The Terminal List Ending, Explained: Is Ben Edwards Dead or Alive?

Image Credit: Arpi Ketendjian/Amazon Prime Video

The Terminal List‘ is a military action thriller series developed from the 2018 book of the same name by American author and former Navy SEAL Jack Carr. It is part of the ongoing ‘Terminal List’ series. The show tells the story of Lt. Commander James Reece (Chris Pratt), a highly respected Navy SEAL platoon leader. Following the deaths of his teammates and family, Reece sets out to kill everyone responsible. The show derives its title from the list that Reece maintains on the back of one of the drawings by his daughter. The more he unravels the mystery around the violent deaths of his loved ones, the more names he adds. He also realizes that everything happening to him is caused by a massive conspiracy. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘The Terminal List’ season 1. SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Terminal List Season 1 Recap

The series begins with Reece and his team preparing to go on a mission in Aleppo, Syria. For a long time, they have been tracking Chemical Kahani, an Iranian chemical weapons expert. According to the intel, he is finally within the grasp of the US forces. However, the mission quickly devolves into a complete disaster. Most of Reece’s men are killed. Only he and Ernest “Boozer” Vickers manage to escape. Shortly before returning to the US, Reece is approached by war correspondent Katie Buranek (Constance Wu), who asks about the mission. Predictably, Reece refuses to speak.

After returning to Coronado, California, where Reece lives with his wife Lauren (Riley Keough) and daughter Lucy (Arlo Mertz), he begins experiencing headaches, paranoia, memory issues, and hallucinations. Lauren thinks Reece hasn’t recovered from the concussion he suffered during the mission and urges him to visit a neurologist. Meanwhile, Boozer seemingly commits suicide, though Reece refuses to believe it. When he realizes that his condition is much worse than he thought, he finally visits the doctor. However, two masked assassins attack the facility while Reece is there. They kill the doctor but fail to kill Reece, who kills one of them and injures the other, forcing the latter to flee. Reece suddenly realizes that the assailants had his gun and rushes back home, where he finds Lauren and Lucy dead, killed by Reece’s own gun.

Image Credit: Arpi Ketendjian/Amazon Prime Video

A part of Reece considers the possibility that he is the one who killed his wife and daughter. However, he suppresses that part and convinces himself that Kahani’s agents were responsible. However, Secretary of Defense Lorraine Hartley (Jeanne Tripplehorn), whom Reece earlier met at Boozer’s funeral, visits him to deliver the news that Kahani has been killed. Reece begins to believe that Josh Holder, the NCIS agent assigned to his wife and daughter’s case, is one of the assassins. With the help of his best friend Ben Edwards (Taylor Kitsch), a former SEAL and CIA operative, Reece gets access to Holder’s apartment. Although he discovers that Holder didn’t kill his wife and daughter, he did supply information about Reece and his family to a man named Saul Agnon (Sean Gunn).

In episode 3, titled ‘Consolidation,’ Reece meets up with Katie and tells her about Agnon, who Reece has found is the Vice President of Asset Management at Capstone Industries, a company with a 60 billion dollars investment pool. Katie has made some discoveries of her own. She has gotten Reece’s medical files and showed them to a neurologist. Reece has a walnut-sized brain tumor on the node between the hippocampus and amygdala. Its symptoms include the very things that Reece has been experiencing — headaches, paranoia, and memory issues. However, when she and Reece get shot at by an assassin, she realizes that Reece was telling the truth all along.

As Reece doggedly pursues vengeance, he is helped by Ben, former Army pilot Liz Riley (Tyner Rushing), and Mexican businessman Marco Del Toro (Marco Rodríguez). Reece and Katie discover that Steve Horn (Jai Courtney) is the mastermind behind the entire conspiracy. Katie hopes to expose Horn to the world, but she soon realizes that Reece will not be satisfied with that.

After killing Holder, Agnon, Marcus Boykin, the remaining assassin that murdered Lauren and Lucy, Horn, Commander Bill Cox, JAG Captain Howard, and Admiral Gerald Pillar, Reece sets his eyes on Hartley in the season 1 finale. Like the others, she played a part in what happened to his family and comrades. Reece also figures out that the information about Kahani came from a CIA source.

The Terminal list Season 1 Ending: Is Ben Edwards Dead?

Yes, Ben Edwards is dead. As Reece and Katie figure out, Nubellum Pharmaceuticals, one of Capstone’s subsidiaries, had developed a drug called RD 4895, which is supposed to stop the encoding of trauma on the brain, effectively preventing PTSD. The trials with rats and dogs had been successful, but Horn rushed the human trial. Howard, Pillar, and Cox arranged for the drug to be given to Reece and his men. When they realized that the SEALs had developed brain tumors, they sent them on the doomed mission. Unlike others, Hartley didn’t take any money from Horn, as she genuinely wanted to find a cure for PTSD because of her experience with her father. She was prepared to go to any length to get the desired result.

Image Credit: Arpi Ketendjian/Amazon Prime Video

Sometime after Hartley kills herself, Katie informs Reece that Oberon Analytics, a mysterious company the name of which was found in Horn’s computer, is routing through a bank in Peru. Earlier, Ben told Reece he was planning to retire in Máncora, Peru. This becomes the final revelation of the season, the last piece of the puzzle. When Reece confronts Ben, the latter reveals that he agreed to provide the false information after learning about the tumors, believing that his former comrades would prefer to go out with their boots on. Needless to say, the $20 million he received from Capstone helped him make the decision.

Although we don’t exactly see Reece taking the shot, it is safe to assume that Ben is dead, given that Reece hasn’t spared anyone on the list. After Ben’s death, Reece finally seems to find some closure. He takes Lucy’s drawing in his hand one more time and kisses it before dropping it into the ocean.

Where Is Reece Heading?

On Ben’s sailboat, Reece finds a map. The camera focuses on Mozambique, implying that Reece is heading there. The extended family of Reece’s friend Raife Hastings lives in Mozambique. Raife has been mentioned multiple times in the first season of ‘The Terminal List,’ but he doesn’t make an appearance. This perfectly sets up the prospective season 2. In ‘True Believer,’ the second book in the ‘Terminal List’ series, Reece crosses the Atlantic Ocean and eventually makes it to the Niassa Game Reserve in Mozambique, where Raife’s uncle owns a business called RH Safaris. He spends a few months with the Hastings family before the US government comes looking for him to deal with a developing situation in Europe.

The show also skips something else from Carr’s original book. It is revealed in the epilogue that Reece’s tumor is benign. A doctor from the clinic leaves a message on his voice mail, but his phone is in FBI custody at the time. Reece doesn’t learn about it until chapter 31 of the second book. If the second season happens, it will likely be a part of the narrative.

Read More: Is The Terminal List a True Story?