Hanna season 1 reaches its conclusion with episode 8, Utrax, which takes place at the Romanian facility where Hanna was born and where the program was restarted after Marissa helped shut it down. Erik and Marissa continue to face their pasts while Hanna learns more details about who she is. Marissa and Sawyer face off. Erik and Hanna attempt to set the new trainees free, but there are complications.
Episode 8 begins with the trainees still in lockdown at the Utrax facility. As they sit on their beds and fidget, the voice on the loudspeaker reminds them of the rules: Stay in their rooms. Stay away from the windows. They’ll be told when the lockdown is over. Even the most obedient of the girls is growing anxious from sitting still too long.
249 goes to the window and listens to a conversation between two guards in a room on the other side of the courtyard. One tells the other that something went wrong during the operation at the motel, she can’t find Sawyer, and they’ve lost Erik and Hanna. She doesn’t know what’s currently happening out in the field.
After their triumphant exit from the motel, Erik and Hanna have paused somewhere in the woods for Hanna to remove a bullet from Erik’s arm, using a knife and her teeth. She catches a rabbit with her bare hands for their breakfast.
Marissa watches the clean up at the motel from a distance, then drives to the deserted vineyard where she’s holding Sawyer hostage. She lets him know that no one has come close to finding him, and his wound will get infected eventually, so if he wants her to let him go, he needs to talk. She steps on his wounded leg to emphasize her point.
He calls her names in response. She tells him about the mistakes he’s made by crossing her, but he remains as smug as ever. Marissa demands to know what Erik Heller discovered about Utrax. Sawyer tells her that they’re finishing the job that she started but couldn’t finish.
Marissa is usually 10 steps ahead of everyone else, especially Sawyer, so I’m surprised she didn’t figure out that the program had been restarted. Maybe she has a psychological block about it, since this is the huge trauma of her life and they promised her they wouldn’t restart it. For someone who makes so many false promises herself, she put an unusual amount of faith in that promise from Utrax. It’s as if her sanity depended on it.
Over breakfast, Hanna asks Erik why he would leave her behind like he tried to do. He says that he wanted to give her a normal life, but she points out that she’s not normal. Erik insists that she could lead a normal life with a normal family, but Hanna insists right back that he’s her family, not someone she’s only connected to because they had sex with her mother.
With that settled, Erik pulls out the printout of the Utrax trainees to show Hanna. He explains that Utrax started the program up again not long after he rescued her and has raised this group to adolescence. Hanna notices that they’re all girls and she wants to help them. Erik has doubts, but Hanna is sure of her abilities now.
Back at Utrax, the trainees are still locked up and are getting jumpy. Doctor Kunek continues to tell the guards that they need to be let out so that he can attend to their needs, but the head guard resists. She tells him she thought the trainees were 100% obedient.
She seems to think they’re robots instead of humans. And no matter how many times the doctor says it, she doesn’t get that the trainees are drugged into compliance, so they need their next dose. He tells her that they have know idea what they’re playing with, and walks out.
249 is watching and listening to everything from her room. All of the other rooms in the compound also have windows facing the courtyard, so she can see into the offices opposite the dorm rooms. Kunek goes back to his office and pours himself a couple of drinks.
249 knocks on her wall and tells her neighbor, 242, that something is wrong, but 242 isn’t interested. They aren’t supposed to talk to each other in lockdown mode. 249 doesn’t care. She’s excited. “For the first time in our lives, something has happened. I can feel it. They’re not in control anymore.”
As Hanna drives them toward Utrax, Erik’s condition is deteriorating due to the bullet that’s still in his gut. He tells Hanna he’s just sore from his other bullet wound, in his arm. Then he has her drive to the cemetery where Marissa told him Johanna is buried.
They find her grave, which is marked with a simple, cross-shaped stone that reads, “Johanna Petrescu 1980-2003”. Erik is very moved to see it and kneels down, crying. He has Hanna kneel with him, but the grave has little meaning for her. She’s ready to go after a few minutes, focused on saving the living rather than mourning the long dead.
