The Gray Man Ending, Explained: Does Sierra Six Escape CIA?

Netflix’s ‘The Gray Man’ is an action-packed espionage thriller that gives the audience a thrilling ride. Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, it takes the good old plot device of a rogue agent and infuses it with high-octane sequences and some captivating twists and turns to keep the audience guessing till the end. A lot happens in the film and despite that, it only feels like a setup for something greater that is yet to be explored. The ending proves that there is much more to the story than what’s shown to us as it leaves the audience with some biting questions about the future of the main characters. Here we break down the ending and see what lies ahead for Sierra Six, his enemies, and his allies. SPOILERS AHEAD

The Gray Man Plot Synopsis

A man is plucked from his life in prison and given a chance to redeem himself by working for the CIA. He is enrolled in the Sierra program and named Sierra Six. His cover is so deep that even the agency doesn’t keep a file on him. This means that he can be sent in for missions that the agency doesn’t want to be answerable for. This also means that when he goes rogue, it becomes extremely difficult to catch him. 
When Six discovers that he is being used to further the ends of corrupt people in the CIA, he runs away.

He is forced to come back only when his recruiter Donald Fitzroy and his niece, Claire, are held captive. While trying to figure out a way to save them, Six meets some very ruthless enemies along the way while also making some valuable allies. He tries to bring down Denny Carmicheal, the person responsible for all the mess that has been created so far. In the end, however, he realises that there is only one thing he has to focus on: survival.

The Gray Man Ending: Does Sierra Six Escape CIA and Rescue Claire?

Six could have easily escaped the CIA and lived his days in obscurity in some place where they could never find him. But even after he is miles away from their reach, Six risks falling into their hands for Claire. It is revealed in the film that the two bonded with each other when Six was tasked with protecting her in Fitzroy’s absence. With both of them considering Fitz as their only family, they decide that they are each other’s family too. Six comes to care for Claire a lot, which is why he jumps back into the mess of the agency that he used to work for.

In the end, when he is held captive, Suzanne gives him the option to take the blame for Lloyd’s death and go to prison. She also keeps Claire in her custody to keep him from acting out. Six knows that giving this power to Suzanne over himself will only keep him in their captivity for his entire life, while also ruining Claire’s. He also knows just how corrupt and ruthless Suzanne and her bosses are, and he finds it best to rescue Claire and keep her somewhere safe with himself.

While Suzanne keeps him in the most safeguarded section of the building, Six succeeds in escaping, proving once again, just how capable he is. He also, singlehandedly, brings down every agent that was stationed to keep an eye on Claire and runs away with her. His only purpose now is to keep Claire safe and away from the CIA. However, considering how potent a threat he is, Carmichael and Suzanne are not going to let him go so easily. The escape only means that Six will have to spend some time on the run before trouble finds him again.

Why Did Denny Carmichael Want to Kill Sierra Six?

Everything had been going smoothly with the Sierra program until Denny Carmichael decided to end it. He didn’t just want to shut it down, but he wanted every shred of it completely eliminated, which meant killing every single person who’d been hired into the Sierra program. He gets Sierra Six to kill Sierra Four, who reveals that the previous numbers had also been killed in a similar manner. This makes Six wonder why Carmichael is going to such lengths to remove something that his predecessor created so meticulously.

It turns out that Carmichael is corrupt to the core. Four’s research into him revealed that Carmichael was using the agency operatives as his own team of hitmen, sanctioning operations without following the chain of command. His operations were not only illegal but they also showed blatant disregard for human life with people dying as collaterals left and right. Six experiences this first hand in the massive manhunt that is conducted solely to catch him, resulting in the deaths of many innocent people. Six, personally, didn’t take to the assignment that meant the death of innocent people, which would have created problems for Carmichael, as happens in the mission where Six is sent to kill Four.

Carmichael knew that people like Cahill and Fitz would also not approve of his plans, so the first thing he did when he came into power was to get rid of them. He was also aware of the Sierra program and the fierce loyalty that they showed to Fitz. So, he found it best to get them out of the way as well. The reasoning that they were nothing more than hardened criminals was enough for him to explain his actions. He got another reason to get rid of them when Four gathered incriminating evidence on him. When the drive containing everything that could ruin Carmichael fell into Six’s hands, he decided to not leave any stone unturned in finding him and killing him.

Who is The Old Man in The Gray Man?

The one thing that we learn pretty early on in ‘The Gray Man’ is that everyone is being controlled by someone else. Six is being controlled by the agency, which sends him on missions that he is not supposed to ask anything about. When he questions something, he is considered rogue and is hunted down. Similarly, everyone that’s hunting him is also under the command of someone higher up in the food chain. The film shows Carmichael as everyone’s boss but it soon becomes clear that there is someone else who is controlling him.

In his conversation with Suzanne, Carmichael mentions “the old man” and seems very concerned with what this old man would or wouldn’t want. We never really get to see who this person really is, but Carmichael’s actions do give us an inkling. Whoever the old man is, he is someone very powerful and in a position to manipulate world politics. With Carmichael as his puppet, he uses the CIA to do stuff for his own political gain. For someone to have that much influence, it must be a person who’d previously worked with the CIA or was involved with the agency in some way to know its inner machinations.

The Old Man is not part of the CIA now, giving him plausible deniability of all of Carmichael and the agency’s actions. He is also someone not in the public eye because being in the shadows would work much better for a person like him. It is more likely that this old man is a part of some secret shadow organization that aims to control the world. In any case, no matter the speculations, his true nature and identity will only be revealed in the sequel.

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