When the show opens, we’re introduced to Dinah (Rebecca Ferguson), the daughter of Jacob (Iain Glen, Game of Thrones). Afterwards, we’re introduced to Rachel (Morena Baccarin) and Jacob at 25 (Will Payne), who travels into Rachel’s camp, before being saved from his exhaustion and thirst. We also also introduced to Jacob’s cousin, Leah (Gabrielle Dempsey).
Jacob has been with the camp for a year and has proven himself useful. The girls attempt to prepare Rachel to mate with Jacob. Instead, Rachel grows nervous and Leah takes her place and marries Jacob,. Afterwards, Jacob grows furious and admits he will not take Leah, unless he also gets Rachel. Eventually, the two marry Jacob. While Leah is able to have six sons, Rachel is unable to conceive and becomes a midwife. Eventually, Rachel gives birth to two more sons, Joseph and Benjamin, while Leah finally gives birth to a daughter, Dinah (Zoe Clark).
An adult Dinah discusses her birth in the Red Tent. Meanwhile, Jacob dotes on Joseph (Will Tudor), which makes Levi (Pedro Lloyd Gardiner) and Simon (Saif Al-Warith) jealous. After an argument with Laban (Leigh Lawson), Jacob decides to move his family away. Meanwhile, Dinah and Joseph begins to develop a closer relationship. Rachael takes possession of some of Laban’s religious icons.
After a death at the camp, Jacob moves his family out of the camp. The group heads for Canaan. When they stop, Jacob expresses his fear of meeting with his brother Esau (Dermot Keaney). He suggests he betrayed his brother. In the middle of the night, Jacob is awoken and warned his brother is headed their way, with an army of 100 men. Despite his concerns, Esau is happy to see his brother and quickly welcomes him home. Afterwards, Jacob’s mother, Rebecca (Debra Winger, In Treatment), gets to meet all of his children. She takes a liking to Dinah and wishes to get to know her better.
Dinah questions Jacob about Rebecca’s intentions. Upon encountering Rebecca, Dinah is given a task to completed, while Rebecca chats with Jacob, before sharing their goodbyes. Dinah attempts to petition the king for some land. Meanwhile Dinah meets her cousin, who has scares all over her arms. Rebecca lashes out at Dinah for feeding the poor. The pair argue and Dinah tells Rebecca they have nothing in common besides Jacob. Rebecca suggests she will lose Jacob and she will have a lifetime of sorrow.
Afterwards, Jacob moves his group close to Shechem, where the king lives. When the show returns from break, the family has entered the sprawling city. The family constructs their red tent. Jacob consults Joseph about King Hamor (Stewart Scudamore). Joseph suggests they shouldn’t accuse the King, without evidence. Meanwhile, Jacob grows angry that the women have been worshipping the idols. Dinah stands up to her father, before rushing out. Joseph attempts to comfort Dinah, before confessing his own struggles.
The King’s men visit Jacob, in order to request the services of their midwife, Rachel. Afterwards, Leah and Rachel discuss their religion with Jacob, before he sends Rachel to the palace. She takes her apprentice, Dinah, with her. When the show returns, Dinah and Rachel enter the palace and help with a birth. Dinah requires help and attempts to use the queen, Re-Nefer (Hiam Abbass), to help, despite warnings from the others. The birth is successful. Afterwards, Dinah meets with the Prince, Shalem (Sean Teale).
The Queen spies on Shalem and Dinah, before Dinah tells Rachel about her encounter with the prince. Before the women can leave, the Queen requests Dinah to stay for a few days, which she does. Back at the palace, the Prince and Dinah begin developing a romantic relationship. After the prince gives Dinah everything she desires, the pair kiss. Afterwards, Shalem tells his father that he wishes to marry Dinah. The pair is set to marry, as Dinah overlooks her father’s wishes. The pair consummate their upcoming marriage.
Afterwards, King Hamor visits Jacob and tells him about Dinah’s marriage to Shalem. Despite Hamor’s gifts, Jacob is angry and suggests they’re gone against their customs. Jacob tells Hamor he’ll contemplate, talk with his children and give him an answer in two days. Leah blames the situation on Rachel. Meanwhile, Jacob and his sons discuss the terms of their agreement with the King. He agrees the King should circumcise the entire city. This time, the Prince is with the King and agrees to the terms. Meanwhile, Simon and Levi, begin planning their own revenge.
Despite Dinah’s reservations, Shalem insists she is worth the circumcision. In the morning, the Queen tells Dinah that the men have begun the process of being circumcised. Simon and Levi are seen recruiting help. That night, Shalem is in pain, as Dinah comforts her with a story. That night, Joseph has an eery premonition of blood dropping on a sleeping Dinah. He attempts to awake Simon, but he is gone from his tent, as is Levi.
Back in the castle, Shalem and Dinah confess their love for one another, as Simon and Levi begin massacring the village. Joseph enters behind them and discovers the destruction. Dinah awakes to find Shalem dead.
If you like drama that is based on the biblical times, you will enjoy The Red Tent. While many viewers criticized the fact that the producers used white actors and actresses in these roles, I do not personally see a problem with their decision because today many Mid-Easterners have fair skin and dark black hair. However, I do not see a reason why they did not dull the color of those bright veneers. Everyone knows that a lot of the historical figures had poor dental problems.
Although the writer did use some historical/biblical accuracy, she transformed Dinah and Shalem’s relationship into more of a love story. The actors did very well in their roles but Iain Glen stands out above the rest. The first part of the series deserves 7.5 out of 10.