They drive into a town, where Hanna hotwires a small school bus. Erik smiles proudly at her skill. He also checks his bloody bandage when she’s not looking. The bullet wound from the airport continues to bleed.
Marissa gets Sawyer into the car, then forces him to call his people at the Utrax facility. He tells them that Erik and Hanna are on their way to the compound. They can kill Erik, but Hanna is to be kept alive. The head guard angrily explains that they’re undermanned because Hanna and Erik killed so many people at the motel, but Marissa hangs up on her. She throws the burner phone out the car window so they can’t be tracked through it.
Sawyer wants to know why Hanna is so important to Marissa. She doesn’t answer.
As she’s driving the bus to a back road near the facility, Hanna asks what they’ll do with the girls once they’re out. Erik says they’ll need to take the girls someplace far away, since they won’t be safe near Utrax. Hanna tells him that when she was with Emil, her birth father, she felt like she had a family of her own somewhere in the world, but Emil and his family weren’t it. She thinks maybe the Utrax trainees are her family.
They set off on their mission.
Showing his usual brilliance, Sawyer asks how Marissa knows Erik will go back to Utrax. Marissa tells him that Erik is, “atoning for the sins of the past. I guess that’s something you wouldn’t understand.”
Sawyer says that he doesn’t have to think about “sins” because he obeys orders. Marissa calls obeying orders the “Holy Mantra of Military Command” but Sawyer insists she’s wrong, that it’s just a matter of duty, something she wouldn’t understand.
Either way, he absolves himself of responsibility for his sins by passing the buck up to his commanding officers. He uses the concept of the greater good as an excuse for brutality and blind loyalty.
Marissa points out that she was so dutiful that she put dead babies in a furnace for Utrax. He tosses back that she couldn’t kill Hanna. Marissa just gives him a look.
Somehow, what Sawyer gets from this conversation is that she’s actually a soft touch and he starts trying to humanize himself with her by telling her he has a wife and kids of his own and was just following orders so none of this is really his fault. He asks her to dump him at the side of the road and promises not to get in her way.
She says, “No you won’t.” She’s been holding her gun, making it clear that she’s taking him to his execution. Sawyer has maneuvered his hands so that he can unbuckle his seatbelt and he does it just after she speaks, then head butts her. Marissa loses control of the car as they struggle. It hits an embankment and flips, leaving her unconscious.
After sitting stunned for a moment, Sawyer gets out of the car and cuts the binding off his hands. He stuffs a rag in the gas tank and sets it on fire, then runs. His back is to the car, so he doesn’t notice when Marissa comes to and forces the door open. She barely gets away in time, and drops into the brush when the explosion hits. When Sawyer turns around, he thinks she’s died in the explosion and looks satisfied.
As Hanna and Erik hike through the forest on their way to Utrax, they discover a perimeter fence was installed after Erik rescued Hanna. A guard dog runs over and barks at them, but settles down quickly for Hanna. We aren’t shown how they get over/through the fence, but they do.
Closer to the facility, they find one of the patrol teams and notice surveillance cameras. The dog distracts the patrol for them, so they can drop from a tree onto the patrol and take them out. Erik shoots out the camera. The head guard watches the whole thing from inside and panics a little, yelling for her second in command to send more men outside, even though they don’t have anymore to spare.
Erik and Hanna make it inside the building while 249 watches everything that’s going on. She notices that the new team of guards that’s sent out are carrying guns, so she knows there must be an intruder. She tries to engage 242 in conversation again, but is ignored.
The tac team searches for the intruders while Erik and Hanna search for the trainees. Erik is distracted by his memories of rescuing Hanna. He shows her the place where he found her.
Erik and Hanna find the dorm, but none of the girls will answer when Hanna knocks on their doors. She doesn’t understand what’s going on, since she can hear them and knows they’re in the rooms. Finally, 249 knocks on her own door to get Hanna’s attention.
They introduce themselves and 249 explains that the doors are locked and the trainees have been ordered not to respond. She’s only responding because she’s “different”, but she doesn’t know the procedure to open the doors. Hanna tells 249 that she’s different, too, and she’ll find a way to open the doors.
