‘The Veil’ Episodes 1-2 Recap & Ending Explained: Who Is Djinn Of Al Raqqa?


The Veil is a new thriller drama limited series by FX, streaming on Hulu, that delves into international spyware and global terrorism to come up with an interesting premise. The plot is centered around a woman named Imogen, who gets involved with potentially the most wanted woman in the world, whom she has to safely take from one country in Europe to another. With the first two episodes released this week, The Veil promises to be quite a thrilling watch, and it would surely be easy to recommend if it could hold on to the narrative twists and turns.

Spoiler Alert

Who is Imogen?

The Veil episode 1 begins at a German airport, where a man and a woman meet to celebrate some accomplishment of theirs. The man, Tomas, refers to his company as Portia and thanks her for her invaluable role in whatever they have been a part of together, before the whole scene takes an unexpected turn. On her orders, a group of Interpol officers walk into the place and arrest Tomas, who has been understandably involved in some criminal activities over the past many years. The woman reveals that she has been keeping track of all these unlawful acts by him over the past years and that her name is obviously not Portia. Once the arrest has been made, she calls up her bosses at some organization and asks to be given the name Imogen for the next mission, and this is the name that sticks with her for the rest of The Veil.

As revealed later in the first two episodes, Imogen is actually an MI6 agent who has a special skill and knack for taking down terrorist organizations and known perpetrators. It can be guessed that Tomas was also such an individual, and she had pretended to be part of his organization in order to take him down. Imogen is next sent over to a refugee camp on the Syrian/Turkish border so that she can get in touch with a special target living at the place. For this mission, Imogen was actually appointed by the Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) in France, particularly by a man named Malik Amar. Malik is a senior officer at the DGSE, and it is revealed later on that he had actually gotten physically intimate with Imogen before she had been given the job. Therefore, it is assumed by many that Malik trusted her with such an important and crucial mission only because of the physical proximity that they had shared.

The DGSE has intel about a major terrorist attack being planned against some unidentified target somewhere in Europe in the next ten or so days, and thus, they wanted to know more about it. One of the women living in the refugee camp on the Syrian/Turkish border is suspected to have links with the ISIS terrorist organization, and so they needed to send someone to go in and interrogate the target for them. It can be guessed that the DGSE does not want to get very directly involved with the matter right away, as a failure would surely taint its image in global politics. Naturally, when Malik was able to suggest the name of an individual who might come in handy with regard to this matter, his advice was taken, and Imogen was chosen to get hold of the target from the refugee camp.

The resourceful and cunning nature of Imogen, who seems to be the protagonist of the show, is clear from the very opening minutes, and she is marked by a certain ability to convince people quite easily. She fools the refugee camp officer into believing that she is a health aid worker who has been sent to the place, but then quickly makes contact with the target—a woman named Adilah. While Adilah is identified by many of the other women at the camp as a worker of ISIS, they are determined to kill her off as punishment for her crimes, and this is the situation that Imogen steps into. She not only promises to listen to Adilah but also gets her out of the camp, as per the instructions of her DGSE bosses. 

However, it is also quite clear that Imogen is not someone who can be easily manipulated into partaking in any mission without any personal motive of her own. Especially since she is an MI6 agent herself, suspiciously working for the French government for the time being, it seems like Imogen definitely has some personal drive towards getting to Adilah. It is extremely possible that she had gotten physically intimate with Malik Amar, knowing his professional credentials, and had done so only to get close to the target. Imogen was perhaps the one manipulating Malik into getting the job, and not the other way around. Imogen might have found out about Adilah, or the supposed ISIS cell that she works for, through the previous mission in which she had brought down Tomas. This possibility seems all the more plausible when Imogen actually refuses to follow orders once she has Adilah in her car.

Although the DGSE order was to take the woman to the French government camp in the Turkish city of Edip Koyu, she takes a different turn at the crossroads, very literally, and decides to take Adilah to Istanbul. Later on in Istanbul, she even helps Adilah escape the police search that had been conducted to find them, and then also arranges for them to be transported out of Turkey under false identities. Therefore, very early in The Veil, the protagonist Imogen also becomes a fugitive along with the supposed ISIS leader that she is currently accompanying. Although she tells Malik that her specific actions were only in order to convince Adilah that she was on her side and that she wanted to help her, Imogen might have some other motives. The series also shows her having a few flashes from the past, in which she is seen being groomed by a man, and Imogen’s exact past will also surely form a plot point in the show.

Who is Adilah?

