2×02: “The Trial”
Directed by Eva Husson
Written by David Farr
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “Safe” – click here
* For a recap & review of 2×03, “To the Meadows” – click here
The episode opens with “Such a Remarkable Day” by Charlotte Gainsbourg, as we see that Marissa has returned to Paris, albeit nervously. The rogue CIA agent’s not stupid, she knows she’s being followed and watched closely. She has her apartment swept for hidden recording devices and a full “domestic clean” is completed. At work again, Marissa’s suspicious of everything, particularly Sonia Richter (Emma D’Arcy), who’s working directly for Carmichael and reporting back to him about her.
And who else is in the City of Love? Hanna. She and Marissa are together once more. Where does this relationship lead? What are Marissa’s intentions? Hanna’s donning new blonde hair, slightly shorter than usual. Her new name’s Beatrice. She has to find a place to hide, so Marrisa has a couple good people to shelter her for “a long time.”
At the Meadows, Jules is busy reading J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, all angsty and edgy like every other teen who reads that shit and thinks they’re a rebel— sorry, no offence to those who clearly adore the book out there, but enough grad students will tell you differently and I could never stand that goddamn book. Sandy can’t control her curiosity over the vehicle they saw arrive recently. It’s the one that brought Clara to the Meadows. She’s being indoctrinated once again, a little differently, by the gentler touch of Leo. She asks about Hanna. He tells her that Hanna’s dead. A lie, but Clara has no way of knowing otherwise. Now she thinks she’s truly alone. A glimpse at life in the Meadows may just convince her to re-embrace Utrax as her one and only family.
“Just think of her as a girl who deserves a fresh start”
Clara attempts to live life at the Meadows, like the other Utrax girls. She can’t quite settle in comfortably. She meets Sandy again, who used to live in the cell next to her at the old facility. She starts asking questions about where they really are, the actual location, though Sandy doesn’t know anything and only wants to talk about their new, fake existences. Sandy tells ‘Clemency’ to write home when Clara knows full well her family’s not real, that her actual mother Samira is dead. Could this life of pretend help soothe her very real psychological wounds?
Love the shot of Hanna looking at the implant she pulled out of Clara’s skin. She looks across the way to see a person using a VR headset, lost in a virtual world— same as the Utrax drug implant, really. Hanna’s more free than even some of those in the world outside the old facility and the Meadows. At work, Marissa confronts Sonia about reporting back to Carmichael, warning to stay out of her private life and finishing with a nice threat to boot. Later she goes to get a fake ID for Ms. Beatrice. She and Hanna have to make sure the girl appears dead to the CIA and Utrax. This new Beatrice has to be “untraceable.” Unfortunately, Hanna can’t forget Clara and what’s happened to her.
Terri meets Carmichael and they talk a bit about Clara. He commends their new employee for the good work with their returned girl. Carmichael says Clara needs more time to adjust. We see Jules and Sandy talking like regular girls again, the former mentioning how she broke up with her hot boyfriend Erin while she reads Strangers to Ourselves by Julia Kristeva, an ironic read for an Utrax super soldier. The difference between the two girls is interesting, especially because Jules questions everything, especially the “heteronormal notion” of who they’re supposed to be as people.
Even if Jules is reading Salinger she’s obviously reading other stuff to take her outside of the tiny world Utrax has offered them. Maybe, for Sandy, the way out of that world is Clara. Or is it Terri? How long will the computer analyst be able to watch these girls struggle before human emotion encourages her to act against her job’s duties? Clara’s figured out it was Sandy who got her caught again, so they wind up in a super soldier fist fight in front of a bunch of other girls. Sandy gets a hand from Jules and it looks like intimacy may grow deeper between the two, as Terri watches happily from her computer screen. Will Terri become a catalyst for good in their lives? Maybe. She also might succumb to the Utrax formula like everyone else under Carmichael and push Clara back into being part of the team, too.
Bored at home in the apartment building, Hanna, calling herself Chloe, goes to another apartment and asks a young guy there for coffee. He goes about getting her stuff to make coffee and she takes a look around the place, using the laptop there to search Passway Pharmaceuticals— the name on the bullet-like implant from Clara’s arm. She slips out of there without the dude realising she took a wallet. When he does notice she’s already out of there and in the street. Marrisa gets home and the guy is asking about his dad’s wallet. She goes into his place to see Hanna was on the computer, finding the Passway search.
Hanna’s gone directly to the pharmaceuticals factory. This time she calls herself Lucy Wiegler. But it’s not as easy as walking through the gates. She finds someone going in to take part in the trial, forcing the woman to hand over her clothes and everything else. Then she goes inside legally. She and others are told about the trial’s schedule for treatments and observation. Afterwards, Hanna’s brought to a room where she’s given a relaxant and told to wait there. Not long and someone comes to check her vitals, then they go further into the facility to another room, as the pill she was given takes hold. She gets hooked to an IV and left to watch relaxing things on a TV. She hears someone talk from a speaker, asking her to hold up a hand to signal she’s okay. She does, but she is far from okay, that’s for damn sure. And she’s already once likely been dosed with a similar drug before, back when she was very young. It’s all bringing back horrific memories of her father, his death, the firing of guns and explosions.
She’s had enough, smashing the window to get free of her containment room. She’s seeing things, like she’s fighting soldiers, not doctors. Although seconds later, soldiers do show up, and they pay a price for going head-to-head with Hanna. She continues to imagine herself in the forest. She finds a man writing on his laptop about the Meadows programme for the Utrax trainees. She isn’t able to get the location of the Meadows before more men with guns come. Luckily, Marissa’s in the parking garage waiting to make a getaway.
Soundtrack: “Ain’t No Friend of Mine” by Vali plays at the end
“I just don’t want you to be alone tonight”
Another magnificent episode for Season 2. Lots of things stirring in the pot. Love the new characters, particularly Terri because she could go either way— there’s a potential sympathy/empathetic nature to her that’s already evident, yet she works for Utrax, and they may simply assimilate her into the fold.