The Vow: Season 1

The Vow: Season 1

The Vow: Season 1

HBO's investigative docuseries delves into the case of NXIVM, a self-help group founded in 1998 that drew in vulnerable people for years until it was faced with charges of sex trafficking and racketeering conspiracy.

2020USAHBO
Documentary

Streaming (1 Provider)

EPISODE 1.1
20 September 2020

The Science of Joy

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's worried about the organization and Keith Raniere,... MORE NXIVM's leader and Mark's mentor. Mark wonders how could tools to make a better, more ethical world be misused?

EPISODE 1.2
27 September 2020

Viscera

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... MORE calls begin to sow doubt within him.

EPISODE 1.3
4 October 2020

At Cause

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... MORE and question what to do next.

EPISODE 1.4
11 October 2020

Building Character

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... MORE and why she left it all behind.

EPISODE 1.5
18 October 2020

Class 1 Data

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. Meanwhile,... MORE Mark reflects on his time at NXIVM.

EPISODE 1.6
25 October 2020

Honesty & Disclosure

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.

EPISODE 1.7
1 November 2020

Blame & Responsibility

After learning that the New York Attorney General's chief investigator is interested in building a criminal case against Keith, Catherine travels to Buffalo to meet with Frank Parlato, creator of the anti-NXIVM blog "The Frank... MORE Report," to build a dossier of evidence. Meanwhile, we're introduced to Toni Natalie, one of Keith's former girlfriends, who takes us back to the '90s to share her experiences and the challenges she faced with Keith during the days of his first company, Consumers' Buyline.

EPISODE 1.8
8 November 2020

The Wound

As the group gathers evidence for their FBI testimonies, they express their beliefs about how the curriculums of SOP and JNESS, men's and women's groups within NXIVM, reshaped their ideas on gender roles in society... MORE and may have laid the foundation for DOS.

EPISODE 1.9
15 November 2020

The Fall

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... MORE a development in the case.

The Vow: Season 1 / Reviews

RogerEbert.com

RogerEbert.com

The amazing access to personal stories as they unfolded likely led directors Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer to err on the side of inclusion, but the repetitive, unedited nature of the series actually diminishes its intended impact.

Full review
IndieWire

IndieWire

Once things ramp up “The Vow” becomes as fascinating as expected, but it’s unclear if an audience will stick around to see that assumption bear fruit

Full review
A.V. Club

A.V. Club

One thing The Vow does well is break down the techniques of emotional abuse Raniere and his inner circle used to manipulate lower-ranking members, so we understand why they stuck around—if not why they were devoted to this man in particular.

Full review
Variety

Variety

“The Vow” pushes back against its slack pace to become television that compels — both for the access it has and for what it does with that access. ... This series, in its methodical nature, attempts to restage Edmondson’s own coming into consciousness, and that it largely succeeds is an impressive feat of bearing witness.

Full review
Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

The generous peppering of insider NXIVM videos throughout The Vow renders the dorky, soft-spoken Raniere, who appears not to have participated in the documentary, a thoroughly unimpressive figure, while providing visual relief from the many talking-head interviews.

Full review
Vulture

Vulture

The measured pacing and focus on NXIVM exposition makes The Vow drag occasionally in its initial episodes. But as this multilayered saga unfolds, that approach becomes an asset.

Full review
The Guardian

The Guardian

As a portrait of manipulation and, in particular, the masking of female abuse through self-effacement, the series is darkly compelling, unnerving in a way that’s hard to shake.

Full review
CNN

CNN

A stunning expose of the self-improvement group NXIVM and its downfall.

Full review
Entertainment Weekly

Entertainment Weekly

What’s so chilling about The Vow — HBO’s immersive new docuseries about NXIVM, the New York-based “self-help group” brought down by charges of sexual slavery — is how vividly it illustrates the seductive and insidious ways these groups lure intelligent, well-meaning people into servitude.

Full review