The Old Man (Season 1), Episode 5: Review, Recap & Ending Explained

The Old Man Season 1 Episode 5 Recap Ending Explained

The Old Man (Season 1) Episode 5 Review, Recap & Ending Explained: The moving parts of The Old Man’s labyrinthine plot are quite a sight to witness, if not a completely different show from the first episode, which is what the show began as. Gone is the bone-crunching action, and now left are the secretive crosses and double-crosses that date back years and connect to the present both figuratively and literally. The transformation of the show can prove to be a divisive one, or it can prove to be a complex but comprehensive and emotionally profound watch. But as the current episode shows, this is very much dealing with revelations and upsetting status quos.


Hamzad’s interrogation of Suleyman Pavlovich is a violent and torturous one, as proven by the cries of suffering and terror both Balour and Johnny are forced to hear, while waiting for relevant information to be extracted. Hamzad’s belief that he would be able to push Pavlovich past his breaking point, forcing him to talk, falls on Johnny’s deaf ears, who decides to leave camp to bring in reinforcements. Balour, after hearing Johnny’s plan, once out of Hamzad’s earshot, requests him to not leave just yet, as she fears what the hostage would reveal and the resultant repercussions.

That night, Johnny meets with Balour in private, where she reveals she is a sleeper agent in Hamzad’s camp for the Soviet government, but she has become disillusioned. Knowing that the Soviet influence on Afghanistan would end very soon due to their leaving, Balour was helping provide relevant information to Hamzad such that in the inevitable war that would follow among the different tribal groups, Hamzad’s faction would come out on top. However, Johnny points out the obvious-why isn’t she telling her husband? Surely he would be supportive of her if he knew of her intentions.

Then Balour lets the other shoe drop. Some time ago, she had been to a village in the valleys where a local tribal leader’s wife had revealed to her the presence of a foreigner (a Greek pirate) looking for something in the hills. The Soviets, as a result, learnt of the existence of a copper lode with traces of uranium and lithium, resources which would bring the recipient a tremendous advantage. However, none of the people who had discovered it lived to tell the tale, and the location is only known to Balour, who is reticent to reveal said information to Hamzad because giving him information too early would cause an imbalance. Information is power, and unchecked power could cause a man to delve into darker aspects of his personality, even a man as determined as Hamzad. The exclamation by Johnny –  “Lady, you are juggling a lot of chainsaws” is apt for the different plot threads the story itself is juggling.

Back to the present, Angela and Harper are on the plane, flying to the undisclosed location instructed by Hamzad. Angela tries to break the ice, which opens Pandora’s box. Harper, who had already deduced Angela’s true identity, confronts her, which forces her to confirm it. The confirmation comes as a piece of devastating news to Harold, both from a personal and professional standpoint. Personally, because she, being his protege, had been almost a family member. Professionally, because the optics of this are not good, the mole within the FBI has been Director Harper’s protege, who had remained undetected for 10 years.

Harold tries to put a reality check on Angela by stating that her deception is tantamount to treason, and the reasoning could be attributed to her being a sleeper agent for her father. In response, Angela (or Emily) admits that while her two identities are the primary source of her emotional conflict, she reminds Harold that hiring a professional assassin to kill her father is also grounds for treason. Now at a stalemate, Emily convinces Harold to work together to get out of this jam, to which he reluctantly agrees. The next morning, their plane lands in Tunis, North Africa, which could be important for two reasons. It is either a spot that Emily had visited due to an assignment, or it could be the last stop Emily’s parents had disembarked on, before leaving for the United States.

The Old Man Season 1 Episode 5 Recap Ending Explained

Harold and Emily are led to an old office filled with government papers and old flight manifests stacked on shelves. Surmising that this is a twisted form of the test by Hamzad to figure out the extent of information belonging to FBI counterintelligence, Harper agrees to Hamzad’s challenge and locates the details of the flight which had carried Johnny and Balour (Dan and Abbey Chase) to the United States. Harper gets a rude awakening after answering the phone and handing over the information to Hamzad’s lawyer, Nina Kruger, when Kruger informs them that the details of his treachery will be leaked by the end of the day. Flabbergasted at the turn of events, Harper finally gets a reality check by Emily, who informs him that he has been framed, and now they have no choice but to work together with her father.

