Hijack ending explained, and will there be a season 2?

What a tense ride that was!

Hijack ending explained as illustrated by Idris Elba as Sam in Hijack
(Image credit: Apple+ TV/Future)

Hijack ending explained, as the Idris Elba drama came to a wild ending - let's delve into everything that went down.

Idris Elba's Hijack series on Apple+ TV has well and truly kept viewers on the edge of their seats. The high octane, fast-paced thriller immediately had viewers asking if Hijack is based on a true story right from the start, such was the gritty realism of the characters and scenario. The final episode aired on August 2, offering enough twists in the plot and gasp-inducing plane nosedives to give viewers vertigo. With such a lot happening and much to break down, some questions remain over what was really behind the hijack. Read on for those questions answered, and all the news and speculation we have about season 2 potential.   

Elsewhere on Apple+ TV, viewers were also asking for the Silo ending explained - the slow burn drama left plenty of plot threads up in the air. On Netflix, The Witcher season 3 ending saw the end of the show as we know it, as it bid farewell to a beloved actor. In cinemas, the record-breaking Barbie movie ending was a fitting conclusion to Greta Gerwig's strong feminist messages running throughout.

Hijack ending explained

The Hijack finale opened with passengers reeling from the shock of seemingly innocuous passenger Amanda having shot and killed Robin Allen - the plane's captain.

The closing moments of the penultimate episode had seen Amanda receive a text simply saying "now." With that, she suddenly left her seat brandishing a gun, before shooting Robin and locking herself in the cockpit. With Amanda at the helm and the hijackers apparently genuinely bewildered regarding her identity, the passengers look to Sam to decide on the next move. With less than an hour to go before the flight is due to land, there was very little time to waste to prevent a huge disaster. 

Sam realises the other hijackers are baffled over Amanda's part in their plan, and desperately thinks back over conversations he'd previously had with the terrified woman throughout the flight. Remembering Amanda had revealed she was a mother, Sam uses this information to appeal to her maternal side through the cockpit door, to entice her to open it. The other passengers overcome the remaining hijackers while Sam makes short work of lead hijacker Stuart, and now they just need to get Amanda out of the driving seat and land flight KA29 safely. 

Meanwhile, the decision had been made to release the leaders of the organised crime group from prison, as demanded by the hijackers - John and Edgar were now free on the ground. With a demand met, the team on the ground are left to tackle the decision of how to ensure the plane lands safely - it's heading straight for central London and not  necessarily an airport. Discussions point to deploying typhoons and shooting the plane down while still over sea, to minimise destruction.  

Neil Maskell as Stuart in Hijack

(Image credit: Apple+ TV)

Air traffic controller Alice had been watching the progress of KA29, from when she first suspected foul play on board. Encouraging her team to keep trying all the passenger's phones in a bid to make contact with someone on the plane, she finally gets through and is able to speak to Sam. With a decision needing to be made about deploying typhoons, Sam is forced to admit nobody knows who Amanda is and what her plans for the plane are. Fuel levels are also running dangerously low and time is running out for all on board. 

While this is going on in the air, John and Edgar are hiding out at a countryside farm waiting for the plane to crash. At this point their plan becomes clear as it transpires their mission is to force the Kingdom Airlines stock price to plummet, cashing in on the drop by betting against the declining stock price. An anxious John wants to move on from their position at the farm, cautious about being caught. An indifferent Edgar insists they can stay put safely until the plane has crashed, resulting in friction between the pair. 

There's further shock in store for the audience when John then suddenly orders a long-haired OCG member lurking in the background of the farm to shoot Edgar. The mystery man obliges, and Edgar is the recipient of a bullet to the head. John and the unnamed man drive away, leaving Edgar's phone receiving unanswered messages from Amanda on the plane, wondering what her next move should be. 

On the flight, passenger Alec comes forward with some unexpected information - he is involved in the hijacker's plan as they're holding his partner hostage at home. He knew the hijackers were bringing guns on board and his part in the situation as a trader, was to undertake insider trading to ensure a deal that would see Kingdom Airlines stocks fall. He came forward to say he was told the hijack would have ended at this point, and there must be a problem. He also reveals Amanda's family would be being held hostage, accounting for her so-far unexplained actions too. 

Eve Myles as Alice in Hijack

(Image credit: Apple+ TV)

Sam uses the crew phone to call Amanda in the cockpit, who surprisingly answers. Her phone has been found, revealing a screensaver of her with a child named Elodie - her daughter. Sam uses the new information he has about Elodie being held hostage to bargain with Amanda, and she lets him into the cockpit but insists he must come in alone.

In the cockpit with a petrified Amanda, Sam has Alice on the phone to try and form a plan - Alice promises she'll help the pair land the plane safely. A conflicted Amanda reveals to Sam she'd been instructed to wait for a message about when to land the plane, which would signal the final deal had been made. If no message came, she had to fly the plane straight into the centre of the capital. This however, was always John and Edgar's plan - the plane was always on course to be crashed no matter what they told those involved.

In central London, Sam's son Kai remains unwittingly caught up in the plan. Having visited his dad's flat to surprise him when he returned from the airport, Kai now finds himself held hostage by two Cheapside Firm cleaners who gained entry to the apartment. A concerned Marsha enlists boyfriend Daniel to make sure Kai is ok, after she remembers an earlier conversation with a mystery caller, asking her to confirm Sam's address. 

