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Hostages 1×11 Review & Why Duncan and Ellen Kissing Makes Sense (Yeah, I’m Serious!)



Dylan McDermott (Duncan) kissing Toni Collette (Ellen)

Dylan McDermott (Duncan) kissing Toni Collette (Ellen). Image via


*For a general review of the show without spoilers, please read  Hostages starring Dylan McDermott, Toni Collette & Tate Donovan

Hostages 1 x11

Apart from the scenes between Duncan’s father-in-law and his wife’s real mother being a bit too long, and me suspecting Sandrine having serious personality issues, this has been a really fun, well-paced episode with some important events. Of course the highlight (or the lowest point, depending on your point of view), is the kiss.  First:

Let’s Go Over The Plot (Caution: Spoilers all over!)

Duncan (Dylan McDermott) and team needs to go to New York so that they can save the president’s life. After all they he needs the president at the hospital alive for getting bone marrow for his wife. So they lock the family inside, giving them pretty of supplies. As being hostages go, surely being locked in the grand bedroom with a bathroom, food and untied family members is not the worst thing.

They however need the blueprints of the buildings near the church the president will be visiting, so they ask the husband who can access them through his work. Of course our dear douchey husband, who has been extra rebellious after having revealed his affair to Ellen (Toni Collette) and not getting dumped, refuses.

So Duncan takes Ellen outside, as Ellen gestures him to. He takes Ellen out and locks the rest of them in. She tells him she can get the documents, so he gives her the key and instructs her to run with her family if he doesn’t make it.

As Duncan and team are in New York, desperately needing the plans, Ellen comes through. She has obtained the plans from her husband’s mistress (Hilarie Burton), explaining their weird situation with a lie that actually makes sense, and learning more douchey facts about her husband (Tate Donovan). Like apparently, he has said their marriage is a lie. (Ouch. Captor 1, husband 0. More on this later.)

Sandrine (Sandrine Holt) goes back and forth between betraying the team and helping, and she finally comes through. They take out the shooters. Sandrine previously shared another emotional moment with Duncan’s brother-in-law (Rhys Coiro). I like the guy, but his plot with Sandrine doesn’t interest me.

Because of all the morally gray characters they’ve tried to characters, hers is the one I’m not buying. Besides, it would have been nice to see an ex female soldier without so many weaknesses. Human, yes. Mutli-dimensional? Maybe. Interesting or worth rooting for? Not so much.

And as if Duncan and co-conspirators don’t have enough to worry about, his wife’s biological mother visits the “father” to say he wants to bring Kincaid down. Yeah, sure, 30+ years later, with a dying daughter, try to bring the president down with possibly no proof of the rape. That’s smart. Dedicated man he is, our beloved….was prepared to shoot her down, but she saw sense at the last minute and she lived. Seriously, woman! This man was supposed to either kill you or let you be killed. Instead he let you get away and raised your daughter. Surely, he is not the perfect guy to trust with your itch to confess?

Oh, of course there were the scenes with our major plotter and his girlfriend, aka the president’s wife’s sister. I really don’t like them. Some viewers think this show has no likeable characters, but surely their actions make Duncan seem like a cuddly teddy bear? People who think killing innocents is OK as long as it covers their tracks? Please.

Anyhow, Duncan makes it back, gives Ellen the key to the room. Later, Ellen goes to see him in another room where he thanks her for making it happen, and he tells her that she is ready. Touched, he hugs her. Then…they kiss.

Then someone kidnaps Duncan from the street.

Then roll credits.

OK, a note on Sandrine:

Sandrine should make up her mind already: Are you team Duncan (which also means team your current bed buddy you seem to have feelings for?) or Are you team villains? Are you a cold bitch or an emotional, loving woman? Seriously. Do you remember how rude, distant and almost mean she was in the first few episodes?


OK, the kiss. I thought it was ridiculous at first. Then I realized, it’s actually one of the more rational/plausible things both Ellen and Duncan did. Here’s why I think so:

 Why The Kiss Makes Sense (No, really.)

There are three possibilities for both parties.

1)   There’s genuine attraction with some feelings

2)   It’ manipulation by one or both.

3)   It’s a semi-conscious mixture of 1 and 2.

And all three make sense in their own way.

From Duncan’s point of view:

If he’s actually attracted to Ellen: Stockholm Syndrome might go both ways. He’s a decent guy at the core. He didn’t plot to kill the president – he joined in on it because it was the only way for him to save his wife, and according to him, the president doesn’t mind killing and raping women. So here’s a guy who’s willing to dabble in gray areas and risk things to save his wife.

Ellen goes to equally illogical and far-fetched and dangerous methods to save her family.

