The Undeclared War ending resolved many of the complex twists and turns our favorite GCHQ analysts have been fighting to unravel all season but there’s still plenty more left to be explored.
Anyone who’s felt a heartbreaking void once filled by the fast-paced espionage exploits of Eve and Villanelle since Killing Eve season 4 ended and can’t help returning to The Handmaid’s Tale book and show’s dystopian reality, then The Undeclared War should be top of your to-watch list. Set in 2024 and starring the likes of Simon Pegg and Adrian Lester, the show is fictional but chillingly all-too believable with it's focus on cyber security.
All season long a group of gifted analysts at GCHQ have been attempting to foil the attempts of Russian hackers to cause major disruption in Britain with targeted cyber attacks. Here we reveal what happened in The Undeclared War ending and what that shocking final scene could mean for our favorite characters…
*Warning: Spoilers ahead!*
The Undeclared War ending explained
Unlike the recent Sherwood ending and Silent Witness ending, The Undeclared War episode 6 could be seen as rather more ambiguous. Although it wraps up some of the show’s most significant mysteries so far, The Undeclared War’s final moments still leave a lot to the viewers’ imaginations. Exciting for some, agonizing for others, at least fans have learned what Russia's entirely fictional ultimate goal is.
The penultimate episode ended with the GCHQ team watching in horror as one of their own, John Yeabsley, appears on a Russian TV broadcast. Here he’s seen claiming publicly that Britain had faked the Russian cyber attacks and had been lying and antagonizing Russia all along and not the other way around.
Newcomer and exceptionally talented intern Saara is reeling that he could’ve betrayed them. However in The Undeclared War ending she quickly comes to the conclusion (via some impressive grammar-related puzzle-solving, no less!) that Russia had faked the broadcast as it showed him making a very obvious grammatical mistake - something the pedantic John would never have done.
Eventually this is revealed to have been true when his body is discovered and the time of death is determined to have been before John was interviewed on Russian TV. Saara is thrilled that John's been exonerated, though all around her chaos is ensuing in the aftermath of the General Election. A curfew is in place as faked imagery from Russia showing violence between police and voters and the unexpected election results have seen tension grow.
The next front line is online. #TheUndeclaredWar starts 30th June on Channel 4 and All 4@simonpegg @AdrianLester @hannahkhbr pic.twitter.com/DUfIFarqDIJune 16, 2022
Meanwhile, all season long Russian hackers had been working on a campaign of social media posts, both pro-Russia and anti-Russia to influence Britain’s public opinion. And it’s not long before Russian TV is reporting that Britain has been retaliating against them and attacking hospitals and other prominent locations in Russia using their “fake” cyber attacks as justification.
All this is made, if possible, even worse when GCHQ’s data leaks amid the attacks threaten their relationship with the US’s National Security Agency. Looking to uncover the source of the leaks in a seemingly useless string of “garbage” codes, Saara heads to the house of fellow cyber genius and GCHQ worker Gabriel.
And it’s not long before he finds something buried in the “garbage” - a code to gather and email out GCHQ data. Horrified, Saara tries to cut off the Russians - who viewers see watching proceedings calmly on a giant screen at their own HQ. Saara’s old college classmate and reluctant FSB hacker Vadim Trusov is amongst the Russians watching, though he seems disgusted by what’s unfolding.
Eventually Gabriel takes the reins after Saara is unable to permanently sever the FSB’s connection, though one of the Russians ominously declares to her colleagues that they have “more than enough” data already. By the time The Undeclared War ending reaches the final stages ironically war is definitely close to being declared.
In response to the Russians, the military launches a counter attack, though Saara’s boss Danny believes that’s exactly what they wanted them to do.
The United States, horrified by the faked images of Britain supposedly attacking hospitals, withdraws its assistance. Then Danny is told that the army’s communications are down, the nuclear submarine control system has been hacked and an unidentified aircraft has been spotted in Britain’s airspace.
“We’ve been underestimating Putin for ten years,” Danny tells his boss David. “All the way through we’ve been asking, what’s the bigger picture? The one thing we might never have considered is that he’d be insane enough to have territorial ambitions.”
“What if this whole thing is about separating us from Europe and the Americans so that when this moment came, we’d be alone?” he continues.
🚨 This is your 3-hour warning! 🚨 #TheUndeclaredWar starts tonight at 9pm. Watch the full series on All 4 any time. @simonpegg @AdrianLester @hannahkhbr pic.twitter.com/TyzgyIhl3fJune 30, 2022
As this horrifying conclusion is reached Saara comes over to deliver the final piece of this complex puzzle. Having been communicating with Vadim via an FSB computer, he’s shown her that the Russians have hacked GCHQ’s CCTV system and that’s how they’re aware of everything that’s going on.
Disgusted, disillusioned and terrified of war breaking out, Vadim reveals he no longer cares about his own safety as “this is too important”. He proceeds to translate a video of a lecture being given to employees about the Russian plan to destabilize, cause chaos and instill distrust of Britain ready for the opportune moment. In the meantime, Danny is told that a huge data dump is coming from Russia, highlighting all of the Russians’ cyber attack exploits.
Where does The Undeclared War ending leave your favorite characters?
Sadly, just like The Tourist ending, The Undeclared War ending’s final scene left things on an emotional and not entirely resolved note. As Danny excitedly puts it, Vadim’s assistance has put Britain “back in the game” politically speaking, with evidence of Russia’s attempt to influence international and UK public opinion and spread fake news. However, Vadim is caught translating the video for Saara and GCHQ by a colleague.
With one final look at the camera, Vadim's line goes dead, leaving his future unconfirmed. Given that Vadim had previously told Saara he would be killed for giving her any information it’s likely his final act was a selfless and fatal sacrifice on his part. Tears fall down Saara’s face as she turns away from the computer screen he’d been talking to them from as the credits start to roll.
And whilst Saara, Danny and the others in the GCHQ team are alive and have what they need to prove Britain was targeted, fans didn’t actually get to see this resolution. For all we know, the Russians had a backup plan in place or the unidentified aircraft was too far into its journey to be called off. Although Vadim’s information will have helped, the damage wreaked by the cyber attacks is still being felt at the time of The Undeclared War ending.
Unfortunately it’s not been confirmed that the series will be renewed as yet. But whether or not the show’s writer, Peter Kosminsky, might want to continue this particular storyline or introduce another, there’s so much scope for a second season. And there will no doubt be many fans excitedly hoping that The Undeclared War ending isn’t the last we see of these talented analysts…
All six episodes of The Undeclared War are available to watch now on All 4, or watch weekly at 9pm Thursdays on Channel 4.
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Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use , Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!
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