Let’s get one thing clear. Disney+ Hotstar hasn’t released The Freelancer Season 1 in its entirety. They’ve released four episodes, and they apparently plan to release the rest at a later date. So, let’s refer to these four episodes as part 1 of The Freelancer. In the penultimate episode of the first part of this two-parter, we see Mohsin suggesting one of the leaders of ISIS allow him and Aliya to go to the biggest medina in Raqqa to detonate a bomb, and, with the exception of Aliya, everyone agrees to do it. Mohsin is seen harassing Aliya about Avinash because he is her father’s former colleague. Avinash is seen collaborating with the CIA regarding Aliya’s extraction from Syria. Farhat Khala pays Aliya’s mother, Sabeena, a visit and tells her to stop making any efforts to get her daughter back.
Aliya Remembers Her Past
Avinash gets in touch with Aliya and tells her to keep sending pictures of the streets and houses around the place where she is living, as that’ll make it easier for Avinash and his team to track her. We get a flashback where Sabeena, Inayat, and Avinash are in a playzone with a young Aliya, and Avinash looks after Aliya while Sabeena and Inayat head out. It’s to show that Avinash has always cared for Aliya, and now he’ll do the same in this troublesome situation. I know this is supposed to highlight Avinash’s caring and empathetic side. But the fact that Avinash doesn’t care about his own son and wife until the son dies and the wife becomes mentally unstable shows that Avinash is not the right kind of parental figure. Elsewhere, Raghavendra Setu meets Dr. Arif Khan to talk about Avinash. Khan says that Sethu needs a warrant to interrogate him, and Sethu says that he’ll do that. End of conversation.
Later on, Khan tells Avinash not to rely on the CIA to extract Aliya and that he should have a secondary plan at his disposal. So, Avinash begins working on that and requests Khan to keep an eye out for Sabeena because she has already been harassed by Farhat. In addition to all that, Khan also warns Avinash that IB Officer Setu is tailing him, and Avinash doesn’t make a big deal out of it. Instead, he gets on a call with a certain Captain Brar to “talk shop.” Back in Aliya’s home, Mohsin sexually assaults Aliya, and the show cuts back and forth between that moment and the happier times Mohsin and Aliya shared with each other. Then she proceeds to inform Avinash about the positions that Mohsin, Khalid, Wajid, and Sameer are holding in the wing of ISIS in Syria and how they’re planning to perform air strikes. Finally, she reveals the trip to Raqqa that she’ll be embarking on with Mohsin, Khalid, and Asar, and it becomes clear that Aliya doesn’t know about the bomb blast.
Avinash Wants To Go To The Syria-Iraq Border
Avinash’s meeting with Brar begins with a question about his role in ISIS’s oil economy, and Brar goes on a speech about how he anonymously buys everything from them, even though it isn’t exactly the point of the conversation. Avinash essentially wants to know if there’s a way to bring Aliya out of Syria without being traced by anyone, and for that, he needs to access the route that Brar uses to work with ISIS. Next, Avinash gets in touch with a guy called Wilson and asks him to make a duplicate identity for Aliya.
Talking about Aliya, Avinash tells her to send a picture (which contains a virus) to Mohsin. As soon as Mohsin downloads it, Avinash will be able to look into his devices or manipulate them in some way. While making her way from the local internet cafe to her home, Aliya has a brief conversation with Saiyma about the restrictions that are being imposed on them by their family. And she basically says that it’s a sign of devotion, and there’s no question of being forced to do anything. Setu tries to get a warrant to look into Avinash’s past and present but fails to acquire it. Avinash meets with a restaurant owner in Morocco, whom he refers to as “Big Brother,” to talk about going to the Iraq-Syria border to extract Aliya. He says that he won’t handle this directly because the job is a risky one, but he’ll give Avinash the correct contacts for his mission. Beyond that, it’s up to Avinash and Aliya and how their luck favors them.
What Is The Reason For The Explosion In Raqqa?
One of the leaders of the ISIS branch in Syria sends all the information about Avinash to an ISIS sleeper cell in Morocco. Mohsin downloads the picture that Aliya had sent him, and that allows Avinash to extract every bit of information from Mohsin’s computer. Avinash passes on that information to the CIA, and they essentially set up a team to trace and tap into the numbers of the seven phone numbers that are at their disposal while keeping track of the numbers that they’ll be switching to. As predicted by Avinash, the family members get back their original phones, but Avinash tells Aliya not to use that phone and to keep using the hidden-phone that she has been using to talk to Avinash. Why? Avinash thinks that the members of ISIS have bugged those phones, and as soon as Aliya uses her old phone to work against them, they are going to know, and they’ll probably punish her for that.
Avinash meets with the CIA again with the new numbers and coordinates of the family. They chat a little about the details of the extraction, which is still in the planning phase. So, Avinash asks the CIA for another tracking software that can be planted in the phones of the family members. The CIA gives him a GIF that has to be played by the user, which will allow the CIA to track them, and Avinash forwards that to Aliya. The aforementioned leader of the ISIS cell in Syria talks about protecting a pilot and their family, something about the Malaysian family bringing a lot of money into the rebellion, and how children are essential to their movement.
Anyway, during The Freelancer Part 1’s ending, Aliya and Mohsin drive to Raqqa with Khalid and Asar. While Mohsin and Aliya go to the rooftops of the bazaar, Khalid and Asar walk into the most crowded section of the place and explode themselves. This is apparently Khalid and Asar’s way of expressing their dedication to the religion and ISIS’s cause. It also reflects the harmful effects of radicalization and how a seemingly ordinary family can destroy itself. In reality, it’s the showrunners efforts to stoke fear and paranoia through the medium of entertainment because they think we don’t have enough of that due to the ever-increasing divisions being created among communities and countries. Neeraj Pandey’s amateur storytelling just goes to show that he doesn’t care about the kind of effect The Freelancer is going to have on impressionable minds. He just wants to ride the current wave of discriminatory storytelling and make money.
What Can We Expect From Part 2?
To be honest, I am not looking forward to the second part of The Freelancer. But based on the teaser at the end of the fourth episode, it seems like Avinash is going to face off with the sleeper cells in Morocco. After that, he has to go to Syria himself because the CIA doesn’t want to. Given how Farhat is manipulating Sabeena, Avinash can be seen requesting that Dr. Khan gets her arrested. Dr. Khan advises against it because if Farhat gets arrested, Aliya’s abductors will know that Avinash is actively working to get to Aliya, and that may jeopardize the entire mission. Aliya isn’t in the clear, though, because Mohsin has started to cast doubt on her activities, and he thinks that she is planning to do something with Nabeela.
The Freelancer Part 2 teaser also shows Avinash having a conversation with Setu where he tells him that he’s going to extract Aliya even if Setu and the IB try their best to stop him. And we see Avinash assembling his team and working their way into Syria. Avinash tells Aliya that the place where she’s currently holed up won’t exist in the next few hours. A shot of a massive plane or a drone indicates that they are going to bomb the place. You know, Netflix has made two Extraction movies, which had plots that were similar to The Freelancer? They were devoid of any dog-whistling, discriminatory storytelling, or nationalistic propaganda. They were around 2 hours long, and they were packed wall-to-wall with action. That’s what we could’ve gotten, and even though The Freelancer is as deep as those two movies (or any other movie about an extraction), we are stuck here with multiple, hour-long episodes. Why? Neeraj Pandey is a genius, and Disney+ Hotstar really loves the way he unfolds these wafer-thin plots while giving the audience nothing to enjoy.