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The Old Man (Season 1), Episode 3: Recap & Ending Explained

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The Old Man (Season 1) Episode 3 Recap & Ending Explained: The experience of watching The Old Man is like experiencing the brandy you are used to having, but treated and denatured just right. The result is a show whose flavor hits you at the exact right time, and not after having three or four gulps and then getting hit by the flavor like a freight train. Episode 3 of The Old Man has two of the best curveballs I have seen in any TV series this year, which radically changes what you might have thought about the show after the first two episodes. Suddenly, the stakes are interminably higher, and the story is not just the story of an ex-agent on the run. It’s much deeper than that, but done with simplicity and maintains the balance of brutal action and a focused story. Director Greg Yaitanes has been a veteran of action television series (check out Banshee), and he is in his element here.

The Old Man (Season 1), Episode 3 “III” Recap: 

The show opens with a shot of a bus stop, where a man is sitting on a bench waiting for the 10 o’clock bus. He’s on the phone with his elderly mother, sarcastically arguing and cajoling her to take her medication. A woman wearing leg braces sits beside him, and Julian Carson, the man, looks at her and offers to help with her bags as the bus arrives. We see him wearing the clothes of a hospital nurse, but before he can join the woman to catch the bus, he picks up another call. A few minutes into it, he smiles at the woman and says, “I will take the next one.” As the bus drives away, the phone audio is picked up, and we hear a snippet of the previous episode’s parking lot conversation between Harper and the now-revealed Julian. The kindly orderly is the mysterious assassin being hired by Harold Harper to search for Dan Chase.

The flashback sequence details Dan’s meeting and our first introduction to the mysterious Faraz Hamzad (Pej Vahad). While grateful for the assistance of the mysterious American, Hamzad remains unsure of his motivations for joining their cause. As the younger Dan Chase (Bill Heck) tries to convince Hamzad to allow him to fight against the Russians and support their cause, Hamzad insists that his approval isn’t enough. He must convince Hamzad’s wife, Balour, of his motives as well. We see a camel carrying a woman entering Hamzad’s camp, and as she removes the cloth covering her face, we are treated to the sight of the younger version of Abbey Chase, Dan’s wife. The first bombshell moment instantly makes Hamzad’s motive for capturing Dan in the present crystal clear-sometime in the past, Balour and Johnny fall in love and plan to escape, and Harper must have helped them to it. And now the chickens have come home to roost.

In the present, Chase prepares to leave Zoe and head to Montana. As Chase fumbles for an excuse, Zoe realizes that the police were actually looking for him and presses him for an explanation. In it, Chase reveals how he was part of a war that was unsanctioned by the US government and that he had done something which has now put him in the bad books of a lot of people. Chase tries to convince Zoe to go with him. Their conversation is interrupted by a call from Emily, who, to Dan’s surprise, requests to talk with Zoe. As Zoe warily takes the phone, she listens as Emily tries to explain to her why she should trust Dan. It’s an emphatic and impassioned plea, which becomes far more poignant when the scene shifts to a parking lot and we hear and then see Emily, who is revealed to be Angela, Harold’s protege. Almost immediately, the question strikes whether Harold knows about it, which is immediately dispelled when you recall that Angela deflected it, stating that Emily Chase had committed suicide in 2003. But the identity of Emily just adds another monkey wrench to the proceedings.

The Old Man Season 1 Episode 3 Recap Ending Explained (1)

Back at Zoe’s house, she demands Dan leave by the time she returns from an errand. As she walks out of her house and towards her car, we see her slowly start to break down from the obvious sting of betrayal. Her ruminations are interrupted by something cracking against her window. She sees the dogs in Dan’s car getting excited and trying to get out. As she walks closer to the window, she sees a bullet hole and then watches Dan struggle with an assailant who had managed to sneak up on him. The assailant revealed to be Julian, manages to knock Dan out after a hard fight. He hadn’t counted on Zoe, who had freed Dan’s dogs. The dogs start attacking Julian, managing to distract him and pin him down long enough for Dan to recover and shoot Julian with a silencer. The CIA tries to map out the neighborhood and locate Dan via their drone through the foliage, but Dan manages to assemble a sniper rifle, place it on top of Zoe’s sedan, and shoot the drone without breaking a sweat.

In flashbacks, we see young Dan, or “Johnny,” trying to convince Abbey, or “Balour,” about his motivations. She remains skeptical; she is still not convinced what his use is in their cause beyond offering a few weapons and managing to shoot a couple of targets 200 yards away. Dan counters that by stating his ability to shoot targets far exceeds 200 yards, and he isn’t what she thinks she is. In the consequent flashback scene, we see Dan hanging out clothes to dry alongside Abbey while trying to convince her. She finally reveals her past, and how her concept of Americans changed from the hopeful faces of the young boys and girls from the pamphlets of the University of Ohio to the grunts and suave bureaucrats of the CIA. For her, Americans are of two types-the self-destructively naive one who is ready to commit to any cause to make it better, and the pragmatic monsters for whom no violence is unjustified, and right now she is unable to distinguish which of the two sides Dan is on.

The Old Man (Season 1) Episode 3 “III” Ending Explained: 

And even the FBI right now is on tenterhooks as games of crosses and double-crosses begin to be played. Both Angela and Harold deduce that CIA Agent Waters is a Hamzad stooge, determined to needle and question the FBI at every turn. As Waters tries to deny the allegations, Harper dismisses those denials while revealing the true reason behind Hamzad’s present revenge spree. As Harold’s explanation starts painting Angela’s (AKA Emily) mother, in a bad light, Emily decides to take charge of the situation and flips the script, instructing Waters to leave a message for Hamzad, so that they can ask Hamzad the reason. While on the surface, the plan seems simple enough, Angela’s stony and conflicted face shows internal strife within her as she plans to dance around and keep the relationship between her and both her father figures from imploding.

In the final scene, Dan Chase is shown driving the car to a secluded spot, planning to drive away from Dodge. However, he stops to check something in his trunk before the camera cuts to black. It could be inferred from how Zoe is absent for the second half of the episode, and even though the SWAT team had been unable to find anyone on the premises, that Dan had taken Zoe hostage unwillingly, to keep her safe. The CIA already knows his location, and Zoe’s life is in danger. Interestingly, Julian is also missing, which means the assassin is also out for blood, determined to finish the job for his reputation. The plot thickens as revelations give rise to new and interesting subplots, both in the present and the past.


The Old Man (Season 1), Episodes 1-3 are now streaming on HULU

The Old Man (Season 1), Episodes 1-3 Links – IMDb
The Old Man (Season 1), Episodes 1-3 Cast – Jeff Bridges, Pej Vahdat, John Lithgow, Alia Shawkat, E.J Bonilla, Noor Razooky

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