The Recruit: Season 1/ Episode 2 – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

As Owen shows he only needs to make one mistake to catch on, things escalate, and he finds himself dealing with assassins in Vienna.

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Max in the prison infirmary

As Owen shows he only needs to make one mistake to catch on, things escalate, and he finds himself dealing with assassins in Vienna.

Aired (Netflix) December 16, 2022
Episode Title N.L.T.S.Y.P.
Director(s) Doug Liman
Writer(s) Alexi Hawley

Newly Noted Characters and Cast

Amelia Kaylah Zander
Talco Victor Andres Turgeon-Trelles
Xander Byron Mann


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You’re Going To Actually Have To Put In Some Effort To Get Ahead – Terrence, Owen, Hannah

Hannah having a heart to heart with Owen
“Hannah,” The Recruit, “N.L.T.S.Y.P.,” directed by Doug Liman, 2022, (Netflix)

Owen has been a very lucky guy. Yes, his dad died when he was 12, and he appears to have real issues with his mother, but considering how far he has gotten seemingly with minimal effort? He is a lucky man. However, Hannah and Terrence push that; while that got him through school and life, he is 24 now, and he has to do his homework if he not only wants to thrive as he is used to but get through the day.

Hannah especially pushes this since, while the two aren’t dating anymore, she still worries about him and doesn’t want to be that kind of girl. Which Owen understands, and it seems he steps up with realizing the weight of his secrets, and the side effects are starting to affect his only sense of family.

What’s A Hall File? – Amelia, Janus, Owen, Nyland, Violet, Lester, Talco, Max, Xander

Helping Max is challenging because no one wants or is willing to be direct. At Langley, being direct means losing deniability, and Owen learns this exercise during a meeting Nyland holds where everyone else talks in code. However, even with going last, Owen foolishly talks openly about what is going on with Max, and with that, Lester and Violet are questioned for not training Owen properly.

As we saw in the last episode, this upsets them because it seems they want to be essential enough to keep their jobs while under the radar. So, with that in mind, while they still prank Owen, like hiding his black passport, they also plan to push him off to Amelia. Now, why would they do that? Well, because she would be willing to help Owen, even train him, for romantic favors. Nothing sexual is brought up, but she would like a date every now and again and to make out.

Let it be clear, Owen wasn’t initially presented by Lester and Violet that this was required, but since Owen is single and dealing with Janus is draining, since he really has no desire to be helpful, Owen takes what he can get. Especially since Amelia knows how the system works and could help Max’s case get moved up to a federal one, making it easier to get Max out.

Talco (Victor Andres Turgeon-Trelles) after he got burned by Max's acid bomb booby trap
“Talco (Victor Andres Turgeon-Trelles),” The Recruit, “N.L.T.S.Y.P.,” directed by Doug Liman, 2022, (Netflix)

Speaking of Max, we get a quick rundown of what she is capable of by showing how life was in Belarus, over 5 years ago, when she was under Xander and her, in modern times, handling Talco’s assassin in prison. The combination lets you know how formidable she is, alongside that, her ambitions seem to be the common issue that leads her to piss off the wrong people. But, Owen heads to Phoenix to reaffirm his commitment to Max, and in return, she, like so many women in Owen’s life, tries to get him hip to the game so he can survive it. This includes doing the easier thing when it comes to getting Talco off Max’s back, which is giving him the money he wants. But, as a safety net, Max pressures Talco’s assassin, who she didn’t kill, but definitely severely injured, to become a double agent so she can keep aware of what dangers exist while she is on the inside.

Vienna Is A Beautiful City With The Most Violent People – Xander, Owen, Max

Owen is in search of Max’s hall file. She doesn’t have any sort of physical file, but based on Janus’ advice, he can search for her file based on gossip. The problem is, who knows Max enough to give Owen such a thing? Well, as Terrence told him to, he does his homework and comes across Xander’s name, and once again, Owen has to fly to a foreign country and interact with veterans of the agency with whom he isn’t fully prepared to interact.

Xander (Bryon Mann) being interviewed by Owen regarding Max
“Xander (Bryon Mann),” The Recruit, “N.L.T.S.Y.P.,” directed by Doug Liman, 2022, (Netflix)

However, unlike with Dawn, there is no violence here, and Xander is strangely forthcoming. Granted, he trips and goes from saying he heard of Max to meeting her, which Owen catches. Thus leading Owen to know Max was politically savvy when it came to Russian mob politics but got too close to the sun. So, while Xander wasn’t her official handler, it was arranged for her to get to the U.S., where she seemingly was allowed, or decided to, become a manager of other assets. Hence her graymail knowledge that proves she is a credible threat.

