Hanna (“Utrax”)

Season 1, Episode 8
Date of release: March 29, 2019 (Amazon Prime)

And thus endeth the first season of the show, somewhat giving it a round and proper ending, in spite of the Utrax storyline apparently being relocated, which means it will continue to be a plotline in the show, although I am hoping it won’t be. In this episode, Hanna tried to convince the girls, and only one of them went with her and Erik. There is no reason for Hanna to try and break them out again, even though I am wondering what the second season will be about, now that Hanna feels like she is finally free, and no one is hunting her down. The Utrax program leaders would be stupid to try again and catch Hanna, after she eradicated most of their soldiers, and Marissa is definitely not interested in catching Hanna, since she let her go. It looks to me like a different premise will be executed for the second season, but the interesting question is, how much of the show will bleed over to the next batch of episodes?

This was a satisfying finale. As expected, Erik dies, and as expected, he was able to put on a heroic show before he walked towards the light, which was the only possible death Erik deserved to get in the show. I was almost teary-eyed, as he was slowly passing away, and Hanna couldn’t do anything but listen to his final request. It was touching and emotional, especially when Hanna called Erik “Dad” during his final seconds, closing the circle and establishing the fact that Erik might not have been Hanna’s father, but he was always her Daddy. It didn’t need to be said out loud here, but it’s pretty obvious what Hanna thinks of Erik now, and how she will think of him from here on. Now she has lost both her parents. A 15 or 16-year-old orphan, possibly hunted by the entire world that thinks of himself to be like Jerome Sawyer, only having a couple of friends to call up on. It’s certainly freedom, but what really can Hanna do, especially with Clara in tow now? Their lives have to be reimagined, putting even more question into what David Farr is about to do for the second season.

One of her superpowers is whispering to a dog.

Anyway, I appreciated how low-key the compound “assault” was, and how easy it was for both Erik and Hanna to kill their way through a bunch of soldiers, and even having the opportunity to at least try to talk some, if not all, of the girls into coming with them. Jerome might have counted on the fact that the girls could defend themselves against the introducers, but that would also mean Jerome had too much trust in his plans working out, which is probably why he always thought he could push off the killings he had to do on other people (and they always failed), and which is most likely why he ended up dead by Marissa’s hands. Still, the show always knew how to not overdo things and how to keep the action on a grounded level — the soldiers at the compound were outnumbered, probably didn’t have the training or experience to defend an assault, so it seemed pretty logical that Hanna and Erik would have it easy to slice and dice and shoot their way through the hallways. Although maybe Hanna was a little too perfect with her supersoldier moves. She was close to being a superhero, ready to get assimilated into the Avengers, and that made me think there isn’t a lot of difference between fictional characters like Hanna and Black Widow. Hanna could have done the same things Natasha was able to in MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS, including piloting one of the Chitauri vessels and leaping her way to the top of Stark Tower. And now that I have compared HANNA to the NIKITA revival and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s time for some crossovers.

Color plays a major role in this show.

There isn’t really much else to say about this episode. It only had one purpose (the assault of Utrax), it finished off with a character (Erik), it established for good that another character has turned (Marissa), it teased a few elements that could be of importance in the second season (242’s questionable look to the left among her peers), it finished off the villain (Jerome), and it literally burned down the story arc that was keeping both the back story and the current narrative together (the Utrax facility). All of them little things this episode managed to deal with and put a closing stamp on it, as if David Farr really wanted the show to end with this episode. Sometimes there is an advantage to shows with a slow method of storytelling, as there is a lot of time to focus on one specific thing, to make the story more coherent, to make the excitement more long-lasting. But it also means there isn’t much to talk about in this day and age, where television fanatics like me like to browse the internet and search for clues what this and that means, or whether there are signs of an entirely different back story ahead of us between the dialogue lines. In HANNA’s case there aren’t, which means the show is basically over and done. Except of course there is going to be another season.

A new heroic action figure has emerged in the season finale.

