Idris Elba‘s Hijack might have had some dramatic and downright terrifying turbulence onscreen, but the Apple TV series has had a smooth landing with audiences and critics offscreen.
Now that the pulse-pounding series has wrapped, some fans who might have missed wild ride may still have questions, like what happened to Flight KA29, and most importantly, was Elba’s character, the resourceful Sam Nelson, able to get an aisle or window seat? But in all seriousness, let’s dive into the seven-episode thriller and break down Hijack’s electrifying ending.
‘Hijack’ has an intricate conflict and some hardcore antagonists
Hijack follows Sam Nelson, a professional business negotiator. The story begins with him in Dubai, boarding the Kingdom Airlines plane — flight KA29 — to London. Things turn dire when the routine seven-hour flight is hijacked by a group of thugs led by the terrible and seriously awful Stuart Atterton (Neil Maskell, great work, I hated you throughout this nail-biter!)
The Apple TV show isn’t the most cut-and-dry thriller. There are many moving parts, and viewers are taken on a roller coaster ride of whirling conflicts in the air and on the ground. From criminals assassinating and kidnapping key targets on the ground, to an innocent man bleeding out on the plane, to British government officials trying to navigate global politics as the plane crosses different international airspaces, there’s a lot happening on Hijack.
The nucleus of the show’s conflict is propelled by Edgar (Simon McBurney) and John (Ian Burfield), the master manipulators who orchestrated the hijacking. Essentially, their goal is to create a catastrophic event involving a Kingdom Airlines flight in order to ruin the company’s reputation, but more importantly, its stock. Once the stock falls and fails, John and Edgar aim cash in. However, criminals are criminals, and the partnership ends after John betrays and kills Edgar.
However, that is not the only antagonist the passengers have to worry about. In a shocking twist at the end of episode six, “Comply Slowly,” viewers witness an unseen assailant kill the flight captain and enter the cockpit, taking control of the aircraft. In the next and finale episode, “Brace Brace Brace,” it’s revealed that Amanda (played by Holly Aird and introduced as a minor character earlier on) is the killer.
Idris Elba is the ideal protagonist and helps save the day
At the center of this all, is Idris Elba’s Sam Nelson, whose son is held hostage down in London. Sam works desperately to placate Stuart and the hijackers while also protecting the passengers. Throughout the series, his negotiating savvy is at the forefront.
His skills are never more needed than in the last episode. After the passengers finally rise up and take down the hijackers, they have to deal with Amanda locked in the cockpit and operating the plane. And the worst part? Viewers learn that not only does Amanda have aviation experience, her daughter is also being held hostage by John and Edgar’s gang, whose plan involved Amanda landing the plane safely only after she received a text from them about her daughter being safe. However, after, y’know, John murdered Edgar, there was no text, leaving a Amanda a sobbing mess in the cockpit, and dragging out the plane’s last fuel reserves.
As the passengers desperately try to break down the cockpit door, Sam manages to convince Amanda to let him in alone. However, all seems lost. The plane is still in trajectory to crash in the middle of London and the British government nearly sends its own fighter jets to take it down before it can crash. However, a runway is found for the plane. Now Amanda, with Sam’s help next to her, and British air control on the phone, just has to glide the plane down safely. That’s right, glide, not fly, because by this point, the aircraft is flaming up and, please excuse the pun, not doing too hot.
In quite the dramatic and emotional conclusion, the plane is able to touch down and passengers are immediately boarded out by emergency personnel and soldiers. All is well, even Sam’s son is saved by London’s finest.
The end — oh, wait. Instead of getting the heck out of the plane with everyone else, Sam goes back to retrieve a bracelet he had gotten for his ex-wife Marsha (Christine Adams), who he totally still has feelings for. Then, Stuart, being the dastardly rascal he is, reappears and points a gun at Sam, who has to rely on his wit, like he’s been doing this entire time, to outfox Stuart. Sam has his wife place a well-timed call, and the phone ring distracts good ol’ Stu. This allows Sam to disarm the hijacker, and buy enough time for soldiers to arrive. All this drama for a freaking bracelet, c’mon Sam!