What Is Burning?
Episode 1 of In From The Cold begins with a series of seemingly unconnected incidents. In Italy, a woman stabs another in broad daylight and takes her child; a man throws another off a rooftop; and finally a fight breaks out on a bus.
All thee of these incidents eventually pave way for our current timeline to begin. Jenny joins her daughter, Rebecca, as they prep for the upcoming figure skating competition. There’s a little bit of tension between the pair, which Jenny does her best to try and alleviate.
While heading to the shop to pick up tampons for her daughter, something untoward happens. Jenny steps in the elevator and she’s knocked out with sleeping gas.
When Jenny awakens, she finds herself in a strange room full of CIA agents. They’re on the hunt for an illusive killer called “The Whisper.” This woman has killed 5 people and it seems they’ve found her. As the boss holds up a sketch, he calls her Anya Petrova.
Jenny is adamant that they’ve got the wrong woman but as she pleads for her life, this shady man sneers and tells the officers to kill her. And just like that, Jenny goes full-on Jason Bourne. She uses her hidden fight skills to take out all the officers.
As she dives out the window, she lands on an inflatable. Yep, it turns out this was one big test to show off her skills. And now that she has, Jenny appears to be confirmed as this Anya character.
We then jump back to Moscow in 1994. Anya is at a party and goes on the hunt for a guy called Lao-Tzu. As she starts dancing with him and his partner, Fania, we skip back to find Jenny on her bed passed out. Jesus, if this show has any more scene-jumping we’re going to get whiplash!
Anyway, several more scenes stay in this time period, sporadically dotted through the episode. Now it turns out Anya’s target is actually Fania. The latter knocks out several men who berate the pair on the subway. Fania is the daughter of a man named Arthur Orlov.
Anya ended up going rogue on her mission and chose against scaring Arthur. When her superiors catch wind of what she’s doing, they’re not exactly happy.
Back in the present, Becca leaves to go and see her friends. Jenny is approached again by that man from the CIA. It turns out his name is Chauncey Lew and his associate (who happen to have been parked up in the hotel room opposite theirs this whole time) is his technical support, Chris.
Using the threat of Becca’s life being upended and left in ruins, Jenny is forced to help track down their target. This links back to the three victims from the start who may have ties to a gunner called Yannick. Only, he’s in prison so they need to get close to figure out what he knows.
In order to find out more, Chauncey wants Jenna to adopt the Whisper persona again to do some espionage work for them. Specifically, she’s to don her dancing shoes and find Tiago Vento, a maintenance man, who may be able to get them in.
Although she initially refuses, it doesn’t take long for Jenny to get back in the swing of things. She cuts her hair, downs some alcohol and gets dressed.
Showing at the club, Jenny lures Tiago outside and knocks him out. Using a strange device, she manages to take a reading of his eye and high-tails it to safety. With the eye-scan complete, Jenny is ready for part 2 of her operation. This includes breaking into a military hospital that could hold a clue to Yannick’s whereabouts.
Wearing a special suit allowing Chauncey and the others to monitor her, she heads inside and is immediately chased by a whole bunch of inmates. This isn’t a hospital after all, it’s a prison! Anyway, Jenny heads into the bathroom to escape and inexplicably changes from her current form. She shapeshifts into an older man.
The Episode Review
In From The Cold gets things off with a very rough episode that feels like the TV equivalent of a toddler on a sugar high. This doesn’t settle down, it’s all over the place and it jumps from one scene to the next with little time for things like deep characterization or genuine espionage action.
The editing is much to blame here, with the annoying “whoosh” motion and blurred zoom effect every other edit into the past serving to be quite distracting.
Not only that, the cliched story and the lack of genuine espionage drama makes it a tough sell and likely to cause a fair few people to tap out long before the end of the season, especially if this keeps up.
Then again it’s still early days and that crazy cliffhanger with Jenny transforming may well be enough to mix things up and entice you in to find out what happens next. Either way, this one needs to improve – and quick.