Best part of the episode: Clara’s use of the assault rifle, while Hanna is running around one level up. That was a beautiful imagery of an action scene, showcasing that Hanna can build her own little army to go against the people who hurt her.
Worst part of the episode: Ugh, Marissa had to keep Jerome alive, kidnap him, and use him to get into Utrax. Of course that could only have gone south. And of course Jerome didn’t make sure that Marissa was truly dead this time around.
Weirdest part of the episode: The soldiers at the complex were Stormtroopers, judging by their inability to hit anything with their guns. Erik and Hanna were pretty much out in the open, anyone could have finished them off. But no, they had to be fodder for the two main characters to kill.
Player of the episode: Clara looked good as a girl who got most of her senses together during Erik and Hanna’s assault. It’s good to be different. It probably saved Clara’s life in this episode, because who knows where the trainees are headed.

Hanna (“Road”)

Season 1, Episode 7
Date of release: March 29, 2019 (Amazon Prime)

It’s time for the inevitable climax and clean-up, because this episode was clearly the episode to lead straight into the season finale. Hanna gets answers, Erik basically said goodbye to her, and Marissa made moves that would confirm her as an ally, although it would have been a more clearer message if she had put a bullet in Jerome’s brain at the end of the episode, instead of just looking at him and telepathically telling him “I told you so.” And for an episode leading into the season finale, it was both an exciting hour and a quiet and slow character study — something HANNA is now known for, and hopefully won’t move away from for the second season. Yes, HANNA is a slowly told television drama, but I have come to like the sense of slow pace, and I would come to expect it for the second season, although every once in a while it wouldn’t hurt for the show to move a storyline forward more quickly here and there. Still, having followed the characters through Poland, Morocco, Berlin, Britain and now Romania, it’s only logical that the narrative can’t be sped up. In hindsight, I am impressed that the show managed to be this captivating with such a slow-moving narrative. It must mean that the characters were working, and their potentials were captured to the fullest.

Will she be the new hero of the story?

Of course, the Utrax scenes could have been cut, even if they happened to be the lead to the next episode. Introducing the place Erik and Hanna are about to blow up was the right decision, and teasing the potential that one of the kids might defect the program and join the two incoming rebels was a correct thing to do, since Hanna and Erik couldn’t be doing all of this by themselves, so they basically need an ally on the inside. Still, those Utrax scenes reminded me too much of the reimagined NIKITA on The CW, and all I was thinking about was that one of the kids already had a rebel fighter outside, waiting to hit the lab. Girl “249” for example looked like she was about to, ehm, wake up from the 15-year-long trance, and that might just be because she either has certain memories, or maybe her parents have found her already, and they happened to be pros in the spy game. Is 249’s mother to be played by Maggie Q? Because that would be freaking awesome.

The trip to Romania was solid. Hanna gets the answers she has been silently asking for, and for once I was happy that Erik was answering most of Hanna’s question. No more stoic silence from the man with a bullet still in his chest, instead Erik delivered a silent purpose — he knows what he has to do, what he is about to do, and he figured out how to keep Hanna out of it, to promise her a normal life. Besides that, it does look like Erik is about to join the afterlife in the next episode. Not only did Marissa call his upcoming action a suicide mission, but the bullet hole in his chest causes him a few problems here and there, which should be fatal at some point, considering how he exercises himself to kill bad guys or to evade an onslaught of bullets. And judging by Erik and Hanna’s sorta-goodbye, and her decision to join him in the fight, it pretty much looked, smelled and felt like this mission is about to be Erik’s last. And it seems proper, too. He saved Hanna from the shutdown of the Utrax program, he raised her and taught her how to survive and fight, he protected her as much as he could when the two were on the outside. He isn’t her biological father, and he doesn’t have any more intel to give her about either the program or her biological parents. In a way, Erik’s clock has been running down to zero, and I only noticed it during this episode. His death would not only be deserved, but it would also be the only logical outcome for his character, as he does not have any more to offer Hanna. Who knows, maybe Marissa will be the parental figure of hers in the second season?

Marissa doesn’t care about her hairstyle when defending her life.

Meanwhile, Jerome and his people continued to be freaking idiots. He again told his men to get rid of someone, and again he didn’t do it himself. And once more, the person he judged to a quick execution came away with it, and instead his men died. Jerome is such a shitty leader, I’m still surprised he is in fact the leader. All these times he failed to deliver either Erik or Hanna to his bosses, all these times he failed to kill his opponents… Oh yeah, Marissa definitely deserved that moment to put a bullet in his brain, and not just because Jerome was a crappy leader. Marissa simply should have killed him, because he intended to kill her (and maybe her partner and his kid). I can only hope that Jerome is in fact dead and won’t show up with a few bruised ribs in the next episode, just so David Farr has a supervillain on his hand he can exploit. Because if he does show up, it will be beyond any logic.

