It’s a shame that The Old Man’s first season is limited to seven episodes, because so much valuable screen time is spent establishing (and then re-establishing) alliances and partnerships. There are only two episodes left this season, and so much of “V” felt like prep work as opposed to forward movement.
I’m glad, however, that Harper figured out the mole in his operation has been Angela all along. She could not keep up that ruse for much longer, given her meltdowns whenever Harper mentioned her mother. And it’s not like Harper has anything better to do other than ally himself with Chase: Despite agreeing to Faraz Hamzad’s blackmail, flying to North Africa, and providing 35-year-old flight information about Dan and Abbey Chase’s escape from Afghanistan, Hamzad still intends to release an incriminating memo about Harper’s treasonous actions to all U.S. government agencies. Harper is just as much of a criminal as Angela and Chase, so they might as well team-up.
Another reason it’s time for Harper and Chase to work together? Their surrogate dad, Morgan Bote, is about to wreak serious havoc: The man responsible for placing Angela under Harold Harper’s avuncular wing at the FBI — done at Dan Chase’s behest — needs to clean up the ginormous global mess he’s created. This means spearheading the most devious plot of The Old Man yet: Bote coordinates an elite team comprised of Julian Carson and Raymond Waters with the sole purpose of “hurting” Chase and Harper. Because he ominously says “hurt” and not “eliminate,” I have a terrible feeling Carson and Waters are being ordered to kill Angela.
This episode also saw a significant shift in the Chase/Zoe relationship, as they evolved from captor and victim into dedicated partners in crime. They are now officially Henry and Marcia Dixon, citizens of One Percent Nation. Although getting Zoe onboard in her new role as a manipulative billionaire’s wife was the easy part — in fact, she seems to be enjoying it, as if Marcia Dixon is the person she was always meant to be. Chase, on the other hand, couldn’t fully accept Zoe until he learned to release Spectral Old Abbey, who continued to haunt him throughout the episode.
The truth is, I don’t know if Chase will be able to let go of Abbey completely. Not only was she responsible for his mega-riches, she, to quote Young Dan, “juggled chainsaws” as a double agent for the Soviets to control the war’s outcome. We learn in flashback that Young Dan and Young Abbey’s partnership began when she revealed her knowledge of a secret mineral deposit that would make the owner “the next president of Afghanistan.” Young Abbey refused to inform Young Faraz Hamzad of the mine’s location because she didn’t want her country led by a man consumed by greed and wealth. She believed anyone with access to that kind of money and power “turns them dark.” (And in case you really weren’t sure about Abbey’s feelings about the dark places in people’s souls, the multiple otherworldly voice-overs on the subject rammed it down our throats.) So the big takeaway from this scene isn’t so much “OMG, Dan Chase’s money came from a clandestine cluster of copper, uranium and lithium,” it’s that Young Dan believed idealistic guys like himself and Hamzad couldn’t be corrupted by an obscene amount of wealth. Should’ve listened to your future wife, man. Or else you wouldn’t be ensconcing Dave and Carol at a cushy pet hotel — and telling Zoe to prepare for life as the widowed Mrs. Dixon.
While a livid Harper is tearing into Angela mid-air over her decade-long betrayal, as well as learning that he was an unwitting pawn of both Dan Chase and Morgan Bote, Chase is busy handing over half his fortune to Zoe. Because he’ll do whatever it takes to protect his family, at any cost. What Zoe didn’t know when she fleeced Chase out of his money was that he was already panicking over his daughter meeting with Hamzad. He’s off on a flight to Morocco in the morning. Fortunately for Chase, Zoe is not going quietly into the night, and he welcomes the help and companionship.
