In episode 4, Marissa finds a way into the Meadows and meets with Hanna. Hanna and Clara work through their differences. Jules and Sandy plan a heist followed by a party. Leo teaches the trainees about the Face/Trigger method of approaching a target.
Marissa (Mireille Enos) wakes up in an inn in Northern France covered in bruises from her fight with Hanna in the truck on the ferry. She assesses the damage, then calls the organization who screened her apartment for bugs in episode 2. When Stephen Mannion (David Avery) answers, she gives the code name Vesuvius and says she needs help with a problem concerning Utrax she’s been trying to solve on her own. Mannion replies that Utrax no longer exists. Marissa tells him it’s still alive and he accepts her word. But their conversation is interrupted by an incoming call from John Carmichael (Dermot Mulroney), so she hangs up.
She tells Carmichael that she’s looking for Hanna, but hasn’t found her. He says, “That’s ’cause she’s here. We caught her yesterday.” Marissa asks where “here” is. Carmichael is watching the surveillance footage of Hanna’s tour de force entrance into the Meadows on a loop.
Hanna (Esme Creed-Miles) sits alone in the interrogation room. During hand to hand combat training, the trainees speculate about who broke in. Helen (Sèverine Howell-Meri) uses some logical analysis to make some guesses about what might be happening, but is shot down by Jules (Gianna Kiehl).
Until now, Helen has been the sweet, wanna be conformist who occasionally called them on their inconsistencies, but we’ve just been shown her real talent. She’s thought their situation through much further and much more objectively than we’ve seen even Sandy or Jules do. This is why she’s allowed to be part of the A group, even though Jules and Sandy make sure she understands that she’s lower status than them.
Carmichael wants Marissa’s help with Hanna so badly that he sent a private plane for her and has a car waiting. She’s driving herself to the super secret spy training location. As Helen rightly deduced, they’re being held in a remote, secret, high security location- there are only so many logical candidates for intruders who could or would want to make it inside.
Once she’s on the road, Marissa let’s Carmichael know that she’s less than an hour from the designated pick up point. She asks for the address of the Meadows, but he insists that she follow protocol- they’ll take her phone and she’ll be hooded while being driven on the last leg of the trip. Marissa asks about Hanna. Carmichael says she’s refusing to talk. Marissa suggests that they shouldn’t tell Hanna that she’s on her way there.
Marissa looks at her injuries in the mirror, then picks out a large tree on the side of the road. She sends a message to Mannion, hides a tracking device in a lipstick, then pairs it with a burner phone. And then she aims her car at the tree and revs the engine before driving straight into it, “faking” a car accident as the cause of her injuries. Never let it be said that Marissa isn’t hardcore.
It’s clear that she will do just about anything for Hanna. Also, either she’s insane or she’s physically enhanced.
Sandy (Áine Rose Daly) catches up with Clemency (Yasmin Monet Prince) between classes and asks if it was Hanna who broke in. Jules arrives and Clem uses it as an excuse not to answer. Once they’re alone, Jules tells Sandy that she’s scheming to get some alcohol and have a party after curfew tonight, just like kids in the real world.
Joanne (Katie Clarkson-Hill) tells Carmichael that Marissa’s car was totalled. They’ve searched Marissa and brought her to the facility. Carmichael finds her slumped on a bench. She tells him she fell asleep at the wheel. He sits next to her and she gets teary as she says that finding out Hanna is still alive brought up memories from the past which have been keeping her up at night.
Carmichael knows he shouldn’t underestimate her and she knows he knows, so she’s gotten more sophisticated about how she plays into his prejudices. Throughout season 1, Sawyer accused her of being too emotional and too attached to function at optimal efficiency the way his male goons could. She ultimately killed Sawyer and his goons. In episode 1, Carmichael blackmailed Marissa using many of the same arguments, but in a more polite tone of voice than Sawyer ever mustered. The fact that he continues giving her the exact same run around that Sawyer did tells her how she can manipulate him. But he’s also correct that Hanna and her lingering Utrax trauma are her weaknesses. She’s just so strong that her flaws are hard to exploit.
She asks to see Hanna, but he wants to show her something first. As Carmichael steps in front of her, Marissa drops her vulnerable expression for a moment and lets her true feelings show through.