It’s a goodbye scene, so prepare leakage of the tear ducts.

Best part of the episode: This show circumvented some cliches by having Erik’s mother sell him out immediately, even if she sold him out to Marissa, who happened to become an ally for hopefully more than just an evening at the motel. Usually, family members are always loyal to their heroic kids, but I guess Erik’s mother thought differently of her son. That was quite a nice story move.
Worst part of the episode: Jerome Sawyer. No more words necessary about this piece of crap special agent, who can’t manage to end a mission with a win. “You’re gonna be tired of winning,” he probably said before all of his missions.
Weirdest part of the episode: Of course the Utrax kids happened to be brainwashed robots, trained to become all-knowing soldiers for whoever is having a say over the program. There was not one single ounce of personality in any of those kids, which means not everything about this episode was David Farr circumventing cliches.
Player of the episode: Mireille Enos deserves the award for her little action scene in the field. A lot can be done with a hidden knife, and she made it count. Plus points to the scene being shot in one take, instead of cutting it into 17 different pieces in the editing bay. I’m looking at you, TAKEN 3.

Hanna (“Mother”)

Season 1, Episode 6
Date of release: March 29, 2019 (Amazon Prime)

Well, wasn’t this a convenient episode for both Hanna and Erik. Both couldn’t have been more separated after the end of the Berlin arc, and Erik couldn’t have been more healthy after getting shot and being frozen still for a few hours to not only escape, but also take a quick jet to Britain and pick up Hanna, before Marissa’s guys were able to do so. It’s convenient that Erik was faster in getting to Britain than Marissa’s guys were, and it’s convenient that Marissa was so emotionally attached to Hanna during this episode, doing her best to keep her promise and protect Hanna until she is delivered to the people she works for. It’s convenient that Marissa didn’t turn into something of an ally here, just to make sure that the show still has a villain, after Erik turned out to be the hero again. And I was counting so much on Erik turning into a bad guy, and Marissa realizing what kind of evil she is working for. I was expecting for Marissa’s box of secrets to blow up in her face, like it did for Erik, and to start turning against her employers. Granted, that can still happen, especially with a second season in mind, but this episode might have been a perfect beginning for Marissa’s importance in the story, and her transformation from ruthless villain to conflicted ally.

And it’s pretty clear that Marissa isn’t the ruthless villain of the show. She kept her word when it comes to protecting Sophie’s family, and she was never bad or lying to Hanna while she was in her “custody.” In fact, I still believe that Marissa taking Hanna’s picture might not have been for the Utrax files, and instead just Marissa’s way of connecting with the kid, maybe really wanting to protect her, because she knows what’s coming for Hanna, and maybe this really was the beginning of Marissa’s transformation. It would definitely help her character and the show, because I cannot imagine that Marissa will always be evil — that would be boring after a while. Character development has to happen at one point.

This could have been the moment to finally kill Erik, and capture Hanna a few days later.

So, Hanna spent all of the episode in Britain. She certainly comes around – Poland in the pilot, Morocco in the second episode, Berlin for most of the previous episodes, and now Britain. Which county or city is next, and how expensive must it have been to produce the show, now that it has gone through for different settings, barely being shot on a soundstage (if ever — at this point I can’t even tell if something was shot on a soundstage, although Erik’s freezer room looked like quickly assembled for the sake of saving some of the budget money). What a shame that she already had to leave Sophie again, because I wouldn’t have minded to see where the soapy story of Hanna sleeping with Anton would have gone, and how mad Sophie would have been about that in hindsight, considering she is just a teenager, and all her life is about is teenage stuff. Her turn into a worried best friend was a bit weird though, especially after Sophie looked like she was about to sell out Hanna to “Claire,” but then Sophie was pushing Tom to hit her, and all of a sudden I was floored by this angry family dynamic. They are about to fall apart, and they might have accelerated their fate, simply because Hanna was in their lives, and they got helplessly involved in a secret spy game. Now even more so, after Dan realized that Hanna’s birth place is blacked out by this episode’s version of Google Maps. Realistically speaking through, this would be the end of Sophie and her family. For Marissa, they are a threat, and for Hanna, they are a liability.

Only for her private collection.