Before Hanna can even try, 249 hears a team of guards approaching, eight from the west entrance. A fire fight and melee ensue. Erik and Hanna take them all out in about two minutes, of course, but it’s clearly hard on Erik’s body.
Sawyer finds a phone at a country farm. Marissa flags down a truck driver. The race is on again.
Hanna finds the Utrax control room. Dr Kunek follows her in. Erik arrives next. Kunek recognizes Erik and figures out who Hanna is. He tells her that he’s the doctor who delivered her. They tell Kunek to release the girls. He gives them the same speech about the trainees being unable to survive in the wild on their own because they need their meds and haven’t ever been outside the compound.
Hanna hadn’t ever left her little area of the forest, either, and had only known one person. She adapted very quickly, so I suspect the trainees, who’ve had more experience with the modern world than Hanna, will adapt just fine, as long as they still have a leader and some structure for a while.
Kunek takes the facility off of lockdown. Erik and Hanna return to the dorm. 249 leaves her room as soon as the lock is released. The other trainees stay in their rooms because they haven’t been given an official order to leave. 249 tells 242 that the guards are all dead, they can’t give the order that lockdown has ended, but 242 doesn’t budge.
She might be afraid to leave the room, with all of the chaos outside.
Hanna and Erik find 249. They have a brief stand off while they aim guns at each other and establish motives. It ends when Hanna goes to the electronic panel by 249’s door and figures out that 249’s real name is Clara and she had a mother named Samira Mahan.
Hanna convinces the other girls to come out of their rooms. She tells them that she was born there, too. She says that the guards are gone now, so they’re free and asks them to leave with her. The trainees don’t trust her.
Sawyer and a platoon of reinforcements drive into the compound. He makes an announcement to the trainees to report to the front entrance for evacuation, but to kill the intruders along the way. One of the trainees attacks Hanna and Erik.
249 Clara kills her.
There’s a tense moment where it looks like the rest of the trainees might attack, then they swerve and all head for the entrance to be evacuated, forming into neat little lines as they go. Erik herds Hanna and Clara out of the dorm before they can be found there. Clara listens for soldiers and directs them away from spots where they’d get caught. Erik continues to deteriorate.
Marissa has the truck driver drop her off near Erik and Hanna’s bus.
As the trainees board the trucks for evacuation, 217 tells Sawyer that 249/Clara has betrayed them by disobeying orders. Marissa slips into the compound and watches the trainees board the trucks. This is the first time she’s seeing evidence of the restarted program with her own eyes. Dr Kunek insists he can’t evacuate without the trainees’ medication files, but, as always, they ignore what he’s saying and yell at him to get on the truck.
Sawyer runs around like a madman, yelling, “Destroy everything!” Soldiers pour gasoline and use blow torches to set fire to the buildings.
Soldiers chase Hanna, Erik and Clara through the building. They end up in an enclosed courtyard shooting range. Clara distributes bombs and hands out weapons. Sawyer is told where they are and that there’s no exit.
Apparently nobody paid attention to what the trainees were being taught in there.
Once the soldiers spread themselves around the range, Erik sets off the bombs. Then they fight the ones who are left, using the soldiers’ own weapons against them. Clara is an excellent shot. She’s in a compromised position at the end of the battle, but Hanna takes a flying leap onto her attacker and rescues her.
Erik holds his own during the fight, until his body gives out near the end. When Clara goes down, he tries to rescue her but is overcome by flashbacks of Johanna’s death. Hanna finds him collapsed against a wall, where he finally tells her that he still has a bullet in him from Berlin. He wants her to leave him there, but she refuses.
Hanna and Clara drag him to the entrance. When Clara goes to break the lock on the front gate, Sawyer jumps out from underneath something like the cockroach that he is, and points a gun at them. Erik asks Sawyer to take him instead of Hanna, but Sawyer says it’s too late for that.
