We’re getting closer to the truth. In an episode filled with hints and subtleties, The Old Man is doing a brilliant job teasing its audience with a theory I suggested last week. “VI” stops short of confirming Angela Adams’ paternal origins, but signs now point strongly toward her father being Faraz Hamzad, not Dan Chase.
For that reason, it’s no wonder Angela now stars in her own version of Taken, courtesy of Morgan Bote and his newest henchmen, Raymond Waters and Julian Carson. If my theory is correct, then she’s a far more valuable commodity than your average FBI agent.
The first clue that Angela and Chase aren’t biologically related comes from Chase’s latest nightmare: He’s frantically searching for someone late at night, only to be horrified at the sight of a small child being led away by an adult while a Young Abbey provides false assurances. Alas, Chase wakes up on his Morocco-bound flight before he can parse this dream.
At a Tunisian bank, Angela converses with a teller while Harper is on the phone with his worried wife, who hands the call over to Morgan Bote. Angela’s bank transaction is, in fact, a nifty communications system she has with her dad: A secret shared account that allows her to tell Chase she’s safe and en route to Morocco.
So the news is out about Harper aiding and abetting Chase’s escape — and how he also tried to have Chase killed. His career is in tatters, so, naturally, Bote has arrived at Harper’s house dangling a very tempting proposition: He’ll save Harper’s reputation if the FBI company man throws Angela under the bus. Harper is like, “Oh, HELL, NO!” (Regardless of Harper’s choice, Waters and Carson are already in North Africa, primed and ready to execute Bote’s orders. We just don’t know yet if Bote still intends to kill Angela or use her as leverage against Harper and Chase.)
Meanwhile, Chase and Zoe settle into their sumptuous Moroccan villa, with Zoe now requesting a crash course in spycraft before their rendezvous with Suleyman Pavlovich. I admire her tenacity, trying to learn in one hour what it takes operatives decades to master. Over tea at an outdoor café, Chase teaches her that spying is about reading people and manipulating them to your advantage. (Zoe should just binge-watch The Americans. No one paired empathy and ruthlessness better than Philip and Elizabeth Jennings.) She then calls Chase out on using that very strategy the day they met when he charmed her over a home-cooked meal. Chase is impressed with Zoe’s enthusiasm, although he warns her that these skills keep you from being able to ever trust anyone again. Fortunately for Zoe, she hasn’t trusted anyone for a long time anyway, so, “why the fuck would I want to start now?” I love this for her.
On a train from Tunis to Morocco, a stilted chat between Angela and Harper provides the next clue to Angela’s paternity. They discuss how Angela hasn’t seen her dad IRL since 2012, with Angela revealing it was too risky for her to even attend her mother’s funeral. But it’s what Angela says next that suggests she knows she doesn’t share blood with Dan Chase. With steel in her eyes and voice, she defends the sacrifices she and Chase made for each other before asserting, “That doesn’t make him any less of a father.”
As Chase and Zoe take a speedboat to a secluded island where Suleyman Pavlovich is hosting a lavish poolside party, we’re treated to the next installment of the hit 1980s drama Flashback: Afghanistan. The reason why Chase believes Pavlovich will agree to an alliance against Hamzad is that 30 years ago, the ex-CIA agent saved the Soviet officer’s life. With Young Abbey’s blessing, Young Dan helped Pavlovich escape from Hamzad’s clutches in the dead of night. But by doing so, Hamzad’s suspicions against Young Dan and Young Abbey have now multiplied…
Angela and Harper arrive at a Moroccan train station, which immediately signals that something horrible is about to go down. Thanks to the extensive use of stairs in this scene, I’m talking serious Untouchables vibes. Harper recognizes a member of Moroccan intelligence at the front entrance, and Angela admits to calling him because Harper’s grandson Henry secretly texted her to say there was a creepy old man in his house. In short, Angela is sending Harper home to take care of his family while she goes after Faraz Hamzad solo. Harper discloses the creepy old man was Morgan Bote, as well as Bote’s devilish offer to salvage Harper’s reputation at Angela’s expense. Although Angela is touched that her surrogate dad turned down Bote’s “magic wand,” she insists Harper reconsider. She then gives a whole speech about how she has to “fix” this situation on her own and that she needs to figure out who she is and what her story is. It’s a bunch of dramatic boilerplate dialogue that translates to, “I’m Faraz Hamzad’s daughter and I need to learn my real family history, not the one my parents told me.”