The evacuation scene at the end was pretty cool, in spite most of the action being camouflaged by the fact that the camera was distanced, that there were a lot of people walking by, and because Hanna and Erik couldn’t just have shot their way through. Still, seeing Hanna actively fighting her way through some of Jerome’s bulky guys, and even breaking some hands and necks with her legs gave me joy. It’s about time for Hanna to stop just letting things happen to her and fight for her life. She might need the experience of fighting people, if the writers ever thought about putting the Utrax kids against her, and all of a sudden it’s Hanna versus however many kids were part of the program in 2004.

By the way, it was a very chic reveal that the Utrax program was still active, and that Marissa was most likely duped herself back then. Maybe she killed the babies, but maybe she also didn’t know that the program was either bigger than was told to her, or there was a twin version of it running without her knowledge (which means Marissa taking Hanna’s picture was not for Utrax, but for herself). And considering how evil Jerome has been since he got introduced, I still think that it’s a good idea to create a violent confrontation between Marissa and Jerome over the Utrax program and how it must continue (his thoughts) or should never have been started in the first place (her opinion). Like I said multiple times already, Marissa is about to become an ally of sorts for Erik and Hanna, and it’s needed for the show to not have it be run of the mill by the second season.

Taking aim at the wannabe mother, but respecting her too much to take the shot.

Best part of the episode: The fact that Erik will never say “I might not be your father, but I was always your daddy” to Hanna, although he has any right to do so, and continue to act like her father, just to protect her. The guy went through pain to get back to Hanna. That’s love.
Worst part of the episode: Of course, Dan conveniently finds out a secret about Hanna, and of course he immediately needs to tell someone else. Plot conveniency, here we are.
Weirdest part of the episode: Jerome lets the “villains” live is really something he should think about not doing any longer. Dieter was still alive, and he gave the job of killing Erik to someone else. No wonder why he got his ass metaphorically kicked in this episode. Maybe Jerome should do his own killing from now on, so he won’t be surprised by the failure of a mission.
Player of the episode: Rhianne Barreto sold her character for me here. While I was a bit weirded out by Sophie’s change in opinion about Hanna, that scene where she went against her father and pushed him to hit her was strong.

Hanna (“Town”)

Season 1, Episode 5
Date of release: March 29, 2019 (Amazon Prime)

Now we’re getting to a point of the show where other writers get a chance to put their stamp on the story. The first four episodes of HANNA have definitely been defined by how David Farr saw the story, and how he maybe wanted the 2011 film to look like, if it hadn’t been for Hollywood restrictions, but this episode was basically handing the baton over to someone else for a show at Hanna’s character development, and you could definitely notice how different this episode is from the previous ones. Hanna was even more disconnected from the spy games than she wished she wanted to be during the past four hours, and she had the greatest experience of living a normal life so far, reuniting with her best friend, hanging out with boys, and making out with one without having to be interrupted by security guards. Hanna losing her virginity might not just be story material removed from the treasure box of cliches, but it could work to give Hanna some purpose for the remainder of the story. So far she didn’t really have anything to fight for. She was always on the sidelines, maybe defended herself (and Sophie) here and there, absolutely not into Erik’s mission of wanting to kill Marissa. But now that she has tasted life, and Marissa is already after her again, chances are she will have to get in the fight not just to defend her own life, but also those of her new friends she acquired these days.

Talking about what to do with the strange girl in the garage.

Besides that, HANNA looks like a better show with a couple more characters in the mix. Dan and Anton are certainly not the brightest boys in town, and for this episode they sort of worked as plot devices, but it’s imaginable that they could find some character depth on their way to the next episode, and suddenly becoming more important for Hanna’s wellbeing, whether it be protecting her from the bad guys hunting her down, or inadvertently risking Hanna’s exposure to Marissa and Jerome. That actually reminds me of Netflix’s STRANGER THINGS, and how the boys were protecting Eleven – she was the strongest and more smartest among the group, which is the same case with Hanna and her group of friends. But Eleven had a varied view of life, and needed to learn how to be with and around other people, how to be less conspicuous out in the open, and how to survive the world she has never seen before she escaped from the world she was involuntarily kept in. All this can also be said about Hanna. And both HANNA and STRANGER THINGS couldn’t be more different when it comes to being a streaming drama television show.

Anton is only interested in fishes out of water.

