Ever since it premiered in November 2022, The Iron Heart has indeed filled our weeknight primetime viewing with action, drama, and excitement as we followed Apollo, astoundingly portrayed by Richard Gutierrez, in his totally challenging missions – from avenging the death of his beloved adoptive father to taking on the heroic pursuit of bringing down a powerful crime syndicate.
And after everything that he went through in his slew of battles against the bad guys that ran for almost a year and even reached Italy and Japan, our mighty hero still came out as the winner, attesting that, time and time again, good will always prevail against the bad. But before he’s able to finally claim “mission accomplished,” our mighty hero went through a lot of predicaments that broke his heart and further motivated him to keep going no matter what happens.
The last week of “The Ultimate Ride” finale commenced with the appalling demise of his biological father, Engr. Priam Dela Torre (Albert Martinez), which happened right in front of him. They were having an argument then regarding Apollo’s failed mission, which he did on purpose in hopes of persuading Priam to come with him and cut his connections with Tatsulok for him to still have a renewed life. Instead of heeding to his son’s pleas, he asked Apollo to either let him walk away or for him to continue choosing what is right. But Apollo insisted that he must face the consequences of his crimes, which compelled Priam to take his own life by shooting himself to his heart – much to the horror and anguish of Apollo.
Of course, it wasn’t only Apollo who was saddened by the terrible news, but also Selene (Dimples Romana), Priam’s most trusted right-hand in Tatsulok who had treated him like her own father. Unbeknown to her, it’s not the only death that she and Tatsulok had to confront, as Nyx (Sofia Andres) also died after being accidentally shot by one of the minions of Eros (Jake Cuenca).
Although she promised Eros to stick by his side through no matter what, Nyx tried to persuade him to just surrender to the authorities instead of running away again as she wanted for them to live in peace. But her pleas fell on deaf ears as Eros was so adamant, so she decided to jump off their getaway car and rode pillion on Apollo’s motorcycle. Apollo was then able to come as soon as possible to rescue her after learning about Eros’ wicked plan of exterminating Tatsulok through their conversation over the phone. Coincidentally, Apollo and the CIB were already preparing to seize Altare, the criminal syndicate led by Eros.
Meanwhile, after a long time of not getting in touch with each other, Troy (Louise Abuel) was completely astonished to see Iris (Krystal Brimner) again, especially because she was with two CIB officers. During their chat, she presented to him the box that contained the gift that her ex-boyfriend Mike had given to him before she disappeared. Cronus (Anthony Jennings) arrived all of a sudden, and urged Iris to open the box and they were all bewildered to find a mysterious phone inside.
As she opened the phone, Eros simultaneously received a message to his phone, which showed a map pointing at the location where Troy, Cronus, and Iris were. It turned out to be the very phone that both Tatsulok and Altare had been looking for, which used to be under the care of Icarus (Raffy Yllana), who’s in-charge of managing Altare’s financial operations.
Eros wasted no time and immediately went there. He was able to catch them and tried to ask them to give him the phone, but they refused and told them that they would only hand it to Apollo. This enraged him, compelling him to use force in taking it away from them. The three youngsters tried to fight him with all their might, which ended up with Troy being fatally shot by Eros. Apollo suddenly arrived at the scene, but was a bit to late as Eros was able to take the phone away with him. The latter went on to escape, with Apollo finding himself fighting against Eros’ minions singlehandedly. Just when he thought that it’s already over, he was surprised to see more goons at the dead end with all their guns aimed at him, which compelled him to surrender.
Heeding to Nyx’s request for him to go away and live a new life, Dylan (Lance Pimentel) went straight to Selene and Orcus (Christian Vasquez) to inform them regarding her death. Just when he was about to leave, Selene told him that he’s welcome to mourn for Nyx with them. The following day, the CIB attacked their hideout. Unbeknown to Theo (Cris Villanueva), the CIB men were able to follow him without his inkling after they spotted him buying flowers from a store.
