Thursday, October 24, 2019

Treadstone - The Cicada Protocol / The Kwon Conspiracy

USA Network's new series breathes some new live into the Jason Bourne series with a TV series that acts both as a prequel and sequel to the events of the films starring Matt Damon as a highly-skilled assassin trained by a secret government program known as Treadstone. The events in the present revolve around sleeper Treadstone agents being reactivated by an unknown organization. These include Alaskan oil rigger Doug McKenna (Brian J. Smith) and North Korean music teacher SoYun Pak (Hyo-Joo Han). The events in the past follow CIA Agent J. Randolf Bentley (Jeremy Irvine) who escaped a KGB lab where a mad scientist planned to make him the first super-spy. The two storylines are joined in the present by a North Korean defector, a disgraced former journalist (Tracy Ifeachor), and the female agent (played by both Emilia Schüle and Gabrielle Scharnitzky) who lost Bentley years ago and is now babysitting a nuclear missile for Mother Russia.

The highlights of both the first and second episodes of the series have been the stunt sequences. Bentley's escape from the KGB lab in the "The Cicada Protocol" is the most memorable sequence of the series yet and Tara Coleman's (Ifeachor) driving in "The Kwon Conspiracy" makes one wonder if she isn't another sleeper agent (which would explain why the defector sent Tara to protect his daughter). The show also features a strong pace, and sequences surrounding the CIA and their monitoring of the meeting between the defector and the reporter provide several strong moments. The shifting stories and large cast feels a bit clunky at times as there isn't always enough time to go around. Unless it is little more than a red herring, the nuclear missile storyline provides a plot thread which, at least up until this point, hasn't yet hit its mark. Still, there's quite bit here to enjoy and, given the limited number of episodes, I'll be curious to see what kind of a conclusion the series offers (or if it simply teases the possibility of the show returning for a Second Season).

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