The Sympathizer Episode 7 Ending Explained, Recap & Spoilers: What Happened in the Finale?

The Sympathizer Episode 7 Ending Explained, Recap & Spoilers: What Happened in the Finale?
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The HBO limited series The Sympathizer has ended after seven episodes. For fans who are curious to know what happened, here’s The Sympathizer’s ending explainedPark Chan-wook and Don McKellar created the series from the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2015 novel of the same name by Viet Thanh Nguyen. Predominantly set in the ‘70s, the plot revolves around a man identified simply as the Captain (Hoa Xuande). As a double agent for the Viet Cong, he spies on the South Vietnamese military, before immigrating to the US and infiltrating the Vietnamese community in Los Angeles.

The Narrative of the Sympathizer is split into two chronological sequences. The first follows the Captain in the North Vietnam re-education camp, enduring torture and writing a confession. The second explores the Captain’s life in the past as a double agent in South Vietnam and the US. In the series finale, the Captain’s past and present merge as he returns to a liberated and unified Vietnam.

Here is everything you want to know about how The Sympathizer Episode 7 ends and whether the captain dies.

Spoiler Alert
Spoiler Alert

What happened at the end of The Sympathizer Episode 7 finale?

In The Sympathizer Episode 7, the Captain is haunted by the hallucinations of Sonny and Oanh, the two people he has killed. As part of the General’s secret mission, he and Bon (Fred Nguyen Khan) arrive in Bangkok and reunite with CIA agent Claude (one of the several characters Robert Downey Jr. plays in the series). While speaking to the Captain privately, Claude reveals that he knows the Captain is a double agent.

The Captain rejects Claude’s offer to stay in Bangkok and speak about his actions before proceeding to Vietnam. There, he convinces Bon to give up and surrender. They are subsequently taken to the North Vietnamese re-education camp and tortured.

This is the point where the two chronological sequences of the narrative or the captain’s past and present come together as he starts writing his confession.

The Captain discovers that the Commissar of the camp is Man (Duy Nguyen), an old friend of his. During the Fall of Saigon, Man’s face was permanently scarred due to napalm. As a result, he wears a mask, which has hidden his identity until now. Despite this revelation and the Captain repeatedly proclaiming that he has written everything in his confession, the torture continues. At first, the North Vietnamese were torturing him because his confession didn’t exactly contain what they wanted it to say. Later, the reason for the torture shifted to the Captain not being forthcoming about everything that happened to him.

Eventually, the Captain is forced to confront his past and the memories he was carefully ignoring. He comes face to face with a female Viet Cong agent, who was tortured in front of him when he was still part of the South Vietnamese special police. Just like him, she ended up at the camp after the liberation of her country. The Captain finally recalls the extent of her torture and learns that despite everything she endured, she never revealed the truth about him.

Who rescues The Captain and does he die?

No, the Captain does not die, and Man is the one who rescues him.

In Man’s office, there is a placard containing Ho Chi Min’s famous line: “Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom.” The Captain has devoted his life to upholding these ideals. However, he undergoes complete disillusionment by the end of the series. Man helps him realize nothing is more precious than independence and freedom. By setting up the re-education camp and torturing the population, the North Vietnamese have become exactly like their former colonizers.

In the end, Man plays a critical role in the Captain and Bon’s escape from the prison. The Captain puts on Man’s clothing and gets Bon out of his cage. Bon never discovers who the Commissar is, as when he arrives at Man’s office, the latter is pretending to be unconscious. The Captain and Bon leave through the front gate as Man looks on from his balcony.

The series ends with Captain and Bon leaving Vietnam on a boat along with other refugees. The hallucinations of Sonny and Oanh are still with the Captain, and will likely stay with him for the rest of his life.

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