How Did Nadia and Mason Lose Their Memories in Citadel, Explained

The story of Prime Video’s ‘Citadel’ begins on a train. Nadia Sinh and Mason Kane are sent on a mission to get their hands on a case containing uranium. They think it is like any other mission but are taken by surprise when their target turns around on them. This was a trap set to find and kill them. The same thing is happening to other Citadel agents, as Manticore is taking over and burning Citadel to the ground.

Mason and Nadia survive the ordeal as the train explodes and they fall into a river. Their memories, however, are completely wiped away. Why did that happen? Who erased their memories, and how will they get them back? What does not remembering their past mean for their journey ahead? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD

Citadel’s Unique Memory Erasure Protocol for Agents

While most secret organizations in the world work in the interest of specific countries, Citadel was made with the intention of serving the whole world. The agents of Citadel would be loyal to no nation or government but to humanity as a whole. This meant that they’d have to be trusted with the secrets that, if they fell into the wrong hands, could destroy everything the agency had built over the years. While the agents were highly trained to endure and survive anything that came their way, the chances of them breaking down and revealing highly classified secrets to the enemy could not be taken. This is where the backstop comes in.

Image Credit: Paul Abell/Prime Video

Every Citadel agent has a chip inserted at the base of their neck. It connects to their brain and uploads their memories into a cloud. When the time comes, this chip can be used to activate the backstop, which means that all the memories of the agent will be erased. They will forget everything, from their name to their job to everyone they’d known. This ensures that should an agent be held captive, they cannot reveal anything to the enemy even if they want to.

When Citadel falls, Bernard activates the backstop. He knows that there is an agent out there who betrayed the agency and led to its downfall. There are also agents like Nadia and Mason who were incapacitated during their mission, and there was a chance of them getting caught and dragged behind enemy lines. When he discovers that Nadia has survived the train explosion, he gives her two hours to get her bearings, following which the backstop would be activated. The same happens to Mason, who had been unconscious when his memories were removed.

While having their agents’ memories wiped in an emergency is handy, it’d also be a considerable asset loss once the danger was gone. Citadel would need their agent back; for that, there is a backup plan for the backstop. The chip that removed their memories stored them in a cloud, which is unique for every agent. They can regain all their memories, completely reversing backstop, by accessing that cloud. It is stored in the highly protected Citadel X case, which contains information about every agent and the vials, which, when injected, can bring their memories back.

The catch is that there is only one vial for every agent. If that is destroyed, there is a chance that they might never get their memories back. It happens for Mason in the second episode, when following a scuffle, his vial breaks, making it impossible for him to regain his memories. However, Nadia’s vial is safe, and she later uses it to get her memories back.

It remains to be seen how exactly the memories are restored. They were wiped in one sweep, but putting them back in the agent’s head would be more challenging. It probably won’t happen all at once but rather in stages. Instead of all the things coming back to them simultaneously, they would start remembering things over the next few days or so. When Nadia gets her memories back, she remembers who she and Mason are. Her skillset also comes back entirely, and she seems to have returned to how she used to be eight years ago. However, we still don’t know if she remembers everything. There might be some memories buried deep down that might resurface when triggered. Who knows what will come out when she digs deep enough?

Read More: What is Manticore in Citadel, Explained