The character of Adilah is also introduced very early on in The Veil, at the refugee camp in the snowy mountains. The camp is actually home to numerous refugees, mostly women and children, whose family members have been killed by ISIS militia. When a food aid truck gets stuck in the heavy snow, all the women rush to the vehicle, and some climb over it to help distribute the aid better. Adilah is also among this group, and she calls for women with children to come forward so that they can be helped first, but it all turns bitter when someone identifies her as part of Daesh or ISIS. The frantic woman in the crowd informs everyone that Adilah has killed her husband and children, which leads to everyone dangerously turning against her. Adilah is almost hanged to death by the angry crowds, who feel vengeful against a member of the Islamic State, which has destroyed their whole lives. It is because of the intervention of the security personnel that her life is saved, and she is put up in a special tent.

After Imogen arrives and eventually rescues her, Adilah keeps claiming herself to be a very normal woman who did get involved with ISIS at one time but that she had never killed or harmed anyone. Although the authorities believe her to be a senior ISIS commander named Sabaine Al Kubaisi, an Algerian national who lived in Marseille, the woman claims her name to be Adilah El Idrissi, a citizen of Paris. During her conversation with Imogen, she reveals that she had moved to Paris during her young adult days in order to pursue a career in modeling. This was when Adilah had left her education, and it all went wrong for her when she got involved with an abusive man. She eventually became a mother, possibly at this very time, but then had to leave her daughter behind in Paris while she was living at the refugee camp.

According to Adilah, she had then met with some ISIS members and gotten involved with them without having too much choice. As part of the group, she then moved to Al Raqqa in Syria, where she witnessed some truly disturbing events. Adilah saw some women trapped in the village who were regularly assaulted by the men and the boys, physically and sexually, and she decided to intervene. When she tried to stop the abuse by supposedly screaming in French, the witnesses, some of whom were also present at the Syrian/Turkish border, mistook it to be her orders towards the male ISIS soldiers. Since her protests did not really have any necessary repercussions, Adilah then freed the captive women that night, telling them to flee to some camp before walking with a group of refugees and getting rescued and brought to the refugee camp. 

Is Adilah really the most wanted woman on Earth?

For the entirety of The Veil episode 1, the main mystery of the show is with regards to the actual identity of Adilah, and Imogen is also seemingly not very sure of it. While Adilah can very well be just a normal Parisian citizen who got involved with the wrong crowd and now finds herself trapped in a refugee camp, it is also possible that she is the ISIS commander in hiding. Since the Islamic State terrorist organization does not have too many women holding important posts, naturally, because of the religious extremism at its core, the figure of Sabaine Al Kubaisi has become almost like a legend. Termed as the Djinn of Al Raqqa, Sabaine is believed to have been vicious to the common people in the country, killing thousands. This is also the reason why she is considered as the most wanted woman in the world at present. Therefore, when the DGSE intercepts a plan in the works by one of the ISIS cells, Sabaine is naturally thought to be the one in control of the terrorist mission. 

However, when the United States of America gets into the matter, in the form of Max Peterson, an agent who investigates the terrorist plan and the supposed perpetrator behind it, a new development takes place. Adilah had always told everyone, including Imogen, about the daughter she had to leave behind in Paris, who was now ten years old. Peterson makes use of his contacts to track down this young girl, gets her momentarily kidnapped in a van, and then releases her, after a few strands of her hair have been collected. The hair is then used to run DNA tests in order to determine whether she is really related to the woman claiming herself to be Adilah. Since Adilah had been in the refugee camp, her DNA samples were collected by an American troop from the tent where she had been kept. At the end of The Veil episode 2, it is confirmed that the girl is indeed Adilah’s daughter, making the authorities even more confused.

However, as Imogen rightly believes, this information does not necessarily rule out the possibility of Adilah actually being a terrorist. While the woman was confirmed to be a mother to a young girl in Paris, it can very well be that all these events had actually taken place in her life. Imogen states that she still believes Adilah to be the notorious Djinn of Al Raqqa and would do anything to prove this to be the truth. So far, it seems most likely that Adilah lied about her time with ISIS, even though the events before this did happen in her life. In the end, when Imogen allows her to call up her daughter, the protagonist eavesdrops on the phone call and hears Adilah talk about some plan very determinedly, assuring someone that their mission will succeed. This probably confirms that Adilah is indeed the perpetrator, even though the authorities do not believe her to be so. The details of her mission and the important target they are against will only be revealed in the upcoming episodes of the FX thriller The Veil.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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