National Treasure: Edge of History – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

I’m a Ghost

Episode 1 of National Treasure: Edge of History begins in 2001, with an old man named Peter Sadusky talking about an old Aztec treasure. Apparently, the Freemasons used underground tunnels to ferry around Montezuma’s treasure. They separated this out into three different containers – one for the Inca, the Maya and the Aztec. Over time, the relics were lost until now. Apparently a band of hunters are en-route to tracking it down, confirmed by one among their group.

A man named Rafael finds one of the relics in Mexico City but unfortunately he’s stopped by a couple of Salazar’s goons. Thankfully he manages to get away with the relic, heading back home and passing all of his knowledge over to his partner, Manuela, and daughter. Buying them precious time, he fights off the men as the house goes up in flames. Manuela hurries away, watching as the house goes up in flames.

Fast forward to the present and we catch up with that same babe, Jess, who’s now a 20 year old and working with a rabble of misfits to break out of an escape room. She’s something of a mathematic genius, working out large sums in her head and managing to help the group escape.

We’re in Louisiana as it turns out, with Jess worried that her rent is about to go up. Apparently her mother has been for a whole year, so between messing about in escape rooms, Jess also has a dream to be part of the FBI cryptanalysis department, dead-set on solving puzzles given her extensive knowledge on math and also languages too.

For now though, it’s back to her job at the Storage lot, where she has to figure out who Iam Phasma (which literally means “I am A Ghost”) is. Jess believes this is a Freemason but given there are over 20,000 in Louisiana alone, then there’s not much to go on.

A burial flag could help, which narrows it down considerably. She heads over to Sadusky’s place, a man who happens to be a retired General. This is actually Peter Sadusky’s place, the guy from the start of the series. He’s pretty impressed she managed to figure things out. He also notices her necklace and asks about the treasure, going on to reveal that her medallion actually represents an ancient oath to unbury the lost history of entire civilizations.

Peter has something for her too, a letter which holds a clue to a treasure of the utmost importance. After handing it over, Peter warns her not to trust anyone. This letter though happens to be addressed to his grandson, Liam, but he’s adamant that she’s the right person.

The series whiplashes across to Madrid in the midst of this, where we find our antagonist of the piece, Billie, opening up a hidden compartment in a mansion and finding a lost trove of art. They’re after an Aztec relic, determined to track it down before it’s too late.

She heads over to the US but ends up seeing footage from outside the Mason’s house, noticing Jess leaving. How she obtained this footage is still unknown, but there we go. Anyway, Billie is determined to figure out what this means, while Jess decides against opening the letter.

When Jess heads back to work though, she’s confronted by a couple of FBI agents, who question her DACA status in the US. It turns out Billie actually hired these goons and Jess notices they’re not feds immediately from their badge and shaky credentials.

When Jess and Tasha head back home, they find their apartment has been turned inside out but none of their valuables have been taken. Of course not, they’re after the letter. Thankfully they don’t find that either and it’s enough for Jess to open it up and take a look.

There’s no map inside but just a picture of Sadusky and his family, alongside a letter addressed to Liam. Jess manages to track down Liam and given he’s good looking, Tasha decides to tag along too. It turns out he’s actually a singer in a bar. He also doesn’t want anything to do with the letter or Peter and as such, it’s all a big dud. Or is it? Jess figures out that the letter and picture are another clue.

As they head out, the fake feds end up in hot pursuit. They’re not exactly subtle and Jess immediately figures them out, with the pair losing their tails and arriving at the exact location from the picture, which happens to be a Freemason church. Tasha decides to broadcast this live online for the world to see, as Jess finds one of the lost treasures. The symbol matches that of her necklace too. As a result, they hightail it outside with the treasure in hand. So just to confirm, these kids now have video footage of Jess stealing treasure which could get her deported or locked up… or both! I thought these kids were supposed to be smart?

Anyway, Billie rings and threatens her friends. She tells Jess that she can either hand over the relic or Oren is going to be killed.


The Episode Review

The most surprising thing about National Treasure: Edge of History is the Disney+ logo next to this. I could have sworn this was a CW production. All the cookie cutter characters are in play, alongside a pretty condescending tone tailored toward teens. Information is repeated constantly, the dialogue is woeful at best and there’s the usual subtle but noticeable digs at the patriarchy and US politics.

The production looks cheap and the narrative is full of holes too. Whether intentional or not, we also have video evidence now of Jess – who’s an illegal immigrant in the eyes of the show – stealing that relic to Tasha’s 100,000 view-strong YouTube channel.

I’m sure that probably won’t be mentioned again going forwards, as this seems like the sort of light show designed to be switched on in the background while you’re browsing through social media. For anyone else paying attention though, this is yet another Disney production that fails to make a mark.

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Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!
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