He’s about to pull the trigger when suddenly a bullet hits him in the chest and he goes down. It’s Marissa, making her grand entrance to the fight. Erik and Hanna just stare at her. Clara asks who she is. Marissa says, “I’m a friend.”
She walks over to them and says, in a kind voice, “You can’t be found here. I’ll take care of this. You should go.”
Marissa checks Sawyer’s body and takes his phone. She walks through the flaming building, remembering the initial program, just as Erik did. When she finds the room she wants to use, she makes a phone call to Sawyer’s boss, Norris, using Sawyer’s phone.
Marissa: “I’m at the Utrax facility. Jerome’s dead. I’m wounded. Erik Heller shot me. I need assistance.”
Norris: “Where’s Heller?”
Marissa: “He’s gone. He’s badly injured. He won’t survive.”
Norris: “And the girl?”
Marissa: “She, ah, she got away.”
Marissa hangs up the phone and sits down on the floor. She takes a deep breath, then shoots herself in the leg using the same gun that she used to shoot Sawyer, so that she can implicate Erik in both shootings.
Hanna and Clara get Erik into the van and drive. Hanna tells him to stay alive and awake because she’s taking him to a hospital, but he’s almost gone. His last words are to ask her to “leave me with her.” He wants to be buried with Johanna.
The girls stop somewhere to get shovels and a blanket to wrap Erik in, then bury him next to Johanna. Hanna cries the whole time.
The trainees are on a plane, being flown to the Wilberforce facility, where their preoperational training will continue. Two of the trainees, 242 and 217, turn to look at each other, suggesting they’re becoming more independent, now that their meds are wearing off.
Hanna and Clara walk through a golden field, toward a forest. Clara says, “It’s beautiful.” Hanna knows. They take each other’s hands.
Noah Taylor, who plays Doctor Kunek, also plays Hitler on Preacher, which has given me some odd cognitive dissonance in trying to make sense of his character.
Esme Creed-Miles is the lynchpin of the show, and she had a huge job to do this season. Hanna went from an innocent who’d never left the forest to an experienced fighter and traveler. With Erik gone, Hanna will now need to navigate the world by herself. Plus, she has another young woman to introduce to the world. Creed-Miles managed to bring nuance and depth to Hanna, while keeping her child-like innocence and hopefulness intact. She made Hanna a unique character while also making her struggles relatable.
I love that Marissa does all of her hostage taking and interrogation/torture work in her go-anywhere black travel separates and Keds. All she needs to do is give them a quick wash in a hotel sink and add some accessories, and she’s ready for a night on the town. She’s such a smart, practical woman.
Marissa’s motivations remain difficult to interpret right up to the end. It’s no surprise that she killed Sawyer. He was a bumbling idiot who was in her way and who tried to kill her twice, plus he was about to kill Hanna, the closest thing she has to a child. Much as I hated the character, Khalid Abdalla played Sawyer with a smug fierceness that made him hard to turn away from.
Marissa could tell Erik was dying, so she let him die in peace for old time’s sake, but took advantage of the situation to implicate him for her crime. After she let Hanna and Clara go, she told Norris that Hanna is alive, but got away. So she doesn’t want Hanna locked up, but she wants to keep the possibility of using Hanna as an option in the future.
She let Clara stay somewhat invisible. If Utrax figures out Clara is alive, they’ll guess who she’s with. Then there’s the question of whether Marissa will help Utrax find them.
It looked like the girls might be going back to the cave for a while. There are probably only a few people still alive who know exactly where it is and what its significance is. Or Hanna may have another cave in mind that she knows of.
After Altered Carbon S1 and Hanna S1, I hope that Joel Kinnaman lives to see season 2 in whatever he does next, or at least he doesn’t have an extended death scene. I can only take watching him die a beautiful death so many times within a relatively short period. He’s a master at bringing the heartache.
249/Clara (Yasmin Monet Prince) is intriguing, since she’s a rebel who’s been trained to be a robot. It should be fun to watch her personality unfold in season 2 and watch her and Hanna develop a relationship while they each figure out who they are.
