Episode 2 finds Marissa working at an office in Paris while keeping Hanna stowed away in an apartment and making plans to move her permanently to Canada. Shockingly, Hanna makes other plans.
Carmichael brings Clara to The Meadows. She reconnects with Sandy and Jules and figures out exactly who pointed Carmichael toward her mother. With her name changed to Clemency, 249/Clara observes her new environment and takes action, then observes some more. Terri and Leo both step in to help her adjust to her new life.
Jules and Sandy sink deeper into their new personas while also soaking up their political and tactical training. Sandy learns that she enjoys acting as a big sister to the other girls, while Jules delves into literature and philosophy that asks questions about society and identity.
Hanna, the series based on the 2011 film of the same name, returns for its second 8 episode season on Prime Video. Season 2 picks up not long after the end of season 1 and follows Hanna (Esme Creed-Miles) and her new sister, Clara (Yasmin Monet Prince), as they try to survive on their own in the Romanian forest without Hanna’s adopted father, Erik (Joel Kinnaman).
S1 Big Bad Marissa (Mireille Enos) is still involved with Utrax and is soon brought back into Hanna’s orbit. She’s also asked to consult in the new school that the rest of the Utrax trainees have been taken to, where they undergo socialization training so they can blend in when deployed as assassins. The trainees are given new identities and carefully managed by John Carmichael (Dermot Mulroney), the director of The Meadows, and his team of operatives.
While S2 still has plenty of action and movement across Europe, it’s focus is on the characters’ struggles with their identities and finding (or holding onto) their places in the world. S1 introduced us to Hanna when she was new to the outside world, as she struggled to make sense of herself and the urban forest environment she was plunged into, while wars were fought around her and over her.
In S2, Hanna understands her own abilities and history, at least according to Erik’s perspective. Now she’s discovering for her herself how she might fit into the world outside the forest. Marissa goes through a similar struggle as she continues to dig deeper into the truth about Utrax. She faces more decisions about what she’s willing to live with and what she needs to fight for.
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.
“The road is my home; my home, the road.”- Hedwig Robinson.
Episode 7 of Hanna, Road, brings Erik and Hanna back together for a nostalgia filled road trip. They each visit a birth parent and discover that the road is their home now and they are each other’s family. To be together, they must be on the run, but that’s likely Hanna’s fate no matter what, now that they know what she looks like.
Marissa also continues to confront truths about herself, the road and family. She has a reunion with Erik at the hotel where he and Johanna brought Hanna when she was an infant. Marissa proves once again that she’s meant to do more than work 9 to 5 and be a Parisian housewife.
While I’ve enjoyed the Sophie interludes, Hanna is at its best when its 3 leads are together in some combination. This episode might be the best episode of the season for overall character development. So many secret truths are revealed and so much of Erik, Marissa and Johanna’s pasts are explored. Hanna learns more about herself than she has all season, both factually and genetically. All three leads face moments of truth that will define them from here on. Hanna has been renewed for season 2, so that’s a more meaningful statement than it would have been a week ago.
Episode 6, Mother, reunites Hanna and Erik. But first, Erik is held prisoner by Sawyer and tortured, while Hanna has a fight with Sophie, then agrees to leave quietly with Marissa as her daughter/prisoner. There are some good character moments and fun action scenes, plus a major reveal. But the main reasons for this episode are to give Marissa and Hanna a chance to meet face to face at last and to move everyone toward their place for the final two episodes.
The episode opens on Sawyer visiting Erik in the basement dungeon where he’s keeping Erik nearly naked, on the floor, with an air conditioner blowing on him. The torture is made worse by throwing buckets of cold water on him at frequent intervals.
Sawyer wants to know where Hanna is. So does Erik. “I don’t know where she is because she didn’t tell me. She’s smarter than all of us. Don’t look so surprised. You made her that way.”
Sawyer is really nothing more than a glorified flunky with an out of control ego. Definitely not part of the team that made Hanna. Probably hasn’t even bothered to read the file. He’s gotten lucky so far. Marissa is the smart one, and I don’t think that Hanna actually is smarter than her. That makes me wonder, again, if Marissa is an early prototype for the Utrax project.
