Hanna (“Friend”)

Season 1, Episode 2
Date of release: March 29, 2019 (Amazon Prime)

This episode was the big test of the show: Will it continue to follow the source material closely and just expand on Joe Wright’s 2011 film, or will the show go its own path, create a new story on the way, put the characters in original situations and settings, and turn the story of the 2011 film on its head? So far, HANNA has been very close to its source material, but that seems to be changing for the better, when Hanna fought off Marissa Wiegler’s private agents at the train station, all while she pretty much made herself visible to the entire world, as well as Sophie and her family. What was never even part of the 2011 narrative could have been created by the end of this episode, and if the show follows up on it, it could change the narrative of the series. All the folks at the train station who recorded Hanna fighting her way through the muscled men with guns will most likely put their videos up online, for all of YouTube to see, for Marissa to see, for Erik to see, for Sophie to see and be confused about, and all of a sudden a lot of people are going to know about Hanna, and the chase after her might not just be a thing for about a handful of Marissa’s guys anymore. In a way, the chase for Hanna could involve multiple agencies from here on, and this makes things a little more interesting. Besides that, Hanna and Sophie are already separated again, which begs the question whether this was it for Hanna’s one and only friend, or if she will return.

Hanna was lost in the snowy forest, Sophie is lost in the scorching desert.

It turns out that focusing on Sophie and Hanna’s relationship was a great idea for this episode. It happened to never be the entire focus of the film, so spending 40 minutes on it was basically more time spent than Joe Wright did for the 2011 film. Even more so, this episode made Sophie a troublesome character, who had no problems in the world to manipulate and compromise Hanna to her will. It’s like Sophie found this girl in the middle of the forest, tabula rasa, and she decided to mold her into whatever Sophia wanted and needed during that Morocco vacation – someone to talk to, someone to hold hands with, someone to have as a wingperson, in case boys come around for a little makeout session. Someone to put make-up on, because Sophie needed a particular kind of good-looking friend at her side. I don’t know if that makes Sophie a good and positive character, although I am almost sure this part of the narrative, if Sophie happens to return, will be forgotten, as HANNA is all about Hanna executing some bad dudes, either by herself, in front of security cameras, or in front of an entire train station full of people.

Still, this episode went a great and successful deal into how Hanna could live a life, if she happened to have a real family. For a moment she was considering Sophie’s parents as her own, and vice versa (as evident during the goodbye hugs in front of the train station), and it almost looked like Sophie and Hanna were close to considering each other sisters, or at least vacation lovers, if Sophie ever happened to be depicted as a bisexual teenager, as it was the case in the 2011 film, albeit in a more subtle way. But after all this family vacation adventure Sophie was allowed to share with Hanna, one can only hope that from now on, Hanna isn’t just fighting to survive, or to meet with Erik in Berlin, but to also defend her argument in wanting to live this life she has been smelling and feeling and experiencing with Sophie. Maybe the show won’t just be about Hanna making her way through Europe and executing her pursuers, but also about her way to become a human being in this world, to learn what living is all about, and to be conflicted between what Erik has taught her in the wilderness, and what she experiences with other people in metropolitan areas, while also having to save herself from deadly doom behind every corner.

Mother and daughter when they can stand each other. I feel jealousy.

In a way, the episode’s big test was passed. For those who haven’t seen the film, this hour was much more clearer in what the show was about, and for those who have seen the film and consider it splendid entertainment, as well as the beginning of their crush on Saoirse Ronan, this episode also made certain that the television adaptation isn’t just a follower of the film. Except of course the trip to the train station and the action scene that ensued there was just a detour, and with the next episode HANNA is back on track following the source material. And if that happens, the show might have a problem.

On the other side of the medallion, when it comes to Marissa and Erik, this episode didn’t do much at all. Erik was put into the episode to remind the viewers that the guy is a main character, and that he is still part of the narrative. Marissa was put into this episode for the same reason, but in her case it felt quite unnatural, as her only deal was it to come home and converse with her husband and his kid (here is a surprise: Her husband’s kid isn’t even hers), while looking at secret files and probably thinking about how to be evil as hell, as the source material states that Marissa isn’t allowed to follow Hanna on her own. Maybe now is the time to cut ties with the 2011 film and have Marissa be more active in the case, otherwise Mireille Enos will quickly turn into an actress who is playing the role of a pretty boring character. Sitting at home for a story with her family (as conflicting as it might look when it comes to Marissa’s work life) is not at all exciting, when in Morocco and France, a teenage girl is taking apart muscle men in front of recording devices, so that YouTube can claim more advertising money from all the videos of the train station incident that will be uploaded.

A message to the recording world: Don’t mess with Hanna!

Best part of the episode: “Open your mouth.” Oh, how I love the fish-out-of-water premise with Hanna in the middle of it. That moment was a laugh-out-loud kinda scene, and it reminded me that HANNA isn’t just always dark and moody, and can also be a fun show.
Worst part of the episode: As I mentioned already, it’s Marissa’s home life. It feels alienating from the rest of the show, and it doesn’t bring anything interesting to the table for Marissa, the character.
Weirdest part of the episode: Marissa’s muscle men weren’t clever at all, when they approached Hanna at the train station while Sophie was still with her. Wasn’t it their goal to get Hanna away from the family first? Damn, no wonder Hanna kicked their asses…
Player of the episode: Sophie wins the round, as she managed to be just a normal British girl with a totally manipulative and controlling behavior. The fact that she really needed a friend in Morocco, and managed to mold herself from out of the desert, makes her the winner of the hour.

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