Stuart’s secrets start to spill out as a desperate move to save someone close to him brings the whole operation dangerously close to failure. While Sam tries to stay a step ahead of everyone, there are just some things he can’t know or understand until it’s too late.
Hijack recap: “Less Than an Hour”
Season 1, episode 5: In the episode, entitled “Less Than an Hour,” gunman Lewis (played by Jack McMullen) is breathing through a pen after some impromptu surgery performed by Sam Nelson (Idris Elba) and a fellow passenger, a doctor named David (Marcus Garvey). Sam’s been working all the terrorists for angles since they hijacked flight KA29 shortly after it left Dubai for London. And he noticed that head gunman Stuart (Neil Maskell) talked about Lewis in a way that suggested they were family.
Sam tells Stuart that Lewis will not last the whole flight, attempting to convince them to land so the wounded terrorist can get medical attention. Stuart isn’t in a trusting mood, but Eddie the doctor confirms that Lewis has less than an hour to live.
They’re over Hungarian air space, and co-pilot Anna (Kaisa Hammarlund) can speak Hungarian. So she agrees to go along with Sam’s plan to try and talk their way into landing ahead of schedule. However, she doesn’t want the pilot, Captain Allen (Ben Miles), in the cockpit when she does it. They got into a bad scrape when the plane was first taken because Allen didn’t want the terrorists to kill his mistress, and Anna didn’t want to endanger everyone else on board. Allen won the argument and Anna’s still bleeding.
Things get complicated in London
Meanwhile in London, the Home Secretary (Neil Stuke) was handed an envelope on his way to work with a list of demands from the hijackers. In it are the names of prisoners the terrorists want released from prison. The counterterrorism bureau is chasing down every lead, trying to discover the gunmen’s identities.
Soon, they find Lewis and Stuart’s mother (the great Ruth Sheen!). They try to get her to squeal on her boys, but she won’t. And she gives Daniel O’Farrel (Max Beesley) the slip when they attempt to take her as collateral. She wanders into traffic rather than being taken into custody, winding up under the wheels of a truck. In Budapest, the police are mobilized when the plane looks ready to land.
Jamie (Aimée Kelly) and Terry (Jasper Britton), the oldest of the hijackers, panic when they hear Stuart wants to land the plane. Turns out they’re working for a well-connected organization, and they’ve been killing people to tidy up loose ends. Terry realizes if they deviate from the plan, his family will be killed. He tells Sam that they’ll kill his wife and son, too. If the plane doesn’t crash where it’s meant to, everyone associated with the passengers and terrorists will be neutralized before the end of the day.
Suddenly. Sam realizes he’s made a grave error. He tries to talk Stuart out of landing, especially when Lewis wakes up and tells them not to land. When Stuart goes to confront him, Lewis has taken out the pen being used to treat his sucking chest wound. He’s killed himself to keep Stuart out of harm’s way. So much for that plan …
That’s what happens when you do what they want
This was an intense episode of Hijack, with the stakes of Lewis’ health and the increasingly apparent risk for everyone involved on the ground and in the air who may want to stop the plane from landing.
As the conspiracy on the ground starts to lap the one in the air, we grow more anxious to know what’s happening on the plane, which is cannier construction than the show has yet exhibited.
The typical problem with a show like this is that each obstacle can feel like a cul-de-sac. Every little roadblock gets solved, and by the end of the episode, the crew members and passengers find themselves in the exact same tight spot as before. However, I’m enjoying how desperate everyone is starting to get. It hints at trouble ahead — and makes me more anxious to keep coming back for more of Hijack.
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.