As each episode of the Apple TV Original Series Hijack gets increasingly anxiety-inducing, the more popular the series becomes. Arguably the sleeper TV hit of the summer, the Idris Elba-led drama about a plane hijacking gone wrong has spent six episodes having passengers killed, negotiator Sam Nelson (Idris Elba) coordinating counterattacks using in-flight entertainment, and way too much life-altering power in text messages. For the seventh and final episode, the Hijack season finale sticks the landing rockily in more ways than one.
The miniseries centers around a well-orchestrated plane hijacking involving six gun-wielding hijackers and one man who brought the guns in from the season premiere. Led by tightly wound hothead Stuart Atterton (Neil Maskell), the primary four hijackers who patrol the aisles for most of the season seem like soulless gun-toting criminals until we find out each of them is being coerced into the hijacking by organized-crime leaders Edgar Janssen (Simon McBurney) and John (Ian Burfield), reluctantly released from prison by request of the hijackers. This highlights the idea anyone can devolve into their worst selves if you threaten what they cherish, a point that dangles us from a 30,000-ft cliffhanger at the end of the penultimate episode when a mild-mannered older woman leaves her seat, pulls out a gun, and shoots the pilot before going into the cockpit and taking control herself.
On the ground, Alice Sinclair, played with unwavering compassion and principles by Eve Myles, is the air traffic controller at London Heathrow Airport who first noticed the hijacked plane was in trouble and altered authorities. By the season finale, she’s working desperately and futilely to keep the British government’s focus on rescuing the 200 passengers instead of apprehending the same criminals they released. Speaking of the British government, their war room is where the toughest moral questions about saving lives are posed, and they only get worse in the season finale when nearly everyone has to make a life-or-death decision.
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Who is the new hijacker?
No moment in Hijack, including the pulse-pounding finale, then seeing a relatively unknown woman pop out of her seat and blow the brains out of one of the only ppeople who could land the plane. We learn in this episode she’s Amanda (Holly Aird), an aviation consultant who has worked with the Navy and a mother of a daughter named Elodie, who Edgar and John have threatened to harm. She’s tasked with landing the plane safely or crashing it into central London, depending on the text command she receives from the criminal masterminds. Her nerves are ratcheted up to 1,000 when she keeps texting to see if the plan is complete and if she can land the plane but gets no response.
By design, none of the other passengers know who she is or her role in the hijacking. Watching the season finale, it also dawned on me that none of the people risking their lives to do Edgar and John’s bidding know the hijacking end goal. We get hints at the primary motive in the penultimate episode, but it’s all laid out by one of the hijackers who sets the entire flight from hell in motion.
Why was the plane hijacked?
If we were going to stress away years of our lives on a weekly basis, the least the Hijack team could do is tell us why we’re in this nightmare. When Amanda locks herself inside the cockpit, Sam attempts to appeal to her humanity and love for her daughter to implore her to communicate with him. He’s hastily told he’s essentially wasting his time by Alec (Justin Salinger), the well-dressed nervous wreck from the season premiere who sneaks the guns onto the plane. He informs Sam the plan is for the hijacking to be made public so Kingdom Airlines’ stock price plummets, and Edgar and John generate millions from betting on the stock’s demise. Alec knows this because, besides being the arms supplier, he also helped broker the deal allowing the criminals to bet against the airline’s stock price.
There were hints at this being the central motive of the hijacking in the penultimate episode when Felix Statton (Rufus Jones), an independent journalist, is used by a mysterious man named Devlin (Kevin Eldon) of the Kingdom Airlines flight that’s been hijacked to cause its stock price, along with the stock price of the insurance company that underwrites them, to drop. What isn’t revealed until the season finale is Edgar and John aren’t totally on the same page about how the plan should proceed.
While John was satisfied with where the stock price was at once, Amanda took control of the plane and headed towards central London; Edgar wouldn’t be satisfied until the plane crashed and they got the most they could get. John angrily informs Edgar that Amanda needs to know when she can land safely and seems to have a bit more sympathy than his maniacal partner. That is until Edgar’s greed rubs him the wrong way, and he instructs the person they were hiding out with to execute their plan earlier by killing Edgar. John calls to complete the trade and then rides off, but curiously without giving Amanda any further instructions.
Luckily for the 200 passengers, a handful of hijackers, and thousands of people in central London, Amanda comes to her senses, lets Sam into the cockpit, and the two of them successfully land the plane with some clutch assistance from Alice over the phone. In the end, we don’t see Sam reunite with his family or anyone’s individual storylines resolved, but that could be all the more reason to bring the flight crew back together for Season 2.
Keith Nelson is a writer by fate and journalist by passion, who has connected dots to form the bigger picture for Men’s Health, Vibe Magazine, LEVEL MAG, REVOLT TV, Complex, Grammys.com, Red Bull, Okayplayer, and Mic, to name a few.