The Old Man – Season 1 Episode 7 Recap, Review, and Ending Explained


The opening scene of episode 7 of The Old Man is a bit of a mystery. The easiest explanation is that is one of Emily’s childhood memories. But doubts are cast over the nature of that memory. Is it a good one or is it the one where the unresolved issues with her mother surface?

Either way, she is still sedated and Waters, Julian, and his partner Marty are camped in a secluded basement. Marty expresses to Julian how he craves to be doing “anything” else than this job; preferably closer to nature, something that gives him a fulfilling feeling. Waters gets a call from Harold, who tries to get their location.

Zoe is still with Dan and mentions something to him about Nina Kruger, Hamzad’s lawyer that she noted. Dan had told her to look for the small things that would make big differences. When she was chatting up with Nina at the bar, Zoe saw an uncomfortable grimace on her face when she mentioned her safety and asked her how safe she was.

According to Zoe, it indicated a hint of distrust between Hamzad and Nina. But Dan dismisses it as mis-judgment on her part as Hazmad cannot bear to have disloyal associates. Harold tells Dan that there is a deal in place that Bote has brokered. He is faced with two choices: either submit himself to be taken to a plane where Hamzad wants him, or Bote delivers Emily to him instead.

Knowing Dan, we have an idea of what he’ll do. He agrees to go himself to free his daughter, a choice that really surprises Zoe. She is astonished that someone of Dan’s capability does not even want to “think” about an alternative where he can save Emily and not sacrifice himself.

It is because she views him as this invincible agent who is capable of doing anything. And to her credit, Zoe has seen him do some really amazing things for his age. But Dan insists that her daughter comes first for him in any matter. He bids Zoe goodbye, and wishes that she resume her “normal life”.

In the definitive flashback, we see Hamzad confront Abby and Dan about freeing Pavlovich. Abby confesses the truth – that she has joined forces with the Russians in order to feed them intel that makes Hamzad’s side stronger.

Although Hamzad seems content with her explanation and the idea as a whole, he cannot fathom Abby not telling him the whole truth. He is absolutely livid when she wouldn’t tell him about the location of the mine she found in Panjshir. Hamzad wants to know its location to gain a “strategic advantage” but Abby is adamant.

Then, for a moment, we see her menacing side. “You are an impossibility and I make you possible”. She reminds him that without her, Hamzad cannot rule properly and make all of this possible. This is why he must trust her and not get deviated by the greed and power the mine would give him. Hamzad tells Dan he has till sunrise to leave and Abby the night to think about her decision.

We also catch a glimpse of a young Harold losing his calm over Dan’s new request to exfil him and Abby. Harold feels that Hamzad might be a pain for them both because he knows too much. He requests Dan to kill him before he leaves but as we know, Dan isn’t able to do it. Harold is right about Hamzad and even mentions it to Dan in the car ride they have together.

In the basement, Marty notices that men in large numbers are closing down both sides of the road and taking positions in the buildings nearby. They suspect the men are Hamzad’s. Meanwhile, Dan and Harold go along with the Moroccan secret police for the transaction involving Hamzad. One of Harold’s first questions to Dan is about the flight that Hamzad asked him about.

Despite finding the “needle in the haystack”, why wasn’t Hamzad satisfied with Harold? Dan does not answer, even though it seems like he knows it. Harold tells Dan a story about Emily from the Academy days when she punched an instructor who called “freckles” one time too many.

He compares that moment when he “discovered” her with the moment his son was born. Emily herself does not know about the flight and Harold beseeches Dan to at least tell him so that when the dust settles, he can then tell Emily who will ask about it. Dan is unmoved at first but gradually lays into his own insecurity about Abby.

In the previous episode, Pavlovich revealed to Dan how Abby found him as a college student in Russia and “cultivated” him to be an asset in Afghanistan. Dan fears she might have done the same with him to extract her out of there once the truth came out.

Just then, Waters phones Harold to tell him about the situation. He asks for Waters’ location and follows it. The place is behind them from a place they passed through. In another one of Emily’s nightmares, we see her talk to her mother’s apparition, who calls her “freckles”. She approaches a wailing Abby beneath a closed door in the ground but is hesitant to open it.

She wakes up and discovers that Bote’s team is trying to get her out of there. Julian goes out in true alpha style to singlehandedly kill Hamzad’s men and make the passage clear for Waters and Marty to take Emily to safety. They are stopped by a woman who turns out to be in Hamzad’s camp and shoots both of them dead.

The Moroccan secret police want Harold to pull over and turn away. But Dan and he decide otherwise. They take out the cars – Dan does, while Harold drives – and head to the destination.

The Old Man Episode 7 Ending Explained

They reach the destination but see that the van is empty and both Marty and Waters are dead. Harold laments their circumstance, when Dan reveals the truth about the manifest and why Hamzad asked him about the flight.

That day, actually three people boarded the flight, as opposed to just Abby and Dan. The third was Hamzad’s daughter, who came with Abby and Dan to America. Dan kept it a secret to protect him and Emily. She was the reason why he wasn’t able to kill Hamzad that day as she was in the same room. So actually, Emily is Hamzad’s daughter!

This theory is confirmed when we see the woman who killed Marty and Waters claim that “Parwana is back”, and as she says this, Emily walks out, her head covered in a scarf as her.

By asking Harold about the manifest, he wasn’t testing him but making sure that his daughter was on the same flight, too. He wanted to know if she was there. And as the closing monologue revealed, Hamzad had been looking around for her for the past so many years.

