'FUBAR' Season 1 Ends With Daddy Issues and a Surprise Twist

fubar l to r monica barbaro as emma brunner, jay baruchel as carter perlmutter, arnold schwarzenegger as luke brunner in episode 101 of fubar cr amanda matlovichnetflix © 2023
'FUBAR' Ending Explained: Here Comes The RussiansNetflix

Arnold Schwarzenegger might have an addiction that we all hope he never kicks. In Men's Health's July/August cover story, he opened up about how he works outs to “stay alive, to be able to do my movies.” If arguably the fittest 75-year-old man on the planet wants to lift weights before most of us wake up so he can continue to entertain us, that's fine by me, especially when the results are Netflix's spy comedy FUBAR.

In the first season, Schwarzenegger plays CIA agent Luke Brunner, an absentee father and husband whose life is upended when he finds out the daughter he's neglected, Emma Brunner (Monica Barbaro) has also been a CIA secret agent. To complicate matters even further, he's sent to help her with a mission involving a weapon of mass destruction procured by Boro (Gabriel Luna), the man Luke played surrogate father to after throwing his actual father off a cliff in the name of national security. Luke and Emma probably needed more therapy than the handful of sessions they got in Season 1 to help them coexist in the field.

fubar arnold schwarzenegger as luke brunner in episode 101 of fubar cr christos kalohoridisnetflix © 2023

Throughout eight episodes involving life-saving urine, espionage seduction, and Luke entering whatever is the aquatic version of the Mile High Club (Seaman Swimmers?) FUBAR's character dynamics appear pretty set. Boro is the main villain that Luke, Emma, and their wonky-yet-impressive CIA team flies around the world to stop. But, in plain sight of spies, a mole was working surreptitiously behind the scenes. Doing what? We have no idea. In the season finale, their identity is revealed to the audience, and there's no way you could guess who it is.

How does FUBAR end?

After a season of Luke and Emma testing the strength of their familial bond by thwarting nuclear catastrophe, tracking down Boro, and having miscommunications over the meaning of "cuckold," FUBAR ended where it started, in a bloody pile of family dysfunction. When they finally catch up to Boro with a nuclear weapon stashed in a briefcase, Emma and Boro become trapped behind burning rubble from the explosion of a grenade that Luke detonated to take out Boro's top henchman. You could've flunked 3rd-grade science class and figured that fire and nuclear weapons have dangerous results, and so did Boro and Emma, who pause their slugfest to help each other escape through a ventilation shaft. With Luke at the top of the shaft, ready to pull them out, Boro reluctantly lifts Emma to her father's awaiting hands to be pulled to freedom. And then the dysfunction begins.

In the most genuinely heartbreaking moment of a show devoid of any genuine emotions outside of rage and coital aggression, Luke refuses to grab Boro and lift him to freedom because he knows Boro's pain from Luke's betrayal will fuel his vengeful tirade. Once Boro yells that he is like a son to Luke, the terrorist's surrogate father sees him as the frightened little boy he helped raise. But he doesn't relent, and clarifies that while he was like a son to him, Emma is his daughter, to which Boro retracts into the fetal position to await his fate once the bomb explodes. Bye, bye Boro... for now.

fubar l to r monica barbaro as emma brunner, arnold schwarzenegger as luke brunner in episode 105 of fubar cr christos kalohoridisnetflix © 2023

Months after the team returns to America and Luke surprises his daughter by finally retiring from the CIA, they all reunite at the wedding Tally agreed to have with her rebound boyfriend Donnie (Andy Buckley) in a drunken retribution for Luke, once again, letting her down when she thought he was serious about their reconciliation. Everything proceeded as a normal wedding: flower girl covered the aisle with flower petals, Emma filled the chapel with sweet violin playing, and Luke professed his love to his ex-wife by revealing he's been a CIA spy for decades. Then, a car bomb explosion opens the door for more deadly family dysfunction as mercenaries barge into the chapel, guns a-blazing. Emma, Luke, and the rest of their CIA comrades dispose of the wave of goons relatively easily until the son Luke can't get rid of returns with Tally in his clutches and a gun pressed on the side of her stomach.

Yes, it's Boro, back from a nuclear explosion that would level a small village. How did he survive while still being recognizably handsome? "I survived on rat blood and hate," Boro said. Before you could figure out in your head that that's literally impossible, Tally smartly stabs him in the leg with the National Distinguished Service Award medal Luke gave her when he was trying to prove his CIA identity. Once free, Emma and Luke unload enough bullets into Boro's chest that no amount of hate, rat blood, or artistic license could save him from death. Then, Luke gets an urgent call from NSA analyst Tina (Aparna Brielle) informing him that their real identities have been leaked to what can only be assumed to be a network of criminals, likely as Boro's contingency plan.

fubar l to r travis van winkle as aldon reece, fortune feimster as roo russell, monica barbaro as emma brunner, arnold schwarzenegger as luke brunner in episode 107 of fubar cr courtesy of netflix © 2023

As they drive away, the CIA team collectively realizes they've taken down enough baddies in enough countries there's nowhere in the world they'd be safe. That's when Luke declares the situation is FUBAR (Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition). Even worse, Luke doesn't even know the full scope of the complicated mess they're in. Before Tally's wedding is turned into a bloodbath, we see Tina frantically walking through CIA headquarters to help the team while telling an unknown person on the phone she is busy just before her soft American voice becomes a coarse Russian accent to presumably convey to the caller of the severity of what she's in the middle of.

What does Tina's twist mean for FUBAR Season 2?

Tina was an unassuming NSA analyst who you only saw on the screen when she was analyzing schematics, high school flirting with lovestruck Barry (Milan Carter), or being reamed by Roo for simply being part of what she calls the Never Solve Anything (NSA). Her intelligence was useful, her dialogue was essentially formulaic of every attractive nerd, and her character seemed destined for the background after the season. However, with only a few words spoken in Russian, she instantly becomes the most intriguing character of FUBAR Season 2. But is she a friend, enemy, or frenemy? That's not easy to decipher.


One thing is for sure; she is not opposed to the CIA enough to want Boro to slaughter Luke and Emma by Boro, since she brushes off her supposed Russian handler on the phone to help send reinforcements to help them at the wedding shootout. Her helping them escape doesn't mean she's an ally. In The Americans' first season, Russian operative Nina Sergeevna tells FBI agent Stan Beeman that law enforcement, like him, wants to put criminals in jail. But spies "want everyone to stay right where they are and bleed everything they know out of them."

Tina informs the CIA team of their covers being blown and helps coordinate a rescue van for them to escape. But that means she knows where everyone is and where they're going. Tina may not want them to die, but Season 2 could prove that she wants to keep them alive long enough to drain them of all of the information Russia would wish from the CIA. She's already slept with Barry and tested his loyalty to her by concocting a seemingly fake story about being transferred back to the NSA's Maryland offices. After seeing the extent he went to get her transfer quashed, it's only a matter of time before she begins bleeding Barry of classified intel in Season 2.

If nothing else, Tina's twist in Season 1 means Season 2 will ensure no one on the screen should ever be underestimated.

You Might Also Like