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‘The Old Man’ – ‘VII’ – Review

‘The Old Man’ – ‘VII’ – Review

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We’re now in the closing chapter of The Old Man, and the stakes could not be higher as Dan Chase and Harold Harper are forced into an uneasy partnership for one final mission that will bring them face-to-face with their past and the secrets they tried to bury so long ago.

Chase is forced to face the consequences for his past choices. Harper learns an impossible truth.

Following on from the shocking end to Episode Six of The Old Man, ‘VI’, the stakes have now been raised as Dan Chase (Jeff Bridges) and Harold Harper (John Lithgow) join forces to go against their former mentor Morgan Bote (Joel Grey). In the midst of Morocco, the two set out to settle the score with former Afghan warlord Faraz Hamzad. But the stakes change, and the direction of The Old Man takes a perilous twist. Director Jet Wilkinson again finds the right mix between action and drama, and ‘VII’ makes for one hell of a dramatic ride.

Throughout this series, we’ve never been in a position to see Chase and Harper together in the same scene, and now, being slammed together, it makes for a very interesting reunion. Once former colleagues, then turned enemies and now stuck in a position where they are dependent upon one another, there’s a good bit of back and forth between Bridges and Lithgow. And the two of them go at each other. What this scene embodies are two old war dogs who are coming to terms with their lives and the choices they’ve made. It’s a scene that also sums up the relationship that they share together, and it’s only through the love for Chase’s daughter Emily (Alia Shawkat) that the two are even joining forces. But as it’s become common for the two of them, things quickly go to hell.

The action in ‘VII’ revs all the way up with considerable gunplay on display in this episode. Chase isn’t mucking around, and he pulls down the trigger when it becomes apparent that his daughter is in an absolute life and death situation. Then there’s Bote’s hired gun Julian Carson (Gbenga Akinnagbe) who has switched sides numerous times throughout the narrative of The Old Man, and now he’s ready to go down range. The word best used to describe these action beats of this penultimate episode of The Old Man is precise, and plenty of lead is left on the floor by the episode’s end.

But it’s the episode’s final shocking moments with the reveal of Faraz Hamzad himself, played by the austere and erudite Navid Negahban, that shakes things up. Throughout this series, we’ve come to think of Hamzad as a dangerous, Bond-like villain of immense power, cunning and sadism, and in Negahban we instead meet a far more world-weary and learned individual. His life as a ruthless warlord has left its marks on him, and Negahban’s performance is very reserved in its presentation. His reveal also leads to one hell of a shocking revelation on behalf of Chase as to the true identity of his daughter Emily, and it leaves ‘VII’ on one hell of a cliffhanger.

The Old Man is that rare show that has taken an established genre, toyed with its mechanics and delivered something entirely different. It has offered a highly original take on the spy genre, and its characters, narrative, action and surprises have entertained throughout. Given the magnitude of ‘VII’s’ sudden and shocking ending, I am certain we’ve now found Dan Chase in an even more dangerous place, and this old dog is only at the start of an all-new and very personal war.

The Old Man is currently streaming on Disney+

Image: Walt Disney Pictures