Maya Stern helms the narrative in Netflix’s mystery show ‘Fool Me Once,’ as a recently widowed single mother who glimpses at an image of her dead husband in a Nanny cam that leads the woman down an investigative spiral. Maya’s military background helps the former combat pilot in her investigation through honed instincts, fighting skills, and contacts like Shane, who can get her information about her hunches. Furthermore, as the woman uncovers unknown truths about her husband, Joe, and sister, Claire’s seemingly connected murders, she starts to realize it might have something to do with her own military discharge. Therefore, viewers must be curious to know the details about the end of her career in the army. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Maya Stern’s Fraught Military Past
Maya Stern served in the military as a combat pilot for many years. She enjoyed the adrenaline-driven aspect of military life and seemed in no hurry to give it up even after marriage. However, during one of the missions, Maya committed a blunder that she couldn’t return from.
While on a mission at a combat-heavy location, Maya and her second crewman, Shane, hovered over the area, keeping an eye on their squad. A few of their teammates took a recent hit that was proving to be difficult to recuperate from. As such, Maya realized her teammates on the ground were in grave danger when she spotted a foreign truck heading her squad’s way. As a result, Maya opened fire at the truck only to realize that it was full of civilians afterward.
The incident was horrible enough on its own. Yet, things worsened when Corey Whitsle, a blogger with a penchant for unveiling secrets of corruption, hacked into the military system and gained access to the dashcam footage from Maya’s chopper. Consequently, Corey leaked the video over the internet, which instantly sparked controversy among the masses. The scandal grew so much that much of the population started calling for Maya’s imprisonment, declaring her actions a crime against foreign citizens.
However, as it would turn out, the entire truth was even worse. When Corey released the footage, it only showcased the video. As such, even though everyone knew what Maya did, they didn’t know the whole story. According to protocol, Maya and Shane were required to call in the unidentified truck and receive clearance to fire upon it before taking action. Although the pair did call the threat in, the base failed to answer back in time.
Nevertheless, they informed Maya that they suspected at least one civilian to be aboard the truck. The high-pressure situation’s ambiguity compelled Maya to take action on her own. The woman could hear her comrades’ screams in her headset as she watched a vehicle, possibly an enemy vessel, gaining in on them. On one hand, she could save her squad and risk innocent lives. Yet, on the other, she could let the truck pass and possibly condemn her comrades to a fatal demise.
Faced with the impossible trolley problem, Maya made her decision. In the end, she chose to fire at the truck, knowing she could be firing at civilians. In order to keep Shane’s conscience clear, she cut off his communication line and lied about receiving clearance for the attack. Since the truck turned out to be jam-packed with civilians, Maya’s decision ultimately proved to be the wrong one.
For the same reason, Maya was already in hot waters when Corey leaked the footage tarnishing the woman’s reputation in the public eye. The event also had lasting effects on Maya’s psyche as she continued to experience PTSD-induced nightmares and flashbacks to the dreadful day. Furthermore, her sister Claire died shortly after the event, negatively impacting Maya’s mental health even more. Thus, she was discharged from the military.
Although Maya doesn’t know it, Claire is the reason Corey refrains from releasing the footage’s audio. The woman reached out to him and made a deal to prevent the public from knowing the entire truth about her sister, knowing it would be worse for her reputation. In the end, this same deal lands Claire in trouble’s mouth, rendering Maya unable to move on from her erroneous decisions.
Read More: Fool Me Once: Why Did Joe Kill Andrew?