Liaison – Season 1 Episode 5 “Family Album” Recap & Review

Family Album

The opening sequence of Liaison episode 5 is truly the best moment in the series until now. We have bemoaned the lack of tension and creativity in camerawork. The storytelling has been dull with very little excitement. But all of that goes out the window as Liaison conjures its inner Zero Dark Thirty or any other Mark Boal effort.

Picking up from the last episode, Alison has cut the power to the house. In the darkness, we see her taking a gun from the safe, threatening Krimo to stay behind the hidden wall, and let herself out.

Gabriel targets one of the men, Brian, and takes his appearance. At first, it seems like both Gabriel and Alison will confront the others. But remaining true to their espionage roots, both are actually looking to stealthily carve their way out of the house. They do not know that until they get to the courtyard and Gabriel lights up a car to create a distraction. He picks up a wounded Jack and goes into the bushes. Alison is bolder and takes a car to escape. She finds Gabriel just a few meters ahead. Gabriel defends himself and said he had no choice but to shoot him. Alison stays quiet and studies his face.

At Sabine’s house, Didier tries to force her to give him EU passwords. He wants access to the secure cyberspace domain of the EU where classified files with documents that list each of the 27 countries’ weaknesses are stored. When she does not comply, he threatens to make everything she did public… but Sabine does not back down.

Dumas sees everything and when Didier mentions it is for the benefit of Antropa, he makes a copy to expose Didier. Remember when we mentioned Dumas is a patriot and will not do the dirty work against France? This is a confirmation of that.

He meets Sophie and discusses the viability of the video. She is not too sure the President will look at it justly and her being a woman, the matter will be buried. Didier will just be transferred to another place where he will continue his dirty work. She believes Antropa will be attacking each EU country – including France – to get Antropa even more defence contracts. Sophie says she will try to work with the video. Gabriel confirms one of the men he saw at Jack’s house was from Antropa. Alison bids an emotional goodbye to her father. There is a finality in her voice that is heartbreaking. But one can take it as an ominous foreboding of something about to happen.

Alison wants to take Samir to England but Gabriel does not agree. He says he doesn’t work for Alison and will take Samir to France instead. For now, the two meet their old Greenpeace protestor friends at Annicka’s. The group are less than enthusiastic to see Alison and reprimands her for being selfish and using all of them. Gabriel defends her and soon, they go to the boat where Samir and Myriam are. Nathalie, the woman whom Alison accidentally set on fire and instead blamed it on Gabriel, is fresh in her brother’s memory.

He owns that boat and is surprised to see Alison. Sophie takes the reconstructed audio from the incident to Dumas. It is revealed that someone from Antropa has infiltrated the UK government. We knew of Bolton before this. But who else is a mole? If that’s the case, Samir is better off with Gabriel. Even though the French government is compromised but at least he will be able to protect them better. Toby, the aide to the PM, throws an ultimatum to Richard, the Home Security Minister: either sign with Antropa or resign from his post. Richard chooses the former.

Bob learns from Didier that Francis Miller, the owner of Antropa, has been in contact with him. In that moment, Bob feels threatened by Didier, who has slipped under Bob’s radar to become Miller’s right-hand man. Didier is to accompany Bob to London to sign the contracts. Samir and Myriam are happy to see Alison and Gabriel, and while the former believes they should go to Lindon, the latter says Paris. They eventually decide to go with Alison.

Samir opens the USB but it contains not just Assad’s server files but also Antropa’s. That is why they want Samir so badly. Antropa was working with Assad and that’s why the brothers hacked them too. When Alison mentions Antropa killed Bolton, Samir feels threatened and says he will not go to London.

Alison and Gabriel go to meet Dumas and Sophie, where they reach a compromise: Samir will go with Alison and Gabriel to London, while Alison will trail Didier and update Sophie and Dumas on every move he makes.

Alison also gives them the USB drive. Dumas knows what’s on the tape and asks Gabriel to call him when he has watched it. Perhaps it was Dumas who sent the video to Jack in the first place? How else would he know of its contents? Anyway, we move forward.

The boat sets sail from France for England, where Richard reminds Alison that time is of the essence and he would have to sign with Antropa if she cannot come up with credible evidence in the next 24 hours.

Albert receives a mail from Bolton. He had actually anticipated the threat to his life and ensured that if died prematurely, Antropa gets what it deserves. We learn that Bolton was working with them since five years back and gives evidence against them. One of Richard’s bodyguards look suspiciously at Albert, indicating that the bodyguard might be the mole and on Antropa’s payroll. Gabriel plays the video when he senses no one is around but suddenly, Nathalie’s brother and Annicka enter. When they force him to play, they learn that it was Alison who killed Nathalie.

The group brutally beat her and even douses her with kerosene to make her burn. Gabriel saves her and concocts a false story that he used the group to get sensitive information. Alison once again owes her life to Gabriel, who really had no gain by doing this.

Alison, Gabriel, Myriam, and Samir land on English shores in the wee hours of the morning, setting up an enticing finale where all our main characters converge in London.

The Episode Review

Perhaps this was the conclusive finale that the tortuous buildup was alluding to. Liaison has really picked up in these last two episodes story-wise. There are so many actionable cues for it to go in several directions now. That brings a tinge of excitement back to the fore.

One big miss this season has been a lack of veering into the past between Alison and Gabriel. Was the protest really the only link between them? Where are the glimpses of lost passion and long yearnings?

That would have added a little freshness to Liaison and also utilized Green and Cassel in a space they absolutely rule. For now, Liaison lacks vulnerability but does have solid, tangible plot development leading into the finale. It is most probably a compromise that is more acceptable given that the former required nuance, which is missing from the script anyway.

We still ploughed through some important plot points like when did Didier contact Miller and why would someone having level one security clearance in the EU be this susceptible to threats in episode 5. However, the enhanced clarity as to the central motivations was refreshing and opened a little door for the show to win us back.

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You can read our full season review for Liaison season 1 here!

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