The Blood Oath
With so many teen dramas out there full of vampire, witches or werewolves, Netflix offers up a new premise with Mortel, featuring 3 teens dealing with Voodoo magic. The first episode gets off to a decent start here, introducing us to all the different characters as they face life issues whilst dabbling in the occult.
We begin in school with Sofiane being chased down the corridors by other boys. After managing to lose them, he gets caught by Kaina who takes him to the school counselor, Audrey, who berates him for his behaviour. While she understands that his brother is missing; she’s struggling to find ways to support him. Leaving the office, he comes face to face with Victor who wants to help him but he declines his help and threatens him if he doesn’t leave him alone.
We then meet our third protagonist, Luisa, who’s getting ready for an interview to enter a prestigious art school with the help of her teacher. After Sofiane hangs more missing posters, Bastien arrives with Rodrigue to confront him about his brother and explains that they had nothing to do with it as everyone believed Reda ran away. After being punched by Rodrigue, Sofiane sees a strange figure with red eyes standing over a bridge above him.
In the evening, Sofiane is visited by the strange man with glowing glasses, who shows him a vision of Reda hanging on a tree, and tells him to bring someone with him tomorrow night to sacrifice.
The next morning, Sofiane decides to follow Victor and befriend him while Luisa heads home with her boyfriend, Bastien. He tells her he wants to meet her Grandma, Elizabeth, but she refuses as she wants to protect him against the voodoo she practices. Arriving home, Luisa sees her grandma performing an exorcism on a client called Herve, but things soon turn south when the spirit takes over the body and her Grandmother faints. This leaves Luisa to deal with the spirit as she sits on the man and manages to finish the ritual.
Sofiane and Victor head to the top of a building where Obe instructs Sofiane to kill Victor as he needs a death to save Reda and help him get back home. Unable to kill, Sofiane decides to sacrifice himself but is stopped just in time by Victor. Obe explains that he’s in charge of transporting the murdered souls to the next plane of existence and that he can still save his brother.
The next day, Sofiane speaks to Luisa about Voodoo. He cuts himself to summon Obe where he tells the spirit, he will kill, but only the ones responsible for his brother’s death. Obe agrees to the deal but explains he’ll have to do a blood oath with another person, in this case Victor. After convincing Victor, they start the ritual and Sofiane reassures him they won’t actually kill anyone.
The episode then ends with the French teacher reprimanding Sofiane until he uses his powers to bash his head against the whiteboard.
Mortel offers up an enjoyable first episode, with enough drama and supernatural moments to keep us wanting for more. It sets the scene quite well too, giving us background on each of our three main characters, who are all very different and contrast nicely together.
Seeing the show tackle Voodoo magic is a nice spin on the usual supernatural elements in a show like this and it’ll be interesting to see where Mortel goes with this and if it manages to keep the audience hooked and entertained through its 6 episodes run-time. With the volatile Sofiane now able to control people, how he will use his powers from here on out will be quite intriguing to witness.