‘The Sympathizer’ Episode 3 Recap & Ending Explained: How Is The Captain Rewarded For Killing The Major?


The second episode of The Sympathizer showed The Captain reuniting with Professor Hammer as he joined the Oriental Studies department at Cal West College. That was where he came across Sofia, and the two hit it off almost instantly. The General became more and more paranoid about a mole in the ranks. So, he used the opening ceremony of his liquor shop to conduct a mole hunt with the help of Claude. When The Captain felt the proverbial noose tightening around his neck, he cast suspicion on The Major because of his illegal candy smuggling business. We saw The Captain seeking Bon’s help in painting The Major as the traitor and then killing him. Do they really go ahead with the assassination in episode 3? Let’s find out.

Spoiler Alert

The Captain Catches The Major Smuggling Candies To Saigon

Episode 3 of The Sympathizer opens with The Captain asking The General if he should really go ahead with the murder of the suspected mole, The Major. The General basically tells him to do what he thinks is necessary. The focus briefly moves forward in time to the present, where The Captain is being interrogated in the prison, and then returns to The Captain’s narrative about formulating a plan with Bon to kill The Major. In this process, The Captain learns that Bon used to be a member of a top-secret program called the F-6. This squad was rumored to be ferocious, and this revelation scares and gives The Captain some relief (because Bon is on his side and not hunting him). 

Anyway, the duo makes notes of The Major’s daily routine on the professional front (he works at a gas station) and on the personal front as well to time the assassination. Bon wants to get it done as quickly as possible and in an unceremonious fashion. However, The Major’s mother’s longevity celebration ceremony causes them to postpone their murder plan. Since The Major’s mother tells The Captain to bring a date, he asks Sofia to accompany him, and she agrees. By the way, that’s also the moment he realizes that Claude has been tracking him just to tell him to speed up his job of finding and killing the mole, along with coming up with some proof of The Major’s illegal and anti-Vietnamese work. So, instead of waiting for Man’s orders, he shows up at The Major’s doorstep while he is trading something with a shady-looking guy and tries to get some evidence against him. All he finds is The Major’s business of selling expired American candy to people in Vietnam.

The Captain And Bon Kill The Major

The longevity celebration ceremony doesn’t go very well. For starters, The Captain’s inability to kill The Major has led to this party, and The General’s daughter is performing on stage. So, the General laments that if The Captain had dealt with The Major as he was supposed to, he wouldn’t have to see Lana put on a skimpy dress and sing in front of a room full of people. Ned Godwin makes a huge blunder by giving a knife to The Major’s mother. He is apparently a war veteran who has killed a lot of Viet Cong, and he is trying to butter up the Vietnamese refugees because of the upcoming elections. But since the knife is seen as a bad gesture in Vietnamese culture, it doesn’t sit well with a big chunk of the crowd present at the ceremony. Ned does manage to get them to chant about Vietnam, but the reluctance is palpable. To make matters worse, The Captain gets a closer look at The Major’s children, which triggers his empathetic side. However, he quickly suppresses those feelings by asking The Major to give him a job in his illegal candy smuggling business. 

During a conversation with The Major, The Captain figures out that the Vietnamese New Year is the perfect time to carry out the assassination because all the fireworks will drown out the noise of the gunshots. Bon and The Captain devise an elaborate process, which involves The Major’s favorite durian fruit, to take him down. However, due to The Captain’s nervous and non-violent nature, the whole thing ends up being sloppy. The Captain does get the job done, with a lot of help from Bon, but the logo of Nice Burger becomes associated with the death of The Major for him. When The Captain tells The General about The Major’s death, The General tells The Captain to write an eulogy for The Major so that he doesn’t seem unprepared during the funeral.

How Is The Captain Rewarded For Killing The Major?

You might’ve noticed that in the first three episodes of The Sympathizer, The Captain kept seeing someone peeling some hard-boiled eggs. Finally, during the third act (if we can call it that), the whole picture is revealed. Apparently, there was a guy called The Watchman. He worked for the North Vietnam communists, and he was a tough nut to crack. Claude brought in The Captain to get the job done. This whole scene is conversational in nature, but there’s a whole different discussion happening through The Captain and The Watchman’s facial expressions. Now, as far as I understood, The Captain told The Watchman that he wasn’t a member of the North Vietnamese armies and his cover was deep enough to not raise any suspicions. Contrary to that, The Watchman was exposed, and it was obvious that he’d crack one day and give up some important details to the CIA. So, at that very moment, The Watchman decided to die by suicide. That’s where the eggs came in. 

The Watchman asked The Captain to get him three hard-boiled eggs. He ate two of them by peeling them, and he ate the third one without peeling it. The Watchman choked on it and passed away. And the guilt of letting that happen has been eating away at The Captain’s soul ever since. Now, he has added The Major’s death to it. Well, at the end of The Sympathizer, episode 3, he gets a reward for killing The Major from Claude, Hammer, and Ned: The Captain is the translator for Niko’s upcoming film in Vietnam. Yes, all of these characters are played by Robert Downey Jr. The transition between each of them is fabulous. Niko and his adaptation of Hamlet is apparently a dig at Francis Ford Coppola and Apocalypse Now. I think I might have an idea as to why the miniseries will be critical of the director and the film, but I’ll let the next few episodes enlighten us all. By the way, it’s evident that The Captain is happy to tolerate some racism because he is going back home. That said, the memory of killing The Major is clearly going to follow him for the rest of his life.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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