As befits an episode called “City”, episode 3 of Hanna picks up the storytelling pace and keeps the characters in motion. Hanna and Erik are reunited and must work together against their nemesis, Marissa, who finally gets enough screen time in this episode for character building and to reveal her backstory with Erik. The episode also has some parallels with episode 2, as Hanna is thrown into another established, troubled family. In this episode they work with Erik’s old Army gang, where she’s again relegated to the role of child, even though she’s much more than that.
Hanna’s train pulls into Berlin, as Jacobs visits Sophie’s family to question them about her. He falsely claims that Hanna’s mother is alive and has asked him to find her daughter, because Hanna’s father, who she’s been staying with, is dangerous and unstable. Then he shows the family a photo of the two guards Erik killed on the Polish-German border.
Since the family don’t know they’re in an action-suspense series and this sort of thing is to be expected, it’s very upsetting for them. Jacobs and the family all keep pushing Sophie for any information she might be holding back, out of loyalty to Hanna.
Hanna steals a bottle of water and a map of Berlin from the train station. She finds the address where she and Erik agreed to meet, a boarded up apartment. He’s not there, so she hangs around the area, waiting for him. She shares some pizza from the trash with a little dog, reminding us she still has a heart.
A drug dealer accosts her, first to sell her something, then to maybe take advantage of her in worse ways. When she fights back, he pulls a knife and she pulls a gun. Erik jumps on the guy from above, disarming him and tossing him aside. Hanna still has the gun aimed at him, intensely focused, until Erik physically moves her arm. Then she looks up at him.
Erik asks if she’s okay. She says, “I thought you weren’t coming. Where were you? What was more important than me?” He tells her that he needed to make sure she was alone.
The last time he saw her, Marissa had captured her, so she could have been followed.
They get something to eat in a restaurant while Hanna proudly tells Erik about her solo adventure across Europe. He asks if she told anyone where she was headed. She lies and tells him no, even though she actually told Sophie she was coming to Berlin.
Erik’s old Army friend Rudi picks them up from the restaurant to take them to where they’re staying. Their other friends, Lukas and Elsa, are waiting, but there was one more, Dieter, who isn’t coming. Erik is upset, because he was counting on Dieter for his unique skills.
Rudi says some rude things about Dieter having gone soft since he got married and had kids, until Erik tells him to stop, because Hanna can understand what he’s saying. Rudi, establishing his character from the get-go, is shocked that Erik “hot-housed” her in the forest. He makes it clear what he would have been using her for.
As they drive through Berlin, Hanna recites the facts Erik taught her about Berlin. They drive out to an abandoned estate on the edge of the city, where Hanna is introduced to the rest of the team for this operation. Feeling awkward and left out, Hanna asks if they knew her mother. Elsa says, no, but she wishes she had.
Hanna sees a different side of Erik here, since she’s never seen him joking and in friendly competition with friends, or working with other people at all. He’s still the overprotective papa, but forgets to also treat her like an intelligent equal, and condescends to her in the ways that teenage girls are typically condescended to in western culture, though she’s done nothing to deserve it.
In fact, she just accomplished an escape and long trip that were pretty amazing for anyone, of any age, and he didn’t even take a minute to go over what happened in a little more detail to discuss what went well and what she could have tried differently, the way he might have in the cave. The similarities to the way Sophie’s family treats her are obvious.
Erik followed his instincts with Hanna while they were alone in the forest, and worked her hard, but treated her fairly. As soon as they need to fit into mainstream culture, he starts making mistakes and treating her like a child.
Erik hands her shapeless, ugly clothes and tells her to change out of the clothes she got from Sophie, supposedly so she’ll be warm enough. In reality, Elsa’s wearing a t-shirt, so Hanna’s in no danger of hypothermia. Erik is trying to reclaim the little girl who didn’t care about looks, boys or the outside world.
Elsa shows Hanna to the cot where she’ll sleep. Hanna asks Erik why they can’t stay in a hotel, with a soft bed, like the one she stayed at in Spain. He says that he’s not surprised she was discovered, if she was staying in a hotel. He tells her when “this” is all over, she can stay in as many hotels as she wants. Hanna wonders what he’s talking about. Erik checks his gun, but doesn’t answer.
Later, Hanna overhears Erik and the others discussing their plan. Since Hanna told someone where she was headed, Marissa will be coming to Berlin. They intend to capture her and bring her to the abandoned estate. They only plan to keep her there for a couple of days, but don’t say what will happen after that. However, we know Erik wants to kill her.
