The Idol season 1 episode 1 recap & review: Pop Tarts & Rat Tales

In the first episode of The Idol, a struggling pop star, Jocelyn, meets a mysterious man at a club and takes a liking to him. The episode is now streaming on Max. 


Jocelyn is a pop singer who had to cancel her last tour because she had a mental breakdown. Her mother passed away recently, and she is now preparing for her next album. 

Her team tries to romanticize her mental illness in the photo shoot for her new album. Jocelyn’s new single is going to drop in two weeks, and they have started selling tour tickets once again.

When an intimacy coordinator does not allow Jocelyn to get her photographs clicked the way she wants, she asks her manager, Chaim, to get rid of him, and Chaim’s solution is to lock him in the washroom.

Chaim then finds out that a private photograph of Jocelyn has been leaked on the internet. Jocelyn’s assistant and best friend, Leia, who lives with her, has to answer for this and hide Jocelyn’s phone so that she does not see the news.

Jocelyn’s team tries to do damage control, and that is when Talia from Vanity Fair, who is going to write a profile piece on her, comes there. Andrew Finkelstein from Live Nation, who has to answer to his shareholders because Jocelyn’s tour tickets are not selling, also arrives at Jocelyn’s house when he sees the leaked photo.

Jocelyn knows that something is going on, but her team keeps hiding it from her. She rehearses as everyone watches her, looking for any signs that might point towards a breakdown. 

Once she performs well and they come up with a response to protect her image, they finally tell her about the scandal and assure her that everything is under control. That night, Jocelyn goes to a club with her friend and dancer, Dyanne, and meets a man named Tedros.

Tedros dances with her and makes her feel good about making pop music. After meeting him, Jocelyn comes home and pleasures herself. The next day, when she answers Talia’s questions, Talia tries to get her to talk about the leaked photo, but she does not give in.

Jocelyn knows that her new single will be a commercial success, but she is not proud of it, so she asks for Leia’s opinion, who assures her that her song is good. Jocelyn decides to invite Tedros to her house, even though Leia disapproves of him.

Jocelyn dresses up for Tedros, drinks with him, and makes him listen to her song because she believes that unlike everyone else, he might tell her the truth. Tedros likes the song, but he does not think that she is singing it the way she should.

He helps her find her voice and tells her that she needs to stop thinking too much. He suffocates her with her robe and remarks that she can now sing that song.


  • If the show’s purpose is to make the audience uncomfortable, then it succeeds. Right from the first scene, where the star switches between emotions in the blink of an eye, The Idol will have you squirming in your seat with its depiction of the life of a pop star.
  • Lily-Rose Depp portrays Jocelyn as someone who is constantly surrounded by people and yet is extremely lonely. It is evident that she feels everyone’s eyes on her, being watched like an animal at the zoo, and the pressure that comes with it.
  • Nothing about Tedros and Jocelyn together is pleasant, as Tedros’ character comes off as predatory. It is as if the graphic scenes in the episode are meant to be unsettling; the cinematography certainly suggests that.  
  • Unfortunately, the first episode of the show is not interesting enough to get the audience invested in the plot. It is possible that the next few episodes might change that, but for now, the show is not very engaging.
The Idol season 1 episode 1
The Idol season 1 episode 1 recap & review: Pop Tarts & Rat Tales 1

Sam Levinson

Date Created:
2023-06-05 17:53

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