The espionage sci-fi thriller, ‘In from the Cold’ aired on Netflix this Friday. The story opens with our protagonist Jenny Franklin (played by Margarita Levieva), a newly single mother taking a trip to a European country with her daughter. The story unfolds to reveal Jenny's past identity as a Russian agent, which she had so carefully buried and erased. In the present situation of a global emergency, she is forced to face and identify with her past to help find a solution to several murders that are currently taking place.
The show is brilliant in several aspects. One of the things that stand out is the acting cast. It is remarkable how well Margarita Levieva plays a character that constantly shifts between the Russian spy and a mother who is quite reticent about her past with her child (well obviously), creating a complex parent-child relationship.
Charles Brice's portrayal of Chris Clark is another actor who deserves praise. He adds a comic twist to the tension in the story. In a sense, he becomes the voice of the viewer. A newbie in the world of espionage and spies, Chris is at times rather confused at what is considered normal by the other characters. It is displayed with wit and humor. In this role, he plays an entertaining character and doesn't miss a beat.
I love perfectly executed flashback sequences, and this series does not let me down. A flashback shows Jenny as a former Russian agent Anya, and her journey leads to her completely leaving the force. The two timelines are harmoniously blended to create a powerful impression of solving the puzzle by getting pieces that barely match. It makes the story so much more compelling. Despite its benefits, the flashbacks in the first few episodes may wear thin and become tedious to watch.
While the characters may come across as stoic, or cliché in some ways, they are nevertheless relatable. As the narration unfolds, we get an insight into every character, who they are, where they came from, what their past is, and why are they the way they are. Despite this, the insight is indirect. As bits and pieces of them are revealed, it is fun to piece together their stories and connect with the characters. The best narration is definitely of Jenny, the protagonist.
Character arcs are also developed through the narration. The arcs of Jenny and Chauncey (played by Cillian O'Sullivan - done beautifully, so enticing) are brilliant, and Becca introduces the concept of a parent-child relationship. However, this parent-child dynamic that prevails in the first few episodes slowly dies out is disappointing to watch.
The blend of politics is a fascinating aspect as well. While watching the show, it is impossible to look away from the politics displayed in it. Can this politics overshadow the protagonist and the engaging sci-fi thriller and take away the audience's attention? Absolutely not.
The fight scenes in the series are definitely one of the series' biggest flaws. This editing is wacky, resulting in several jarring cuts that made it unenjoyable. The cuts rob the fights of their authenticity and rawness.
Moreover, dialogues are sometimes overdone. They don't quite follow the show don't tell policy, which could cause one to lose interest in the exciting narratives and backstories. The show could have easily been enhanced by focusing on less dialogue and more visuals.
The show is good for a one-time watch. Although the first two episodes may seem slow, they prepare the audience for the rest of the series. They set the tone for the rest of the series. The cliff-hanging endings and the thrill are absolutely worth staying up for. Are you not convinced? You'll then have to see for yourself.
Final Score – [7/10]
Reviewed by – Aalaya Sonti
Follow her @layaarants on Twitter
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