‘The Recruit’ Ending, Explained: Did Maxine Meladze And Owen Hendricks Survive? Who Is Nichka Lashin?

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“The Recruit” is all about Noah Centineo looking next-door-neighborly cute, flying around the world for missions, and getting away from every trouble with ease. It is a typical Netflix series with humor, action, and thrills that can be watched without giving it too much thought. The series could have been a smooth watch if the unnecessary twists in the narrative lines were better handled.

On his first week at the job, Owen Hendricks, the new lawyer at the CIA, is trusted to deal with an ex-asset imprisoned in Phoenix. The asset threatened to disclose confidential information about the Agency if they did not free her from prison. Not only did Hendricks get himself involved with the operations to understand the role of the ex-asset, but he also had to learn how to use information as leverage within the office space. Even though Hendricks makes multiple rookie mistakes, he is always lucky enough to get away with them. While it all started with the need to prove himself, the deeper the mess Hendricks got into, the more he wanted to run away from his chosen life.

Spoilers Ahead


‘The Recruit’ Plot Summary: What Is The Series About?

After losing his father in the war in Afghanistan and promising his mother not to walk down the same path, Owen joined the CIA as a lawyer to work for his country without getting involved in the violence. He was always an overachiever who enjoyed challenges and did not wish to play it safe. While studying at law school, he met Hannah. They agreed to be study partners after he helped her take home a book from the library she desperately needed. While the first season did not delve much into Hannah and Owen’s past, what we do know is that they had eventually fallen in love and broke up two years before he joined the CIA. They continued to be roommates, and they had not moved on. She was there whenever he needed her support, though his selfish attitude often made her regret the choices she made, keeping him in mind. Owen was too caught up in the mess he got himself into while going through files of graymail. The more he studied the case, the further he got away from Hannah and his friend Terrance.

While going through the files of graymail, Owen came across the one sent by Maxine “Max” Meladza. She wrote a letter, blackmailing the CIA to release her from prison in return for protecting vital information that she withheld about the Agency and its agents. The fact that she mentioned the cover names of the agents in the mail made it impossible for Owen to ignore. It was evident that she was not making blank threats, and it was of immediate priority for the Agency to deal with her case. Owen flew to Yemen, hoping to learn more about Max Meladza from Dawn Gilbane. After proving to Gilbane that he was indeed from the general counsel’s office, she disclosed that Max was an important asset who worked in the Belarus chapter and provided valuable information to the Agency about the Russian mafia. Therefore, Max could have had information that could jeopardize the Agency, and Owen had to figure out a way to help her case.

Owen met Max in Phoenix; she was highly intelligent and extremely manipulative. She got him wrapped up in her words and tried to convince him that he had no alternative but to do some of her dirty work. After a few initial bumps, Owen learned to deal with her smartly and established how they both had leverage against each other and the only way they could progress was by cooperation. As a result of the Agency’s influence, Max’s case was transferred from state to federal. Operations wanted to reinstate her as an asset in Belarus because of her connection with General Kuznetsov in the FSB. After learning that her case had a witness, Owen with the help of Amelia, figured out that they could place the witness under the CIA’s relocation program for retired assets, and he could start a new life with a new identity and a job. Even though technically it was a misuse of the program, he had no alternatives. While he successfully managed to control the witness situation and get Max released from prison, he was tired of her manipulation and distrust and decided not to associate himself with her again. But of course, Max only trusted Owen and would not let him go so soon.


What Was In The Envelope Max Collected From The Swiss Bank? Who Killed Xander Goi? 

After her release from prison, Max escaped from her safe house to get back into her business and earn the money that would be required for her to pay to enter the mafia again. She contacted Dawn, asking her to bring Owen back. She only trusted him and wanted his assistance. While Owen believed that his worst days were over, he was soon asked to bring Max safely back from Phoenix. Dawn doubted Owen and assumed that he had shared a sexual relationship with Max; she asked one of her men to spy on Owen to gather information on the nature of their relationship. Owen shared a room with Max and, in the process, learned about her past, but he refrained from sexually indulging with her. During their stay together, he got to know from Max that it was Xander Goi who had exposed confidential information to her. After Owen managed to make a successful deal for Max’s safe house business, they decided to visit Geneva and get the remaining money from Max’s frozen accounts at the Swiss bank. Xander Goi followed the operation in Geneva while Dawn waited for Max in Germany.

Owen had managed to convince Terrance’s OFAC boyfriend to unfreeze the accounts, but unfortunately, he made a rookie mistake. Owen did not calculate the timing according to the time zone, and when they reached the bank to collect the money, they were told that the accounts were blocked. The bank manager was alerted by their request, and Owen had to figure out a way to get the money. After digging dirt on the manager, they convinced him not to take any action against them. Max asked him to hand her the security box that she had kept locked there years ago. While the box did not contain any money, it had a kompromat that would help her buy her way into the mafia. She arranged a meeting with Kirill to use the information she had to keep him away from disrupting her plan of entering the mafia. Kirill intended to kill Max, and he had been following her to strike at the right time. Max knew that the only way to stop Kirill was by using the kompromat. She handed him the envelope that contained a picture of the man his wife, Stasia, had slept with. While she had Kirill under control, there were still people out there who did not want Max to return to Belarus. Meanwhile, Xander was killed by an assassin when he tried to enter Max’s room. It was concluded that the assassin must have wanted to kill Max and Owen but attacked Xander instead. But it was popularized as a personal attack considering that Xander was involved with Stasia. As Owen and Max escaped from Geneva, realizing that their lives were in danger, Hannah and Terrace flew to Geneva to provide Owen with moral support.