Just when Orcus, Selene, and Theo were ready to surrender, Dylan mustered the courage to hostage their leader, which resulted in a bloody battle among them. Dylan faced his tragic death after choosing to sacrifice his own life to allow Selene and Orcus to escape, while Theo was arrested after failing to escape due to the gunshot in his leg. Selene and Orcus almost got cornered by the CIB, but they courageously engaged in a shootout with them and subsequently jumped off the bridge to the river upon running out of bullets.
Apollo, on the other hand, found himself waking up in Japan and being taken by unknown Japanese men in black suits. They might be many, but Apollo had managed to conquer them during an intense fisticuff and went on his own way through the bustling streets of Tokyo. Penniless, he was able to steal a phone from a random man standing on the street and contact Harmonia (Carmen Soo) to notify her that he’s in Tokyo. He met with an acquaintance of Harmonia, who brought him to the bar where Altare men usually hangout, and found Eros meeting with some of them.
Eros warned Apollo that he’s in Altare territory, but the latter was really determined to beat him and told him that he would keep coming for him wherever he goes. As Eros ridiculed him, Apollo implied that he’s not just there as a secret agent, but also as his friend who’s resolute in ending all his evil ways and in giving him another chance to set everything straight without the need of killing him. However, Eros didn’t feel the same way towards him as he told his men to gang up at him as he left.
Of course, Apollo was able to overcome them once again and followed Eros and his henchmen until they reached the place that seemed to be the main hideout of Altare. They welcomed him by brandishing katanas, which they used in their attempt to murder him. Surprisingly, Apollo wasn’t only skilled in fighting through guns and fisticuffs, but also through katana, as he’s able to defeat all of Eros’ henchmen all by himself.
Since neither of them was willing to give in, a nail-biting duel between them using katana ensued, in which Apollo was able to triumph over Eros. As the latter was still hesitant to give him the phone that contained the contact details of all the most powerful members of Altare around the world, the former told him that it would symbolize his retraction from evil. Besides, he reminded him that he should not allow Altare to take full control of his life not let them make decisions for him.
In the end, Apollo wasn’t only able to convince Eros to give him the coveted phone, but to also restore their friendship that was lost due to the latter’s hunger for power. However, that was only short-lived as Eros was treacherously shot on the forehead by an unidentified shooter while they were walking around the streets of Japan together.
Apollo then went back to the Philippines, visiting the grave of his biological father Priam and going home to his remaining family – his Uncle Hector (Roi Vinzon), Lia (Althea Ruedas), Cronus, and Troy. The two lads enlisted to the CIB as trainees. He then met with Menandro (Ian Veneracion), who was able to survive after Priam and Apollo fatally shot him. Well-loved couple Selene and Orcus, meanwhile, were already living a peaceful and simple life in the province and are expecting their first child after surviving their death-defying stunt just to escape from the authorities who were after them.
The series capped off in a kilig and intriguing note as a mysterious beautiful woman (Sarah Lahbati) suddenly crossed the highway as Apollo was driving his motorcycle. Being the true gentleman that he is, he helped her pick up her bag and, much to his surprise, she threw him to the ground. As it turned out, the woman actually knows him and even whispered that she has a new mission for him.
Takeaways from the series and rave comments from netizens
Those who are able to religiously watch The Iron Heart right from Day 1 up to its highly anticipated “The Ultimate Ride” are arguably impressed by how consistent it was in delivering seamlessly executed action-packed scenes every night, as well as dramatic and funny ones.
Each member of the cast, regardless if they’re one of the lead stars or among the supporting ensemble cast, did beyond impressive jobs in playing their respective roles. But above all, main headliner Richard Gutierrez’s commendable performance as Agent Apollo Adelantar is able to further prove that he is indeed a strong force to reckon with in the action genre. While we’re well aware how a truly versatile and endowed actor he already is, his talented and seasoned co-actors also contributed to the magnificent act that he exhibited.
