Noughts & Crosses finale: that shock ending certainly caught us by surprise

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The final episode of Noughts & Crosses ends very differently to Malorie Blackman’s YA novel.

Warning: as you’ve no doubt guessed, this article contains spoilers for BBC One’s Noughts & Crosses. Read on at your own peril…

I had high hopes going into the finale of Noughts & Crosses and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Let’s dive straight into it…

The episode opens with the editor of Albion’s most popular newspaper (played by none other than grime superstar Stormzy!) throwing a party for the company but as he raises his glass, masked LM members break in and ransack the place. When the police turn up and the attackers run away, we spot the McGregor brothers among them. Though they both escape safely, their comrade Nicola gets caught.

As Callum (Jack Rowan) causes havoc, Sephy (Masali Baduza) rebels in her own way by refusing to follow in her father’s footsteps and turning down her university place. Before leaving her family home, she has a heart-to-heart with her sister Minerva (Kiké Brimah) during which she cryptically states that her future is “not just about me anymore” – is she pregnant?! 

Our suspicions are all but confirmed when she visits Meggie (Helen Baxendale) and soon runs to the bathroom to throw up, then touches her stomach gently.

Meanwhile, Yaro (Luke Bailey) is not being taken seriously by the newspapers after Kamal (Paterson Joseph) uses his media connections to discredit his claims. But the Prime Minister is also under attack from someone else who is far more ruthless – Jack Dorn (Shaun Dingwall). 

After revealing that Nicola was killed by the police, the leader of the LM uses her death to urge his followers to “keep fighting” by taking on Kamal. He intends to kidnap Jasmine (Bonnie Henna) and blackmail his nemesis, but Jude (Josh Dylan) reveals Callum’s “friendship” with Sephy and she becomes the LM’s new target. 

Although Callum is clearly conflicted about the plan, he arranges to meet up with his ex. When they are reunited, Sephy is overjoyed but she is soon surrounded by LM members who capture her and drag her back to their base.

Kamal – having just paid off Yaro with a plane ticket out of Albion – receives a phonecall from Dorn, who threatens: “I have something of yours, something you might want back… Time to do business again.” 

The Prime Minister wastes no time in getting the police on the case and they receive a recording of Sephy relaying the LM’s calls for Kamal to give up his job. Jasmine pushes him to follow the orders, but the police insist that he shouldn’t negotiate with terrorists – what will Kamal do?

Back at the LM’s base, Callum is left guarding Sephy alone. Despite insisting that she means nothing to him, cracks quickly appear in his façade as Sephy questions what he is doing. After Kamal announces that he is stepping down as PM, the LM celebrates but Sephy wonders out loud if she’ll be killed now the rebels have got what they wanted. She antagonises and attacks Callum, but he hits back by accusing her of never really loving him. 

As he leaves the room, she shouts after him, “Could you kill your own child, then?”. I’m not ashamed to admit that Jack Rowan’s portrayal of Callum’s heartbreak as Sephy’s words sink in brought tears to my eyes. 

Renouncing the LM, he declares: “I want you, and I want our child. In this world, in any world.”

Elsewhere, Kamal heads out to meet Dorn along with the police and Lekan. In a hidden spot, Dorn makes it clear that Sephy will be disposed of rather than returned to her father. As he walks out alone to meet his adversary, Jude sneaks away. At the handover Kamal gives Dorn the blackmail money and the LM leader walks away, supposedly to get Sephy. Watching on, Lekan realises that Dorn is tricking them and persuades Kamal that they must find Sephy themselves.

Back at the base, Jude relays Dorn’s instruction to get rid of the hostage to his brother. While they debate what to do, Dorn appears and orders Jude to kill Sephy. When Jude hesitates, the angry LM leader confesses that he killed Danny, which provokes Jude to turn the gun on him, allowing Callum and Sephy to escape. Running away, they soon come face to face with Kamal. He points a gun at his daughter’s captor, but Sephy steps in his way and reveals that she is pregnant with Callum’s child. A shellshocked Kamal lets the starcrossed lovers go.

The last scene sees Meggie receive a phonecall from her youngest son, who tells her that he and Sephy are safe. As he hangs up, we see that the couple are somewhere remote and rural, planning to stay hidden in order to keep their growing family safe. 

WOW. As a big fan of the book the show is based on, where things turn out much more tragically (let’s just say that Callum and Sephy do not end up together), I didn’t know what to expect. And, while you certainly couldn’t describe this finale as uplifting, things end on a somewhat hopeful note for our leading characters. But, as ever, I have questions…

Has Jude made it out alive?

The last we saw of Jude; he was threatening to kill his former boss. While Callum and Sephy were escaping a gunshot rang out, but who was on the receiving end of the bullet? Despite his faults and bad decisions, in the end Jude did the right thing by protecting his brother, so I hope he hasn’t paid the ultimate sacrifice. That said, I doubt Dorn would be willing to go down without a fight.

Will Callum and Sephy get their ‘happily ever after’?

For now, Callum and Sephy have finally got away from their everyday lives, as they’ve wished for so many times before. But rather than living in peace, they are on the run and Callum is a wanted terrorist. How long can they keep out of harm’s way for? And will their life together under such strain be everything they dreamed of?

Will we get more Noughts & Crosses?

Surely the cliffhanger ending of this series means that there will be more to come? There are still so many strands of the story left unresolved that I’m sure I’m not alone in needing to know what happens to our beloved (and not so beloved) characters. 

The show cuts off about 2/3 of the way through the original novel and there are four more books in Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses series so there is plenty of source material for the show to draw inspiration from, just saying… 

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See all of our Noughts & Crosses recaps here.

Images: courtesy of BBC One

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