“Hijack”: How Idris Elba’s reimagining of a hero gave me a better sense of my chances of survival

After a long week, Idris Elba as Sam Nelson in the new AppleTV+ series Hijack is the hero I didn’t know I needed.

Did I make it off the streets only to get killed by rice and noodles?

I’m an HBO or, well, I guess a Max guy. HBO has been my first port of call since watching Fraggle Rock as a little kid. Now I randomly click Netflix and Hulu to see if there are any new shows or stand-up specials coming up, but that’s it. Mainly because these apps combined with the collection of other streaming services available always confuse me – as I think many of us get overwhelmed by any network trying to shake us off for $10 every month.

In the middle of these services is Apple TV+. I subscribed to Apple TV+ after so many of my basketball-loving friends raved about “Swagger” and was more than happy with the money I spent after listening to “The Morning Show.” Still, I never think about signing into Apple TV+ as often as I do with the other apps, and I don’t know why.

* * *

“You can step back now, Mr. Watkins,” said a young nurse in red-rimmed glasses.

I was at the doctor’s office the day of my uncle June’s funeral. It was also the day after I told my dad June he had died, news he would never know because he has pneumonia (COVID), is breathing from a tube and has been an isolated impatient for two months human is.

“Sir, can you hear me?” The nurse asked, “You need to fill out this last form.”

I apologized for my drowsiness and received the clipboard. When I was done, another nurse or doctor’s assistant came in and took my blood pressure. Our eyes widen as my numbers came in above pandemic gas prices. The nurse kept taking my blood pressure before we all realized how lucky I was to be alive. She even said, “How are you alive?”

I shrugged my shoulders.

Shortly after we finished the blood pressure game, a collection of lab coats filled my room, ready to talk about the drug cocktail they were about to administer to me. I agreed with everything they said and left the hospital feeling defeated. How could I just let myself go? Did I make it off the streets only to get killed by rice and noodles? Will I end up in isolation taking 10 different pills a day like my dad?

When I got to the door, I left the hospital where my doctor’s office is located with a stack of papers that contained several blood pressure articles painted with small charts of people living happily ever after being diagnosed, and instructions how to cook tasteless salmon. An elderly guard with Benson looks and a nickel silver head yelled, “Are you watching the new Stringer Bell series ‘Hijack?’ Damn good shit man!”

“What?” I said confused, mostly because he didn’t seem like the type to read my columns on TV; But maybe I’ll stretch out.

“I’m not talking to you, Slim,” the old guard laughed, pointing over his shoulder at another guard in the same blue uniform. “But you should be careful if you have Apple.”

abductIdris Elba in “Hijack” (Apple TV+)My confusion instantly dissipated as I nodded to the other guard.

I’m a lifelong Wire fan, so I’m always there when any of the characters on the show get a role, especially a lead role.

“Give me your login,” I said, my face frozen. The two men paused until I smiled. “I’m just causing trouble for all of you. I’ll watch the show and have a nice day.”

They giggled like children when I walked out. I made a point of checking out “Hijack” because it said “Stringer,” which many Baltimoreans still call Idris Elba, although the real Stringer is alive and well and can be found on North Avenue. Anyway, I’m a lifelong Wire fan, so I’m always there when any of the characters on the show get a role, especially a lead role. I have to say these guards have great taste because “Hijack” was excellent.

In Hijack, Elba plays Sam Nelson, a businessman who specializes in negotiations and deals with mergers and acquisitions. We know he’s fine because he’s in the nicest first-class seat you’ve ever seen on an airplane and his apartment looks like it’s straight out of a wealthy design magazine. But no amount of money could get Sam out of the situation that gave the series its title, Hijack. Gunmen with extreme standards find a way to sneak their guns onto the plane and set off a very serious hostage situation.

The great thing about the series is that each episode takes place on the plane, so you stay in your seat throughout each episode. Viewers will feel unsettled, as will the terrorized characters who are forced to face death over and over again. Sam shines like a diamond in a conflict with his masterful negotiating skills. He is calm, angry, persuasive, aggressive, gentle, kind, and empathetic when he has every reason to break down like many other characters on the plane do. Every time you think he’s going to sit down and let the hijackers do what they came to do, he’s instantly in business class, on the coach, or in the cockpit, proposing new ideas while trying to placate everyone. You will love him, you will hate him, and he will confuse you before you realize you need him.

Nelson makes decisions that will have you screaming in front of the TV, like returning a gun to a kidnapper he retrieved because he “just wanted to go home to his family.” Who does that?

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Despite being fictional, I watched the show closely by putting my own situation into context. I ponder my potential new reality surrounded by medication and even more doctor visits, but have come to understand that even if things get worse, I could be like Sam Nelson by putting my family first and doing whatever what it takes to survive.

Sure it can get bad; However, the ability to fight means the ability to overcome all odds, and I value my chances, as does Sam.

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Tom Vazquez

Tom Vazquez is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Tom Vazquez joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Tom Vazquez by emailing tomvazquez@ustimetoday.com.

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