The new Max miniseries ‘Full Circle’ stands out due to a lot of things. If the first two episodes are any indication, the David Soderbergh-directed show, which is helmed by his longtime collaborator Ed Solomon has a kind of urgency that is hard to pull off. The premiere episodes hint us toward a doom that goes to the extent of unimaginable, twisted turns. There are a host of characters in here, and it feels like it could just explode at any moment. However, thanks to the exceptional writing and direction, the juggling of these characters feels seamless. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the story pans out, but for now, here is a detailed recap of Full Circle, Episodes 1 & 2

Please be aware of spoilers. 

Full Circle Episode 1 “Something Different” Recap:

Episode 1 of Full Circle begins with a brief montage of various things, setting an ambiguous tone. Over this montage, a prophetic voice suggests that this may be a setup or a potential misdirection.

The show opens in New York with the brutal murder of Quincy Mahabir, the brother-in-law of Savitri Mahabir, a powerful matriarch who runs a crime syndicate. Edward Chung and his associates carry out the shooting in Queens. This murder sets off a chain of events that only becomes clear when viewed in the broader context.

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Following the shooting, a quiet funeral is held in the Indian style for Quincy. Savitri’s young nephew, Aked, urges her to seek revenge on Chung and his gang. However, Savitri, a deeply spiritual woman, believes it is not yet the right time. She informs Aked and her close associates that she needs to return to Georgetown, Guyana, as she believes the answers and the way forward, in this case, can be found there. One of her loyal associates, Harry Carmen, is often puzzled by Savitri’s actions but remains loyal nonetheless.

In Georgetown, Savitri meets with her spiritual guardian, who advises her to close the circle of suffering that began with her ex-husband. He hands her a printout of a wealthy family from New York, pointing out that the misfortunes plaguing her family will end once she lifts the curse by eliminating the next target in the game of revenge.

The photograph handed to Savitri in Georgetown is the same one shown in the opening montage. It depicts a family with a young boy, Jared, whose head is circled. We are then introduced to Jared’s family, including his father Derek, his mother, Samantha, and his grandfather Chef Jeff, played by Dennis Quaid.

This introduction provides valuable information about the family’s privileged lifestyle and their residence in a luxurious Manhattan apartment, highlighting Jared’s obliviousness to the world around him.

We are also introduced to Mel Harmony, a Postal inspector who constantly feels dissatisfied with the assignments given to her by her strict boss, Manny. Manny dismisses her abilities and assigns her tasks that fail to utilize her skills. It is revealed that Mel has a tumultuous relationship with her girlfriend, Carol.

A young boy is shown stealing Jared’s belongings, including his recent phone theft. This boy lives in a cramped space filled with stolen items, indicating something larger is at play.

Meanwhile, Aked instructs Natalia, Savitri’s masseuse, to bring two young men from Georgetown, Louis, and Xavier, to New York. Eager for a better life away from Georgetown, they accept the opportunity, unaware of the dangerous situation they are entering. Len, one of Savitri’s associates, confiscates their passports upon their arrival. The boys find themselves in significant debt and are instructed to follow orders and keep their heads down. Xavier, who also communicates with his online friend Shakeela, is more headstrong than Louis, who is bewildered by the unfolding events.

Jared, upset over losing his phone, contacts a mysterious boy named Nicky through Instagram.

The first major task assigned to Louis and Xavier involves injecting and killing a wheelchair-bound man named Nielsen, orchestrated by Paul Tranquada. This task sheds light on Savitri’s insurance scam, where she murders specific individuals to collect insurance payouts.

During the attempt on Nielsen’s life in an alleyway, Louis hesitates at the last moment, leaving Xavier to complete the job alone. Louis confronts Natalia, revealing the true nature of their assignments and how she has entangled them in a dangerous situation. Natalia admits her own entrapment and sadness over their predicament.

It becomes apparent that Savitri plans to kidnap Jared to complete the circle of suffering, with the abduction scheduled to take place in Washington Square Park.

Meanwhile, Mel, who has been monitoring the boys, approaches Xavier, urging him to cooperate and provide information about the plan in exchange for her assistance in resolving his issue. Xavier is hesitant, fearing the consequences if Savitri or her men discover he is informing on them.

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Moved by her brother’s revelations, Natalia informs Louis that Savitri intends to kill Jared. The siblings devise a plan to intervene by using a mannequin seen in the opening montage. They intend to place the mannequin on a bike, which Aked will use for the kidnapping, and swap it.

When Xavier, who had earlier informed Mel about suspicious activities in the park, calls her again to report that nothing is happening, it suggests he may be afraid of the repercussions of informing on Savitri. Mel relays this information to her boss, Manny, and awaits his approval to proceed with the case.

Meanwhile, Jared sneaks out of his house to meet Nicky, who had promised to return his stolen items. Aked and his group, including Xavier, Louis, and another Georgetown kid, wait outside Jared’s apartment complex for him to meet Sarah, his tutor, who will take him to the park.

However, Jared asks his grandmother, Kristen, to inform Sarah that he will not have a lesson today as he is feeling unwell. Unaware of Jared’s absence, Kristen assumes he is in his room and cancels the lesson.

Aked and his group locate Jared riding his bicycle on a one-way street. Although they are in a large truck, they attempt to follow him using an alternative route. Jared’s parents, Derek and Sam, return from a party assuming their son is asleep early, completely unaware that Jared is not home.

Aked and the group manage to track Jared and his bike and Aked believes he has done his job successfully despite the earlier mistake. They eventually kidnap Jared and call Sam using Jared’s phone, demanding a ransom of $314,159. 

Unable to afford such a sum, Sam panics and calls Chef Jeff for help. Jeff engaged in a chess game with Joseph (a man involved in planning the scenario with Savitri earlier) and rushes to their home with his wife, Kristen. Jeff is surprised that the ransom demanded is close to his casino credit limit. Another call from Aked informs them of the details of the money drop-off. 

