TV Review: Condor (S2) | A Season to Redefine A Character

The Max Iron (The Little Drummer Girl, The Host) lead spy thriller is back for a second season. Kristen Hager (The Kennedys After) as Mae Barber, Bob Balaban (The Politician, The Monuments Men) as Reuel Abbott are among the returning cast. Constance Zimmer (House of Cards, UnReal), Toby Leonard Moore (Billions), Rose Rollins (The Catch, The L Word), Isidora Goreshter (Shameless), Eric Johnson (Vikings), Alexei Bondar (The Americans) and Johnathan Kells Phillips (Madam Secretary) round out the second season cast.

Last season: After unknowingly discovering a piece of evidence involving senior officials in the Central Intelligence Agency planning a terrorist attack; Joe Turner, a young CIA analyst, is accused of the massacre of everyone in his office. In order to clear his name, he’s forced to go on the run, uncover the truth and expose those involved.

Premise: Two years later, Joe Turner is unable to really come to terms with what he had to do in order to clear his name. He’s traveling through Europe trying to outrun his past, but one of his uncle’s assets seeks him out for help, prompting his return on US soil.

Review: Giving how we left Joe last season, I almost expected the same show but on a bigger scale. I expected Gabrielle to hunt him down throughout Europe in a thrilling game of cat and mouse in order to shut him up since not everybody involved in the C.I.A planned terrorist attack was exposed. This idea could have been great but there would have been a sameness to the show that would have turned it in weird version of an exonerated man’s The Fugitive.

Everyone must come out of his exile in his own way.” Martin Buber

Instead, they cleverly pulled Joe back into the country and into the cross-hairs of more insidious elements of the C.I.A.’s cross-hairs. The fact that this season is more personal for him is a plus. Yes, he stumbled again, into somebody else’s mess but he was only helping out one person. Where before it was self preservation that motivated him, this time he wants answers…and something else.

Man is not what he thinks he is, man is what he hides” André Malraux

Since the body count in season one was high, and the problem Joe Turner faces this time around has little to do with the last one, there are quite a few new characters being introduced. Each of the new additions bring something to the story, they push it, contextualize it, and or ground it in reality. The new characters are efficiently fleshed out, I liked Gordon and his wife, who have such beautiful chemistry. Their couple is so well rounded, that I enjoyed seeing them interact.

However with all the new and interesting additions, the show is not a perfect sequel. What bothered me most is how they started off toning down Joe’s abilities. He doesn’t seem as resourceful, subtle or competent as he seemed. Not that he was a trained field agent before but he was smarter without being a Gary Sue. Here he almost seem to have forgotten what he learned last season. And for f*ck sake how unlucky can Mae be. I kind of wish the traitor was someone else, not that I was very invested in the character but for one it’s a bit cliché, and makes Mae look stupid.

The new season of Condor is intriguing, you could feel the tension growing a tiny bit each episode, but lacks the exciting elements of the first season, the pacing is a little slower, and in hindsight the whole season feels like a transition, a cocoon allowing Joe to change, evolve.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

You can get the book that inspired the show here


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