Nothing much was happening in Berlin, which I was happy about, since I was more interested in seeing what Hanna was up to, and how she was coping with her new surroundings. As expected, her trip to Anton’s house party would expose her (it’s a good thing it didn’t take Marissa long to find her on Instagram), and as expected, she would start becoming more interested in what girls her age should always be interested in, giving you a sense that Hanna’s biology is working like it should be for a person her age in the 21st century: Even highly skilled and trained assassins with modified DNA feel the lust for love and sex in the middle of the night, sitting at a campfire, looking into the eyes of a hot young man. You can’t just erase the natural biology out of a human being. Anyway, that Erik was captured at the end was a bit of a surprise. Not only could it destroy my hopes for him to develop into a villain, but with a bullet hole in his chest, and pretty much no full strength, it would be illogical for Erik to escape yet again, which means he will be in Jerome’s hands for a while. Erik can start thinking about how to give up Hanna’s world, just so he can survive, while Jerome gets the chance to be depicted as the villain I think he will be after the previous episode and this one.

Captured at last.

In the meantime, I am starting to believe that Marissa could turn from a villain to an ally for Hanna, and maybe Erik. Her trauma of having to get rid of the Utrax babies could haunt her into trying to be a better person, trying to remedy all the mistakes she has made over the course of her career, but there is also an opportunity to create a conflict between Marissa and Jerome. As it is slowly becoming obvious, Jerome is the bad guy to take out for now, and Marissa was following her instinct when she didn’t tell Carl that she found Hanna, and that she was on her way to Britain. Maybe, just maybe, Marissa wants to protect Hanna from Jerome, because Marissa knows what is going to happen to Hanna, when Jerome finds her first. And having Marissa face her darkest fears with the baby cries in the middle of the night, the writers have definitely opened up a chapter to depict Marissa’s change as a character. But will it hold until the season finale, and might it turn out to be a great story in the second season? A question that will certainly be needing an answer.

Best part of the episode: The headshot was a shocking twist. It was obviously announced, with Dieter being pressured to give answers to Jerome, but damn, did it surprise me. Also, it’s kind of funny that the kids were watching the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake earlier in the episode. Hanna watched zombies getting headshots in the film, and then one of the characters in the show got the same treatment. That was not a coincidence.
Worst part of the episode: Most of the hour was so damn dark. It turns out GAME OF THRONES isn’t the only show suffering from mediocre lighting. But does HANNA know that sunshine exists? Or did the Sun only come out when the characters were in Northern Africa?
Weirdest part of the episode: I don’t know whether to buy that Sophie was into both Dan and Anton, and if Hanna sleeping with Sophie’s crush will break the two apart. It all looks like a normal teenage drama — a girl loves two boys, but the girl’s best friend sleeps with one of them — but it was weirdly developed in this episode. Even if Hanna happened to lie about what she talked with Anton about. No one cares about friendship in this episode.
Player of the episode: That dumb kid at the movie night get-together gets this award for deserving to get hit in the face by Hanna’s foot. Perfect stuff!

Hanna (“Father”)

Season 1, Episode 4
Date of release: March 29, 2019 (Amazon Prime)

Most of the times, remaking a feature film into a television show only exists as an idea, because writers and producers (and the TV network) hope that viewers jump in due to name recognition. And while the TV adaptation gets necessarily expanded, just to fill the additional time, there never seems to be a TV adaptation worthy of consideration of being a better product than the film it originated from. FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS is an example of a show better than the film. PARENTHOOD, too, but those shows had it easy to become great television dramas, as they were dealing with character depth and soap opera storylines, making them “easy”-to-write television shows. But here is HANNA, turning into a completely different television adaptation fo a feature film. It’s almost like David Farr realized while writing the 2011 film that he wasn’t able to get into all the stuff he wanted to, due to a constrained running time, but thank the heavens that streaming television exists, so Farr was able to finally expand on the character he created for the sake of the character. HANNA, the 2011 film, and HANNA, the Amazon Prime show, have now become two entirely different entrances of the eponymous character, and I get the feeling that HANNA, the 2011 film, was always supposed to be like HANNA, the Amazon Prime show.

Hanna witnesses the family life.