However, to everyone’s surprise, Jared walks into his home unharmed. It is revealed that Jared had gone to meet Nicky, who was wearing the same hoodie that was stolen from Jared earlier. Since Nicky requested to ride Jared’s bike during the encounter, Aked and the others mistakenly kidnapped Nicky instead.

Joey, one of Jeff’s associates and a former detective, arrives and is relieved to see that Jared is safe. When Aked calls again, the family puts him on mute to discuss their next steps. This infuriates Aked, who takes a box cutter and forcefully extracts one of Nicky’s teeth, sending a gruesome video of the act to the Brownes.

Uncertain of their course of action, Jeff asks Nicky to provide information about himself when Aked calls again. Nicky can only utter the words, “Call Charisse.” Episode 1 of Full Circle ends with a brief glimpse of Savitri’s spiritual counselor drawing a circle in the park, marking the place where Jared is intended to be killed.

A still from Full Circle Episode 2.
A still from Full Circle Episode 1.

Full Circle Episode 2 “Charger” Recap:

Episode 2 of “Full Circle” opens with a moral dilemma for the Browne family. While their own child is safe, someone else’s child is in danger. The unanimous decision is to follow the instructions given by the kidnapper and proceed to save Nicky. Derek is chosen to handle the money exchange with the kidnapper, but as they are about to leave, he realizes that the demanded sum is equivalent to ‘pi.’

Meanwhile, Savitri’s associate, Harry, informs her that Mel’s card was found in one of the bunk beds where the Georgetown boys are staying. Sensing something suspicious, Harry suggests aborting the plan. However, Savitri insists that the plan must proceed as intended, especially since the spiritual guardian has already drawn the circle.

The tension rises in Aked’s van, which has been used for the kidnapping. Amidst the chaos, Aked smashes Louis’ phone when it rings. Aware that the call was from Natalia, Louis asks Xavier to text her about his broken phone potentially affecting their plans.

Simultaneously, the Brownes instruct Joey to take Jared to a safe location, and we see them arrive at a remote cabin in the woods. Meanwhile, Harry asks Victor to carry out a special task for him on this fateful night.

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The relationship between Mel and Carol becomes strained as Mel becomes increasingly frustrated with Manny’s lack of response. Mel vents her tension on Carol, who genuinely worries about her.

Jeff and Derek receive the requested sum of money from the casino, while Natalia takes the dummy on a bike similar to Aked’s for the exchange.

With Aked’s van stationary, waiting for the next steps, Harry and Victor intervene by pulling over nearby. Victor shoots one of the Georgetown boys because they suspect that there is some foul play, as the card was found beside his bed. This causes Louis and Xavier to realize the seriousness of the situation they have gotten themselves into.

Harry takes over the plan, which infuriates Aked. They wrap the dead boy’s body, and Paul remains in the van with the other boys to oversee the rest of it pan out.

Meanwhile, Savitri sits at her desk with a photo of Randell in the center. She takes some rice and proceeds with a ritual involving creating a circle around the photo. 

Len follows Derek and Jeff.

After the drop-off by the casino representatives, Derek leaves with the money, and Jeff departs with Seymour and his associates, who take him back to the Browne residence.

An angry Manny returns Mel’s call and advises her not to get involved independently, warning her that he won’t provide any backup. He urges her not to do anything reckless that could jeopardize her job. Carol also calls Mel to end their relationship due to Mel’s impulsive and cruel behavior.

Derek, who has been constantly communicating with Aked, realizes that his phone’s battery is about to die. He buys a charger from a local shop, but when he tries to plug it into his car, the charger doesn’t work, leaving him unable to communicate with Aked about the exact location, despite the urgency of reaching there by ‘1:11.’

Full Circle Episode 2 “Charger” Ending, Explained: 

Is Nicky safe?

Victor, Louis, and Xavier exit the van and enter the park. Louis rides the bike out of Victor’s sight and successfully exchanges it with Natalia. Mel is also present in the park, searching for Xavier.

Tense scenes unfold as various players in the game are scattered around the park. Willoughby, Savitri’s spiritual guardian who drew the circle earlier, brings an ice cream to Clarence, who is frozen dead at the same spot where he was playing chess with Jeff. Manny calls Mel and urges her to go home.

As Derek is unable to turn on his phone, the lack of communication leads Victor to shoot the dummy inside the bike parked within the circle, assuming it to be Jared (who we know was supposed to be Nicky). This seemingly completes the circle. But does it?

Sam, realizing that Derek’s phone is dead, rushes to the park in worry. Derek, in shock from the failed exchange, is left bewildered. Sam reaches the park, sits beside her husband, and tries to console him. The casino representatives arrive to collect the money, which Sam hands over.

The ending of Full Circle Episode 2 reveals that Savitri believes the curse on her family has been lifted and celebrates with an afterparty. She thinks the circle is complete, but viewers know that since the money wasn’t exchanged and the child is still alive, the circle remains incomplete.

A flashback reveals that Derek saw Nicky at the park while playing baseball with Jared. Derek is still in shock, but the show doesn’t reveal the full extent of his shock or the reason behind it. It is possible that Derek has a connection to ‘Charisse,’ as indicated by his reaction when Nicky mentioned the name. 

Is Derek Nicky’s father? This theory seems plausible at this point.

However, we will have to wait for future episodes to uncover the truth.

Read More: Everything Coming to MAX in July 2023

Full Circle Episodes 1 & 2 Links: IMDb
Full Circle Episodes 1 & 2 Cast: Claire Danes, Timothy Olyphant, CCH Pounder, Denis Quaid, Zazie Beetz
Where to watch Full Circle

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