In episode 5, Hanna has made it to London and is hiding out in Sophie’s garage, sleeping in the family’s camper van. She’s thrown head first into the deep end of normal teenage social life in this episode, which she does her best to navigate. Between her sheltered upbringing and her heightened responses due to her manipulated DNA, she has a tougher time than most girls her age. As always, Hanna’s common sense and abilities also come in handy when she needs to read people or defend herself.
Both Hanna and Erik struggle to deal with the consequences of Hanna’s discoveries about her background. Erik is seriously wounded, which stops him from searching for Hanna, leaving him in despair. Hanna is depressed, grieving the relationship she thought she had with Erik.
Sawyer and Marissa develop a power struggle over the case. Sawyer continues to use heavy-handed methods and takes Marissa off the case, despite the depth of her experience with Erik. As usual, Marissa takes matters into her own hands.
Episode 4 finally brings Erik and Marissa (Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos) together for an extended confrontation. While Erik holds Marissa hostage and they reflect on their shared history and the ramifications of Erik’s decision to rescue Hanna as an infant, Dieter brings Hanna home to stay with his family. She’s exposed to another version of a typical family, this one functional and happy, with a very involved, kind-hearted father.
She’s also exposed to a range attitudes about her father, including the skewed information Marissa has fed the public. Hanna begins to question who Erik is to her and who she wants him to be.
After rescuing her from the chaos of the fighting, Dieter brings Hanna to his family home to stay with him for a couple of days, until things settle down. He introduces her to his sons, Armin and Bijan. The police search the area around the hotel, looking for Erik and his gang. Jacobs and his main henchman, Costigan, return to their hotel room, where they find the story is all over the news, with Erik Heller given as the suspect in the murder of Lukas Taylor.
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.
I knew episode 2 would be very different from episode 1, Forest, since Hanna’s previous life has been broken beyond repair. But after waiting a month and a half for the next installment, the image that was stuck in my mind from the first episode was the tall, forbidding forest and dark, imposing cave Hanna was raised in. I expected episode 2 to show her escape and the beginning of her education in the wider world.
And it does. It’s a splash of immersion into the life of a typical 21st century teenage girl, which only serves to highlight how out of touch Hanna is with not only her peers, but everything in our busy, urban, mechanized world. You know from the moment you see Hanna’s future friend, Sophie, covered by a dog filter app, that there’s no way Erik Heller could prepare Hanna for this. She’s on her own in the modern world, and will have to sink or swim based on how quickly she can adapt.
Sophie looks like she’ll be an excellent wing-girl to Hanna as she adjusts.
The pilot of Hanna was available for 24 hours after the Super Bowl, in early February. I wrote this review and recap then, 6 weeks before the rest of the season dropped. As far as I can tell, the pilot wasn’t changed.
Hanna is an Amazon Prime original series which is based on the 2011 film of the same name. The series stars stars Esme Creed-Miles as Hanna, a 15 year old girl who’s been raised alone in the woods by her father and trained to be a survivalist and fighter; Joel Kinnaman as Erik Heller, Hanna’s father and a former agent who took his infant daughter on the run to escape the relentless pursuit which killed Hanna’s mother; and Mireille Enos as Marissa Wiegler, a rogue CIA agent who’s been hunting Heller and his family for many years and will stop at nothing to find them.
Amazon is advertising the story as “equal parts high-concept thriller and coming-of-age drama”. I can’t help but notice the similarities to Les Miserables and the Jean Valjean/ Cosette/ Javert storyline, one of my favorite stories of all time. In this version, Cosette is the star, and gets to show what she’s made of.
But, never fear, if you don’t like 19th century French literature or operatic 80s musicals. This is a thoroughly modern action-mystery-thriller in the vein of Hunger Games or Nikita. Hanna has been trained by her father since birth and has extraordinary talents, but she doesn’t know who she is to the outside world, or why she’s being hunted. Her father has kept her sheltered from the rest of humanity, but has taught her as much as he could about the world from their cave in the forest.