Treadstone Season 1 Episode 1 Review: The Cicada Protocol

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That was a whole lot of fun. 

Treadstone Season 1 Episode 1 took us on a globe-trotting adventure as we witnessed cicadas across the world awakening with a new sense of purpose. 

As if that wasn't enough, the story took place in two timelines, leading me to believe that we have to meet some of the characters from the 1970s scene in the present. 

Randolph In Trouble - Treadstone

From the pulse-pounding first scene all the way through to the high-stakes conclusion, "The Cicada Protocol" was a series premiere done right. 

Introducing a lot of characters is always a risky move, but if Treadstone Season 1 can serve all of them as well as the premiere did, then USA Network may have a hit on its hands. 

Randolph Tries to Escape - Treadstone Season 1 Episode 1

We'll start with Randolph because that's who we started this journey with. He was cutthroat and knew the lengths he had to go to to escape the facility with his life. 

Randolph: The man that I was before, would he have been able to kill them?
Man: The man you were was sent here by the CIA to murder me, and now look at you. Such Pacus. These methods of mine, I know, they are complicated. But you, you are my most promising subject. Now, Cicada.
Randolph: Cicada?
Man: An amazing little creature, sent underneath the surface for years at a time to wait. Then they awaken from their long slumber.
Randolph: And then die?
Man: Yes, but not before they fulfill their destiny. You will be a great soldier for our cause. Right now, you need your rest.

I'll admit, based on the early promotional material that I thought we'd spend the entirety of the series with Randolph, but being introduced to multiple different Cicadas is not a bad thing. 

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There was a connection between Randolph and Petra from the get-go, even if they were on opposing sides. 

We don't fully know what Petra's motives in keeping Randolph locked up were, but it has to have something to do with what's happening in the present. 

Doug Gets Bad News - Treadstone Season 1 Episode 1

The premiere was bookended by the 1970s set scenes, and that helped keep the show moving along at a brisk pace. 

Randolph has to play into the present storyline for this all to feel worthwhile. Out of all the characters, Randolph struck me as the most Jason Bourne-like. 

Edwards: Tell me about Treadstone?
Tracy: Treadstone, what is that?

Oh yes, you can tell this series is set in the same universe as the hit movie series. There are a lot of similarities. 

The North Korea-set storyline was also intriguing. SoYun's life was changed forever the moment the child showed her the Game Boy. 

SoYun Uncovers a Secret - Treadstone Season 1 Episode 1

Switching the device on was her call to action, and boy, she was just as cunning as the others. The way she moved across the building with the people lurking below to get to her target was simply breathtaking. 

Given the number of characters we were introduced to, it wouldn't have been surprising to off one of them on the premiere. 

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But there was something about Han Hyo-joo in the role that was so mesmerizing. If her character lost her life, there would have been a lot of unhappy fans. 

Life is utterly different in North Korea to the other countries, so it remains to be seen what Operation Treadstone will bring for SoYun. 

Mr. Edwards Wants Answers - Treadstone Season 1 Episode 1

Moonlighting as a defenseless music teacher was the best foot forward for that particular character. Many will associate her with being weak, but she'll be willing to rise to the challenge if she is offered the opportunity. 

Doug was another standout, primarily because I had no clue how he was going to fit into the narrative. The medication must have had something to do with almost superhuman strength coming out to play. 

I was confused at first, but I finally know who I am.

Randolph

There was undoubtedly animosity when it was announced that everyone was being replaced on the oil rig, but the man who picked the fight with Doug will probably be regretting it right about now. 

The biggest positive about Treadstone is that it doesn't play out like a TV show. With the intense fight scenes, exhilarating chase sequences, and everything else, it felt like I was watching a big-budget movie. 

A Plan of Attack - Treadstone Season 1 Episode 1

Many networks put a lot of money into the pilots of new series to get people to tune in every single week, so time will tell if this level of quality continues. 

The last time the franchise tried to sidestep Matt Damon was the 2012 movie The Bourne Legacy.

The reason that the movie suffered was that the script wasn't up to par, but Treadstone is a valiant effort at keeping the franchise alive if Damon decides against returning for any future sequels. 

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We still don't know much about these Cicadas, and more importantly, how they were selected to be used as these assassins. It's likely they will have something to do with that missile the ill-fated husband came across near the conclusion of the opener. 

Doug Fights Back  - Treadstone Season 1 Episode 1

The poor man was curious because his hearing aid was seemingly alerting him to a nearby noise. It was quite the surprise to have his wife show up and kill him. Who is SHE? What does she have to do with this conspiracy?

We need answers, but for now, this well-produced drama series can consider me excited to find out what's coming. 

Over to you, Treadstone Fanatics!

What did YOU think of the premiere? Were you impressed by the visuals? Which Cicada is your favorite so far?

Hit the comments below.  

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The Cicada Protocol Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (28 Votes)

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Treadstone Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Randolph: The man that I was before, would he have been able to kill them?
Man: The man you were was sent here by the CIA to murder me, and now look at you. Such Pacus. These methods of mine, I know, they are complicated. But you, you are my most promising subject. Now, Cicada.
Randolph: Cicada?
Man: An amazing little creature, sent underneath the surface for years at a time to wait. Then they awaken from their long slumber.
Randolph: And then die?
Man: Yes, but not before they fulfill their destiny. You will be a great soldier for our cause. Right now, you need your rest.

Edwards: Tell me about Treadstone?
Tracy: Treadstone, what is that?