Mossad 101 Season 1 Review

 

Season 1

Season 2

 

Episode Guide

No One Will Get Hurt Part 1
No One Will Get Hurt Part 2
Cover Stories
Coffee
The Weinbergs
The Honey Trap
Rotten Apple
Operation Job
Good Luck Trophy
Exposure
The Spear
Operation Bucharest
Revolt of the Minions

 

Israeli spy thriller Mossad 101 wastes no time getting right to the heart of its plot. Playing out as a dramatic version of a reality TV show, Mossad follows a dozen or so candidates as they’re put through their paces with a series of gruelling mental and physical tasks in order to join the elite Israeli secret service. From seduction techniques to high stake operations, Mossad 101 manages to keep its episodic format hidden for vast stretches of its run time as you’re left guessing who will be the last one standing at the end. Late on there’s a much more serialised plot revolving around a failed candidate desperate to get their own back on the secret service director Yonu (Yehuda Levi). For the most part the story works well and there’s a consistent pacing at play here too which helps to keep the tone steady throughout the 13 episodes.

Although the series advertises itself as a comedy, Mossad 101 plays much closer to a drama filled thriller. There are snippets of humour used to try and lighten the mood but this is very much a drama first and foremost. The drama itself is generally well implemented although there are times where the series feels a little too much like a soap opera, losing some of the effectively built tension. Some of this comes from the slightly forced romance angles that act more like distractions in the series.

Still, there’s some really interesting content here and a lot of the allure with this series comes from seeing which characters can stick it out and avoid being kicked off the course. In that respect, Mossad isn’t wholly original in its design and it does rely pretty heavily on the elimination trope but regardless of this there’s some good writing throughout the episodes that help keep this an endearing series to watch.

Most of the episodes are shot with a muted colour palette and there is a slight overuse of a few instrumental tracks too. One particular drum-heavy segment is used repeatedly throughout the series and the more it’s used, the less effective it becomes. The same can be said for the editing too. From fades and extravagant spins to blurs and quick cuts, Mossad flexes its artistic muscle right through to the final few episodes. While being artistic itself is fine, the gritty realism depicted in the writing juxtaposes with the artistic tendencies of the cinematography and ends up distracting from the content of the story which is a bit of a shame.

Despite all of this, Mossad 101 is a really enjoyable spy thriller. At times the series does rely a little too heavily on its elimination trope and parts of the series feel too much like a soap opera but thankfully the solid writing and colourful collection of characters help to keep Mossad engaging and enjoyable. While there are better options out there in this genre, there’s a unique charm with this Israeli thriller that makes it worth checking out, even if it isn’t likely to be a household name for years to come.