In the movie, both Marissa and Erik die, so keeping Marissa alive is a major, but welcome, change. I have a small kernel of hope that they didn’t really bury Erik, but in reality I think he’s gone. The show made it clear that he was stuck in the past with Johanna and didn’t want to move on.
Marissa is the character with more story possibilities and the ambiguity they gave her makes her that much more interesting. She’s angling to be put in charge of the trainees, since Sawyer screwed it up so badly and is now dead. We’re likely going to spend a lot of time at the trainees new compound, Wilberforce, in season 2. Mireille Enos plays Marissa as mercurial but very internal, which is an unusual combination, one we hardly ever see in female characters. I’m fascinated by her and can’t wait to see more of her inner struggles.
Deiter is also still alive and can be brought back into the story, especially with his network of underworld connections. That would be useful for 2 girls without birth certificates or passports. Hanna’s going to need at least one adult she can trust. I love Deiter and his whole family, so I’m hoping they’ll be back. Benno Fürmann has tons of charisma and chemistry with Hanna. He’s the best choice for a new surrogate father for her, and his wife, Sima (Narges Rashidi), was also warming up to her.
It’s hard to imagine that Sophie (Rhianne Barreto), her family and her friend Dan (Leo Flanagan) won’t be back, especially with Dan’s penchant for investigation. But, warm and loving as they are, Sophie’s parents (Lyndsey Marshal and Phaldut Sharma) are too trusting in the system, so they aren’t of much use to Hanna as surrogate parents. Since Marissa also isn’t trustworthy, though she might help Hanna again, Deiter is the only one I can think of who would become a surrogate parent.
Unless Hanna keeps in contact with Emil (Aleksandar Mikic). He was a good man, but he didn’t know what he was getting into with Hanna. Now that he has an idea, he may or may not reject her. He might accept her, but want her to keep some distance from his other children. It’s hard to imagine that he’d have much to offer her as far as help dealing with the complications of her life, but he could surprise us. We really know very little about him.
Utrax is pouring a lot of money into developing these young women as weapons. I have to wonder what they plan on using them to do. With 2 dozen Hannas, they could easily take over a small country. Sawyer and the guards were so cavalier with the girls’ lives, it makes me wonder if the Romanian facility is just one of many involved in the same program. I’d think they’d protect the girls better after putting so much into them, if they’re the only ones.
I purposely haven’t watched the film on which this series is based, because I didn’t want to spend the season making comparisons. Taking Hanna at face value, I think the show created a rich world with complex characters and mostly did well with the female characters.
There’s definitely room for improvement with the minority characters. The people of color tended to be the troublemakers and naysayers in their scenarios, even if they weren’t outright villains. Off the top of my head, Sima and Tom were the bad guys in their family situations, though Sima came around and Tom is mostly just a lost soul. Anton was insenstive and pushy. Jacobs, a queer character, was ambiguous, at best. Dan, Sophie and Clara are at least set up to be heroes, and were portrayed mostly positively this season.
Sawyer is the most egregious example, since he was never humanized. That, in addition to the character being played by a Muslim man of Egyptian descent, adds to the renewed trend of one dimensional Islamic villains I’ve been seeing lately, which is a disturbing development.
I especially like that Sophie (Rhianne Barreto), the typical teenage girl, was treated with respect and like she had something worthwhile to offer, even though she made mistakes. That’s a rare thing in modern media. This show’s biggest contribution is probably Sophie and Hanna’s friendship, which gave Hanna permission to be normal and make mistakes herself, just like everyone else in Sophie’s loving but messed up family.
That’s the real life that Hanna didn’t have and Erik couldn’t give her, filled with laughter, tears, road trips and making up after arguments. When Sophie took Hanna back and forgave her after she slept with Anton, she made Hanna human. Only another teenage girl, her complete equal, who had no agenda other than affection, could give that to her. Even Erik, for as much as he loved her and taught her about emotions, also trained her like a machine. Sophie is the one who taught her how to be a friend. Now she can pass that on to Clara.
Grade for the season= A
Images courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.