The highly anticipated spin-off series, National Treasure: Edge of History, didn’t quite hit its mark during the last series premiere. The all-new Disney+ series attempts to construct a much more different puzzle-solving action-adventure with an all-new cast and plot, completely separate from its 2004 and 2007 predecessors.
National Treasure: Edge of History actually takes place in the same universe as the original films starring Nicolas Cage, but functions as its own modern story that was obviously developed for a pre-teen audience. The ten-episode series doesn’t seem to carry the same energy and originality as the previous films, while most of the cast turned in a pretty decent performance.
National Treasure: Edge of History will now forever remain as an addition to the beloved franchise, but that doesn’t mean it necessarily has to be the best.
Pass the torch 15 years later
The first episode begins in the year 2001, with a man named Peter Sadusky (Harvey Keitel) talking about an ancient Aztec treasure. Apparently the Freemasons used underground tunnels to ferry around Montezuma’s treasure. They divided this into three different containers – one for the Incas, the Mayans and the Aztecs. Over time, the relics were lost until now. A group of hunters are on their way to track it down, confirmed by one of their group.
A man named Rafael (Alejandro Edda) finds one of the relics in Mexico City, but unfortunately he is stopped by a couple of Salazar’s prisoners. Fortunately, he manages to escape with the relic, returns home and passes all his knowledge to his partner, Manuela (Vannessa Vasquez), and daughter. Buying them precious time, he battles the men as the house goes up in flames. Manuela rushes over and watches the house go up in flames.
Fast forward to the present day, we catch up with Manuela’s daughter, Jess (Lisette Olivera), who is now a 20-year-old working with a bunch of misfits to break out of an escape room. She is something of a mathematical genius, who calculates large sums in her head and manages to help the group escape. Now living in Louisiana, Jess is worried that her rent is about to go up. Apparently, her mother passed away a year ago, so in between messing around in escape rooms, Jess also dreams of being part of the FBI’s cryptanalysis division, dead set on solving puzzles given her extensive knowledge of math as well as languages.
Back at work at the warehouse, Jess tries to find out who “Iam Phasma” (meaning “I am A Ghost”) is. Jess thinks this is a Freemason, but since there are over 20,000 in Louisiana alone, things get a lot more complicated than meets the eye. A grave flag helps, limiting it considerably. She heads over to Sadusky’s place, a man who happens to be a retired general. This is actually Peter Sadusky’s place.
He is very impressed when she was able to figure things out on her own. He also notices her necklace and asks about the treasure, going on to reveal that her medal actually represents an ancient oath to bury the lost history of entire civilizations. Peter also has something for her, a letter that contains a clue to a treasure of the greatest importance. After handing it over, Peter warns her not to trust anyone. This letter happens to be addressed to his grandson, Liam (Jake Austin Walker), but he is adamant that she is the right person.
A treasure hunt that uses more luck than skill
In Madrid, we find our antagonist, Billie Pearce (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who opens up a hidden room in a mansion and finds a lost art collection. They’re after an Aztec relic, determined to track it down before it’s too late. She goes over to the US, but ends up watching footage from outside the bricklayer’s house, and notices Jess leaving. How she obtained these recordings is currently unknown. Billie is determined to find out what this means, while Jess decides not to open the letter.
When Jess goes back to work, she is confronted by a pair of FBI agents who question her DACA status in the United States. It turns out that Billie has actually hired these scumbags, and Jess notices that they aren’t being fed immediately from their badge and shaky credentials.
When Jess and Tasha (Zuri Reed) return home, they find their apartment has been turned inside out, but none of their valuables have been taken. It turns out that the intruders are only after the letter. Fortunately, they were unsuccessful in finding the letter when Jess decides to finally open it and take a look. The letter contains a picture of Sadusky and his family, along with a letter addressed to Liam.
Jess and Tasha manage to track down Liam. It turns out that he is actually a singer in a bar. He reveals that he wants nothing to do with the letter or Peter. Jess figures out that the letter and picture are another clue.
When they go out, the fake fates find themselves in fierce pursuit. Jess figures them out immediately, and the pair lose their tails when they get to the exact spot from what’s in the picture, which happens to be a Masonic church. Tasha decides to broadcast this live online for the world to see, as Jess finds one of the lost treasures. The symbol also matches her necklace. As a result, hightail it outside with treasure in hand.
The series premiere of National Treasure: Edge of History is now available to stream exclusively on Disney+ with new episodes arriving weekly on Wednesdays.