Harper agrees to let Angela go, but as he’s walking downstairs, we see Carson walking upstairs. (Remember, Harper has no idea what Carson looks like, despite hiring him a few episodes back.) It’s not until Harper spots Waters sitting outside in a van that he realizes Bote’s plan has been activated. He bolts back upstairs, but Angela is nowhere to be seen.
Over at Pavlovich’s reception, Chase and Zoe, as Henry and Marcia Dixon, look every bit the billionaire couple. Chase installs a nervous Zoe at the bar and instructs her to stay put before heading off to reconnect with the party’s host. It really shouldn’t surprise anyone that the veteran Croatian actor Rade Šerbedžija plays Old Suleyman Pavlovich. Grizzled Russian oligarch types are this guy’s calling card.
While Chase and Pavlovich are catching up over old times, Zoe nearly blows her cover by trying to pay for a glass of wine. Lucky for her, the one person who noticed her faux pas already knows she’s not Marcia Dixon. Faraz Hamzad’s mysterious lawyer, Nina Kruger (Rowena King), immediately outs Zoe before trying to turn her. At this point, it may seem like Zoe is an abject failure at the spy game, having made a rookie mistake within five minutes of arriving at the party. Instead, she turns out to be a quick study: Outwardly, Kruger claims she can help Zoe, but a few crack presses later, Zoe deduces she’s better off with Chase than this shady attorney.
Chase finally has his long-awaited meeting with Pavlovich, who, naturally, remembers the man who saved his life 30 years earlier. But, nope, he’s not interested in repaying his debt to “Hamzad’s monster” anymore because he’s already been recruited by Kruger and no longer fears retaliation by the Afghan warlord. Besides, as we already know, Chase’s priorities are about to drastically change anyway once he gets wind of Angela’s kidnapping. So what was the point of this Pavlovich meetup? For Chase to learn that he didn’t know his wife that well after all: It turns out Young Abbey recruited Pavlovich to be her asset while he was a student in Moscow, not the other way around.
Since we need to get the story moving on Angela’s abduction, there’s no time for an incensed Chase to mull over his wife’s decades-long deception. But clearly, he’s going to need more answers someday, which is why he likely refrained from killing Pavlovich for now. He takes out two of the Russian’s security team, though, causing enough of a distraction for him and Zoe to flee. As Chase pilots the speedboat carrying them back to the mainland, he initially chastises Zoe for leaving the bar, but the second she explains Hamzad’s attorney had accosted her — and that she opted to go with him instead of accepting Kruger’s empty promises — Chase sheepishly is all, “Oh, okay, yeah, you did good. My bad.” She knows what she’s doing, my dude. Try a little trust.
The speedboat docks when Zoe and Chase are met with both good news and bad news: The good news is that the police helicopter and boats surrounding the couple aren’t there to arrest them. The bad news is that Angela has been kidnapped, with Harper emerging from the helicopter to inform Chase that his daughter’s capture came at the hands of “the old man.” That’s right: The biggest revelation of this episode is that this series’s titular “old man” isn’t Dan Chase but Morgan Bote.
If there’s any event that could get these longtime foes working together again, it’s this. “We’re going to go get her back,” Harper tells Chase. Awww. To quote Angela from earlier in the episode: “That’s what love is.”
That’s Like, My Opinion, Man
• John Lithgow with two days’ worth of stubble is a total thirst trap. Don’t @ me.
• Did Amy Brenneman switch makeup artists between shooting the pre-reception tea and the actual party scenes? She has on, like, five pounds more eye shadow and lipstick during the reception. And those lashes!
• Fun fact about Rade Šerbedžija: He was Emile de Becque to Glenn Close’s Nellie Forbush in a 2001 TV production of South Pacific.