I already came to realize this during the previous episode, but this hour made it certain: Hanna is experiencing various stages of life. Life she should have had as a normal human being. Life she is craving for, because the spy games turn out to be terrible for her character development. In the first episode she is living life as a secluded human, showing us what it’s like to be an abnormal person. The second episode showed us Hanna on the run, proving the point of the first episode, and establishing that Hanna is anything but ordinary. But the second episode also made clear that Hanna would like to live a normal life, and that the spy games she was born into isn’t to her liking. The previous episode had her planted in a big city — alien to her, maybe even a little scary. But she is starting to see what it’s like to be normal. She converses with her father’s friends, she plays football (or at least she attempted to), and she is being treated like the girl she is supposed to be at her age: not respected by her father, not being listened to (except for that one thing about the men with guns in the hotel), not being respected as who she is. Because really, which 16-year-old is being respected or listened to by her parents? This episode went a step further and had Hanna be placed inside a functioning family. A mother, a father, a couple of kids — it’s almost like Hanna was part of a family for a few minutes, and once more she came to experience the life of a normal kid. All while continuing to navigate around the spy games she was born into, having to uncover more secrets that will eventually disconnect her from that life entirely. Until it will pull her back in, which is what I think will the finale be about. Especially after Amazon Prime has renewed HANNA for a second season.

Sophie gets a call from a mystery person.

I’m glad that Hanna learned halfway through the season that Erik was lying. I loved that she ran away from him, no shits given about whether he survives on the airfield or not, and I loved that she took initiative for real once, behaving like a 16-year-old girl would when being told by her father to stay put (by not listening to her father). If she can’t get any straight answers from the people who watch over her, then she guessed she might be better off getting the answers on her own. And she does all this while experiencing life once more, as she was walking through the nightlife of Berlin, probably not liking much of it. But it’s not like everything is so rosy about a metropolitan city in the middle of the night. When the night breaks, the ghouls and drug addicts come out to play, and a 16-year-old girl usually doesn’t fare well in that environment.

The only thing I was a bit annoyed about during this episode was Erik and Marissa’s relationship. I get that he needed her help to get out of the country, but David Farr could have played the question-and-answer game pretty well here and deliver back story through dialogue, just to finally explain what the secret program 16 years ago was actually about, and why unhappy pregnant mothers-to-be were collected in the first place, for babies to be genetically upgraded in the womb. The answer to that question might be obvious, but who knows if the CIA planned to use supersoldiers like the SSR in the Marvel Cinematic Universe once wanted (and after them S.H.I.E.L.D.), or if there might even be a much sinister agenda behind the project, which Erik essentially went against, just because he developed a connection with Johanna.

And Marissa learns how to kiss her ass goodbye.

Best part of the episode: Hanna hiding in Dieter’s car and experiencing for a hot second his job as smuggler was a bit weird at first, but it turns out it was a great lead to getting Hanna to England and see her best friend again. Now that Hanna makes this stupid mistake of wanting to be part of a family, wanting to have friends, she is essentially risking Sophie’s life, as well as her family. This is where the show should become a little more exciting, as Hanna is going to defend that family with all costs, while Erik will try to get back to Hanna.
Worst part of the episode: Erik and Marissa weren’t talking about a lot, when they were face to face for most of the episode. A little disappointing in hindsight.
Weirdest part of the episode: Is Jerome a recurring character now? After Michael has been finished the way he was served off, it almost looks like one of Marissa’s colleagues, who happened to be a menace, is being replaced by a new colleague of Marissa’s, who also might be a menace. Not that I think Michael and Jerome are similar, but it feels awkward that one character had to be killed off, just for Marissa to immediately get a replacement character.
Player of the episode: It turns out that Dieter was not an asshole after all. He really loves his kids, he loves his wife, and he loves his criminal job. Plus points for always staying calm with a strange girl in his apartment, whom he knows could kill you in your sleep. It’s like he trusted her, which could also mean he knew all along that Hanna was trying to do whatever she thought she had to do, and he never stopped her.

Hanna (“City”)

Season 1, Episode 3
Date of release: March 29, 2019 (Amazon Prime)

This show has some serious tension going on, as well as the realistic depiction of not-so-violent violent action. Erik walking around the hotel and throwing smoke grenades looked like it came straight from a real-life experience of one of the writers or producers of the show, finally being able to put the experiences into a script and then to a screen for once. The smoke grenade just explodes, creates a few sparks that brighten up its surroundings, but other than that it’s all smoke, and it’s all panic and terror for everyone around Erik, who think they are in the middle of a terrorist attack. The hotel “attack” scene is a serious contender of one of the best scenes of 2019 television, but I’m not really focusing on the word “serious” here, because I already know I am too lazy to make a Best Of list at the end of the year. But if I would do one, guarantee is that this scene is a contender in some category.

