Why Does James Reece Kill Ben Edwards in The Terminal List?

At the start of ‘The Terminal List,’ James Reece (Chris Pratt) and Ben Edwards (Taylor Kitsch) are best friends. They both live in the Californian resort city of Coronado. Like Reece, Ben used to be a Navy SEAL and was part of the other man’s team before leaving the Navy and joining the CIA. When Reece returns from Aleppo, Syria, after a mission goes horribly wrong, Ben is there to pick him up at the airport. After the brutal killings of Reece’s wife, Lauren, and daughter, Lucy, Ben is right beside Reece as he pursues vengeance. And yet, in the season 1 finale, titled ‘Reclamation,’ Reece kills Ben. If you are wondering about the reasons behind Reece’s actions, we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Why Does Reece Kill Ben?

Although Ben isn’t part of Reece’s unit any longer, they are closest of friends when the series begins. In Aleppo, Syria, the CIA informs the Naval command of the presence of Chemical Kahani, an Iranian chemical weapons expert. Reece and his team have been hunting for Kahani for a long time but without much success. Unwilling to let go of this opportunity, Reece’s team embarks on the mission. However, it turns out to be a complete disaster. All of Reese’s men, save one, are killed. When they eventually return to the US, Reece begins experiencing headaches, hallucinations, and memory issues. Believing it to be the result of the concussion he suffered during the mission, Lauren urges her husband to go see a doctor. Meanwhile, the other survivor seemingly commits suicide. Reece reluctantly agrees to visit the doctor, but on that evening, masked assassins kill Lauren and Lucy. They also come for Reece, but he survives.

Reece subsequently embarks on a path of revenge. He uses the back of one of Lucy’s sketches to list the names of people that he discovers are directly responsible for the deaths of his family and comrades. His friends help him, with Ben being more involved than the rest. With the help of journalist Katie Buranek (Constance Wu), Reece uncovers a massive conspiracy that involves high-ranking members of the Naval Command and Secretary of Defense Lorraine Hartley.

Image Credit: Arpi Ketendjian/Amazon Prime Video

Reece initially suspects NCIS agent Josh Holder of killing his family but later learns that though the agent had nothing to do with Lauren and Lisa’s death, he was receiving payments from a man named Saul Agnon, the Vice President of Asset Management at Capstone Industries. Reece then travels to Mexico to kill the assassin that killed his wife and daughter. After returning to the US, he executes Steve Horn, the head of Capstone Industries, the man behind the deaths of both his family and comrades. Reece then goes after Commander Bill Cox, JAG Captain Howard, and Admiral Gerald Pillar, who took money from Horn and let him test the drug RD 4895 on Reece’s team, which gave them brain tumors.

After learning that Hartley is also involved, Reece inevitably writes down her name in his terminal list as his next target. With Ben providing cover fire, Reece manages to force his way into Hartley’s home. When Hartley realizes that her political career is over, she commits suicide.

Image Credit: Arpi Ketendjian/Amazon Prime Video

Even after Hartley’s death, Reece realizes that he is still missing the very last piece of the puzzle. He has figured out that the information that came from the CIA was intentionally false. Meanwhile, the FBI does a deep dive into Horn’s computer and finds a connection between him and the Naval command. However, a company named Oberon Analytics doesn’t seem to be attached to anyone. Katie finds out that Oberon Analytics is routing through a bank in Peru and lets Reece know. Earlier in the series, Ben reveals that he has plans to retire in Máncora, Peru. Reece realizes that Ben was the CIA source of the false information and confronts his friend.

Ben was told about the tumors and thought his friends would prefer to die with their boots on. The $20 million he received from Horn helped him make the decision. Ben accepts his fate, but before Reece kills him, he promises the other man he had nothing to do with Lauren and Lucy’s deaths. Reece then shoots him, finally completing his terminal list.

Read More: What is Oberon Analytics in The Terminal List?