Max and Owen escaped on a bus to Germany. Before leaving, Owen believed he had seen Hannah in front of the hotel. Even though he was desperate to contact her, Max reminded him that his phone could be used to track them and ruin their entire plan. The operations went frantic after Goi’s death though they decided to give it some more time knowing how important Max was for gathering intel. Max later used a stranger’s phone to contact Dawn and inform her about their current situation. Dawn was glad that they could continue with their mission. While driving from Germany to Dawn’s safe location, Max revealed a secret about Dawn to Owen. Apparently, Dawn was running ghost assets and was pocketing the money sanctioned for them by the CIA. This secret could prove to be vital if Dawn ever tried to play around with Max or Owen. After reaching the safe location, Dawn questioned Max about the reason behind Xander’s death. To protect herself, she confirmed that he was killed because he was having an affair with the wife of a Russian mobster. And that she, in a way, traded his life for the success of their mission. She did not want Dawn to know about the possibility of an assassin mistaking Xander for her or Owen. The operations could have backed out of their plan if they realized how risky it was getting, and Max was desperate to go home. She was also aware of Dawn’s plan to become the Moscow station chief and how having Xander out of the way was helpful for her as well. Dawn was also equally desperate to continue with the plan.

After studying the CCTV footage in and around the hotel, it was confirmed that the assassin was Nichka Lashin, a Russian mafia enforcer. She had previously tried to flirt with Owen, but he was quick to realize that she had other intentions. The operation’s plan was to send Max to Prague, and after the buyout, they would reinstate her in Belarus.


‘The Recruit’ Season 1: Ending Explained – Why Did Owen Decide To Quit? Did Max And Owen Survive In The End?

Max and the team reached Prague to attend her meeting with Lev. Before leaving for the meeting, Max kissed Owen a final goodbye, knowing how unpredictable the entire arrangement was. Max successfully made her entry into the building, and she offered Lev money to be on her side. While Lev seemed interested in what she was offering, a group of assassins gathered around the building. Owen noticed what was going on, and he tried to warn Dawn and the rest of the team, but they did not pay heed. He took matters into his own hands and decided to get out there to save Max. After overpowering a member of the rival group, he grabbed his machine gun and managed to enter the building with the assistance of Dwan and her team. For the first time, Owen shot a man down to help Max. Before leaving, she shot Lev. Clearly, there was a rival group that was not happy with Max’s return. She escaped from the building with Owen in a car.

Owen knew that his job would be demanding, but he did not expect it to completely destroy his mental health. Killing a man while doing his job was not what he was prepared for. He wanted to escape from Max. From the moment that she entered his life, he was in constant danger. He missed the comfort of his home and his friends, and for the first time, he might have regretted being an overachiever. He jumped out of the car in a desperate attempt to get away from Max. She pointed a gun at him and asked him to stop, but nothing could change Owen’s mind. He had helped Max all along, sympathizing with her situation and hoping that she would eventually change. But now he knew that she could go to any extent just to survive, even if that meant killing people who cared for her. He walked away from her, realizing that she could not be saved no matter how hard he tried, and he was not ready to lose himself in the process. Max wanted to shoot Owen, but she was too emotionally engaged with him to pull the trigger.

In search of affection and support, Owen called Hannah. Clearly, they were in love all this time but were too deeply engaged in their professional problems to give it much thought. She had traveled to Prague once she found out that he was there. They agreed to meet at the war memorial. Meanwhile, Max informed Dawn that the lawyer was creating trouble for them, and they decided to track Owen down using the watch she had gifted him. As soon as Owen was about to walk up to Hannah, a car arrived and kidnapped him. Hannah was a witness to the kidnapping. Later, it is revealed that not only was Owen kidnapped but also Max, but the question was: who was behind it all? Enters Nichka Lashin, the woman Max addressed as Karolina. Before Max could say much, she shot her in the chest and questioned Owen about his role in her mother’s life.

All this while, Owen was led to believe that Max had lost her daughter when she was young, and that was primarily why he sympathized with her. But turns out Karolina had lived. We can assume that after killing her husband, that is, Karolina’s father, her daughter might have been taken away by a rival mafia gang. Or maybe she disagreed with her mother’s approach. Even though Max had hoped to convince Nichka to be on her side, it might be too late. While Karolina did shoot her mother, we can wishfully hope that it was not a fatal injury. Max is one of the most important characters in “The Recruit,” and we can expect her to return to demystify the truth behind losing her daughter to the rival gang. Owen is again caught up in a mess and might have to smooth talk his way out of the situation as always. Also, considering Hannah was a witness to the kidnapping, we can expect help to reach them. It will be crucial for them to have Nichka on their side to function in Belarus. We can expect more from Nichka if “The Recruit” returns for a second season.


See More: ‘The Recruit’ Season 2: Expectations – Will Max And Owen Return? What Will Be Karolina’s Role In The Next Season?


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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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