Besides all that, this was generally a fantastic episode. I am in love with the style and execution of the show, and in this particular hour I appreciated how Hanna wasn’t even the main character. Granted, it was expected that Hanna would become a secondary character at one point, and that the story would help itself with a flashback narrative, but I appreciated it a whole lot that Erik was put under the spotlight with this episode, and how he sort of turned out to be an antagonist in Hanna’s story as well. He doesn’t answer her questions, he only talks about how he wants to kill Marissa, and there could be a chance that Hanna never believed him when he said he didn’t kill her mother. From this episode forward, I can imagine Hanna distancing herself from her father, and the conflict between the two becoming a major storyline for the remainder of the season, and maybe even the entire show, as it won’t be this easy to figure out who really is the supervillain in the show, and who has Hanna’s best interest at heart. After this episode, I don’t even think anyone has Hanna’s best interest at heart.

That drink can only be goods when half of it is on the table or the floor.

So far, every episode looks and feels differently. The premiere episode was somewhat of a survival drama in the snowy woods — two characters trying to survive, and a kid trying to grow up among no people at all. The second episode sent Hanna to the big world. She traveled, she made friends, she connected with humanity and started to like it. It’s what life would look like to her when she does no longer have to deal with whatever Erik was planning for her. This episode had Hanna pushed to the background, as she was only able to watch what Erik and his army friends were doing. It’s what life would be like for her, when no one around her gives a shit or believes in her, when she is being rejected left and right and no one is listening to her (with the exception of Erik listening to her once, after she had reservations about Lucas’ fear). It’s sort of like each episode is built around the premise of Hanna being dropped in a particular slice of life, and her task is it to figure out how to live in it, maybe collect all those different life experiences, so she can make her own life at the end of the season or series. Naturally I am interested to see how Hanna’s experiences come together at the end, and whether she will be allowed to choose one of the experiences for her permanent life. And according to this episode she might have found some enjoyment in the life of a party girl. Dancing it out in the van like she just transformed herself back to the club from the previous episode could be proof that Hanna just wants to be a normal girl.

When the supposed hero of the world is surrounded by three guns.

That kind of could compare Hanna to the likes of Buffy Summers and Sydney Bristow, whose lives were predetermined by (sometimes evil) men beforehand, with the two women being pushed into the lives they were trained for from a very young age. At one point you could create an A-Force with these women characters, write them around a story in which they not only have to save the world, but also get rid of all the (sometimes evil) men who think they can define the life of a baby girl before she even had the chance to tell them what she really wants to do. And not unlike the vampire slayer from Sunnydale, California, Hanna is being pushed into the world of spy games and murder, all while she wants to experience the adventures of being a young woman on the verge of maturity. And if the show goes into exactly that while building the potential conflict between Hanna and Erik, then I will definitely be interested in the show for the remainder of its run. While it might be a cliche of the genre to see a woman defy the men who chose the life for her, I do like to see it play out on the small or the big screen.

Hanna’s sleeping accommodates get more comfortable with each episode.

Best part of the episode: Hanna dancing to club music. She made the tight van space count.
Worst part of the episode: Damn, Berlin became a shit town, after it was ransacked by a group of soldiers. That it was so easy for a weapons depot to be broken into is beyond any reasoning. No alarm system going off when the fence was cut, no absolute panic by the two cops closing in on the van, knowing that something is fishy and some of their weapons might get stolen right now… The Berlin police should sit down and learn how to keep guard.
Weirdest part of the episode: How Marissa managed to turn Lucas just by mentioning the secret and potential lies that is Hanna is kind of hilarious. For so long he saw himself as unbreakable, that he can’t be bought when it comes to selling out his friends, but mention Hanna, and the chance that Erik might not even be her father, and suddenly Lucas works for Marissa… Okay then.
Player of the episode: The flashbacks might have been there to fill some airtime and give attention to the origin story, but Johanna turned into an interesting character nonetheless. Faced with one difficult decision after another, she was essentially the character fighting for Hanna before her life began. Besides that, she is a deceased character, and yet the show gives her depth.

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.