‘Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol’ Premiere: Will You Follow Robert Langdon’s New Adventure? (POLL)
As Above, So Below
Season 1 • Episode 1
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol series premiere “As Above, So Below.”]
If you’ve watched any of the movies based on Dan Brown’s books, you know who Robert Langdon is. You’ve seen Tom Hanks as the symbologist teaching a class all about the different ways that symbols can be interpreted. That’s how the new Peacock drama, The Lost Symbol, introduces Ashley Zukerman‘s young version, too.
But before we catch up with Langdon at Harvard, the premiere flashes back three years, to a prison in Turkey where guards beat a prisoner. Remember that prison.
In the present, Langdon is called to D.C. to be the keynote speaker at a gala by his mentor, Peter Solomon (Eddie Izzard), via his assistant … or so he thinks. Upon arriving at the museum, he learns there’s no such gala happening and is witness to the discovery of a severed hand — wearing Peter’s ring, so likely his — left by a man (Beau Knapp) the security guard, Nunez (Rick Gonzalez), recognizes was wearing some sort of concealer.
Langdon must follow the clues left for him, via the call from the man he now knows isn’t Peter’s assistant and the placement of the hand. “Peter is in the araf … the borderline between heaven and hell. … Whether he returns to your world or moves on to the next will depend on your actions,” the man says. “There exists within the city an ancient portal. I need you to find it and unlock it. … Peter will point the way. As above, so below.” The tattoos on Peter’s fingers are replications of the Hand of the Mysteries, an invitation to seek a body of ancient knowledge beyond a mystical gateway. But Peter knows it doesn’t exist, Langdon tells Nunez and the CIA’s Sato (Sumalee Montano). As he puts together the clues, it sounds like the caller wants to become God by accessing that ancient knowledge.
As Langdon and Sato work to decipher what they think is a code on the bottom of the stand the hand was on, it’s Nunez who explains it’s much simpler: the numbering system used in the Capitol, for a room in the sub-basement. There, they find a secret room of Peter’s, unlocked using a feather key in a sconce in the hall. But since no one replaces the key, the walls in the hall start moving closer together, giving them little time to access a hidden compartment in the wall (behind VITRIOL, an acronym for “visita interiora terrae, rectificando invenies occultum lapidem,” Latin meaning “visit the interior of the earth and by rectifying it, you will find a hidden stone”). Inside is a stone pyramid, and it’s only due to Nunez’s quick thinking (and placement of a table) that the three of them escape without getting flattened by the wall. (Langdon does hesitate after the hall becomes a well in his mind.)
As Langdon discovers upon examining the pyramid, it’s impossible to decipher the code without the capstone. (The Greeks used to hide pieces of a tablet in different locations to store secret information.) When the mysterious caller reaches out again, Sato has the call traced and leaves Langdon behind when they get a location. They need him safe, she explains. But the point of that was to lure everyone away from the symbologist. The janitor kills the guard outside the conference room in which Langdon’s working before entering and shooting Nunez. Mal’akh (Knapp) needs Langdon free to find the portal, the janitor says, giving him a phone. If Langdon doesn’t leave, he’ll kill Nunez.
Meanwhile, after Langdon contacts Peter’s daughter, Katherine (Valorie Curry), to tell her what’s happened, she heads to her father’s house and his study to get something kept behind a painting in the wall. As she does, she hears men entering the house and hides, but they’re CIA, sent by Sato. When she sees Langdon walking into Union Station alone, however, she leaves behind her CIA escort to follow him. She shows him the envelope she took from her father’s study; Peter said its secrecy was more valuable than his life and made her promise to destroy it if anything happened to him. The envelope is sealed with a Leviathan cross, a symbol Langdon noticed earlier was out of place in Peter’s secret room.
It’s in flashbacks that we also meet Katherine’s brother, Zachary, as he was about to head to the Middle East. He’s also why Sato is so interested in Peter Solomon in the present: His son worked for the CIA and was locked up for trafficking. Three years ago, he was beaten to death during a riot in prison in Turkey … or was he? (If you’ve read the book, you know the Zachary/Mal’akh twist.)
But where is Peter? Mal’akh has him (and yes, that severed hand is his). After washing off the makeup covering his tattoos, he joins his prisoner and tells him that his fate and the fate of mankind are in Langdon’s hands. “Hopefully he’s not a disappointment like your son,” he adds. “Poor, disappointing Zachary.” Peter says he knows nothing of his son, but Mal’akh disagrees because he was there with him in the end. In fact (hinting at the aforementioned twist), “I was the one who ended him.”
What did you think of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol? Vote in our poll below.
Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, Thursdays, Peacock