As Sam finds himself in bondage, he devises a clever new avenue of contacting the ground and gaining the upper hand without seeming to. There’s panic in Bucharest, Marsha gets a message, and the hijackers are getting jumpy on a perfectly decent installment of the new hit series.
Hijack recap: ‘Not Responding’
Season 1, episode 4: Stuart (played by Neil Maskell) finally made good on the promise of the gun in his hand. Unlike the rest of his crew who kidnapped flight KA29, his gun was loaded with real bullets, and he proved it by killing a passenger. A goodly sum of the passengers didn’t think the terrorists brought actual bullets — that the guns were all for show — but Hugo (Harry Michell) has eaten their words.
Sam Nelson (Idris Elba) finds himself in a standoff with Terry (Jasper Britton), one of the other terrorists. Sam doesn’t know that the guy’s gun is empty. But he did just hear a very real gunshot, so he has to believe this guy will kill him, too. Looks like he’s going to need a new strategy for defusing this situation before the plane reaches London in the next three hours.
The plane is flying over Romanian airspace and the ground crew wants reassurances that the flight remains on course. However, having been jerked around by the passengers so far, Stuart refuses to let Captain Allen (Ben Miles) or his co-pilot Anna (Kaisa Hammarlund) answer any of the Bucharest airport’s ground control calls, caution be damned.
So, those guns really fire?
The rest of the hijackers are shaken up by the gunshot as much as the passengers, having promised each other there wouldn’t be any unnecessary killing. When Romanian fighter planes pull up alongside the hijacked airliner, they’re even more shaken. Stuart finally lets Allen talk to the fighter jets, but the controls won’t work. The pilots see the guns of the attackers, however.
Hugo, who came up with the idea of the last passenger coup, tries not to blame himself for the death of his fellow traveler. But the rest of the first-class passengers won’t let him off the hook.
Sam tries a different tactic to get on the terrorists’ good side. In the struggle, passenger Nasir (Nebras Jamali) stabbed one of the hijackers named Lewis (Jack McMullen). Sam takes an active part in bandaging up the injured terrorist. His efforts won’t do much, however. Nasir’s scissors hit an important artery and Lewis is bleeding quite badly.
A stealthy conversation
Then Sam devises a new way to get info to the ground. He tells Lewis he’s going to call his mother for him so the dying man can leave her a message. While he’s trying to find the number on Lewis’ phone, he calls his wife, Marsha (Christine Adams). She hears Sam mention that his hands are tied.
Marsha then calls her boyfriend, Daniel O’Farrel (Max Beesley), who’s been covering the situation on the ground with his friend in the counterterrorism bureau, Zahra Gahfoor (Archie Panjabi). Daniel tells Marsha that Sam was likely trying to communicate something important, so she forwards the message to him.
They realize at least some of the hijackers are British, so they tell NATO not to fire missiles at the plane. If the attackers are British, so, likely, are their targets. With seconds to go, the fighters disengage.
Every boy needs his mom
The best business on Hijack this week comes from Sam trying to help out with the impromptu surgery. Not just because it allows Elba and McMullen a chance to act off each other with higher stakes, but also because having a firm objective helps the show move at a brisker pace.
It’s a little funny how often people leave for one end of the plane and don’t reach their destination for a full minute or two because the thing is so big but also because we need to buy time for Elba’s latest scheme to work. The passengers are starting to catch on that some of the hijackers aren’t going to kill anyone no matter how badly provoked, which makes them more confident and the drama a little more slack. Hijack needs its edge to return pronto.
Watch Hijack on Apple TV+
New episodes of Hijack arrive Wednesdays on Apple TV+.
Watch on: Apple TV+
Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper and But God Made Him A Poet: Watching John Ford in the 21st Century, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.