He takes her to the security command center and asks Larry (Antonio Magro) to pull up a file, then clear the room. Marissa watches Larry enter his user name and password. Carmichael shows her the video of Hanna storming the castle. Hanna is the Utrax dream come true. Marissa realizes Utrax wants to keep Hanna after all, now that they understand the control she’s capable of. And Carmichael understands that Marissa is probably the key to getting Hanna to cooperate.
Hanna is still alone in the interrogation room. She springs to attention when they bring Marissa in. Marissa tells her not to jump to conclusions, then keeps talking, speaking in code so that her words sound innocent to Carmichael but Hanna understands her explanation of recent events.
First she pretends that she hasn’t seen Hanna in months, which wouldn’t be necessary if she’d been working with Carmichael against Hanna all along. Then she blames her injuries on the car crash and calls it a stupid mistake, letting Hanna know she understands why Hanna attacked her and that they both made mistakes. She shows Hanna a photo of Sonia’s body and explains that Sonia was tracking her, so they understand why Hana killed her. “She was a threat to you. To what you were moving towards. Saving your friend. A threat to what you love. If it was me, I would have done the same.” This lets Hanna know that Marissa has been protecting her, just like she said, and has even killed for her. Marissa also slipped in an “I love you”.
Marissa tells Hanna if she cooperates, she might be able to see Clara again. She asks if Hanna trusts her. Hanna says, “Maybe.” Marissa tells her she won’t regret it.
Mannion finds the burner phone hidden under the tree that Marissa crashed into. Marissa sent him a photo of Hanna and the tracker code to find the Meadows.
Clara is brought to visit Hanna in the cell. She’s antagonistic and asks to leave as soon as they’ve each established the other is okay. Hanna admits that she originally came to rescue Clara, but she realizes she was wrong. She asks Clara to show her around the facility because she might decide to stay. A guard follows them on their tour. The other trainees stare. After another girl says hi to “Clemency”, Clara explains that it’s her new name.
They observe a class on hip hop culture, then Clemency takes Hanna to her room. Hanna notices that she has a drug capsule implanted in her arm again. When Hanna brings up the name change and fake family photos, Clara glances up at the surveillance camera in her room and suggests they continue the tour. They find a staff entrance into the basement, then run through the maze of hallways looking for somewhere they can talk privately for a minute.
Marissa and Carmichael have been watching the entire tour on surveillance cameras. When the girls disappear into the staff only area, Carmichael sends out security to find them, but Marissa looks happy.
Hanna and Clara find a laundry room to hide in. They hug and Hanna tells Clara she tried to find her, but they made her think she was dead. She apologizes for not listening to Clara about her mother. Clara says her mother is dead.
After they were each told the other was dead, neither thinks to question whether Clara’s mother is really deceased.
Hanna finds a box cutter and prepares to remove Clara’s drug capsule, but Clara refuses. Hanna does her best desperate Erik/Joel Kinnaman impression as she tries to convince Clara to run away to Canada with her. In the process of trying to talk sense into Clara, she gives away the details of Marissa’s plans and gets a little too intense about everything that’s wrong with Clara’s life. But she’s sincere about how much she wants to save Clara and build an authentic, free life with her, as opposed to the fake, imprisoned life Clara is living now. This life is familiar to Clara, yet an improvement over her previous life, but she’s also moved by Hanna’s speech, since Hanna is the only person alive who she believes cares about her for herself. As security pounds on the door, Clara agrees to go through with the escape plan. When the guards kick down the door, they find Hanna and Clara nonchalantly “having a smoke- for old time’s sake.”
Leo “let slip” that a delivery of alcohol was arriving today (as if Leo ever accidentally says or does anything), so Jules and Sandy plan to swipe some while a staffer unloads it from a van. Jules will sneak into the van and pour some vodka into an empty water bottle while Sandy distracts the guard (Alex Bhat). Sandy tries out some innocent flirting for the first time with the bemused guard, asking him for a special milkshake.
The heist is successful, but as soon as the girls run off giggling from the thrill of it all, the guard calls Leo to let him know the op has been completed. Leo (Anthony Welsh) watched the whole thing in real time. He thanks the guard for helping the trainees learn to act a little more like regular kids.
After the tour, Marissa and Carmichael join Hanna in the interrogation room for another interview. Carmichael forgives her for leading Clara into the staff area, then asks her some leading questions designed to help her admit she wants to stay at the Meadows and is just a confused young woman. He speaks to her like she’s a child, so she plays along. She cries at one point and says she’s so tired of fighting. Marissa comforts her and slips a note into her hand. Carmichael says he’ll make the arrangements for her new life.
