The Vow: Season 1 (2020)


Season 1
The Vow

Critics Consensus

Though The Vow's scope at times exceeds its reach, its empathetic approach to unpacking NXIVM's manipulations and the consequences therein make for necessary, difficult viewing.

75%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 28

59%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 88

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Episodes

Air date: Aug 23, 2020

Mark Vicente and Sarah Edmondson, high-ranking former NXIVM leaders, describe the dream and mission of NXIVM to build a better world; Bonnie Piesse, Mark's wife, tells him she is worried about the organization and leader Keith Raniere.

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Air date: Aug 30, 2020

After seven years, Bonnie leaves NXIVM for Los Angeles and tries desperately to get through to Mark, who reassures her all is well; Mark remains loyal to Keith and NXIVM, but a series of phone calls begins to sow doubt within him.

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Air date: Sep 6, 2020

Sarah confides to Mark about DOS, a secret group involving "masters" and "slaves," and struggles in her relationships with NXIVM, her husband and her best friend; Sarah and Mark lament how many members they've recruited and question what to do next.

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Air date: Sep 13, 2020

Mark, Bonnie, Sarah and Nippy strategize with Catherine Oxenberg about how to get her daughter, India, out of DOS, even though she wants to stay; "Jane," India's close friend, describes the appeal of the organization and why she left it all behind.

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Air date: Sep 20, 2020

Catherine believes her daughter is in danger and wants her to come home; when she and the former members are unable to get the attention of the authorities, they approach the New York Times; Mark reflects on his time at NXIVM.

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Air date: Sep 27, 2020

Sarah, Mark and Nippy contact additional news outlets to provoke outrage and pressure law enforcement to pay attention; Barbara Bouchey, a former board member and early defector, reflects on her time in Keith's inner circle.

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Air date: Oct 4, 2020

Catherine meets with Frank Parlato to build a dossier of evidence for the New York Attorney General's office.

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Air date: Oct 11, 2020

As the group prepares to testify to the FBI, it reflects on its beliefs regarding the SOP and JNESS curriculums.

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Air date: Oct 18, 2020

Keith hasn't been seen in Clifton Park, N.Y., for weeks; Catherine meets with India; Mark and Bonnie return to Clifton Park for the first time since leaving NXIVM; Sarah, Bonnie, Mark, Nippy and Catherine face a development in the case.

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The Vow: Season 1 Videos

The Vow: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

Cast & Crew

Jehane Noujaim
Director
Karim Amer
Director
Geralyn White Dreyfous
Executive Producer
Mike Lerner
Executive Producer
Nina Fialkow
Executive Producer
Lyn Davis Lear
Executive Producer
Regina K. Scully
Executive Producer
Nancy Abraham
Executive Producer
Lisa Heller
Executive Producer
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News & Interviews for The Vow: Season 1

Critic Reviews for The Vow: Season 1

Audience Reviews for The Vow: Season 1

  • Jul 20, 2021
    Lacks detail (financials, how particpants made money, what crimes Raniere was charged with, why the NY AG decided to go after him, why he was charged but other cults have not been) Too much reality TV spin, could have told story in 4 episodes not 8.
  • Jun 21, 2021
    Seduced was a much more ethical recounting of what happened in NXIVM and who Raniere really is. The Vow tries hard to paint a picture of Vicente not knowing how bad Raniere really was because all the really bad stuff happened in DOS, which was super secret. But Seduced shows tons of footage that Vicente would have been aware of: Raniere talking about r*ping babies, saying some children like having sexual relations with adults or their parents, that r*pe doesn't exist, that claiming someone abused you is itself abuse, and on and on. The Vow left all this out because it would have been really hard for them to come out looking clean, had they portrayed a more honest version of Raniere, and that's super unethical.
  • Mar 16, 2021
    Well made HBO doco. More sheeple mentality with a desperate need to be a part of something that hands out all the answers of the universe. The sash system is pathetic and reflects everything they're trying to get away from. The leader wears a white one so new comers feel they're on the same level, then they see the perks and respect higher colors conjure, then it turns into some pathetic addiction to get their stripes like some video game, distracting them from what's actually unraveling. Make no mistake, like all these delusional groups, it's a pyramid scheme. I feel bad saying this, but I love when hugely successful people throw everything away for these cults then eventually realize what they've done and the lives they've helped ruined. And branded, just like cattle that ends up on my plate. A backward step for woman power, KR is such a douche. Those involved please don't take what I wrote personally, I think a lot of human behavior is ridiculous.
  • Jan 20, 2021
    I've seen lots of documentaries and videos about cults. This is the only one you need to watch. This documentary series digs as deep as possible into this subject
  • Dec 28, 2020
    Way too long for the information offered. Critical characters not developed and felt like it was produced/written by the 5 main characters who were merely trying to mitigate their culpability. I watched all nine episodes as they rehashed the same story and blame game. Pass on this mia culpa.
  • Dec 22, 2020
    A chilling look at well intended people attempting to better themselves by following a devil disguised as a wise man. It is a cautionary tale.
  • Dec 20, 2020
    The story of this MLM cult is nutty - BUT I am shocked at how gullible the recruits (the focus of the series) actually were. I understand wanting to do better and be loved and understood, etc (we all do), but this is beyond the pale. I think that the point of the series itself is to shock and disturb as a cautionary tale... and while definitely disturbing at times, do we really need the other 95% of the show to be the self-centered subjects themselves sitting around talking about "Like OMG how crazy is this? We're like Woodward and Bernstein. LOL!" It felt crass to spend so much time on things that are completely irrelevant (if I see that shot of Mark on the mountain one more time I think I am going to throw something at the tv). Didn't they themselves recruit for this guy for a decade or so? The pace of the series itself (as others have said) is UNBEARABLE. If you don't believe me, just understand that I'm a guy that enjoys watching Bondarchuk's entire War and Peace in one go. The Vow is so slow and meandering that I bet you could skip about 80% of the whole thing (it really could be distilled down to 2 or 3 episodes). The cult leaders themselves are awful people (especially Mr. Guru and Ms. Brainwasher) - but I feel like when the series shifts to Mark and Sarah we are treated to their entire life story again and again and again as they search for meaning. The whole thing just feel empty, cliched and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to fill runtime.
  • Dec 16, 2020
    The VOW docuseries isn't really about exposing a criminal organization, uncovering shady business practices or about sex abuse and human trafficking. It's more about providing a vehicle for former members to self-preserve. It is interesting and is definitely watch worthy but do not expect to walk away with more than a surface understanding of what occurred. As long as you understand that this film is not really educational and is much more of a Dear Diary and a means to protect themselves than an actual exposé, than by all means go for it. It's entertaining at the very least! With that said, I believe this story deserves another look with a more critical eye to see what we can learn from this situation.
  • Dec 01, 2020
    Very well documented and eye-opening.
  • Nov 12, 2020
    HBO's "The Vow" manages to be what is best described as a soft ball documentary. Rather than truly delving into the ongoings of NXIVM and DOS, we get an overblown documentary that seems to avoid going into to some of the more interesting facts or even delving deeper into Mark Vicente's role. It seems to do it's best to avoid presenting NXIVM as the villain from the onset. Compared to Starz's "Seduced", this documentary series just isn't worth the watch and was overly drawn out.

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