Friday, January 1, 2021

Tehran S01E06: The Engineer

© Apple TV+
 

'Tehran' sets up further complications in ‘The Engineer’ as the endgame approaches
by Jeremy Fogelman

The latest episode of Tehran is called ‘The Engineer’, and seems mainly to be about setting up more problems as we approach the end of the season. As Tamar continues to pursue her new leads, we get scenes back in the Israeli war room of attempted infiltration that all go wrong. So options are more limited for them and Tamar’s dangerous plan seems to be their only option.

Tamar initially still has Milad on the hook, in a way that’s hard to tell how she really feels -- she clearly puts her mission first, but how much is also her own feelings? Milad offers to bring aboard Parham, a prominent engineer from the power plant, who has a sort of breezy personality while still making references to wanting changes for his children. But although Milad seems convinced, it’s a huge risk for Parham and his family.

We finally get a resolution for suspicious Karim, who has seen through Tamar’s tricks and confronts her in a surprise visit. Although Tamar is quickly able to defend herself and retrieve her newly acquired gun, her intentions to de-escalate are ignored as one of the local assets, an intimidating huge guy, simply shoots Karim in the head.

We actually do hear Tamar frustratedly complain back to her superiors, in a way that feels rational -- especially as we see after how betrayed Milad has become, barely responding and now potentially a risk. Milad is a believer in reform for his country, but does that also mean he’ll betray that country for a foreign enemy? We don’t know for sure, but that’s a good tension to set up for the final episodes.

When Parham shows up and refuses to take part in the mission, Tamar manipulates him immediately with blackmail to force him to comply -- this is the sort of thing that’s tricky. Getting someone on your side with trust like Milad is one thing, but now Parham has a reason to want Tamar to fail. It’s another good wrinkle, because we can see many potential ways that Tamar’s mission can fail.

On the other side, Faraz (now no longer technically on the team) still manages to sneak around and try to work towards both finding Tamar and saving his wife. Naturally he manages the same trick, which feels almost like the Israelis should’ve anticipated such a maneuver. We’ve seen only a bit with Tamar’s father over the course of the show, but Faraz is able to threaten Arezoo into tricking the old man into traveling to Turkey.

It’s juxtaposed with Tamar listening to a message from her father and leaving a message for him, right before he finds himself at a hotel room in Turkey. But Faraz is clever enough to mollify him with a Hebrew greeting, leaving things in a fluxed state -- is his move simply to get his wife back, get Tamar out, both, or more?

At this point it’s both sides doing unethical practices for their countries, with a lot of personal investment -- it’s the sort of thing that makes the spy games interesting, instead of rote and clich├ęd. Although Tamar is ostensibly our protagonist, the show does have her betray someone who has real feelings for her -- it makes it especially intriguing as there are only two episodes left in the season.

Overall, it’s another pretty engaging episode, in a show that’s been pretty good so far with the back and forth spy stuff. Considering how tricky and convoluted that sort of storyline can be, Tehran manages it pretty well. 

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