Hi Treadstone Lovers!
Treadstone is an excellent action science fiction thriller that is brought to our screens by NBC Universal Content Productions dovetailing the world of Jason Bourne, a successful series of movies that took the world by storm beginning in 2002.
In Treadstone, the story arc unfolds with “Cicada” like, dormant secret assassin agents across our world waking up to resume their deadly missions.
The Cicada are triggered by factors that will be revealed as this outstanding entertainment product unfolds before our very eyes on USA Network.
Much like the Bourne series, each agent in Treadstone appears to be a CIA assassin suffering from dissociative amnesia having been reprogrammed with different identities. Each agent must determine out who he or she really is.
The successful Bourne series was created by famous author Robert Ludlum (1927-2001) in which The Treadstone Project created Jason Bourne portrayed by Matt Damon. Damon starred in all the films sans one, when the Jason character was replaced by Jeremy Renner who portrayed a character named Aaron Cross that has to deal with the fallout of Jason Bourne. Matt Damon came back to star in the fifth and final film released in 2016 that wrapped the Bourne story arc nicely.
Although all of Ludlum’s novels were adapted faithfully for the big screen, the series actually started in 1988 as a television movie. Treadstone as a television series is a new spin off that leverages The Treadstone Project concept in which Ludlum is given posthumous credit as a writer for the first four critical episodes that sets the foundation of this exciting new series.
Treadstone is the creation of Executive Producer Tim Kring, known for his work in the original Knight Rider in 1986. Kring is well known for Crossing Jordan (2001-2007), Heroes (2006-2010), Touch (2012-2013), and Heroes Reborn (2015-2016) among many other fine entertainment products.
Having heard of Treadstone from tweets by Brian Jacob Smith on Twitter, we at Team WHR have Brian followed since his starring role in Stargate Universe (2009-2011).
Smith has been featured in science fiction series we loved including Warehouse 13, Defiance, and Sense8.
Smith is a Julliard trained actor of high caliber and quality whom we admire. Smith is also starring in another new series World On Fire (2019-). We suggest you check out this superb series in addition to Treadstone.
Our interest in Treadstone was further piqued when we found out that Michelle Forbes was an anchor character portraying Treadstone CIA Operative Ellen Becker.
Ms Forbes admirers will recall her memorable performances as Ensign Ro in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1989-1994), 24 (2001-2010) and importantly the second iteration of Battlestar Galactica (2005-2009) when she reprised the role of Commander Cain (originally played by Lloyd Bridges) from the original BSG when Michelle portrayed the role as a female Admiral Cain.
Michele also was a recurring character as well in the runaway hit series Orphan Black (2013-2017) to name but a few of her many accomplishments.
Treadstone features many fine actors including Jeremy Irvine as J. Randolf Bentley, Hyo-Joo Han as SoYun Pak, Gabrielle Scharnitzky as Petra the Russian, Emilia Schüle as young Petra, Tracy Ifeachor as Tara Coleman, Michael Gaston as Dan Levine, Omar Metwally as Matt Edwards, legendary actor Tzi Ma as General Kwon, and many more fine actors!
As described by the USA Network, Treadstone utilizes flashbacks including “to the 1950s, the CIA started a series of highly classified programs experimenting on human subjects in order to develop drugs and procedures for the purpose of mind control. These programs were in response to the alleged use of mind control techniques by foreign powers at the height of the Cold War, most notably the Soviet Union.”
With Smith and Forbes, two fabulous actors anchoring key character roles in the series, Team WHR followed the Treadstone series and tweeted along with the actors during the two premiere episodes. Subsequent to viewing the second episode, we decided to form a team to write analysis of the series due to the superior high quality characteristics of the program.
We are publishing our analysis of “The Kwon Conspiracy” concurrent with the premiere episode “The Cicada Protocol” because the two episodes play like a single movie in our opinion. In fact, we think Treadstone should have been a two hour premiere.
The Cicada Protocol:
The series opens with a main series character named J. Randolph Bentley strapped to a chair in East Berlin. The year is 1973.
Bentley is a CIA Officer who has been captured by the Soviet Union.
Bentley is being abused, drugged and brainwashed as a test subject by his evil captor Doctor Meisner (Martin Umbach) and a woman who we learn is the young Petra (Emilia Schüle).
More on the elder version of Petra later.
The conditioning appears to be going well when Bentley is triggered after hearing “Frere Jacques” from young Petra, Bentley kills three test subjects in a nearby room.
Bentley has been conditioned to think the killings were part of his past while in service during the Vietnam War.
Things go awry when Bentley’s conditioning fails. He stabs Meisner with his reading glasses and fights his way out of the nightmarish brainwashing facility. Bentley successfully escapes jumping off the roof disappearing into East Berlin night.
Next we meet Ellen Becker of the CIA who has received secret message from their spy in North Korean named General Kwon (Tzi Ma).