During their conversation on the flight, Angela reveals that one of her father’s older colleagues had been instrumental in infiltrating her into the FBI. The colleague is revealed to be none other than Morgan Bote, who we see calling Agent Waters of the CIA. He informs Waters that his weakness towards Harper and Chase, whom he considers his sons, has caused him to grant them favours, which has led to a series of problems and complications. Now Bote has decided to enter the fray and is recruiting a group of special agents to clean up this mess, by any means necessary. We see Bote conversing with Waters via phone while waiting for someone at a restaurant. The door finally opens to reveal Julian Carson, the assassin sent to kill Dan, very much hungry to get back to the job, and thus recruited by Bote to his “cause”.

When we last left Dan and Zoe, they were in an uncomfortably tense situation, which gets immediately defused as Dan acquiesces to Zoe’s demands and writes off half of his wealth in her name. As Zoe looks dumbfounded, Dan reveals that the loss of his money was never important. The money was just an important tool to ensure his family’s safety, which is currently in dire straits as his daughter’s life is in danger and he must travel to Morocco.

Zoe agrees to accompany him, partly due to the prior romance and companionship that had brought them here. They drive to a pet hotel where Dan drops off his two faithful dogs, Dave and Carol, with the ownership of the dogs under Zoe’s name. As they drive to the airport, Dan reveals to Zoe the mine which Balour had revealed to him many years ago, and how the mine had been their fallback for wealth once they had fled from Hamzad. Realizing the delicate situation she is in, Zoe protests, saying she isn’t the “Marcia Dixon” Dan had planned for her during this operation. Reminding her of the blackmail she had executed a few hours ago, Dan claims that Zoe is an absolute natural.


Dan’s claim about Zoe’s instinct about understanding an individual’s weak points comes to the test when they drive to Zachary’s suburban home. Dan plans to force Zachary, his financial assistant, to strike a deal with Suleyman Pavlovich and complete the next part of Dan’s plan. To throw a wild card into the mix, Zoe decides to go to Zachary’s house to convince him instead of Dan. She tries to be the polite individual she has always been, which leads to Zachary dismissing her by reminding her it’s late and that he will see to it in the morning.

Taking Dan’s advice, that “rich people don’t give a fuck”, when she had remarked upon her attire, she walks back, knocks on Zachary’s door, and with quiet confidence, manages to convince Zachary to take up the deal. As Dan watches Zoe walk back to their car, he chuckles, realising that Zoe had transformed into the “Marcia Dixon” he needed for this plan to work. Chase imagines Abbey’s voice in her head, reminding him of his chequered past and the lack of a person to whom he can confess. Dan, however, emphatically states that he can confess to her, which finally begins a positive step towards him moving on. It coalesces further when Zoe while heading for the plane, proclaims that he is more than the protector or the destroyer and that she sees him. It is a far kinder proclamation than Dan dreams of hearing from Abbey, as they embark on the plane.


Not a particularly short episode, but a far tighter one, with only two main plots working together, with the flashback revelations rearing their heads further. The show’s pivot into this complicated modern-day throwback into a cold-war era political thriller is a fascinating genre twist no one following the show was expecting. While Zoe’s evolution comes a bit too quickly for my liking, the star of the show is easily Alia Shawkat, showcasing a woman torn between her two father figures and her two identities. The flashbacks, too, offer interesting morsels and reveal a far more complicated backstory than anybody would have expected. So far, The Old Man is not the show I was expecting, and so far the unpredictability is keeping me hooked.


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Amartya Acharya

A cinephile who is slowly and steadily exploring the horizons of the literature of films and pop culture. Loves reading books and comics. He loves listening to podcasts while obsessing about the continuity in comics.