Although there is no concrete evidence that she was the only reason he had a grudge against Dan, but the way things panned out in the season finale, it definitely felt that way.

This theory is further substantiated by the fact that Abby didn’t agree to give Hamzad the location of the mine in Pinjshir, which would have won him the war. A combination of both those factors suggests he was after Parwana, or Emily, all along. Will she abandon her “fathers” this easily, or will she fight back and get back to them? If there is a season two, we will find out.

The Episode Review

After the first episode, it was quite evident that ‘The Old Man’ was not all about action sequences one after another. It had a soul and a mind of its own.

The translation from the pages of the book to the screen has only embellished the former’s appeal and emotion. The season finale follows suit where you see long, unwinding conversations between characters, talking about their lives and their loved ones.

Barring the occasion where Julian takes out Hamzad’s team, there is no action in the traditional terms at all. This is what makes this show special. Right from the beginning, we saw two timelines – the past and the present – trudge along like two different parallel lines. As we got closer to the end, they started to converge, and finally was one in the finale.

Bernstein and Levine must be given tremendous credit for keeping the shape of their narrative intact. Even when the going got tough, they never abandoned their style or personality. In fact, that is what helped them out of those situations.

The finale’s pace wasn’t frenetic by any stretch but meditative and probing, just like all the other episodes.  Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow were seen together for the first time in the series in the final episode.

The two certainly got their characterizations bang on and there is hope that if season two happens, we will be seeing more of them together. By the end, Harold’s fate was written a similar tragic end as Dan’s. They are united not just by their love for a daughter who isn’t theirs, but by a fierce paternal force and the curse of being outlaws. There might still be redemption for them but it will come at a cost.

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Feel free to check out our full season review for The Old Man Season 1 here!

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11 thoughts on “The Old Man – Season 1 Episode 7 Recap, Review, and Ending Explained”

  1. The relationship between Dan and Zoe was the most interesting but it had no where to go by the last episode. Maybe what she said about Hamzad’s lawyer making a funny face will have some importance if there is a season 2. I thought all the scenes in Afghanistan were so hokey. Everything the characters were saying had to sound so profound but they just sounded like drivel to me. Plus the whole premise of Hamzad working to be the leader of Afghanistan. We all knew from the beginning that it would never happen. And why did Dan want to kill Russians so badly he defected from the CIA or was that just a cover. I figured by the third episode that Emily was actually Hamzad’s daughter. Why did he wait 30 years to get her back? BTW how did Chip and his wife die? I can’t remember learning about that. I enjoyed the first season but it’s one of those show you can’t think about too much or you see all the plot holes. To me, it seemed that the whole story in Afghanistan was just a plot device to make what was going on in America make sense. None of the stories about the characters in Afghanistan made any sense

  2. I must be too simple, I loved the first 5 or 6 seasons but the ending left me lost in the sauce…too dam complicated. who is whose daughter/dad anyway??? too much.

  3. This is a great series. I can’t wait for season two. There is such a void of decent entertainment on non-subscription TV channels. This one stands out heads above of the most. The title: “The Old Man”….which “old man” does it point to? Is if Jeff Bridges’ character (he is one of my all-time favorite actors by the way), John Lithgow (another great by the way)? Is s it Joel Gray (who has only shown up briefly, early in the series but was referenced by Lithgow’s character as “the old man”)? Or, is it Hamzad? If it were all of them the series would be named: “The Old Men”. A trivial land pointless question….but, an interesting one. Oh, oh….another one before I go: Will the Zoey character return? She was great! And, I might as well add: how about the dogs? They added a really interesting aspect to Bridges’ ultra-dangerous characterization. As an official “old man” myself (aged 82), I love to see us “senior citizens” included in today’s entertainment offerings in a lead role and not just as some old geezer suffering from dementia. I was so happy to see that Jeff Bridges has conquered his health problems and is back doing what he does so well: acting. He comes from a family of great actors. I am anxiously awaiting season two and hope the wait will not be a long one.

  4. Emily looks to be 4 years old in the scene where they are leaving for the flight. Obviously Harold knows the year that they left for the US and Emily would too considering she has CIA clearance and would have looked into it. So either:

    1) she can’t do basic math and realized her age would mean she was born years BEFORE ‘Dan chase’ came on the scene.


    2) they lied to her about her age, and she was the size of a 10 year old in 1st grade…

    Major plot hole.

  5. If Farzad wanted his daughter back why didn’t he have the private jet ride, with his daughter on board in an earlier episode go directly to Afghanistan? And why did he wait 30 years to get reunited?

  6. I think so. We did see a glimpse of his body through the front of the cracked windshield when Harold inspects the driver. A couple of things; we see a small hole on Waters’ side (the driver’s side) and Harold’s off-camera reaction when he peeks inside. It is presumably strong evidence to suggest he was killed.

  7. Are we sure Waters is dead? Marty was driving the van. We see the woman assassin firing thru the van’s windshield on the drivers side, then all goes black.
    When Dan and Harold arrive, we see a body on the ground by the open driver’s door.
    Perhaps Waters wasn’t killed. After all, Waters was established as a major character in earlier episodes. I’ve felt that he was fated for more interaction with Emily… perhaps romance. Marty was a minor character. One to be sacrificed. And, of course, Julian wasn’t in the van, so expect to hear more from him in season 2…. along with Waters?

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