Kwan demands to meet with Tara Coleman (Tracy Ifeachor) in London.
Becker assigns London-based Matt Edwards (Omar Metwally) to seek out Tara.
Becker’s boss Dan Levine (Michael Gaston) will supervise the meeting. Edwards knows that Tara is now a taxi driver after she was drummed out of the CIA under cover as a journalist.
Edwards recruits Tara to speak with Kwon about a missing top secret ICBM from the former Soviet Union known as the Stiletto Six ICBM.
Tara goes to meet with General Kwon, however, Kwon discovers she is bugged and destroys the listening device. Kwon tells Tara not to trust the CIA because Treadstone has been reactivated, but we do not known by who or for what precise purpose.
Kwon trusts Tara telling her that his country has arranged to purchase the Stiletto Six launch codes from a Russian man named Yuri Leniov (Julian Kostov).
Kwon knows his betrayal will be discovered by North Korea. He asks Tara to find his daughter Jang-Mi Kwon (Jini Lee) in Paris and to take her to safety in the Ecuadorian Embassy in Paris.
Once Kwon knows his daughter is safe, Kwon’s contact at the Embassy will provide Tara with the data she will need to scramble the Stiletto Six launch codes. Tara is own her own since Becker at CIA headquarters and her local boss Edwards have lost contact with Tara.
Back in North Korea, a piano teacher named Soyun (Hyo-Joo Han) picks up her son, Jin Woo, from school. Jin Woo reveals someone put an American video game Game Boy device in his locker at school and he is scared.
Soyun takes the Game Boy before her husband Dae (Jung Woo Seo) arrives home. Dae, apparently a loyal officer who works in the North Korean rogue ICBM program, informs Soyun a high ranking guest is going to stop by their home.
As Soyun makes dinner, the Game Boy starts playing “Frere Jacques” triggering her for her mission; to kill General Kwon! Somehow Soyun can now speak English after being triggered. During the encounter with Kwon, Soyun strangles Kwon to death!
Our next Treadstone agent to be activated is Doug McKenna (Brian Jacob Smith). Doug is a successful oil rig worker in Alaska. Word has come down from corporate that he and all his friends are being fired subsequent to their oil rig has been sold to a to Russia company.
Doug and his friends vacate the oil rig and are next seen in a bar getting drunk to drown their unemployed status. Doug has a seemingly innocent with a woman at the bar.
The Russian become abusive and start attacking Doug. Doug, to the utter shock of his friends, by some inner instinct, kicks the hell out of the Russian’s withdraw in defeate. After the fight, the woman named Carol (Kerry
Godliman) convinces Doug to go back to her office to tend to his minor cuts and scrapes.
In a repeat of the other Treadstone sleepers awakened, Carol hums a song into Doug’s ear. It’s “Frere Jacques”!
Doug passes out and next morning, Doug wakes up in arctic landscape with a duffel bag full of money and drugs in the snow next to him A photograph of an unknown woman is in his hand!
What the hell is going on and just who is Carol actually working for?
“The Cicada Protocol” ends in the present at an old Russian farmhouse. We find Petra (the older version is portrayed by Gabrielle Scharnitzky).
Old Petra is with her equally old husband named Oleg (Stanislaw Banasiuk). Petra is unhappy that Oleg has bought a hearing aid without consulting with her first.
Oleg starts hearing a ringing sound with an odd pattern that becomes an obsession. Petra, who we learn is the keeper of the Stiletto ICBM, is suspicious of Oleg takes the hearing aid from him and tucks it in her brassiere .
Oleg defies Petra and retrieves the hearing aid following the patterned sound to a trapdoor in their barn. The trapdoor leads to the blast door of the Stiletto ICBM.
In the final scenes, Petra chops Oleg’s heart with a scythe killing him to protect the Stiletto Six ICBM. In the process we observe that Petra has an injured pinky finger. In one of many flashbacks, this editor expects to link the past to the present in Treadstone. The episode ends when we are back in 1973. Young Petra has the same injured pinky finger from the earlier altercation with Bentley, who as mentioned earlier, had escaped Petra to head back to the CIA!
The Kwon Conspiracy:
We begin “The Kwon Conspiracy” back in 1973. Bentley is observed at a row of lockers on his return to the CIA station in West Berlin. He appears to be suffering from anxiety from his time in Dr, Meiser’s Soviet chamber of horrors during his captivity in East Berlin.
His fellow agent Ferguson (Tom Mothersdale) informs Bentley that his Mom was told he was dead and that he has been missing for months. Bentley is obviously shaken since he thinks he has been gone for only a week or so.
Bentley is summoned to debrief about his mission to the CIA station chief. Bentley’s body language reveals his growing anxiety. While he recalls Petra and that he completed his mission to kill the evil Dr. Meiser, the station chief presses Bentley for more details.