Marissa arrives in Germany on what looks like an isolated airstrip. She brings Carl Meisner with her, and Jacobs is waiting to pick her up. They go to the Berlin office of, I assume, the CIA, since that’s technically who she works for. She takes charge the moment she walks in the door, gathering the staff to begin working on her operation, which is a Code 12 classification. She wants Erik tagged on all SIGINT and data retrieval systems, but, she warns them, he’s a multiple murderer, so they are not to approach or speak to him. She’s to be notified of all sightings.
The next night, Erik wakes Hanna in the middle of the night. The entire team goes to raid a local arms depot. Erik tells Hanna she has to stay in the truck, and to lean on the horn if she sees anything she doesn’t like. When she asks why she can’t have a more active role, he just tells her, “Because I say so.”
Stupidest thing a parent of a teen can say. The real answer is, because it’s her first op and the rest are used to working together, plus they know what they’re looking for, which are both important qualities on a time sensitive mission. He’s leaving Hanna to be the lookout, which is also an important, if less glamorous, job, but it’s one she’s uniquely qualified for with her enhanced senses.
Had he told her that, she would have taken her job seriously. Instead, for whatever unknown reason, the writers are choosing to have Erik keep more secrets from Hanna than makes sense. The others obviously spent time planning this heist. There’s no reason Hanna wasn’t brought in on the basics.
So Hanna, who’s never been involved with a heist before and likely wasn’t trained in this type of operation, fools around in the truck, even turns on the radio at full blast and has a dance party. It’s not clear if the patrol comes back on their normal rounds, or if they hear her, but either way, they can’t miss her once they get close. They quickly notice the hole in the fence and call in the robbery.
Hanna leans on the horn, then figures out how to drive the truck and picks up the rest of the team. They make a fast, if sloppy, getaway while being shot at, with Erik yelling out instructions. Turns out Hanna’s an excellent getaway driver, even without knowing how to drive.
Kids, don’t try this at home.
At the end of a long day, Marissa meets Jacobs in her hotel bar. She makes sure Carl has already gone to bed, since her side deal with Jacobs is off the books. She tells Jacobs that once they’ve captured Erik, she’ll hand him over for Jacobs to do what he does. Jacobs prompts her to add Hanna into the deal. Then he mocks her, saying he’s her “little secret sharer.” She tells him he’s “service provision, nothing more.”
Jacobs: “And the people behind Utrax, why don’t they help you?”
Marissa: “No, I don’t want them involved.”
Jacobs: “Do I detect a little nervousness?”
Marissa: “What happened in the past is done. I have a life now. A partner. He has a son. We go to parks, we eat ice cream. Erik Heller’s not going to ruin that.”
Jacobs: “Bury Heller, bury the past, except it’s not quite that simple, is it? We did dark things, Marissa. Things that have a habit of haunting you.”
Marissa: “Why should I feel haunted?”
Jacobs: “You don’t have bad dreams? I do.”
Marissa makes a noise of acknowledgement, turns, and walks away, as composed as ever. At least on the surface. Did I mention that Jacobs was working on an entire bottle of whiskey? Wonder how much of it he has to drink before he can sleep at night.
Back at the abandoned estate, Hanna wants her bedtime story to be about the time that Erik worked for Marissa, but he doesn’t want to talk about it, possibly can’t. Hanna insists, so he goes for the parental euphemism.
Erik: “She had me… find people. Across Europe. Bad people.”
Hanna: “And kill them?”
Hanna: “I’m not a child anymore.”
Erik does that patented Joel Kinnaman move, where he tells you a heartbreaking truth that doesn’t really answer your question, but he’s so tragic about it that it would be like kicking a puppy to push it any further. I have a feeling he gets hired sometimes specifically to make these speeches work. I know I fall for it every single time.
Erik: “After the army I was poor and had some problems. Needed money. So I worked for her for a while. Eventually I quit and went to Romania and started my life again.”
Hanna: “But Marissa Wiegler found you.”
The scene moves to flashback. Erik and Marissa sit in a cafe. He looks downtrodden and trapped. She looks smug.
Marissa: “You didn’t even say goodbye. Would that help?”
She hands him an envelope full of cash. She already knows he’ll take it and he does, though he hates himself for it. Marissa says, “I missed you.”
