The first season of Paramount+’s ‘Special Ops: Lioness’ reaches its climax with an enthralling finale with Cruz and Joe embarking to complete the last stage of their mission. The spy thriller series sees Joe (Zoe Saldaña), a CIA officer in charge of the Lioness program, recruiting Cruz Manuelos, a Force Recon Marine, for an undercover mission. Cruz is assigned to assassinate a suspected terrorist and finally makes contact with her target in the season 1 finale. If you are wondering whether Cruz completes the mission and the repercussions she faces, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Special Ops: Lioness’ episode 8! SPOILERS AHEAD!
Special Ops Lioness Finale Recap
The eighth episode, titled ‘Gone Is the Illusion of Order,’ opens with Joe giving Cruz Manuelos final instructions for her mission – to neutralize Asmar Ali Amrohi, a suspected terrorist target. Joe warns Cruz that once she leaves the flight, she will not have any contact with the Lioness QRF. However, Joe gives Cruz a beacon disguised as a bracelet she can activate after completing the mission to request an extraction and escape to the rendezvous point. Joe ends Kyle to keep an eye on Cruz until the latter reaches the wedding location.
The plan lands in Barcelona, Spain, from where Cruz heads to Mallorca, Spain, for Aaliyah Amrohi’s wedding. Meanwhile, Byron Westfield, the CIA Deputy Director, is summoned to the Situation Room in the White House. Edwin Mullins, the US Secretary of State, oversees the mission and reprimands Westfield for going ahead with the kill order without informing the White House. NSA Advisor Hollar warns Westfield that killing Amrohi can have major repercussions for the USA and its allies, given the target’s importance in the oil trade.
Hollar and Mullins instruct Westfield to pull their asset out of the field. However, Westfield explains that the asset is no longer in contact with the Lioness QRF team. As a result, the panel questions the sanctity and success of the Lioness QRF. Westfield explains that Amrohi is responsible for funding several terrorist activities in the Middle East and is one of the top names on the kill list issued by the White House. At the same time, Hollar is concerned about Hollar is also concerned about the President’s safety because of the mission.
In Mallorca, Joe’s team lands at the docks, securing a yacht for their operation. Joe’s team uses the yacht as a base to keep surveillance on the wedding location. On the other hand, Westfield calls Kaitlyn Meade and informs her that the mission is a no-go and Cruz should be extracted immediately. However, Kaitlyn reminds him that the Lioness QRF is no longer in contact with their asset, and she is acting on her best judgment. As a result, Westfield lays out all the possible outcomes for Mullins, raising the White House’s concerns over the repercussions of Amrohi’s death.
At the wedding venue, Cruz is greeted by Ehsan Al Rashdi, Aaliyah’s fiancé, who knows about Cruz’s romance with Aaliyah. Ehsan warns Cruz to stay away from his wife and starts suspecting her motivations. Later, Cruz reunites with Aaliyah, and the latter shows Cruz around Mallorca. During their conversation, Cruz learns that Aaliyah’s father, Asmar Ali Amrohi, has arrived at the wedding venue. Cruz stealthily extracts all the information about Amrohi’s security detail and the wedding events.
Eventually, Aaliyah expresses her concerns about her marriage before dropping Cruz in her room. Later at night, Aaliyah arrives at Cruz’s room, and they almost hook up before Cruz decides against it. As a result, Cruz must get a hold of her emotions and find a way to complete her mission. Meanwhile, Joe and the Lioness QRF mission prepare themselves for the extraction. However, Joe becomes distracted when her daughter, Kate, suddenly calls her, feeling guilty about her friend’s death.
Special Ops Lioness Finale Ending: Does Cruz Kill the Target? Does Cruz Die?
In the episode’s final act, Cruz once again finds her feelings getting the better of her. As a result, she leaves the room and goes to the kitchen to get some water and calm her thoughts. In the kitchen, Cruz finally encounters Asmar Ali Amrohi, who funds several terrorist operations in the Middle East and is Cruz’s target. Cruz’s mission is to neutralize the target or draw him away to a location better suited to take him out. Cruz quickly realizes that she cannot kill Amrohi at this instance and tries to walk away from the conversation. However, Ehsan intervenes, having learned Cruz’s true identity, and tries to warn Amrohi.
Ultimately, Cruz’s cover is blown, forcing her to act aggressively. Cruz draws a kitchen knife and brutally stabs Ehsan before delivering the same fate to Amrohi. Cruz slits Amrohi’s throat and kills him, completing her mission. However, killing Amrohi results in the security targeting Cruz as she tries to reach the evacuation point. Moreover, Joe’s QRF team is stationed on the yacht and must swim to the shore to extract their asset. As a result, Cruz is forced to survive on her own while the security opens fire on her. Cruz flees the scene and runs through the compound, dodging the bullets targeted at her.
Cruz reaches an impasse and takes cover while the security surrounds her. However, Joe’s team arrives in the nick of time and successfully extracts Cruz, saving her life. However, the emotional and mental impact of the mission leaves Cruz disheveled, and she becomes disillusioned. Cruz and Joe get into an argument where Cruz blames Joe for using her as a weapon and quits the Lioness QRF. Joe defends her actions and hails Cruz as a hero. However, Cruz warns Joe that by killing Amrohi, they have only field terrorism and leave the team, likely forging her own path ahead.
What Happens to Joe?
The first season sees Joe struggling to balance her personal and professional life as she is absent from her family for long periods. Kate’s accident further complicates matters and brings Joe to a realization that she wants to spend more time with her family. In the penultimate episode, Joe promises to take a desk job after completing one last mission with the Lioness QRF. The finale sees Joe getting distracted after Kate’s call, and she argues with Neal about the situation. Moreover, Kaitlyn warns Joe that she could be killed in the field if she lets thoughts of her family distract her. Ultimately, Joe succeeds in extracting Cruz and completes the mission. She returns home to her family and seemingly receives her desired happy ending. The episode ends as Joe and Neal embrace each other, hinting that Joe will keep her promise of staying with her family.