Synopsis of 1×9 & 10: Ben continues from last episode, investigating why he was involved in Roger’s death, and why he was interacting with an up and coming fighter from the Red Zone, Theo. Laura continues in her mission of providing clinical services in the Red Zone, but must face the harsh realities of that world.*
As far as series finales go, these episodes finally gave some of the emotional drive that has seemed lacking in much of the season. Where before as a viewer, I only liked Laura (Allison Miller), I came to realize that many of these characters have redeeming qualities, beyond what was revealed during the preceding episodes of the season.
Throughout the first half (episode 9: ‘Burning Platform’), Ben (Sean Teale) continues in his search for answers. He finally tracks down Theo (Eddie Ramos) and together they approach Hendrick (Damon Herriman). He uses Ben to end the blackmail reveal of both of their pasts, and offers Ben a device that will return Aaron’s memories. However, he earnestly begs Ben not to use it, as the world is a better place without Aaron.
Spending one last night as simply Ben, he and Laura drink tequila together, before we see Ben inject himself with Aaron’s memories once again. He is back to his mission to save Elena (Denyse Tontz), even though, as we find out, she has different plans.
Hendrick, unfortunately, may be revealed as the fake he is thanks to an old device his daughter finds. Unbeknownst to her, she may be ruining her own life by taking it to school.
Ben, once again, blames his former boss Chad Peterson (David Hewlett) as the villain, reconstructing him for SPIGA security.
For Elizabeth (Julia Ormond), her attempt to extract Sanjay Maraj (Gabe Grey) and his salt resistant seeds goes horribly wrong, and she makes the decision to destroy everything in order to save the company. Julian (Dennis Haysbert) seems unhappy with this decision, displeased by her disregard for life and overcommitment to the company. But she is commended by the board.
Laura is faced with a thief amongst her staffers, and faces the potential wrath of her mother. Both situations she handles with strength, choosing to remove a hand of the thief to ensure no one will cross her again, and her mother, whom she threatens. She will not give up the good work she has found; this is her purpose and her life now.
Theo, reeling from the realization that the drugs he has been using may have turned him into a monster, attends the funeral of the fighter he killed in the ring. However, this turns into one of the most heartfelt and beautiful moments of the series, as the sister of the fighter embraces him, saying “I forgive you.” It is one of the few moments of sincerity in this show, and it was touching to watch, especially given how quickly Theo seemed to descend into chaos; perhaps he can be redeemed.
The first half ends with Ben receiving the promotion to the 40th Floor, only to be attacked in his own home. But to what end?
The second half (episode 10: ‘Golden Parachute’) begins at this exact moment, with Ben facing his attempted kidnappers. Oddities of his capture include them opening the bottle of tequila that Ben and Laura had shared the previous night, and Laura, who arrives shortly after the kidnapping, lacking her ring.
The intensity of the scene mounts as the Inazagi commando team threaten the life of Laura, with Ben repeating that he will protect the company. For a split moment, I hated Ben completely, and by extension the show. The one character I have liked throughout its entirety was Laura, and she is shot point blank. Ben and the viewers are left to stare at her body on the floor.
However, as we come to find out, the oddities about the scene are because this is actually a test from SPIGA to ensure the Ben will do anything for the company, and Ben, noticing the anomalies, ascertained as much and only risked Laura’s life because he knew the entire situation was fabricated. Of course, he won’t tell the company that.
Ben uses this opportunity to finally visit Elena, and express his plan to defect with her. She plays along, but as we see, has ulterior motives to bring down the company using him.
Learning of the plight of Hendrick and the likelihood of his daughter’s deportation due to his and Hendrick’s pasts, he finally makes a decision for someone other than himself. Instead of extracting himself and Elena, he uses the opportunity to save Hendrick and his daughter. Much like the scene of Theo coming to peace with the sister of the fighter he killed, Ben seems relieved to have saved someone. Perhaps he has a shred of dignity in him after all.
Theo finally earns a fight in the Green Zone, but refuses to use drugs for it, seeking, perhaps, to end his own life. He puts up a significant fight given his opponent, but ultimately loses. His owner is outraged by the situation and threatens Theo’s boyfriend. With that, Theo uses the only card he has left, Ben.
And that’s it. The season ended, with no certainty of a second season, but plenty of questions still present. I certainly hope that if a second season arrives, it focuses on the deep emotional impacts of the events of the end of this season.
As a viewer, I finally began to care about the majority of these characters, and wondered at the efficacy of a corporation led world. Hopefully we’ll see another season that focuses on the humanity in everyone and the toppling of a political/economic regime. Or Laura can simply take over everything; have I mentioned that she’s my favorite character?