Hanna asks what Marissa wanted from him. Erik tells her, simply, “More work,” though it obviously wasn’t simple. Erik becomes lost in thought, as Hanna repeatedly asks what work Marissa wanted when he went back. He ends the conversation abruptly.
The next day, Marissa inspects the robbery site, where she’s told it was robbed by three men, a woman and a girl and that they must have had inside information. She suspects that Erik has called on his old army buddies and has Carl’s people pull up the files. She also tells him to watch the Treptow and Kopenick bars. When shown photos of Erik’s military units from Kosovo, 1999 and Afghanistan, 2001, Marissa recognizes Lukas, probably as someone she saw him with in bars, and has them investigate whether he’s still in the area.
Erik has Elsa following Marissa, with the task of finding out where she’s staying. Hanna realizes that, this time, Erik wanted Marissa to find them. Lukas tells her not to play chess with Erik.
Elsa follows Marissa to her hotel, but Marissa can tell she’s being watched. Jacobs shows up at her room right after she gets back, and she tells him that Erik has purposely lured her to Berlin.
Erik goes to Dieter’s apartment and wakes him by throwing pebbles at the windows, like they are teenagers. They go for a walk and talk. Erik teases Dieter about having a family, since his friend never wanted one, and confesses that he also has a daughter. Erik explains that he’s in Berlin trying to save Hanna’s life and he needs Dieter, because no one else can do what he does.
Dieter gets angry, because he doesn’t think Erik has the right to disrupt his safe life. Erik says he’s Dieter’s old friend, but Dieter is unsympathetic, since he told Erik to stay away from Marissa. Dieter walks away and Erik goes to his car. After a minute, Dieter reconsiders. He tells Erik that he’ll make himself available for emergencies only and he won’t hurt anyone.
Elsa, Rudi and Lukas play soccer while Hanna watches in confusion. They try to explain the game to her and get her to join, but she misunderstands and knocks Lukas down, then picks up the ball. Everyone is surprised by how easily she took down a grown man. Later, she practices dribbling the ball on her own, while Erik watches from inside. Rudi joins him.
Erik tells Rudi that they’ll do the operation tomorrow, himself, Rudi, Lukas and Elsa, while Hanna stays behind. They both wish Dieter were there, because it’s obvious that Lukas is no longer in his prime. They chuckle over Hanna’s take down of Lukas, then Rudi says that Hanna is “special” and he’s not referring to how well-trained she is.
I’m hoping that he wouldn’t tell a 16 year old girl’s father how attractive he thinks she is, and that I’m reading that wrong. Hopefully, he just recognizes what an amazing young woman Hanna is.
Erik flashes back to meeting Hanna’s mother, Johanna, at an abortion clinic in Romania. It was his job to lurk at clinics and recruit mothers to give up their babies instead of having abortions. He’d seen Johanna come to the clinic twice before, but she hadn’t gone through with the procedure. He tries to convince her to have a conversation with him, but she thinks he wants to talk to her for religious reasons.
After a moment, she changes her mind and goes for coffee with him, which leads to her signing the baby over to Utrax. While she signs the contract, Erik calls Marissa to tell her he’s signed up another mother. Marissa says, “Of course you do.” She adds Johanna’s name to a list of mothers and their due dates on a white board while looking very pleased.
Lukas walks into a bar and orders a drink, but the bartender refuses to serve him until his large tab is paid. He apparently has large, unpaid bar tabs all over town. Jacobs is conveniently waiting for him outside the bar. It’s a safe bet that he and Marissa made sure that Lukas couldn’t drink anywhere in town and needed money.
Jacobs takes Lukas to a shadowy warehouse, where Marissa is waiting to break him, with her fake smile on; the one that looks like her face is going to break, instead of the real one she’s usually wearing in the flashbacks. There’s a bottle of whiskey and three tumblers waiting on the table. Jacobs pours a glass each for himself and Marissa, then gives Lukas the bottle. Lukas pushes it away. Marissa asks if he remembers her from a job interview they had once. They quibble over which one rejected the other. Marissa maintains her calm and her big, fake smile.
She asks about Erik’s whereabouts, but he won’t give Erik up. Then she brings up his bad finances and says she can help. He tells her she can’t buy him and gets up to leave. As he’s about to walk out, Marissa asks him how much he actually knows about Hanna and the work Erik did in Romania. Lukas says that Hanna is Erik’s daughter. Marissa says, “Is she?” She thinks he should know what he’s risking his life for.
