Story Recap – what happened in The Terminal List season 1?

By M.N. Miller
Published: July 1, 2022
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This is a story recap of the Amazon original series The Terminal List season 1 and contains spoilers as it details what happened. 

Access the recaps, reviews, and news for The Terminal List.

The Terminal List is based on the New York Times best-selling novel by Jack Carr. The Chris Pratt vehicle has flaws, but the revenge tale can be a stunningly produced action-packed thrill ride. It also may have the best performance of Chris Pratt’s career. 

Please enjoy this recap of the Amazon original series The Terminal List! 

Story Recap – what happened in The Terminal List season 1? 

Episode 1 – “The Engram” 

Commander Jack Reece (Chris Pratt) leads his team on a top-secret mission to kill a chemical weapons terrorist in Syria named Kahana. When they arrive, it appears to be a setup. While pinned down, an SFP trooper panics and sets off a trip wire. Reece is knocked out and dragged to safety by one of his team members, Boozer. They are the only survivors. When he returns home, Boozer shoots himself the next day. However, Reece is told it took place two days ago. Reece also meant that one of his Navy SEAL team members panicked, Donny Mitchell. 

Reece thinks there is a coverup. He has headaches and is not acclimating well at home with his wife, Lauren (Riley Keough), and his daughter Lucy (Arlo Mertz). His bosses don’t believe him either. After the funeral of his entire unit, the Secretary of State, Louise Hartley (Jeanne Tripplehorn), wants to award him the Navy Cross. Reece also talks to a reporter (Constance Wu) who wants to know what happened there. Eventually, Reece heads to the clinic to get a CT scan. He wakes up from the scan with two sicarios in the room with him. Reece fends them off, killing one, and the gun he takes from them is from his safe at home. He races home to ensure his family is safe. Unfortunately, he finds his wife and nine-year-old daughter murdered. 

Episode 2 – “Encoding” 

Reece still suspects a coverup. He realizes NCIS Detective Holder may be one of the men (or could have been) in the clinic. With the help of his friend, Ben (Taylor Kitsch), he breaks into the apartment while he sleeps. Reece wakes him up with a silencer in his mouth. After some tough questions, he admits someone at Capstone Industries named Saul Agnon pays him for information and to handle certain matters. Holder tries to make a move, but Reece shoots him underneath his chin, making it look like a suicide. 

Episode 3 – “Consolidation” 

Katie finds out that Reece has a tumor in his brain, revealed from the CT scan. Then a paid assassin tries to kill them both. Reece learns that his family are victims of a corporate project of medication RD-4895. He realizes this after interrogating Saul Agnon and then kills him by making it look like a drug overdose. Reece thinks it was a setup to make it look like the soldier had a breakdown. Secretary Hartley has revealed plans to reduce troop readiness to its lowest levels since 2005. 

Episode 4 – “Detachment” 

Reece, with the help of his friends Ben, Liz, and Marco, kills the entire group of sicarios that were responsible for killing his family. Katie finds out Steve Horn’s company owns a controlling share of Nubellum, and they make over 70 billion a year selling medications to all six military branches. 

Episode 5 – “Disruption” 

Katie’s investigation leads her to question Mike, the former controlling owner of Nubellum, in who Steve Horn has a controlling interest. He tells Katie that RD-4895 was made to bypass neural pathways to help eliminate trauma or PTSD in soldiers. The key to determining who had the approval of this experiment through Horn is in accounting and who was responsible for giving the SEAL team brain tumors. Mike is shot and killed, and Katie survives because Reece saves her. Later, Reece kills Horn by injuring him with an EFT bomb and shooting him in the head. 

Episode 6 – “Transience” 

Reece escapes into a national park after killing Horn and is hiding from a new FBI agent, Tony Layun (JD Pardo), and his team. Reece continues to have flashbacks about his family and escapes the search for him, setting charges that create a landslide. He returns to Liz, who flies him to a drop zone where he meets Ben. 

Episode 7 – “Extinction” 

At the end of episode four, Reece learned that his bosses, Admiral Pillar, Commander Cox, and Captain Howard, knew about the experiment on his SEAL team. Reece kills Cox by breaking his arm and drowning him with a SEAL training log. Howard is strapped with a bomb to his chest. He has it when he delivers it to Pillar’s office because Reece will kill his son if he doesn’t. They are both killed. Also, Tony and Katie find out that the Secretary of State authorized the experiment on the SEAL team but not the coverup. Tony leaks her information to write her story. When she tried to send it, Hartley used government resources to intercept it. She then approaches Katie, allowing her to interview her for the complete story. 

Episode 8 – “Reclamation” 

Hartley explains she never knew about the brain tumors or the coverup. She was not the last unnamed shareholder who profited off the RD-4895 that brought in shareholders millions when Capstone Industries signed a deal with Plano. However, after some research, Katie finds inconsistencies in her two stories. Since she started a “faux” criminal investigation of the coverup before Steve Horn was killed. That night, Reece infiltrates Hartley’s estate and enters the safe room she is hiding in with Katie. Before Reece can kill her, Katie steps in between them, telling her she did not profit off the drug, but Hartley shoots herself in the head before Reece can do it for her. 

The show ends with Katie discovering that the unnamed shareholder has connections to a company in Peru. Reece puts two and two together – Ben has a place in Peru, and a CIA agent was the one to falsely elevate the intel about Kahana that set the trap in motion in Syria. Why did he do it? For the money and this was terminal so – why not allow them to die with their boots on? He says he had nothing to do with his family being killed. When he learned about it, he wanted to set fire to the world just like Reece and be by his side. Ben then allows Reece to finish his list and shoot him. (We assume because we hear a gunshot from a distance and they are off-camera). 

That’s the full story recap of what happened in Amazon’s The Terminal List season 1. What are your thoughts on the story? Please comment below. 

You can watch this series with a subscription to Amazon Prime.

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4 thoughts on “Story Recap – what happened in The Terminal List season 1?

  • July 7, 2022 at 3:34 am

    Bit of senseless revenge killings with excellent action scences. The real story should have evolved as fhe reporter uncovers the truth and justice rather than revenge triumphs . Just my 2 cents.

  • July 13, 2022 at 5:32 am

    Episode 4 summary – they don’t make $70BN a year. Horn is on the verge of selling the company for $70BN, based largely on the contracts with the government. Horn is desperate to sell before anyone knows that the drugs give people brain tumors.

  • September 18, 2022 at 1:15 pm

    Loved the series. I love revenge movies because in reality evil people get away so often. Chris Pratt was fantastic. This series fit my formula for movies to a tee. I like to go by the Rotten Tomatoes differential between Critics and Audience. For this is was 39% vs 95%. Perfect for me.

  • March 25, 2023 at 4:18 pm

    They were not senseless killings. They all deserved to die for what they did. If not for Reece, they would get away with it.

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