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Home TV Shows Reviews ‘The Recruit’ Netflix Series Review - Spy Games

‘The Recruit’ Netflix Series Review - Spy Games

The series follows a rookie lawyer at the CIA, who stumbles headlong into the dangerous world of international espionage when a former asset threatens to expose agency secrets

Vikas Yadav - Sun, 18 Dec 2022 09:10:57 +0000 3162 Views
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Thanks to movies like Mission: Impossible and James Bond, the world of spies look seductive and stupendous. What's not to like? There are adrenaline-fueled chases, high-tech gadgets, sharp suits, sexy babes, and Femme Fatales. The spy himself looks handsome, well-built, and intelligent. We watch 007 in a high-speed chase or Ethan Hunt scaling a mountain, and we think, "Gee, I wish I were that person!" And don't forget about the business trips that take you across the globe. Who wants to be an average person when being a spy looks so cool and awesome? Where do I sign up?

This is precisely what must have gone through the mind of Owen Hendricks (Noah Centineo), which is why he joined the CIA. Yes, he wanted to prove her mother wrong or something, but he, too, was seduced by the shenanigans of spies shown in the movies. There is a scene in The Recruit where Owen mentions how he was expecting the CIA office to look like something out of a James Bond film. But what he got was just a regular-looking government office.

In that sense, The Recruit is something of a myth-buster. It informs us that spies do not have access to insane cars and gadgets and have to use their bodies and brains to escape difficult situations. Owen avoids physical confrontations by threatening his opponents. For instance, he deals with a senator and a hostile agency employee by intimidating them with rules and legal jargon. And Owen is someone who really needs to use his brain to avoid clashes because he is not cut out for fights. He can barely use a gun.

Throughout the series, Owen keeps reiterating that he is a lawyer, not an agent. He is an amateur. He cannot make sense of code languages and gives out the identity of an operative by using the word "her." Owen has a habit of oversharing and is (initially) clueless about the fact that he must use his black passport to travel to, say, Yemen. I would not be surprised if you were to ask, "Why the hell did the CIA hire this guy?" They could have given him some training before sending him off to handle sensitive missions. You see Owen and think, "He is the worst in this business."

By making Owen a novice, The Recruit might be saying, "Hey, not everyone is 007." I get the intention, but still, the whole premise comes across as absurd. Some viewers could find Owen to be a turn-off. He can be incredibly selfish. He calls his roommates to either make himself feel better or hear a pep talk. In return, he provides them with generic consolations ("Give Terence a hug from me"). For his benefit, he continues to maintain a romantic relationship with a co-worker named Amelia (Kaylah Zander) and mostly has work-related conversations with her.

The Recruit, too, has a tendency to behave like Owen. It mostly focuses on him and sacrifices others' agency to have them revolve around him. Hannah (Fivel Stewart), his ex-girlfriend, and Terence (Daniel Quincy Annoh) leave their life and jobs to rescue Owen at one point. Lester (Colton Dunn) and Violet (Aarti Mann) exist to feel jealous of Owen instead of focusing more on improving themselves. And, of course, the boss, Nyland (Vondie Curtis-Hall), considers Owen to be the best. What made him trust this lawyer so much? Obviously, the screenplay, but the series labels it as Owen's "good luck."

But when you look beneath these sour patches, you find a consistently watchable show that holds your attention. One of the interesting aspects of The Recruit is that it shows how unglamorous and hectic it can be to work for the CIA. Owen and another colleague suffer from panic attacks, and the latter even takes drugs to keep himself awake. In one of the episodes, Owen is engulfed by a lot of stress as he tries to keep things smooth before a lie detector test. As far as the tech is concerned, it's not too advanced. When someone puts a name in the system and hits enter, we see a loading bar slowly moving forward. Owen has to wait for a few hours to get the required information. Another interesting thing about The Recruit is that it places utmost importance on secrets. The one with covert details has the leverage. Secrets turn out to be more powerful and frightening than any weapon.

I won't give away the specifics of the plot. It doesn't matter. It's not so different from countless other spy movie shenanigans. If we manage to sit through The Recruit without feeling bored, that's because the series has a fleet-footed pacing. Scenes go by briskly, and not a single shot lingers for a second longer than necessary. This also means that you don't feel anything while watching the series. There is just a mild curiosity to see where it all leads. During major developments, you faintly murmur words like "Uh-huh," "Okay," and "Nice." In other words, we are just engaged to an adequate degree, which proves enough to pass the time. Laura Haddock is the best thing about this series. She effortlessly shifts between being tragic, femme fatale, and deadly. If nothing else, you can watch The Recruit for Haddock's performance.

Final Score- [6.5/10]
Reviewed by - Vikas Yadav
Follow @vikasonorous on Twitter
Publisher at Midgard Times



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