Main antagonist Jake Cuenca is indeed deserving of praises because of how he amazingly nailed his portrayal of Eros, who, from being a ruthless and cruel baddie, was able to redeem himself in the end. He was able to touch us just with mata-mata acting and his brief dramatic act in the very last episode.
In the “The Ultimate Ride” finale week, the The Iron Heart family made sure to provide viewers an epic, unforgettable, and startling adieu by filing each episode with remarkable scenes. There were the heartwarming moments of Apollo with Priam, Hector, Eros, and his remaining family; of Nyx and Eros; and of Selene and Dylan.
There were the nail-biting skirmishes in which Apollo always turned out victorious against his enemies, regardless if those were fisticuffs, shootouts, or swordfights. Those definitely highlighted the prowess of Richard in doing various stunts and routines that really astonished us. Besides, there were the intense gunfights that arose among the groups of Altare, CIB, and Tatsulok that also brought us to the edge of our seats.
A lot might have happened in the last five episodes, but we couldn’t simply overlook the quite amusing and kilig scenes between Selene and Orcus that will make us miss them as they continued to provide us with their own take on comic relief we never knew we would admire.
And most specially, the surprising cameo of Richard’s real-life spouse Sarah Lahbati in the concluding scene! That got many netizens stoked and thrilled, with some wishing for her to finally make an acting comeback in the possible season 3 of the series since it has an open-ended conclusion.
While the action genre is traditionally dominated by men, seeing a lot of female figures portraying significant roles in The Iron Heart is absolutely delighting and refreshing. It’s able to prove that women are not always princesses waiting to be rescued by their knights-in-shining-armor nor bombshells in distress because we also know how to fight and have the courage and strength to do so for ourselves and for other people.
It’s also important to note that their pool of writers was actually composed by brilliant women, namely, Generiza Reyes-Francisco, Maan Dimaculangan-Fampulme, and Mary Pearl Urtola. Girl power, indeed!
Their ideas were astoundingly executed by their terrific directors, comprised by Direk Richard Ibasco Arellano (for season 1), Lester Pimentel Ong, Wang Yan Bin, and Ian Loreños (for season 2), who gave us exceptional outputs with the help of the other members of the production team and crew.
Another thing that the audiences liked about this series is how it showed the beauty of two of the most beautiful provinces here in the Philippines, Cebu and Iloilo, by bringing us there. They also made us dreaming more Italy and Japan through the scenes that they shot there. Truly world-class, right?
Furthermore, the well-loved primetime series has also inculcated to us valuable lessons throughout its successful 10-month run. Apollo reminded us to always choose to be good amidst adversaries and enemies, a trait that he acquired from his late adoptive father Homer (Al Tantay) who repeatedly reminded him, “Walang mabuti, kung walang masama. Walang masama, kung walang mabuti. Nasa sa’yo kung alin ka do’n.”
And he’s able to pass it on to his frenemy Eros, who he’s able to convince to go back to the good side in the finale. It can be recalled that he told him prior to their last duel, “may kapangyarihan sa paggawa ng tama!” His missions are a great reminder for us that good will always prevail over bad in the end.
Eros journey also rings an important moral to us, especially those who are in power or hungry for power and fame, to not let it take over them because that would make them forget, overlook, or disregard the things that truly matters. Just like what Nyx uttered before her last breath, “For one to be great, he must stand with others, not above them.”
And lastly, The Iron Heart had showed to us what family, friendship, and love truly means. A real family doesn’t always necessarily mean having relationship by blood, but someone you can consider home. True friendship means being there to your friends through the ups and downs of life and not tolerating the bad things that they do. And genuine love is going to be always unconditional, which means not easily giving up on a loved one once they committed a mistake or had misgivings, and instead helping them get through it and being there for them no matter what.
Here are some of the rave comments from netizens that we spotted on social media:
Congratulations on the successful almost-a-year run, “The Iron Heart” fam!