Hijack – Season 1 Episode 3 “Draw a Blank” Recap & Review

Draw a Blank

Episode 3 of Hijack begins with a phone call between Alice and Zahra. The former expresses her concerns and a strong belief that the likelihood of a hijacking of Flight 29 is high. Zahra makes the tricky decision to believe the worst to be true and meets with the duty officer to take things ahead.  Elsewhere, an Egyptian passenger, Yussuf, claims that the guns used by the hijackers are fake. How does he know? He worked in the Egyptian military for thirty years and dealt with hijackings “all the time.”

He claims that, in his experience, the PLO only used blanks whenever they hijacked planes. They make enough sound to keep people in check but don’t do any damage. Hugo, who is sitting next to Sam, believes in the theory. He alludes to the shot fired earlier when the gents tried to overpower one of the hijackers. The bullet was not found, no one was hurt, and there were no holes in the plane. Sam doesn’t want him to take a risky bet on a hunch. But Hugo still wants to continue with his plan.

Sam tells him about Robin and his plan and tries to convince him to keep silent for the time being. But Hugo does not listen to him. He acts like he’s sick and leaves a note for the passengers near the toilet. It says, “Check the floor for bullets.” Meanwhile, the deviation has taken the plane off track and Istanbul ATC contacts them. Robin is forced to correct the flight path as Stuart is intently listening to the radio with him. One of the patients badly needs his insulin but Jaden denies his request. Stuart convenes the others and asks them to make the toilet breaks and such distractions less frequent.

The passenger who found Hug’s note confirms his suspicion. But Sam warns him to drop his theory and not risk anyone’s life on the plane. Zahra explains the chain of events to her superiors. Alice assists them by showing the latent signals in Flight 29’s changing of flight paths and then overcorrecting, as Robin did just earlier. There is a moment of tension on the plane as Stuart catches Robin chatting with someone on the plane. Sam steps in and dramatically grabs ahold of Stuart’s hand, who is powerless. Sam eventually backs down and everything returns to normal – but barely.

Stuart embarrasses Sam by asking him to repeat his words verbatim and making him smile. He also orders all the screens to be turned off. Hugo seems to think Stuart’s decision to not shoot Sam and make an example out of him proves his point.

Marsha, who is interviewing for a job at the university, contextualizes the situation on the plane with an allegory of Schrodinger’s Cat; the possibility that two different things can be true at once. Sam suddenly becomes interested in Yussuf’s theory, who says he can’t prove it if he cannot examine the gun.

Overhearing their conversation, Arthur, one of the cabin crew members, gets up and tells Sam about the bullet that was found in the bathroom. Sam asks Yussuf through the translating passenger if seeing the bullet can help him ascertain his theory. He makes a drawing of the two types. Meanwhile, the man who needs his insulin gets worse. There is chatter around the rows asking Jaden to give him the medicine.

On the ground, the Foreign Secretary gives the green light for Counterterrorism to initiate a strategy. They start working under the presumption that the hijacking is happening.

Daniel asks Zahra to send her the manifest of the flight so he can run the names against the database to check for criminal records. Stuart agrees with Deevia’s suggestion to give the passengers food and water to keep them calmed down. Heidi informs Zahra that the manifest only shows one man with a serious criminal record. In need of some arm twisting, Zahra emails the manifest to Daniel. The girl who saw the bullet confirms to Arthur that the bullet is a blank and the guns are fake. Daniel runs the names through the database and five of the names do not come up, which is strange. That’s how they ascertain the identities of the hijackers.

Suddenly, Nasir, the sick man’s nephew, gets up to take out his medicine. Jaden pushes him and starts beating Nasir. Sam makes a plan with Hugo to take out Terry since he is the most vulnerable. Hugo chickens out and Sam goes all the way to the back of the plane by himself, crawling through the aisles. Stuart retrieves something from the bag that Alec put in the cabin above. They are real bullets which he puts in his gun. Lewis helps Jaden to calm down the situation. Sam successfully neutralizes Terry but needs Jonty’s help. Jonty is ironically the only passenger on the plane whose name came back for a serious criminal record.

The episode ends with the sound of a gunshot but we don’t know exactly who gets hit. Terry was pointing his gun at Sam, who claimed the bullets were blanks, which left Terry shocked. Lizzie, a five-year-old, ran away from her seat and Stuart ominously walks towards the passengers with a now loaded gun.

The Episode Review

Those final few minutes of episode 3 really set the tone going forward. If that is the kind of taut storytelling Hijack has to offer, bring it on. We are still some way away from learning the real motivations behind the hijacking and the mastermind running the strings. Because Stuart is clearly not it. He doesn’t seem to have the steely resolve and nerves it takes to pull off such a feat. I feel the more this is delayed, the less rewarding the show will be beyond its mainstay, headline event.

Starting the chatter on the ground was an important step in the storytelling. Given all of this is moving in real-time, there is a real urgency to how things unfold. Idris Elba’s final flourish would have made for a great cinematic moment as well but Sam’s characterization was spot-on. He is just a normal guy with a special skill set that does not involve combat training of any sort. Every decision he makes flows from a pace of logic and making the best-informed decision. Episode 3 really brought out that aspect of realism in the show.

However, episode 3 did not elaborate on the cleaners at Senil and Neela’s house. That was another major disappointment storywise. But there is hope that we will learn more in the next episode.

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