Marissa’s note says “10 PM Forecourt”.
That was Hanna’s “Yes, please underestimate me” Marissa impression instead of her “Erik the intense, desperate but very, very competent wild card” impression. They are equally effective and unpredictable, which is why her two parents respected each other so much while also being mortal enemies.
Leo purposely scares Jules and Sandy a little when he calls them to a meeting in the main hall. Carmichael introduces Mia Wolff, aka Hanna, aka the girl who broke into their previous facility and kidnapped Clemency. But that doesn’t matter now that she’s come back to them, so they should erase it from their memories. Like, actually erase it. Mia is their long lost sister from Germany and has been all along.
And while we’re sharing fictional stories, let’s talk about what Carmichael and Utrax have planned for the future. Soon the trainees will begin a period of service to their county and the world that will involve some risk, as is expected of soldiers. When their period of service is completed, they’ll be rewarded with a new life, “fully paid for, fully supported, same name, same family, the same person you are now. In my heart, I hope and believe that you will find love and happiness, maybe even have children of your own who will live in a safer world thanks to what you did in your period of service.” He thanks them some more and welcomes Mia some more, then they all applaud each other and story time is over for the afternoon.
The tip off that this is a lie is the promise that they’d let the trainees keep their names- there’s just no way a shadow organization like Utrax would send them out into the world to live normal lives with the same names they used as assassins, financially supported by the company for the rest of their lives. Their families don’t even exist. The company is ready to dispose of them based on the flimsiest excuse. “Washed up spy” will surely be an excuse to get rid of most who aren’t killed in action. The company might decide to let the best of them have children, then take those infants to train as child spies as well.
Sandy and Jules approach Clara and Hanna after the meeting. Jules tries to stir up trouble with some exaggerations while Sandy is friendly to Hanna. Later, Sandy messages “Mom” and tells her about the new student. She wants to help her with her fresh start, even though some of the other trainees aren’t willing to give her another chance. Terri/Mom (Cherrelle Skeete) is supportive of Sandy’s compassion.
Leo and Joanne teach a class on the two-operative mission technique Face and Trigger. The Face befriends the target and does recon, creating the set up that allows the Trigger to act. The operatives pretend to be strangers at the beginning of the mission, but can “meet” as part of the mission and then be seen together in public.
Marissa and Carmichael watch Hanna and the trainees in class from his office. They agree that they’ve been successful in assimilating Hanna into the group. Marissa asks to make preparations to leave, since she’s finished what she came for. Carmichael asks her to rejoin the operation. He wants her to help the trainees transition into full-fledged operatives. Marissa reminds him that he helped freeze her out of Utrax operations for 15 years and forced her to ride to this facility in a hood. Is he willing to work with more transparency now, starting with sharing who’s behind Utrax’s funding?
Of course not. He’s asking her to be a disposable hired hand and we all know how that tends to go for Utrax employees. Too bad- he doesn’t have anyone on staff with her experience and skill set. Terri is good, but inexperienced. She doesn’t seem to have any field experience. When the trainees are sent into the field, in order to reach their full potential they’ll need a handler like Marissa, who understands what it’s like for female operatives because she’s been there herself. Not one of the condescending men on staff.
Carmichael offers to arrange a car and driver for tomorrow morning- wouldn’t want Marissa to get in another accident.👿 Marissa asks to leave tonight instead.
On their way into the cafeteria, Hanna tells Clara about Marissa’s note. Then Helen introduces herself and offers Hanna and Clara milkshakes. Jules teases everyone some more, while some of the girls from other tables shoot dirty looks at Hanna. Sandy tells Hanna to ignore them. Jules invites everyone at the table to her party, including Hanna. Helen worries about getting caught, but Jules is sure she has Leo wrapped around her little finger. Hanna agrees to attend the party.
That afternoon, Jules samples the vodka in Sandy’s room. Sandy informs her that it would go down easier if she mixed it with something else. She knows this because she does her homework. Right now, she’s catching up on the latest fashion trends from Paris. That’s not something Jules is worried about missing out on.
Sandy noticed that Hanna was different from when she broke into the previous Utrax facility. Before, she had a wild look in her eyes, but now, “She just looked kind of sad. Like she’d lost everything she’d loved.” Jules didn’t notice.
It’s close to an accurate assessment. Hanna’s going through her female monster faze, where everyone she gets close to is harmed or killed. To stop the destruction of everyone she cares about and protect her own mental health, the monster has to either learn to conform (a form of death, since they’ll no longer be their authentic self) or physically die themselves/completely escape the situation. Either way, the monster grows beyond her initial form, but dies to herself.