Bentley is unable to comply and has a complete breakdown disarming the guard using his pal Ferguson as a hostage. Bentley makes a haphazard escape in the elevator from the CIA station, now a fugitive from his own organization!
We next find Doug dreaming, in fact having a nightmare about being trapped in a tank of water where he is fighting for his life. He wakes up in what appears to be a cold sweat on the plane back home from Alaska with his friend Mike.
We do not know how he got there from the frozen expanse with the duffel bag of drugs. What that a dream as well? We will find out that was real.
Eventually Doug is back in his hometown where he surprises his wife Samantha (Tess Haubrich) who thinks Doug is a criminal home invader and greets Doug with a gun! Subsequent to this excitement, the two share an intimate moment. Doug gives Samatha the bad news that he has been laid off at the oil rig. Samantha takes the news blithely, perhaps too much so.
At night, Doug has another dream, if fact a bad one involving the woman who triggered him, Carol. Doug looks a the photo he had in the frozen expanse of the unknown woman he had when he woke up in the snow. It has an address on the back of the photo. Doug traces the address to a place of a bar.
Earlier in the episode we are at CIA headquarters where we find Ellen Becker and Edwards discussing the fact that General Kwon is dead. Edwards informs tells Becker about his work with a company specialist who may have been connected to the Treadstone assets that are waking up.
Edwards heads off to meet with a hypnotist named Dr. Martin Wells (Finbar Lynch). Lynch is at work in his alter ego in a seedy theater of some sort. Edwards chats with Wells after the hypnosis show, revealing the nature of his trip, to discuss what is happening with the Treadstone “Cicada’s”
Wells shares details that the Treadstone program was larger than Edwards thought. Edwards is stunned that that Dr. Wells already knows that former assets are awake. How did he know? What part of this program does Wells actually play?
Wells plays a video for Edwards that depicts one of the assets, a man called Stephen Haynes (Patrick Fugit).Haynes is seen killing people in what seems to be a mass shooting incidents. Wells informs Edwards this murder appears to be another Treadstone asset! Edwards recruits Wells to track down and talk with Haynes to get more information on the Treadstone phenomena.
We move to a scene with the older version of Petra in her farmhouse after she has discovered that Stiletto ICBM has somehow been remotely activated in the launch silo on her property!
When Petra tries frantically to report to her superiors, but is not able to do so. Petra becomes very upset that her secret agent contact number is no longer active.
Petra then decides to report directly to Moscow where she finds her superior Max (Marek Vasut) and a group of Russian agents.
Petra meets Max with another man named Major Yuri Leniov (Julian Kostov) that she knew in the past after losing Bentley.
Flashback to 1973, we observed that young Petra had gotten chewed out by Yuri Leniov. It is also revealed that Petra had an affair with Lenoiv when she was a young woman.
Petra seems to have a number of secret connections that will undoubtedly twist the plot even further!
We are then back with Soyun in North Korea. She is trying to find out who gave her son the Game Boy that triggered her in the first place that led to her killing Kwon. Her son Jin Woo says a man gave him the Game Boy as school.
Soyun finds out that the man is her husband’s boss who had been watching her. Dae’s boss shows up at their house and her son tells his Mom that her husband’s boss is the man who gave him the Game Boy!
Dae goes out for drinks with his boss, get promoted and returns home. Soyun is told he was promoted because he had found out that Kwon was a traitor! Soyun hides her knowledge that Kwon is the man she killed when she was triggered further complicating the story arc!
The final scene’s that wrap the two episode adventure finds us with Tara in Paris. Just before Tara makes contact with General Kwon’s daughter Jang-Mi, a call comes in from Edwards who is in Washington DC at CIA headquarters, Tara find out that Kwon is dead and a team of North Korean assassins is on the way to Paris to erase the rest of Kwon’s family.
Tara finds Jang-Mi in Versailles with her boyfriend Dimitri (Eduard Buhac). Tara shows Jang-Mi the silver medallion that that Kwon had given her. Tara tells Jang-Mi they need to go to the Ecuadorian Embassy for her safety. Jang-Mi heeds Tara’s advice and knows her father had an old friend named Hector Portillo (Fernando Guillén Cuervo) there.
Before they can get to the embassy, their car is attacked by the North Korean assassins, An exciting car chase ensues as Tara attempts to drive them to safety.
Jang-Mi’s boyfriend is killed and the two vehicles crash. The episode ends with leaving Tara and Jang-Mi right next to the North Korean assassins!
Treadstone is an excellent entertainment product worthy of the Bourne Legacy (pun intended). Tune in each Tuesday at USA Network at 10:00 PM Eastern time to find out the next exciting plot twists and turns that await us in a world gone mad with Treadstone assets waking up all across the planet Earth!
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Kenn of #TeamWHR