In this moment, Marissa is pure evil.
Erik has raised Hanna since she was a tiny infant, after her mother gave him custody. He’s the only parent she’s ever known, and he spent everyday with her. I don’t like the implication the characters make that adoptive relationships aren’t “real”. Erik is a lot more “real” as a dad than the deadbeat dad who didn’t even go to the abortion clinic with Johanna, and that’s all someone like Lukas should need to know.
When Lukas eventually returns to the group’s lair, he’s nervous and jumpy. Hanna is upset and playing with a knife because she doesn’t want to be left out of the operation. Erik explains the plan to Lukas and double checks that he’s still okay to watch Marissa’s hotel. Hanna interrupts to demand to go, picking up a gun and showing off her expert marksmanship to prove her worthiness.
Rudi and Elsa are impressed, while Lukas is even more nervous. Hanna pulls out her test results and demands answers. Erik looks at them, calls them more of Marissa’s lies, and shoves the paper in his pocket.
He goes to Hanna and holds her face in his hands, speaking softly to her.
Erik: “Listen to me Hanna. She’s lying to you.”
Hanna: “You train me like a machine and then you say I can do nothing. Why?”
Erik: “It’s because you are what they want.”
Hanna: “Why? Why do they want me?”
Erik: “I’ll tell you soon. I’m gonna take you to the most beautiful place, and I’ll explain everything. But first, I have to kill Marissa Wiegler. Understand?”
Hanna slips out from between his arms without answering. Erik burns the test results, which endanger Hanna, should anyone else get a look at them. Hanna tries to stop him, but he says again that it’s lies.
Erik goes outside and remembers handing Johanna over to Marissa. He stood and watched the car drive away until it was out of sight, as if he already knew he’d made a mistake.
In the morning, Erik finds a quiet moment with Hanna and asks her not to be angry with him, because he needs good luck today. He tries again to explain to her that she knows the forest, but not the city. She wouldn’t be as effective as normal in that environment until she learns it as well as she knows the forest, and he doesn’t want to lose her in the meantime. As he gets up to leave, Hanna grabs his hand and tells him that she doesn’t want to lose him, either. He kisses her head and says she won’t.
Lukas calls to say Marissa is still in her room. Hanna tells him that Lukas smelled of fear last night, like a fox that knows it’s dying. Erik takes her seriously, and changes his plan. Hanna gets to go after all.
Lukas calls Marissa, because of course he’s a traitor, to tell her the others are coming. As Rudi, Erik and Hanna approach Marissa’s hotel, Hanna spots three snipers positioned to take them out if they proceed as planned. They keep driving.
Lukas goes to a cafe that’s in front of a small park, across from the hotel. Marissa and Carl observe from a car on the other side of the park. Carl reminds Marissa that they don’t have permission to shoot suspects on German soil.
Rudi drops Erik off in a parking garage so that Erik can approach the cafe from an unexpected direction. Then he parks the car deeper in the underground garage. Rudi takes a backpack and takes off for his next task, while Elsa and Hanna wait in the car.
Marissa sends Jacobs to the abandoned house to pick up Hanna. They realize that Erik is onto their plan when he finds that Hanna is gone.
Erik meets Lukas, who tells him that Marissa is still in her room. She’s probably never slept this late in her life. Erik reminds Lukas of the old days in the army. When they get up to leave, Erik hugs Lukas tight, and says that whatever happens, Lukas was always there for him.
Lukas texts Marissa that he and Erik are leaving the cafe. Marissa orders armed teams to cover their every move. Carl tries to stop her. A man leaves the cafe wearing Erik’s hat and jacket, so Marissa assumes it’s him and shoots him dead without hesitation. Erik switched clothing with Lukas, and made him go out the front as a diversion, while Erik escaped out the back. Marissa sends her armed teams after Erik.
Dieter shows up at the car and tells Elsa that Erik needs her, so he’s taking over as driver. When they hear the shots, Hanna gets out and runs to find Erik and help him. Rudi makes liberal use of flash bangs to defend the garage entrance. Dieter drives toward the exit. Erik runs into Marissa’s hotel, randomly shooting and throwing flashbangs. Marissa follows his trail, not far behind.
