Inspired by true events, episode 1 of Stateless begins with a woman named Sofie rushing through the desert, breathless. As she collapses to her knees, a red balloon floats lazily past. This mysterious start paves way for a character drama that follows three different sets of characters amidst the ongoing, volatile discussion surrounding immigration.
Sofie happens to be working as an air hostess and she leaves the airport, returning home with gifts in hand. Her Mother immediately starts to berate her and questions her life choices until sister Margot steps in and defends her.
As she’s further humiliated at the dinner table when her turtle story is dismissed in favour of Wilhem’s business strategy, eventually it’s too much for her and she leaves.
Sofie stumbles upon a place called GOPA led by Gordon and Pat. His words about perfection hit home and after meeting him first-hand, believes she may have found where she belongs.
After opening up to the duo about her familial issues, she’s given the lead role in the upcoming dance. However her happiness is short-lived when Margot shows up at the front door.
It turns out the dancing is costing $400 a week and Margot is not happy that she’s unwilling to return her calls. This time though Sofie rushes to be pushed around and turns away from her family in favour of GOPA.
Sofie’s life continues to unravel when she arrives at the airport and gets complaints about dancing during the safety videos. Instead, she decides to quit her job and focus on the dancing full-time. Only, this obviously puts her ability to make payments in jeopardy.
Midway through dancing her big number, Gordon notices her crying and clinging to the issues of the past. Disgusted, he calls her a negative influence and boots her out the program.
Margot picks her up from the station and decides to try and get Sofie some help in dealing with what she’s going through. Instead, Sofie rushes out her room and down to the beach where she swims as fast and far as she can.
Ameer & Family
Ameer and his family arrive at a bustling motel en-route to Australia but the room they’re given is less than ideal. Four men are there loudly playing cards forcing them downstairs. Thankfully a kind man named Farid manages to win the room for them to stay in with him.
Having arrived all the way from Afghanistan as immigrants, Ameer makes a bold decision and with his wife Najeeba and their children Mina and Sadiqa, decide to take a chance with a boat across to Australia. After handing over their money, they wait anxiously for the next step while Sadiqa gets a fever.
The boat finally arrives but Sadiqa is too busy playing in the pool to hear what’s happening. Eventually Ameer grabs her and they hop aboard the bus toward the boat. Given they’re going to be declared refugees, they’re forced to hand over their passports. When they leave the bus and wander down to the beach, no boat is in sight and they’re forced to flee as men approach them.
Thankfully Ameer manages to get away with his family but with no passports or money, their situation is dire. Ameer scrounges for food after being duped by Oshan and the boat. Even worse, Sadiqa has malaria and desperately needs a doctor.
It’s all too much for Ameer and he grabs a knife and heads back to the motel, desperate for answers. While he distracts Oshan (calling himself Kumar now) Mohsin snatches up the tin full of money and the two bolt.
Ameer puts his family on the boat just as the trio of men arrive. Sacrificing himself, he lets the men take him while his family sail to Australia.
Sully returns home bearing gifts but Cameron is more than a little jealous of his brother as he sees the various gifts. Cameron’s low-paying job is a particular issue here and given how strapped for cash he is, Sully’s proposition of working with him is certainly enticing.
Eventually Cam makes his decision and starts training to be a detention guard. After some time passes, he gets on the bus and heads up to the centre where he’s trained through the various tasks needed to be undertaken.
As he starts going through names of immigrants, Sofie happens to show up but this time going by the name of Eva Hoffman.
The Review Write-Up
Stateless wastes little time getting right to the heart of the drama and there’s some lovely juxtapositions early on between Sofie’s “normal” Christmas and immigrants struggling to survive. The added dimension of the detention centre guards is a nice touch and seeing Cameron as the sympathetic ear to what’s going on is a smart move too.
So far so good, Stateless gets off to a very good start here and the opening episode sets things up nicely for the series ahead.