Reeling From the Revelations of Last Week, Happily Ever After Starts Rosy and Ends Grimly
It’s honestly hard to believe The Endgame is already at the season finale, but here we are. The show has been playing a lot with the concept of fairy tales, from the name Snow White for Federova’s organization to her designation as the Queen to the title of today’s episode. While Happily Ever After starts really positive for the criminal mastermind, things quickly get darker and more complicated. And by the end of the episode, I was eager to see where a second season of The Endgame would take us.
The episode is framed by another story. This time from Elena to young Sofiya. It’s about an evil king, and it reveals without a shred of doubt what happened to the gold stolen from the Federal Reserve. It was moved to Peekskill Prison where inmates took the melted gold and pressed it into a new, harder-to-trace form – golden buttons. Which also sounds like the title of some unknown fable, but I digress. With this clarification, a lot of things started to come into focus, not least of all how Owen and Sergey found themselves in that exact prison, which wasn’t by accident.
Another good thing about Happily Ever After is it makes painfully clear how corrupt and dirty President Wright is. He lies openly about Federova in a press conference, and then decides to set Doak on a quest. First he wants Doak to find and delete the evidence of his crimes, claiming they were fabricated by Elena. When something complicates that mission, Wright decides to send Doak to take young Sofiya hostage (because what fairy tale would be complete without some good old-fashioned kidnapping?), a goal the incompetent FBI goon is more than eager to undertake. He calls agents watching the girl’s house and then takes a helicopter to personally retrieve her.
Val is at a loss, and isn’t sure what to do about the missing queen of crime. But then she notices the light that was being used to communicate with Elena has gone silent, which means her people know she’s missing. We’re shown images of Snow White agents hunting for her using a signal from a broach she’s wearing to track her down.
Without any other avenues, Val decides to interrogate her husband at Peekskill prison. But right as she’s arriving, Owen and Sergey are escaping, strapped to the undercarriages of trucks ferrying away the stolen gold buttons. By the time Val realizes they’re gone, Elena is found and safely recovered by her men. Worse, Val finds proof that the man Owen escaped with is none other than Sergey, Elena’s supposedly dead husband. So much for Federova always telling her the truth.
Doak nearly takes Sofiya hostage, but luckily the old woman and young girl are a couple steps ahead of them. They get to a safe location where Sofiya and her mother tearfully reunite, moments before escaping, with Doak nipping at their heels.
Meanwhile, the Belok’s convoy of trucks carrying gold buttons is interrupted by Owen and Sergey. Thanks to them being strapped to the bottom of their truck, they go unnoticed as the outside of the trucks is changed to avoid detection. Once they have an opportunity, they remove the Belok agents and take one truck in another direction. And not to be outdone, Val and Anthony find the other three trucks. Right as they’re assessing the situation, Elena calls and offers another riddle and some actual information to Val. Val’s not happy about Elena lying to her, but she knows her information is real. With it, the FBI agents take the Belok agents, shooting those armed with guns.
In the immediate aftermath of the shootout, Réal reveals some key information to Val that changes everything she thought she knew about her husband. And the same information also means he’s in extreme danger of being killed by Sergey. So Val and Flowers follow different leads to try and find him before anything happens.
Lady Belok makes a house call to President Wright in his own domain, and punishes him for his failure. I may not like the woman, but it’s clear she’s a powerful rival to Elena, even though in many ways they’re opposites. Whereas Federova is a scalpel, prone to manipulation and deceit, Belok is a cudgel, more than happy to beat down anything in her path with extreme force.
Val does manage to find Owen moments before Sergey executes him in cold blood, but then Snow White and Elena arrive and have them outgunned. Elena is exultant in her moment of glory, but she still offers a token of respect to Val. And because she can’t help herself, she gives her another perplexing clue about the matryoshka dolls. Unable to stop her, Val has to watch Elena escape with her family. While I’m sure Owen was hoping for a tearful reunion, after what Val discovered about his secrets, she can’t find it in herself to forgive him. At least not yet.
Because of his failure to grab Sofiya, Doak instead tries to recover the proof of Wright’s criminality and then erase the drive it was on. Luckily, an FBI tech manages to stop him before he erases the evidence, and Réal and Anthony put Doak in their crosshairs. When he makes a surprising decision later in the episode, the Director decides to use the information to leverage it against Doak in the future.
Happily Ever After started so well for Elena, but it ends in tragedy. Lady Belok catches up, and the consequences are beyond dire for Federova. And as Val finds another thread to follow in Fort Totten, a bereft Elena calls and asks her for help.
I have to say, overall I was really pleased with season 1 of The Endgame. I feel it managed to differentiate itself enough from The Blacklist, and Morena Baccarin has proven her acting chops in this morally grey role. Here’s hoping the show gets another season to keep telling this story of duty, ambition and corruption.