Apple TV+’s high-altitude thriller Hijack finally hits the runway in this week’s series finale. Our hero Sam Nelson has a new problem on his hand — and an hour in which to solve it as the rest of the passengers panic anew.
On the ground, Sam’s family is in danger. And in the air, Sam’s running out of options. The episode, entitled “Brace Brace Brace,” serves up as good a conclusion as Hijack fans could hope for.
Hijack recap: ‘Brace Brace Brace’
Season 1, episode 7: Sam Nelson (played by Idris Elba) and the rest of the passengers aboard the hijacked plane have finally disarmed the terrorists and taken back control of the cabin. The trouble is not the cabin now, though — it’s the cockpit.
Stuart (Neil Maskell), who thought he was in charge of the hijacking, agrees to hand over his gun (the only one that’s loaded among the kidnappers) to Sam. Unfortunately, the remaining kidnappers don’t know who the woman who killed the pilot is.
Her name’s Amanda (Holly Aird), and she’s working on behalf of the same outfit as them, but they weren’t told anything about her. They can’t reach her or reason with her because they don’t actually know her.
Kidnappers on the ground
On the ground, things aren’t going that much more smoothly. Police inspector Daniel O’Farrell, (Max Beesley) who has been monitoring the situation, calls his girlfriend/Sam’s ex-wife Marsha (Christine Adams) to tell her to stay put. During the call, he learns that Marsha’s son Kai (Jude Cudjoe) is at Sam’s place, and that some random caller asked for Sam’s address earlier in the day.
Daniel knows what this means: Kai is in serious trouble. In actual fact, Kai’s been hiding in Sam’s bedroom for most of the afternoon from trained killers. When the police finally show up, and Kai makes his presence known, he is immediately kidnapped.
When Daniel calls him, Kai, thinking quickly, speaks in coded language to alert Daniel to the presence of the kidnappers without alerting them. Daniel fakes an evacuation alert at Sam’s place so he can get the kidnappers to leave the building. Then he rescues Kai safely, and the boy, who looked at Daniel as an intrusion into his and his mother’s lives, finally appreciates the old man.
… and a wild card in the cockpit
From the plane, Sam calls Alice Sinclair (Eve Myles), the woman at ground control who’s been and tries to explain the situation. The Royal Air Force fighter jets currently flanking the jetliner will shoot it down if they realize the plane is in the hands of a rogue agent. And it is: Amanda is currently flying the jet toward Central London. If they don’t shoot it down, she might kill thousands.
The Home Secretary (Neil Stuke) wants to shoot down the jet. And seeing as he freed John Bailey-Brown (Ian Burfield) and Edgar Janssen (Simon McBurney) from jail on the kidnappers’ say-so, it’s not like he has much political capital to lose. The Prime Minister weighs in, and they decide not to shoot down the plane.
Edgar’s happy as a pig in mud. Every second the crisis goes on, stock in Kingdom Airlines plummets and he gets richer. Of course, he pisses off his accomplices while refusing to budge as he watches the stock market crash. So John kills him and leaves his body.
Brace for impact
Sam gets Amanda to answer a phone call so she can explain that she’s waiting for a message (one that will never come now that Edgar is dead), at which point she’ll land the plane. Otherwise, she has to crash the plane. Failure to comply will mean her daughter will be killed.
After Sam lies to her, saying her daughter will be killed anyway, Amanda lets him into the cockpit. With Alice helping them on Sam’s cellphone, they guide Amanda through the landing, which mostly involves gliding the plane after it loses most of its power. When the plane hits the runway, the engines detach in a fiery blaze and the wheels almost rip off the undercarriage.
Somehow, they make it. The only trouble is, in the commotion of exiting the plane, no one notices Stuart freeing himself. Sam is trapped on the plane with him when he locks the door. And Sam gets the better of him — with a little help from Marsha.
A fitting finale to Hijack
The final operation here where Sam, Alice and Amanda land the plane is just as gripping as it needed to be to bring Hijack to a close. There have been ups and downs in the show’s tension level, but this episode proved good all the way through.
Idris Elba’s terror at what he’s got himself into is the best performance note he’s given the whole way through. And you get that the creative team hired him for this job (or rather, he gave it to himself; he’s an executive producer) for something other than his movie star charisma.
It’s also to the show’s credit that when the plane hits the runway, I wasn’t 100% sure they’d let everyone live. Would have been the bolder move, but I know what time it is. We don’t do that so much anymore. On the scale of other Apple TV+ thrillers, Hijack comes in about equal to Liaison and Suspicion.
There’s still room for a truly great thriller series on this streamer.
Watch Hijack on Apple TV+
You can now watch all seven episodes of Hijack 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.