When Hanna gets to the front of the hotel, she finds chaos. The air is think with the smoke from the flashbangs. It’s noisy from helicopters, sirens and people screaming. There’s unpredictable motion everywhere, as people run to escape the fighting and smoke. For the first time, Hanna can’t orient herself the way she usually would. She stands still, confused and overwhelmed.
Jacobs has driven back to town and spots Hanna. He walks toward her, able to sneak up on her in her confusion. He’s crossing the street, with his gun pointed at her, when Dieter drives straight into him and yells for Hanna to get in the car.
Those were impressive driving skills.
Jacobs gets up again remarkably quickly, but Dieter’s fast, too.
Elsa and Rudi find a police bus waiting on a side street. They take control of it.
Marissa follows Erik’s trail, by herself, out the back of the hotel, into an alley, where she finds a couple of uniformed police officers arresting Erik. She yells to them that she’s taking over the arrest. When she gets to them, Erik pulls out a gun, and both cops join him in pointing their guns at her. The other two cops are Rudi and Elsa. Erik goes closer and they stare at each other.
Flashback to both of them watching Hanna’s birth from outside the delivery room. They look at each other in that moment, too.
Marissa never uses more words than she needs to, but her actions and choices speak for her. She commands a level of respect that makes people jump to follow her orders quickly.
Given her usual MO of hanging back and letting others take the risks, she must really hate Erik in order to have run out into the open to shoot and kill him the way she did (when Lukas left the cafe), going against her agency’s orders to do so. And Erik knew she’d make that move, despite her usual cold tactics. I suspect that Erik is one of the few people who affects her emotions enough to cloud her thinking. He predicts her better than she predicts him, but she has so much more access to resources that it evens the playing field.
Meanwhile, Erik and Hanna both have so much heart that they inspire enduring loyalty. After almost 2 decades, Erik is able to call on old army buddies to help fight his latest battle. Sophie and her family still feel loyalty and friendship toward Hanna, even after the way she left them at the train station.
There are hints in this episode that Erik and Marissa were lovers before he fell for Johanna. Probably not in a serious relationship, but enough for Marissa to have some hold on him and feel some possessiveness.
If you watch Marissa closely in this episode, you can see that she’s a hunter, similar to Hanna, but not at her level, obviously. Since the pilot, we’ve watched her intense focus and attention to details that others miss, then her confidence in following the clues, because she knows that she’s better at reading people and signs than anyone in the business.
It’s possible that she’s an early prototype for Hanna, and her skills really are superhuman. She shot Lukas from a distance, without stopping to aim carefully, but that could just mean she’s a sharpshooter. She also normally has an extraordinary amount of self-control.
On the other hand, as Lukas tells us, Erik is a chess player, able to hold complex strategies in his mind that allow him to be the hunter but appear to be the prey, or to give up the hunt completely while he makes long, complicated preparations for the final battle.
In this episode, he appears to change directions and plans completely, multiple times, but still ends up roughly where he wanted to be, while more than once, Marissa, the hunter, is lured into his trap by the trail of bread crumbs he leaves for her to follow. This ability to continuously reformulate plans and to patiently wait out his opponent is Erik’s strength, but Marissa is also patient, and she’s both smart and relentless.
Hanna is also a creative problem solver, and we’ve watched her abilities improve already. She showed an ability to think on her feet and outthink her opponents while she was on the run. She also has her heightened senses and fighting skills and is a natural hunter. Most importantly, she’s always observing, and learns from the people around her, allowing her to adapt quickly in new situations.
Her biggest weakness so far, besides her age and inexperience, is the attack state she appears to go into during fights, where she becomes intensely focused on the fight and won’t stop until everyone is immobile or someone purposely snaps her out of it. Hanna loses track of her surroundings and of the actual threat level of her enemy. That draws attention to her when she takes the fight too far and puts her in danger because she’s less aware of her surroundings. It suggests that her creators expected her to have a handler who’d direct her actions. Could she train herself to avoid going into that fugue state?
When Erik meets with Dieter, it’s emphasized that they are both fathers who want to protect their children. That’s likely why Dieter decides to help Erik after initially refusing. Erik told Hanna that she needed to learn the ways of the city before she’d be an effective soldier there, then sent Dieter, the city-dwelling father, to stay with her in the parking garage. Dieter is able to use the car to keep up with Hanna and momentarily neutralize Jacobs, acting as a protective figure for Hanna. Will he become a city father figure for her?
Images courtesy of Amazon Prime.