At the very least, he can relate. And he’s actually really alone at the moment. He can’t see his daughter often, his wife has been sick for a long time, he has to handle a group that’s not as reliable as him, he can get killed or arrested any minute, his brother-in-law is an idiot (limo driver, beating the kids’ drug bosses…), the big guy is hot-headed (dead best friend, anyone?) and Sandrine is unreliable. For the past three episodes or so, Ellen’s the only friend he got – as weird that it is.

2) If he’s ensuing her loyalty by seduction: All I can say is go Duncan!  She risked her family’s life over and over again by rebelling stupidly so many times. If Duncan is ensuring the plan works out and none of them get killed and all he has to do is make out with Ellen, why not?


From Ellen’s point of view: 

1) If she’s manipulating Duncan, or trying to, well done: Trying to out-smart, or outrun or kill him didn’t work. Rebelling didn’t work. He seems to trust, respect and on some level, like her now. Why not use it? And of all the captors in the world, surely making out with one that looks like Dylan McDermott isn’t exactly torture. 🙂

Dylan McDermott in Hostages

Dylan McDermott as Duncan Carlisle in Hostages. Image via

2) It’s not that implausible she will be attracted to him. My finding Duncan extremely good-looking aside, this is a guy who protected her daughter on several occasions. He is only in on the plot to help save his sick wife’s life, and the guy he’s helping kill turned out to be a potential killer and rapist.

He’s a person that will go to extreme lengths to save his family, risking his life and career for a small hope- like Ellen.

Remember Ellen’s husband? Cheating, financially disastrous husband who only understood the value of his wife and family at gunpoint?

Yes, Duncan took them hostage, but he’s still the better husband in my opinion. So far, it was one kiss under extreme duress. I’ll be retracting this statement if they have sex:)

3) The husband had an affair. With a co-worker, half-his age at that. Could he be more of a boring cliché? What better ways to stick it to him than kissing the guy who shot him?

My mind doesn’t work like this for romcoms, or tragic dramas, but guys, this is a thriller with morally ambiguous characters. Let’s have fun with that.

Hopefully we will never be in their shoes. But with a billion to one, possibility that I was either Ellen or Duncan, I can’t promise no kissing.


Also on Dylan McDermott

The Practice starring Dylan McDermott, Lara Flynn Boyle, Kelli Williams & Steve Harris

 Dark Blue starring Dylan McDermott, Logan Marshall-Green, Nicki Aycox & Omari Hardwick


Recommended Hostage-featuring Movies

Inside Man starring Clive Owen, Denzel Washington & Jodie Foster

The Entitled starring Kevin Zegers, Ray Liotta, Laura Vandervoort & Victor Garber

Air Force One starring Harrison Ford, Glenn Close and Gary Oldman



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6 Responses to “Hostages 1×11 Review & Why Duncan and Ellen Kissing Makes Sense (Yeah, I’m Serious!)”

  1. Kathi says:

    I don’t think there are many instances of Dylan McDermott NOT kissing the female star. Don’t forget that both of these people haven’t had a good relationship in a long time and how can a woman be around McDermatt and not want to kiss him? Go for it!

    From the previews for next week, looks like the husband’s going to throw a big wrench into everything, but how does he find out about the kiss?

  2. zoey says:

    I think from the preview the attorney/father-in-law will is showing him. I so hate the husband.

    I feel the same about Dylan. If someone wanted me to play his daughter or sister, I’d have a fit:) He’s always looked good but damn he’s rocking the tall/dark/handsome/brooding look. He has his own unique brand of intense.

  3. Kathi says:

    I know what you mean. I’d want to be the actress who gets kissed by thim! He is so darkly handsome and has that brooding thing going. I’m anxious to see what happens next!

  4. zoey says:

    In the next episode, I quite liked Duncan’s reaction. “Yes, we connect, but we have families to save”. Still being the good husband. I hated Ellen’s reaction, in the end however. I don’t like when she is so submissive to her husband. Yes, she is a doctor, yes, she made an oath. We get that. But we also know she didn’t let one undeserving bastard live before – that’s why Duncan’s father-in-law picked her. And hey, it’s not if Duncan is asking her to kill a bad guy out of fun. What part of “they will all be killed” can’t Ellen comprehend? Surely, one bad guy’s life can’t be more valuable than Duncan’s family, Ellen’s family, and Duncan and Ellen combined?

  5. Kathi says:

    It’s almost as if the kiss was a tease for we viewers, that they never had plans to take it further. What is Duncan’s wife going to do?

  6. zoey says:

    I think Duncan has to survive the “How dare you try to kill a man and take a family hostage to save me?” storm first 😀

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