to. Even then, at best, this felt like a mid-season cliffhanger, not the punch that you wanted to end things on.        

A nuclear Submarine.
There were at least some good set pieces. Image Credit: Amazon Prime.

Now that we have looked at the final episode, it is time to look at the season as a whole. I don’t think this will surprise many, but this first season was a complete mess. Before we dive into why, I want to clarify that many of the issues likely stem from the disastrous production that the show went through. With reports that much of the show had to be re-shot after the showrunners left [or were pushed out, I am not sure we will ever know what happened there]. Melding these two different shows into one work was probably a tremendous challenge, and the production team should be commended that it was at least semi-coherent.

However, while I have to understand the issues behind the scenes, that does not change the fact that only two episodes into the season [with Spies Appear In Night Time], we started to see the scaffolding they were using to keep the narrative from falling about. Part of the issue is that they never got the balance of the different timelines correct. To be fair, I am coming off Station Eleven which recently perfected this. But it felt like we were wallowing in the past rather than forwarding the narrative into the now. This choice bogged down entire episodes, and when you only have six in a season, each wasted episode is detrimental at every level. As did not making the most of your strengths, like isolating Stanley Tucci from the main narrative.

The next issue is narrative choices that frustrate instead of uplift. When you go into any media, there is a level of coincidence that you have to take as given. Look at Star Wars, where no amount of ‘the force’ can hand wave things away. However, if you are engaged with the story, you don’t mind. Citadel didn’t have that protection. The first issue is the whole Backstop protocol, which was, at best, narratively convenient and, at worst, structurally confused. Then the fundamentally convenient notion that Mason is married to former agent Abby Conroy (Ashleigh Cummings) and is the secret son of Dahlia Archer. Both felt less like big reveals but more like eye-roll ‘Oh really, come on’.

Nadia looks at Mason through a two-way mirror.
It does just sort of run out of steam than feel like a complete ending. Image Credit: Amazon Prime.

In the end, do we recommend Citadel? Well, maybe if you only watch The Human Enigma, Spies Appear In Night Time, and Secrets In Night Need Early Rains and think of it more of an amuse-bouche to the Spyverse than a complete first course. In any way, we are getting a sequel next year with Citadels: Diana and maybe that can do some of the heavy lifting this first entry failed to do.   

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you seen Citadel yet ?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review
on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.    

Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Citadel
Directed by
– Newton Thomas Sigel & Jessica Yu
Written by – Bryan Oh, Josh Appelbaum, Melissa Glenn Angela Russo-Otstot & David Weil
Created by – Josh Appelbaum, Bryan Oh & David Weil
Production/Distribution Companies – AGBO, Midnight Radio, PKM, Picrow, Super Epic, Amazon Studios & Amazon Prime
Starring – Richard Madden, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Ashleigh Cummings, Roland Møller, Osy Ikhile, Caoilinn Springall, Lesley Manville & Stanley Tucci with Moira Kelly and Paul Bazely, Simon Kim, Gráinne Good, Sara Martins, Laëtitia Eïdo, Leo Ashizawa, Audie Rick, Deborah Hedwall, Serafina Tarafdar, Kineta Kunutu, Leo Woodall, Sen Monro, Pedro Leandro, Lev Gorn, Gianfranco Terrin, Spencer Mulligan, Timothy Busfield, Peter Gerety, Ivo Nandi, Alison Halstead Nikki Amuka-Bird, Mo Chara, Mike Capozzola
Episodes CoveredThe Human Enigma, Spies Appear In Night Time, Infinite Shadows, Tell Her Everything, Time Renders Us Enemies & Secrets In Night Need Early Rains.


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