‘The Freelancer: The Conclusion’ Review: A Fitting Ending To A Captivating Show About Extraction

The first part of The Freelancer ended on an explosive note as Aliya and her husband were witnesses to a horrific sight. That was the high note of the first part of this extraction thriller, and it created hype around what the next part of the show could deliver. Creator Neeraj Pandey, who is known for his involvement in films and shows that deal with intelligence and international politics, is back with the second part, or as the makers call it, The Freelancer: The Conclusion. Avinash Kamath, the mercenary, has a job to finish, and he will go to any extent to fulfill the promise he made. This Disney+ Hotstar Special released the last three episodes of the show on December 15, 2023. The concluding episode is about Avinash’s quest to locate Aliya and extract her safely from ISIS-controlled Syria, where she was held without her consent.

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Aliya was horrified at the actions taken by her brother-in-law and his wife in the name of the faith and by how many around her, including her husband Mohsin, were equating their deaths to martyrdom. The young woman could not wait to get out of the hellish situation. Aliya was still in touch with Avinash and was able to provide all kinds of information he had asked for on the behest of the deal he made with the CIA, who wanted more intel on the location and the kind of work Mohsin does for the terrorist outfit. In return, Aliya was treated as an asset, and she was promised to be extracted from the place in no time. Things go awry when the CIA considers the pilot, Aliya’s brother-in-law, to be a major hassle and changes the plan to extract her.

Aliya, on the other hand, is trying hard to collect as much data from her surroundings when she is caught having two phones by her British-Pakistani friend Nabila. Nabila, just like Alai, is desperate to get out of the place and resorts to blackmailing the young woman. Things are going to get messy as there is only a small window open for the mission to be a success. Was Avinash capable of convincing the CIA to help him locate Aliya before pursuing the targeted attack? Will Aliya and Nabila reach a consensus when it comes to using her phone, or was this friendship just on face value?

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Credit where credit is due; the CGI in the show is excellent. There are several blast scenes from the first part and the current one, which are believable and do not seem tacky. The makers seem to have invested a good amount of time in this scene, and it shows. Since The Freelancer is about terrorist outfits and the kind of gruesome acts they commit around them and in other parts of the world, the use of CGI is justifiable, and the results are positive.

The writing of the show is such that it allows us to see the hypocrisy of the terrorist outfit, and it calls it out most bluntly. The outfit that is trying to safeguard their faith is willing to kill many of the people who follow it. The highlight of the show is the screenplay, which is simple and tight. The writers Benazir Ali Fida and Ritesh Shah do not leave any stone unturned as the story progresses towards the climax. There is a lot of real action and mental games going on to make sure everything goes smoothly. Benazir and Ritesh emphasize authenticity and do not overindulge in one particular subplot. Their writing allows the screenplay to grow in the next three episodes as a lot unfolds and takes the show towards a clean ending. Predictability is something that cannot be associated with The Freelancer: The Conclusion because a lot of the subplot merges as the story is headed towards a climax. Many scenarios are unexpected, and it works in the favor of the show. Having said that, the screenplay is clean and tight, and the creators made sure the story was not unnecessarily convoluted. The ending is another highlight of the show, as it gives the audience a sense of satisfaction. There was a lot unveiled in every scene of the finale episode, and it allows the audience to witness the meticulous planning done by Avinash and his team of contacts all around the Middle East and Africa.

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Thankfully, jingoism, or hyper-nationalism, is not a big part of the show. The traits mentioned before are a staple in many shows about cross-border stories, historical fiction, or war films. The Freelancer: The Conclusion, along with Part 1, has managed to stay away from chest-thumping nationalism and believe in delivering an honest human story.

The direction by Bhav Dhulia and Rahil Nadiadwala is impeccable, as it allows the audience to follow along on the journey Avinash has planned to take in his mission to rescue Aliya. The sleek filmmaking could easily make this show one of the most well-directed ones in a long time. The writers, the directors, and the creators worked hand in hand with each other to produce a highly engaging show, as the audience is keen to know how Avinaash will complete the feat of bringing back Aliya. The direction allows the story to remain straightforward with no obstruction or distraction.

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Certain subplots had issues with how the director executed them. The part involving finding Aliya’s doppelganger for a mission could have been executed better. The humor in the scenes involving this subplot was unnecessary and did not land as well. There was another subplot about the doppelganger and an Arab man falling for her. These scenes are filled with stereotypes, and they do not add any value to the overall run time or the main plot of the show. The cinematography by Arvind Singh, Sudheer Palsane, and Tojo Xavier is excellent. The large expanse of barren and  desert-ridden areas are beautifully shot. The camera takes the audience inside the homes of the people in the show, adding a layer of character that becomes a part of who they are in the show. There are plenty of long single-take shots that have been executed with finesse.

The production design is the biggest takeaway from this show. The work done by Sukant Panigrahy stands out. The amount of work done to recreate ISIS-controlled Syria is almost faultless. The research was done to make it look like a town that is run by terrorist outfits without going over the top in any aspects. The team believed minimalism was required to get the audience to fear about the bunch of brainwashed men and women who seem to have been given immense control. Production values need to be commended, as a lot of shows in the same genre should reference this show, extending to the art direction and costumes as well.

The performances throughout the entirety of the show were consistent, and no one skipped a beat. Mohit Raina as Avinash is excellent from the start to the end. There is an urge in him to do the right thing for the first time and make sure there is no major collateral damage in the process. The man has had a great year, with both The Freelancer and Mumbai Diaries being the most talked-about shows and critically acclaimed as well. Both are helmed by this amazing actor, who has delivered two very different roles, but with spousal issues as the common factor. Kashmira Pardeshi as Aliya Khan and Manjari Fadnnis as Mrunal Kamath are equally good as two women who are stuck in their lives and striving to get out of their horrible situation. Anupam Kher and Balaji Gauri did not have much screen time in the second half of the show, but overall, they left a lasting impact. I wish John Kokken as Raghavendra Setu was given more time in the screenplay to express how IB plays a role in making sure Aliya is brought back safely to India.

There is a lot of honesty with which The Freelancer: The Conclusion is presented. Thankfully, there was no disconnect between the first part and the second one. The screenplay was probably cut in a way to make the audience connect the second part with the first without creating further mess. The Freelancer: The Conclusion is indeed an apt ending to a captivating show about extraction.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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A Fitting Ending To A Captivating Show About Extraction'The Freelancer: The Conclusion' Review: A Fitting Ending To A Captivating Show About Extraction