'Citadel' verdict: Priyanka Chopra Jonas starrer is disappointing disaster
The first season of Amazon Prime Video's spy show Citadel has finally wrapped up. Executive produced by the Russo brothers (Avengers: Endgame), the series was touted as the OTT giant's flagship project, famously mounted on a $300M budget. However, the Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Richard Madden starrer failed to meet expectations right from the beginning and can be encapsulated as all gloss, no substance.
But first, let's revisit 6th and final episode
Spoilers ahead. In the sixth episode, Kyle Conroy, through an activation vial, realizes he is indeed Mason Kane, Citadel's top spy. Like always, the episode throws a lot of mumbo jumbo at us, something we are supposed to take seriously and devote ourselves to, but unfathomable jargon drips from every second sentence. When the show is so difficult to fathom, why care anyway?
Once again, it's more of same
As is the case with the entire lifeless series, either the episode lingers on for far too long on some seemingly important events or simply paints them in broad strokes, not caring to pause, not caring about giving the sequences a chance to breathe. This, subsequently, reflects in our intuitive reactions: when the "big reveals" happen, we have driven past the caring milestone.
There is surprising revelation in this episode
This episode has a momentous revelation that I didn't see coming, but alas, it didn't move me; it would have, however, if the series had given us something to root for it. All it threw our way were two pretty faces and some glitzy locations, but series and films stand on the pillar of nuance, sub-plots, character arcs, and writing—not just gorgeous exteriors.
Why doesn't any twist ever surprise us here?
Citadel has consistently suffered from the lack of twists, turns, and an explosive storyline that could propel the entire show forward, and it does not seem any different from the numerous other spy films/shows already out there. The Prime Video show also finds it ridiculously difficult to keep viewers invested and engaged; it doesn't take too long to notice its core is painfully hollow.
Constant narrative shift has never helped it
Citadel has a basic "who is the mole in the spy organization?" premise, and even then, it's unable to sell it conveniently. The non-linear narrative structure, which jumps from one location to another, does more harm than good, making it tough for the viewers to put a finger on what's happening and grasp whether the story is unfolding in the past or the present.
Final word: Watching 'Citadel' is exercise, not enjoyment
Another problem Citadel constantly wrestles with is that it doesn't rise to the occasion and refuses to sink its teeth into the many opportunities in front of it. With two fine actors and a budget that only select global projects can match up to, Citadel could have been a thrilling, fast-paced ride laced with twists. Alas, its fuel runs out before touching the ground.