[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for the two-part True Lies Season 1 finale, “Lying Truths” and “Waking Dreams.”]
Following its May 9 cancellation, the Steve Howey and Ginger Gonzaga-led True Lies came to an end with a two-part series finale on Wednesday, May 17 on CBS. Unfortunately, the series wasn’t planning for the Season 1 finale to be its last, as indicated by its cliffhanger ending.
The finale was one scene short of ending on a positive, drama-free note. In the first part of the finale, “Lying Truths,” a van full of computer software containing confidential intel about Omega Sector operatives was hijacked, leading the team to enlist the help of teen hacker Max to figure out who was coordinating the attack. When Harry (Howey) and Helen Tasker (Gonzaga) discovered that Max is dating their daughter, Dana (Annabella Didion), their actions put the mission in jeopardy.
Amid the chaos, Helen had to admit to Dana that she and Harry were spies. Moments later, Harry was abducted, leading viewers into part two, “Waking Dreams.” It was all hands on deck as Omega searched for the helicopter that took Harry at the top of the episode. He was taken by Crypsis, the operation being run by a woman with an Omega vendetta. As he lied strapped to a chair in a sterile room, she explained why she wanted to take down Omega Sector: an Omega agent killed her father for guarding a gate, “the only job a refugee could get to put his daughter through school.”
It took her 20 years, but her “mission to protect people from” Omega Sector was now being carried out. Part of that plan was to torture Harry with a pain serum that caused powerful hallucinations. In his delusional state, Harry imagined he broke free and returned home only to discover that Helen and the kids had aligned themselves with Crypsis. The evil Helen and confused Harry battled it out in a fight scene in their kitchen, with Dana and Jake (Lucas Jaye) joining in the scuffle against dad.
They chased him out of the house and back into the sterile room where Harry was still incapacitated. His head was hooked up to a machine being controlled by a man who was controlling the hallucination. The serum, as the villain described, was part of a program she developed “to break spies.” Monitoring his brain as the pain and hallucinations combo ran its course allowed them to discover Harry’s weaknesses.
Back at Omega, everyone was still hustling to save Harry. With Jake now in the know about mom and dad’s real jobs, he and Dana holed up at Omega with Dana’s boyfriend, hacker Max. Dana was increasingly frustrated that they could do nothing to help, so she, Jake, and Max decided to take things into their own hands via Max’s hacking and tracking skills. Through this, Omega was able to find Harry’s location.
Meanwhile, Harry’s hallucination scenes continued, putting him up against his closest allies at Omega like Maria (Erica Hernandez) and Gib (Omar Benson Miller), and eventually Helen, Gib, Maria, and Luther (Mike O’Gorman) all at once. One final part of the evil plan was to let Harry go. Were the killed guards and liberation all part of the dream? Did she really let him go? The point was to make it so Harry couldn’t tell. She and the other scientist had already left the building when Helen, Maria, and Luther arrived to save Harry.
He was so confused, he began shooting at the group. Omega’s head honcho, Susan Trilby (Beverly D’Angelo), ordered the agents to kill Harry now that his mind was compromised. Gib told her to “go to hell” for that order, but Omega sent a hit squad to finish the job if they wouldn’t. Helen reminded him of their happy memories to help bring him back to reality. Seeing their tearful reunion made Maria want to stay on the team.
Gib alerted them the building was about to self-destruct. They bolted out, escaping in the nick of time. They got the drugs out of Harry’s system, and he was able to go home with his wife and kids.
The Tasker family’s final scene could have worked as a series ender. It showed Helen and Harry safe at home and joking with their kids about homework requirements now that the kids experienced so much “trauma.” The Omega team came over to celebrate after, marking a happy ending for all. But in the final moments, the camera panned to a van parked across the street from the Tasker home.
“They think the danger’s passed,” Harry’s captor ominously said to a mystery caller. “We take them apart now piece by piece. Begin phase three.”
We may never know what True Lies had in store for that third phase. What did you think of the series finale? Was it a satisfying end, regardless of the cliffhanger? Let us know in the comments below.
True Lies was based on James Cameron‘s 1994 action-comedy of the same name. Cameron served as one of the series’ executive producers.
True Lies, Season 1, Streaming Now, Paramount+
This story originally appeared on TV Insider