Warning: Spoilers For Citadel’s Season 1 Finale Below!Citadel season 1’s shock twist ending answers some key questions – and promises a darker second season. It will be curious to see what the response is to Citadel’s first season overall. The show is part of a planned shared universe of series from Amazon, with Citadel’s season 1 costing $300 million to produce. This made it the second most expensive TV show of all time – behind Amazon’s own The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – but reviews for Citadel have been largely mixed.
In terms of story, Citadel has been a mashup of famous spy movie titles, from Total Recall to True Lies and – of course – The Bourne Identity; Richard Madden does his best Bond audition too. One benefit of Citadel’s large budget is that it didn’t skim on scale or action, and season 1 ran for a lean six episodes. Citadel’s season 1 finale “Secrets In Night Need Early Rain” resolved some key mysteries, and set the groundwork for the already greenlit season 2.
Citadel’s finale picked up soon after the closing scenes of episode 5. This saw Nadia (Priyanka Chopra), Mason/Kyle (Richard Madden) and Spence (Osy Ikhile) clear up some misconceptions. Nadia confirmed she wasn’t the Citadel mole, and that she and Mason have a daughter named Asha (Serafina Tarafdar). They’re soon interrupted by Dahlia’s (Lesley Manville) men, who have kidnapped the now eight-year-old Asha and are threatening to kill her unless the former Citadel agents help her pull off a daring heist.
This involves an automated Russian “Dead Hand” submarine, which holds five nuclear warheads. Dahlia orders the team to retrieve the cores from these warheads, and she’ll let Asha ago. Years before, Mason installed a backdoor security lock on the same submarine as part of a Citadel mission, meaning he’s the only one who can get inside; of course, he has no memory of this mission in present day. Dahlia’s henchman Davik (Roland Møller) accompanies Kyle to ensure nothing goes wrong, but after the former opens the sub hatch, Davik tries to kill him and betrays Dahlia.
In Citadel’s previous episode, Dahlia personally killed Davik’s twin Anders (wasting a good potential redemption plot) and Davik is seeking revenge. He planned to launch the five missiles at various Manticore family compounds, but Kyle and Nadia foil that scheme and kill him. Nadia is then forced to retrieve all five cores before the missiles can launch, and she and Kyle then set out to save their daughter.
Manticore set up the exchange for the cores at the suitably cinematic setting of Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences complex. Nadia and Kyle attend while Spence provides sniper support, but it turns out the cores are useless to Manticore. In the aforementioned Citadel submarine mission years prior, Mason installed a bypass giving him control over the missiles. This was a failed attempt to blackmail Citadel into giving him Nadia’s location after she rejected his marriage proposal and left the agency.
Now, Mason/Kykle has no memory of how to unlock the cores. This leads to a brief firefight, with Nadia and Kyle finally being reunited with Asha. Dahlia, meanwhile, flees her home in case Manticore tries to seek retaliation for her failure to secure the cores.
Since the start of Citadel season 1, it’s been clear that a Citadel agent was the one who sold out the agency to Manticore. The show’s strained attempt to throw suspicion on Nadia never really convinced, as Citadel’s opening 10 minutes made it clear she’d never even heard of Manticore. A lack of suspects made it likely that Mason Kane himself could have been involved, and when the group bring Asha back to Citadel’s destroyed headquarters, all becomes clear. Spence is able to retrieve Mason’s memories, and after an injection, his memories come flooding back.
Throughout Citadel’s finale, there are flashbacks to a young Mason (then called Paul) in the time following his father’s death, and his mother abandoning him. After viewing cult ’60s thriller Seconds – where Rock Hudson plays a man who fakes his death and alters his appearance with plastic surgery to start over again – Paul decides to become a spy and totally reinvent himself. He buried his British accent and became a suave superspy, but after falling in love with Nadia, he can’t handle her rejection when she leaves and disappears for over a year.
In his desperation to locale her, Mason when to Dahlia – who is revealed to be his mother. She explains that after Paul’s father died, she no longer felt like the same woman she had been before. That’s why she abandoned Paul, and after Mason asks her to help find Nadia, Dahlia also reveals it wasn’t a terrorist explosion that killed his father; it was Citadel. They accidentally hit the wrong coordinates when trying to take down a terrorist cell, resulting in the deaths of innocent people and they later covered up their involvement.
To gain revenge, Dahlia convinces Mason to recover a list of Citadel agents so she can expose them to the world and make them pay for their crimes in the UK’s High Court. Of course, she then uses her Manticore connections to destroy Citadel instead, launching the coordinated attack that opened Citadel’s first episode, and almost killing Nadia and Mason in the process.
Elsewhere, there’s the fact Mason/Kyle’s wife is former Citadel agent Celeste (Ashleigh Cummings). Mason had Celeste’s memory wiped in the aftermath of an operation, as he believed Nadia had turned rogue and stolen a dangerous device. Mason had her memories deleted in case she could reveal Nadia’s guilt; it turns out Mason had misunderstood Nadia’s goals, and she had the device destroyed in secret. Citadel’s ending has Nadia learning that Kyle somehow managed to marry Celeste (now called Abby), which is far too coincidental to have been a mistake. The fate of Stanley Tucci’s Bernard – last seen being tortured by Dahlia – still has to be resolved too.
The end credits for Citadel’s season 1 finale also tease the next chapter in the “Citadel Spyverse.” The series was launched with the intent of creating international spinoffs, and Citadel: Diana appears to be the next chapter. This Italian offshoot stars Matilda De Angelis in the lead role, and while the brief trailer offers no real story hints, it appears it will be just as action-packed as its parent series. Citadel: Diana is set to premiere in 2024.