Episode 1 of The Barrier begins with a young girl called Julia looking out the window in frightened shock. Gunshots pierce the air and in the distance, an explosion.
The new Prime Minister for Spain addresses the nation about World War III and how natural resources have been rationed and controlled.
New viruses have caused the hospitals to crumble and everything is looking pretty bleak. Welcome to the future.
Packing their things, the girls’ Father, Ramon, tries to remain calm in the wake of the chaos rumbling on outside. He tells his two girls (Julia and Sara) he loves them and injects something into the back of their necks. His wife Emilia heads home and as police take him away, he tells her it’s “done.”
The girls are still alive though and crawl out from under a hidden table, safe and sound.
We then jump forward 25 years to a very different Madrid. Military patrol the streets and Julia is now grown up, riding through on her bike with a package.
Her destination happens to be a sordid sex club. As she walks through the hallways, Julia overhears sobbing coming from one of the rooms. A girl called Sol sits in the corner and Julia heads in to help. She picks her up but a man walks in the room.
As he begins choking her, Julia eventually stabs the man in the stomach. Seizing her opportunity, she snatches up Sol and scrambles out – but not before grabbing her necklace. This momentary lapse is enough for the girl to slip away while Julia is forced to head back into hiding underground.
She scrubs the blood off her hands and breathes heavily. As it turns out, this man was a police officer. And not just any officer either. He was the Major and this causes quite the disturbance with the rest of the police.
Taking charge of the investigation is a man named Major Jiminiez. He starts asking around the club about what happened and catches wind of a delivery girl (Julia) being there that night. This brings each of the workers into the police station where the officers begin beating them – one by one – into revealing information.
When Carlos (the guy Julia is staying with) finds out, he tells his girlfriend they need to leave. It’s no longer safe for them there now.
Elsewhere, Hugo, his nephew Alex and daughter Marta are stopped on the road and forced into a checkpoint stop. As people start coughing among them, Hugo is reminded of moments in the past involving Sara who fell ill with a nasty cough and eventually died.
Still, they get through the checkpoint and meet back up with Emilia again as the family finally reconvene after a long period of time.
Julia shows up not long after and it all seems like happy families for now. Not long after, the curfew kicks in and the lights shut off. There, the family discuss the “old world”; the one we’re more accustomed to.
Unfortunately the next day the family run into problems during routine blood tests. While Hugo manages to fool the interviewer, little Marta is taken away. Hugo tries in vain to get her back but the soldiers hold guns up to him – along with drones too – hammering home how fruitless this venture is. All he can do is watch and hope she’s okay.
On the back of this, Emilia meets a wealthy, influential man named Luis. As they sit and talk, she cuts to the chase and asks for a favour. With Marta taken away to one of the colonies, she asks him to find a job for Hugo who happens to be an engineer.
With the situation dire, he’s given a job interview at Luis’ lavish house. Only, that job interview is more like a brief and the job ahead will require both Hugo and his wife. Unable to tell them she died from the plague, he promises to turn up with her during the date requested.
Sighing heavily, Hugo leaves while remaining desperate to get Marta back. As we soon see, Marta is taken in by the nurses at the colony who asks that the children hand over their dolls and possessions
They’re told to greet the Director Alma and promised big things to come. Marta however, defies them and keeps hold of her necklace.
As we soon see, the scientist known as Tomas has been tasked to experiment on them given they’re “their only hope”. Quite what this means remains a secret but it’s definitely an intriguing start.
For now she makes a new friend in Felipe. As the children start singing the National anthem for Spain, our family find themselves fractured and struggling to survive.
The Episode Review
The Barrier feels like a mash-up between The Man In The High Castle and The Handmaid’s Tale. The result is something that feels very moody and atmospheric while simple in nature by primarily focusing on this singular family unit.
The different characters are interesting and the entire episode focuses primarily on setting the scene for the drama to follow.
The Barrier definitely gets things off to a strong start and it’ll be interesting to see what direction this one goes next. For now though, this dystopian drama could well have the makings of being a very enjoyable dark horse TV pick this year.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|