The Veil Premiere Recap: Elisabeth Moss Is on a Mission in International Spy Drama — Grade It!

Hulu’s The Veil started streaming Tuesday with a two-episode premiere. This recap covers the first episode.

Who’s telling bigger lies: a supposed terrorist or the spy sent to find her? That’s the question at the heart of Hulu’s The Veil, a limited series from Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders, Taboo). In a moment, we’ll want to know what you thought of the premiere. But first, a quick recap:

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At the premiere’s outset, we meet a blonde British woman (played by The Handmaid’s Tale’s Elisabeth Moss) who meets up with a man in a celebratory mood. He lets her know she’s been invaluable to whatever big win he’s just achieved, and she jovially shoots back that he probably won’t feel the same when Interpol shows up in a minute. She adds that she’s been recording and reporting everything he’s done for more than a month “and all of it has been highly illegal.” As the officials move in and encircle him, she chirps, “Good luck!” She walks away, making a phone call to inform someone that she’s moving on and, on the next job, “I would like my name to be Imogen.”

Meanwhile, at a snowy refugee camp near the Syrian/Turkish border, a United Nations vehicle arrives with food. But it starts to unload in the wrong place, and in the confusion, the camp’s residents swarm the truck. One female refugee climbs on board and starts handing out bags of provisions to the others. But when she locks eyes with another woman, there’s recognition, and then outrage. “ISIS!” the woman in the crowd yells. “She killed my husband and daughter!”

A fight breaks out. The woman accused of being a terrorist is nearly hanged by the angry mob before soldiers fire a machine gun into the air, stopping everyone in their tracks. The soldiers then carry her away.

Imogen arrives a while after, posing as a member of a non-governmental organization. After poking around a little, she makes a covert call to the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, aka the DGSE, aka the French Secret Service. She relays the intel that the woman who was nearly hanged — whose name is Adilah El Aldrissi (Little Birds’ Yumna Marwan) — is one of the few high ranking females in ISIS; the man on the other end of the call says they’re not sure, and that she should try to get the woman out of there before American intelligence operatives descend upon the camp.

Imogen gains access to the tent where Adilah is being held by speaking in French, then English, and saying she wants to help. Adilah was stabbed during the fight and needs medical care. “They hate me,” she says. “Do you deserve to be hated?” Imogen asks. We learn that Adilah was recruited to be a model and brought to Paris, where things went sideways. She has a daughter who lives in France: “She’s the only reason I would want to stay alive.” While they’re talking, other refugees rip into the tent and come at Adilah. She and Imogen fight their way out and eventually get to a car, where they agree to talk.

In Paris, the guy Imogen called, Malik (No Time to Die’s Dali Benssalah). As he speaks to his superior, we learn that they suspect Adilah is really a senior ISIS commander whose nickname is the “djinn of Raqqa,” and that she’s part of a breakaway cell that’s planning a huge attack on an unknown Western target. Oh, and the Americans — headed up by a blowhard named Max (The Good Wife’s Josh Charles) — are also on the case.

But Imogen isn’t picking up her phone as Malik calls and calls. She’s too busy talking with Adilah, who asks about Imogen’s family (her mother died when she was born, her father when she was 16) and romantic prospects (“Do you have a man?” “Occasionally.”) For the record? That man is Malik. Imogen also has a bunch of flashbacks that make no sense — a dress, a piano, a little girl — but we don’t get much about them in this episode.

As they near the camp where Imogen is planning to drop Adilah, Adilah points out that she’s likely to die there, given that she freed Yazidi women who were being held and tormented by ISIS soldiers. “I will be thrown in with all the others, and there will be no one crazy and kind like you to save me,” she tells Imogen. Eventually, Imogen makes a decision, turning their car toward Istanbul instead of the camp, which is in the opposite direction.

She calls Malik from a truck stop while Adilah is inside, telling him that she thinks Adilah was with ISIS but is maybe not the person they’re looking for. He begs her to follow the DGSE directive. She disregards that advice and hangs up.

“Adilah, my friend, you should know I have absolutely zero idea what comes next,” she says when her newfound travel buddy reappears. The episode ends with another of Imogen’s flashbacks: A character played by James Purefoy (The Following) touches her face and says, “Silly girl.”

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Grade it via the poll below, then hit the comments!

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