Hoa Xuande wearing military camo holding a rifle in the jungle in The Sympathizer | Agents of Fandom

‘The Sympathizer’ Episode 7 Recap & Review: The Most Shocking Twists Yet

The series concludes with the best episode yet.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for HBO’s The Sympathizer Episode 7, “Endings Are Hard, Aren’t They?”

HBO’s The Sympathizer comes to a close, completing a thrilling seven-episode limited series. Hoa Xuande‘s performance throughout the series has been magnificent, and he knocks it out of the park once again in the series finale. His interactions with Robert Downey Jr.‘s various characters are filled with powerful dialogue that presents like two veteran actors going toe-to-toe in a scene, despite Xuande’s lack of experience compared to RDJ. He may be new to fame, but Hoa Xuande is here to stay.

However, it’s not just the lead that makes this show special. The entire cast is magnificent throughout the entire series, and each released episode is stronger than the previous week. This trend continues directly into The Sympathizer season finale.

A wild back-and-forth pace mixed with shocking twists and turns will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Check out all the details from the finale in our The Sympathizer Episode 7 recap!

Agent Claude Uncovers the Captain’s Secret in “Endings Are Hard, Aren’t They?”

CIA Agent Claude and The Captain listen to footage of The Captain confessing his secret identity as a double-agent in HBO's The Sympathizer Episode 7 | Agents of Fandom
Agent Claude meets the troops in Vietnam, where he reveals to the Captain he knows that he’s a double agent. Image Credit: Bell Media.

The Captain and Bon (Fred Nguyen Khan) land in Thailand with the other troops to begin the episode. While they will soon be arriving in Vietnam, the group travels by boat to maintain secrecy surrounding their arrival. CIA Agent Claude (Robert Downey Jr.) is there to greet them, and he treats them to a final night of debauchery at an adults-only bar before their mission.

Unfortunately, Claude reveals to the Captain while they’re at the club that he is aware of his position as a double agent and has a recording as proof. However, Claude recognizes the Captain’s worth to his future agendas and decides to use the recording as leverage to convince him to refrain from their upcoming mission.

The Captain is confused by Claude’s tactics, and despite his agreement that the mission is doomed, he refuses to stay behind so that he can accompany his blood brother, Bon. Although his intentions were pure, the Captain and Bon are incredibly unsuccessful on their mission in The Sympathizer Episode 7.

As they storm the jungles of Vietnam, their group is picked off one by one by the communist army. Only the Captain and Bon survive the attack and are forced to surrender. The two are brought to a Communist re-education camp, where the Captain has been narrating the story since the series’ first episode.

Man’s Fate Is Revealed in ‘The Sympathizer’ Episode 7

The face of the Captain's blood brother Man before he is disfigured from an explosion in HBO's The Sympathizer Episode 7 | Agents of Fandom
The Captain’s blood brother Man is revealed to be the commissioner in charge of the communist re-education camp. Image Credit: Bell Media.

Since the Captain has now completed his interrogation explaining his time as a double agent, he demands to see the person in charge. The Captain is finally able to join the main camp after a year in solitary confinement telling his story. Thankfully, Bon is there to greet him, confirming he has made it alive to this present day in The Sympathizer season finale.

However, as soon as they’re back together, Man and Bon almost cause a riot in the camp. A masked man is introduced as the Commissioner of the camp, and both the Captain and Bon pick fights with him for entirely different reasons. Bon is fed up with being imprisoned by the communists and is thrown in solitary confinement. The Captain decides to play things much more strategically, calling out the Comissioner’s education about communism and correcting his statements to the camp.

The Captain is taken away to talk to the masked Commissioner away from the rest of the prisoners. He goes to private chambers, where his hunches are confirmed and he learns the man behind the mask is none other than his blood brother Man (Duy Nguyễn). The person who tasked him with being a double agent in the first place is the same one who has been behind his interrogation this entire time.

Man explains his side story to the Captain despite his friend being furious. He shares how, as soon as the war ended and he was ready to cheer, he was showered in napalm from the Allied forces, and his body was left badly burned. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and barely survived the blast.

‘The Sympathizer’ Series Finale Proves the Darkest Memories Are Buried Deep Within

The same woman tortured from the series premiere returns to confront The Captain in The Sympathizer Series Finale | Agents of Fandom
The same woman tortured from the series premiere returns to confront the Captain in The Sympathizer series finale. Image Credit: Bell Media.

To make matters worse, the regime Man believed in was harsher than he had hoped. He is unable to give the Captain special treatment in The Sympathizer Episode 7 despite knowing they’re on the same side of the war.

Despite all of the Captain’s pleas, Man and the other officers in charge refuse to believe he is telling the truth and resort to torture. Feeling betrayed by his best friend, the Captain is now strapped to an electric chair and undergoing miserable interrogation tactics. However, after days of pain and anguish, the Captain realizes he repressed certain information that was too painful to remember.

In the first episode of the series, a woman is abused by capitalist soldiers for refusing to reveal communist secrets. She was protecting the Captain’s identity, but it’s revealed in The Sympathizer season finale that the torture went far beyond what the Captain described, proving he wasn’t telling the full truth in his interrogation.

After days of pain, he reveals to Man and the other officers that the woman who was tortured to protect him was graphically sexually assaulted, and he couldn’t do anything to stop it. However, the officers knew this was the case the entire time. The same woman was at the re-education camp with them and had already told her side of the story.

Nothing Is Stronger Than Blood in ‘The Sympathizer’ Episode 7

Blood Brothers The Captain, Bon and Man share one final moment before life takes a crazy turn ahead of HBO's The Sympathizer Episode 7 | Agents of Fandom
The Captain’s relationship with Bon and Man was far simpler before the war ended. Image Credit: Bell Media.

Although Man tries to explain how he has the Captain’s best interest at heart, actions speak louder than words. Man continues to claim he’s protecting the Captain and Bon from higher-ups within the communist army throughout the conclusion of the final episode of The Sympathizer. While there’s some truth to his words, the Captain has finally decided to cut ties with the communists; he has spent his life and the entire series dedicating himself to their cause, and it has all been for his own demise.

The Captain and Man have one final conversation before the Captain decides to take Man out, tie him up, and steal his mask to wear as a disguise. In the final moments of The Sympathizer Episode 7, the Captain realizes that the cause he has been fighting for isn’t as important to him as those he loves. He rescues Bon by using the disguise, and the two escape from the re-education camp to start a new life.

The Sympathizer takes a while to get going at the beginning of the series. However, each episode is stronger than the last, with thrilling and unexpected twists at every turn. The story is unique in all its different perspectives and is an absolute must-watch for any viewer who appreciates captivating storytelling and rich, diverse narratives.

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'The Sympathizer' Episode 7 "Endings Are Hard, Aren't They?" Review

'The Sympathizer' Episode 7 "Endings Are Hard, Aren't They?" Review
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5.0 rating
Total Score

The Good

  • Hoa Xuande proves he's a star in the making.
  • Robert Downey Jr. is incredibly menacing as the series' antagonists.
  • The series finale is thrilling episode from start to finish, with a satisfying conclusion.
  • There are surprising twists and turns throughout the episode that are sneakily forshadowed earlier in the season.

The Bad

  • Scenes depicting sexual assault can be very uncomfortable.
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