During target practice on the firing range, Hanna asks Clara about curfew. Clara explains that they all have to be in their rooms by 9:00. Then they have to stay within the accommodation block for the rest of the night. The doors are alarmed and the cameras are turned off. Jules’ party will be within their accommodation block.
Leo pulls Hanna aside after class to show her the room she’s been assigned. He says he’s glad Clemency has been helping her settle in- they want her to feel at home. Her room is still bare other than a few pieces of furniture. Tomorrow they’ll create her “new life”. As he’s leaving, he breaks character for a moment to tell her that he watched the surveillance footage of her breaking into the facility and he’s impressed.
Was that a reminder that she’s supposed to be a blank slate and they’re always watching?
Sandy finds Clara sitting alone under a tree. She can tell something’s wrong and coaxes Clara into talking about the plan to escape.
Mannion follows Marissa’s lipstick tracking signal toward the Meadows.
Carmichael arranges for Marissa to leave tonight. She asks to see Hanna before she goes.
When the cameras switch off at 9:00 the trainees get out of bet and meet in the lounge. Jules has acquired orange juice so she serves everyone screwdrivers made with the stolen vodka. Sandy figures out that Hanna’s had vodka before. When questioned, Hanna admits that it was at a real party with boys and she kissed one. She denies having sex (she did). Jules makes a joke, then asks if Hanna was really kidnapped from them when she was a baby. Hanna says she was. Jules tells her, “Well, you’re one of us, now.”
Leo and Marissa stop by and Marissa says a casual goodbye, since she’s leaving in half an hour. She speaks as if she’s concerned for Hanna but doesn’t know her well. As they’re leaving, Hanna tells her to be careful because the doors are alarmed. Leo stops to tell them Sandy and Jules did a great job with Face and Trigger when they stole the vodka.
Leo only walks Marissa as far as the entryway, which seems odd when they’ve restricted her access. As soon as he’s gone, she turns back and heads to the guards’ command center. Larry is on duty, so she sends him on a fake errand, then puts his user name and password into the computer. She sets up a timer to turn off the power, which will deactivate the alarms so Hanna and Clara can get out. Then she goes to the car that’s waiting for her. Mannion waits for her outside the gates.
When the power goes out, Hanna and Clara race through the facility to meet Marissa in the forecourt. Marissa allows her driver to reach the gate, then takes him out, She drives the car back to the exit that Hanna and Clara should use, but Carmichael gets in the car instead. Marissa jumps out of the car and runs. The guards run her to ground.
Hanna and Clara run through the maze-like hallways of the school until they find an exit that ends up a dead end. They try again- this time Clara leads Hanna to the bedroom Leo and Terri prepared for her. Sandy shines a flashlight in her face, then the lights come on. All of the trainees are there. They crowd Hanna into a corner of the room, with Clara asking her, “What if you could be happy here? What if you could?” Sandy tells her, “This is where you belong, Mia. You can trust us. We’re your family.”
That went all Children of the Corn at the end.
You can almost hear Carmichael saying, “But what if you could be happy here?” to Marissa, the same way Clara said it to Hanna. He’s smart enough to suspect her, but he’s not able to actually beat her at her own game unless she beats herself first. She trusted Hanna, who’s still too new at this to realize she couldn’t trust Clara anymore, even after Clara’s already betrayed her. None of the trainees have enough experience of the world to see through the adults who supervise them, so I can’t blame Sandy for wanting to please the only people who’ve ever shown an interest in her.
During the vodka heist, we learn that the guards can’t share any personal information with the trainees, including their real names. It seems like they normally don’t even speak to each other. Maybe Utrax is afraid romances will develop and the guards will help the trainees escape so they can run away together. Or that the guards will steal the product and sell them on the black market.
The characters have used variations on Face/Trigger throughout the series, starting with the way Hanna turned herself in to the soldiers at the end of the first episode in order to create a distraction which allowed Erik to escape certain capture. Lucas died when Erik sent him outside wearing his coat, so that Marissa killed Lucas instead, while Erik used the distraction to escape.
Jules is drunk on power and success before she’s drunk on the vodka. But she shows some surprising compassion toward Hanna at the party, which I think she actually meant. Sandy’s compassion is real but also exaggerated and performative.
Images courtesy of Amazon Prime.