But, unfortunately for Owen, no sooner does he get the confirmation he needs, and makes it clear to Max what he knows, which will compel him to help her, Owen almost gets assassinated. It isn’t clear who tried to kill him, since apparently, Vienna is the Olympics for international spies and assassins. Yet, despite Owen having minimal combat experience or any survival experience when his life is threatened, Max is able to guide him away from two people trying to take his life.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What’s Lester and Violet’s problem, and will we have to suffer through their B.S. for the rest of the season?
  2. Who was Max’s former handler before Xander exploited her?
  3. What exactly did Max do to piss off the Russian mob?
  4. Based on how Amelia talks, are Lester and Violet in some kind of office romance/ alliance?

What Could Happen Next

  1. More flashback scenes
  2. No sympathy for Owen getting in over his head, and the possible reveal that Violet and Lester don’t like Owen because he is doing more in a week than they have done in years. It makes them look bad and lazy, and they are just trying to cruise toward retirement.

Collected Quote(s)

Knowledge is leverage.
— Terrence

It’s safer being honest with strangers.
— Owen

I’m ambitious, you’re just afraid.
— Hannah


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The way they are building up Max is making it so she could easily make this show about her, and Owen is just an inflated supporting role. Because her getting out increasingly is starting to compete with Owen learning how to do his job. And seeing a flashback of her at her height, and then seeing her take on some random woman trying to shank her, I more want Owen to be good at his job to help Max than because I know we’ll be watching him for seasons to come.

Owen Truly Learning As He Goes, And Not Lucking His Way To The Top

The way Owen is sometimes painted, you could see him as the epitome of male privilege in terms of failing his way up or, with how Hannah makes it seem, him showing up and, without any effort, getting high marks. That would push the idea that he is lazy and entitled, all the negative connotations that come with being male in modern society until you prove you are otherwise. In my mind, Owen proved he isn’t to be held as that kind of guy.

Take note, Owen only got through CIA 101 of the orientation guide, and being that Lester and Violet would rather haze him than mentor him, he hasn’t had an easy transition into the agency. Yet, with every mistake, especially when the mistake is pointed out, usually by a woman, he takes note and adapts. He doesn’t whine or overtly complain; he learns and adapts. Case in point, Max told him he reveals too much in conversation, and we saw with Xander that Owen not only kept what he knew close to the chest but picked up on Xander telling on himself.

Dawn told him about how keeping your mouth shut about less scrupulous things allows for leverage, maybe even allies, and he uses Janus revealing his op potentially going bad as a means to gain information. Also, he uses what Lester and Violet continue to do in order to coerce them to be helpful instead of detrimental.

What Could Come From Amelia

Amelia (Kaylah Zander) setting the terms of her helping Owen
“Amelia (Kaylah Zander),” The Recruit, “N.L.T.S.Y.P.,” directed by Doug Liman, 2022, (Netflix)

When it comes to Hannah and Owen, I see their relationship as something which maybe had misconstrued feelings. They likely were close at one time, thought that meant dating would be a good option, and while being with your best friend was fun, certain things weren’t as they expected or should click. So, they realized they were better as friends, and I can accept that.

With that said, you and I both know that no show like this isn’t going to give its lead someone to prove they are attractive. So, with Amelia, that should be interesting not only for the #MeToo element of it but also because it is a new learning experience for Owen.

As noted, he learns on the fly and seems to retain and advance quickly. So beyond whatever stuff she may teach him about intimacy, especially with peers in the C.I.A., there is also networking. Amelia knows people in other departments and could be the mentor Owen needs. But, at the same time, she could also set up a potential downfall either because one of them catching feelings, or she could, as Max noted to Owen in the past, no longer be someone who can be trusted once their goals no longer align.

We’ll have to wait and see if that comes to pass though.

Max in the prison infirmary
The Recruit: Season 1/ Episode 2 – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
While “The Recruit” was a little rough in episode one, things are getting better as the problem children get less focus and better characters are introduced, developed, and getting the spotlight.
Community Rating1 Vote
Owen Truly Learning As He Goes, And Not Lucking His Way To The Top
What Could Come From Amelia

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