Daniel phones Kai and the cleaners see "Detective Daniel" flash on the screen and force him to take the call. When Daniel asks him to come home, Kai says he'll use his bike to get home safely - Daniel immediately recognises this as code as Kai doesn't have a bike, and knows there's a problem. Daniel manages to stage an emergency evacuation at Sam's apartment block, forcing everyone in the building to leave, including the cleaners. The moment they leave the building, an armed team is waiting to arrest them, and Kai is now safe. 

Jude Cudjoe as Kai in Hijack

(Image credit: Apple+ TV)

Viewers learn Amanda was once a Naval aviation consultant, and should be able to competently land the plane. Even with these skills, she is unsure she can actually perform this action now it's run out of fuel. She is also distraught at the the thought of going to prison should she survive, for killing Robin. On the ground, Alice makes contact with the Home Secretary, who promises Amanda that she will face no charges.

A relieved Amanda jumps into action and with help from Alice, lands the plane at the nearest airstrip. It's not easy, and as the plane skims the rooftops of nearby houses, a bumpy landing ends with part of the plane in flames. But with fire crews and ambulances waiting on the ground, the fires are put out quickly. Among the billowing smoke, the passengers are evacuated and the hijackers are forced into a huddle on the floor while they await arrest. Viewers see that Stuart is missing... 

With Stuart hiding out on the plane, Sam goes back to his seat to retrieve the gift he bought for his wife - despite being told to leave all belongings behind. With nothing left to lose, Stuart chases Sam around what's left of the plane, firing shots at him. Sam manages to fire out a text to Marsha asking her to call him, and places his phone in the toilet before hiding nearby. When the phone rings, Stuart thinks he has Sam trapped, opening the toilet door and taking aim. Armed teams then enter the plane and overcome Stuart - the closing moments show Sam finally making his way out of the aircraft.

Was Sam involved in Hijack?

Despite counterterrorism officers at one point believing Sam was involved in the hijack, he was never part of it.

Sam came across to viewers as though he were trying to help the hijackers, but he was simply trying to save himself to get back to his family. As a negotiator in his day job, Sam was using his skills to get on the right side of the hijackers, which appeared as though he was trying to assist the process. This often confused and bamboozled the bad guys, as he made them believe his suggestions were their own thoughts. He used these slow psychological moves without wanting anyone else to be involved - something he was again used to doing every day. 

It was expected that as part of a thriller series, Sam might've sprung into action as soon as he realised the plane was being hijacked - viewers might have been expecting epic fight scenes and gun wielding galore. Instead, Idris's Sam mixed up the genre by not being a trained martial arts expert or something just as exciting, but simply being a man wanting the best outcome for everyone. 

Of his character, Elba told Variety "We tried to understand like, who is the man that’s thinking all the time, but is not necessarily a cop or a detective? We ran through psychologist and things like that, but where we ended up was Sam being a sort of merger/acquisitions lawyer, you know, someone that comes in at the end to try and close the deal. Those people are an interesting type of person. Negotiating is a very interesting way of saying psychologist."

He continued "You’re a negotiator, but what you’re actually doing is just picking someone’s psychology, their psyche, their weak spots, and playing it against someone else’s, and having the knowledge of the business deal as a way to set themselves up against each other. And it also meant that he can be quite an orator, a thinker, because he’s a negotiator. We didn’t want him to be a cop or detective or an ex-marine or anything like that, because it just felt trope-y. There’s enough tropes in a show called 'Hijack' anyway." 

Holly Aird as Amanda in Hijack

(Image credit: Apple+ TV)

Will there be a Hijack season 2?

Although nothing has been confirmed, some Hijack cast and crew members have hinted at a return for the show. 

Speaking to Variety, executive producer Hakan Kousetta was asked about the possibility of a return and stated cryptically "Oh, gosh, I wish I could tell you that. I hope so but we’ll have to see." He added "I mean, we’ve thought about it, obviously. And that is really challenging. It is something that you’re like, 'Wow, how would you do that and it not be completely ridiculous?' We talk about it - but yeah, we’ll have to wait and see. I’m never gonna say no."

Elba weighed on how to bring the character of Sam back authentically, adding "What would be the acceptable scenario that he comes back? He’s not a cop - what would be the acceptable Sam Nelson return? And if I’m honest, I’m not sure. I’d like that, but I just don’t want to put him on another hijack. I’m open to that character coming back. I think if people were compelled to like the character, then I’m in." 

Max Beesley as Daniel in Hijack

(Image credit: Apple+ TV)

Hijack ending: Fan reaction

The reaction to Hijack's ending was largely positive, with one viewer writing on Twitter "Directors/Producers of Hijack deserve an award for this TV Show. Well written piece, smooth delivery and an amazing ending."

Another added "Just watched the final Episode- of #Hijack on AppleTV. My jaw has cramp from the tension. Brilliant ending" 

However, one disappointed viewer wrote "Honestly, it felt underwhelming! The show had so much potential, but the ending didn't live up to the hype. Disappointed but still grateful for the thrilling moments it gave us. #Hijack"

Another agreed, adding "I am utterly disappointed with that absurd ending of Hijack. I mean, how could everyone just forget that the female co-pilot is still alive and allow two amateurs to land the plane?"

For more finale discussions, we take a look at the Wolf ending and who the real killer was. The Bear season 2 ending wrapped up many of the character's journeys, although we are still hoping for a season 3. Meanwhile, the recent Manifest ending explained who survived the Death Date... 

Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and moms.com. In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.