Chase confides more of his backstory to Zoe as they drive around nighttime Los Angeles, tying up loose ends. Specifically, the part where he and Abbey made off with enough money to fortify Afghanistan’s economy, thus incurring Hamzad’s wrath. To say Zoe is intimidated by taking over the role of Marcia Dixon is an understatement. She never fashioned herself as someone who “toyed with empires,” but Chase assures Zoe that she has what it takes to be his partner in this dangerous mission. He points out her natural ability to spot the cracks in things, a skill he’s spent a lifetime mastering. But it’s not until they pull into a deserted parking lot and hand Dave and Carol over to an upscale pet hotel employee that Zoe realizes Chase doesn’t intend to return from this deadly mission. First, the dogs bark up a storm, which means they know something’s wrong. Plus, the pet hotel contract has Marcia Dixon listed as the person authorized to retrieve Dave and Carol. Sniff.
The next item on the Dixons’ to-do list is getting finance bro Zachary to authorize the investment Chase requested ASAP. It’s the only way Chase can get his meeting with potential ally Suleyman Pavlovich underway, but “risk-averse” Zachary is dragging his feet, so Chase wants to ambush him at his house. Zoe offers to play benign middle-person, not understanding that the only way anyone will listen to a person knocking on their door at 11 p.m. is to leave your manners in the car. After a too-polite false start, she takes a beat before casting off the sheepish Zoe McDonald for good, insisting she and Zachary finish their conversation. What’s awesome about this scene is we don’t see what Zoe says to him. All we know is that she got the job done.
Overseas, the plane carrying Angela and Harper eventually lands in Tunis, the last place Young Dan and Young Abbey stopped before arriving in the United States. Because, hey, guess what? There are even more secrets about Dan and Abbey Chase! The FBI agents are taken to a cluttered office, where Harper infers he’s supposed to locate the Chases’ flight information from 1987. He informs Angela that he arranged for her parents’ exfiltration via a CIA plane, but it “went badly,” and he had to keep it hidden from the agency.
The whole time Harper is monologuing, Angela keeps quiet, but the look on her face suggests her boss is telling her things she already knows. What’s curious is when Angela asks Harper to clarify “went badly,” he gives an even more cryptic answer: “You can be a spy, or you can be a parent. It’s exceedingly difficult to be both at once.”
So, they found out Abbey was pregnant, and they disappeared? Oh, man, is Faraz Hamzad Angela’s biological father? Angela looks sick inside. The question is, what does she know that she’s not saying out loud? Or did Harper’s loose lips get her thinking Dan Chase isn’t her real dad? Does Hamzad even know she exists?
The bottom line is that once Harper calls Hamzad’s lawyer to give her the Chases’ flight information — which is what Hamzad wanted in the first place — the FBI assistant director’s fate is sealed. Hamzad was just using Harper, with the lawyer confirming the memo is still being sent out. As Harper envisions his fulsome New York Times obituary going up in flames, Angela is all, “Relax, my dude. Your girl Emily Chase has a plan.” First, they’re going to meet up with her dad in Morocco and help him kill Hamzad, and then, they’ll tell the world that Harper was framed and his cherished U.S. government turned its back on him. Leaving him no choice but to “fight alone to unveil the truth.”
I think it’s safe to say Harper can trust Angela, though it’s not like he has any other options.
It’s also a treat watching Zoe make her final transformation from dismal divorcée to calculating, albeit caring, operative in these concluding scenes. As they make their way toward LAX, Zoe uses her newly discovered superpower of pushing back on a person’s weakness to assure Chase that he’s more than a person who protects things. When she says, “I see you!” (something Abbey would say to him), Chase knows Zoe is the person who should be by his side now. That and I can tell Zoe is seriously excited about getting to play spy lady, flying first class, and wearing outfits that cost as much as her kid’s college tuition (dig that statement belt!). The girl does not miss her old life in the slightest.
That’s Like, My Opinion, Man
• So is Dan Chase Morgan Bote’s biological child? We never get a clear answer other than Bote thinks of both Chase and Harper as his sons.
• Speaking of sons, what happens with Zoe’s kid now? Will she ever get to contact him again? Is he even safe?