2×05: “A Way to Grieve”
Directed by Ugla Hauksdóttir
Written by Nina Segal
* For a recap & review of 2×04, “Welcome Mia” – click here
* For a recap & review of 2×06, “You’re With Us Now” – click here
Hanna’s now stuck at the Meadows. She looks at the fake life built up around her, then she thinks about Erik taking her away from this sort of existence. Then there’s Marissa, stuck in a cell because of her attempt to break Hanna out of there. She’s put in an interrogation room with Carmichael, who wants to talk about the girl. And hidden somewhere in the woods is Stephen, still attempting to pair his phone with Marissa’s, unsure of what’s happened. Probably a good thing he has a roaming arsenal in the back panel of his truck.
Hanna goes to meet with Terri about the “pretend lives” each of the girls are given. She doesn’t want a fake existence, she already has her own backstory, a family. She asks about Marissa, but Leo only says she’s gone. Marissa chats with Carmichael, only concerned about where they’ve taken Hanna, and what they’re planning on doing with her. Carmichael doesn’t care about her concerns. He knows that Marissa was in Belgium with Hanna and that they later went to Paris, so on. He knows everything, right down to her old professor in Canada who was going to harbour Hanna. He’s also got the lipstick, sure that there’s someone else helping Marissa out there.
Meanwhile, Stephen’s at the fence getting a peek into the Meadows.
At lunch, the other girls attempt to talk with Hanna, asking her to sit with them at their table. She’s obviously angry at Clara, who’s avoiding her because of the obvious. The girls chat about what it means to be American and who’s “more American” than the other. Hanna’s bored with listening to them, she doesn’t want to be there at all. The girls go through her backstory, acting as if it’s a totally normal thing to do. When Clara does show up she and Hanna have an awkward, silent moment between them before she goes looking through the file made up for Mia Wolff.
The files even have the girls’ “first memory” in them. Quite an eerie thing, really. Jules relates it to Plato’s cave, but Hanna knows the difference between facts and illusions, she remembers how her parents died and that they “never ate marshmallows” like the idealised fake existence in her file says they once did together. Clara tries to say Erik wasn’t even Hanna’s real father, yet he WAS, he just wasn’t her biological father. He raised her, taught her everything she knows. Hanna’s had a different life than the other Utrax girls, she’s tasted actual freedom outside of the program, whereas someone like Clara only got a very brief taste, and the others have had none whatsoever.
During the day’s training— an elaborate game of Capture the Flag— Hanna takes part with the other girls. The others have nothing on Hanna, who’s experienced the real version of combat, who’s had to kill Utrax soldiers. She has reflexes like an animal, moving through the woods and taking out all the other girls so easily it’s insane, as Leo and Terri watch on in astonishment. The other girls go down, one by one. This leaves Hanna alone in the forest when she comes upon the fence, and Stephen calls her over quietly. He shows her the picture of her on his phone, then has to rush off, right as he hears Clara coming. The pair of girls continue on together to the burned out truck, where a booby trap explosive goes off and sends Hanna momentarily into a PTSD spiral, thinking of her mother’s death and Erik in the forest again. Hanna ends up in hand-to-hand combat with another Utrax girl, fighting for the flag. In the end, she comes out on top, holding the flag up high.
Soundtrack: “Thank You” by Baby in Vain plays during the training exercise
“It wasn’t a real forest, it was just trees.”
Everyone else is amazed at Hanna’s performance. She sees it as silly, pointless games. She knows the truth of what they’re being prepared for and trained to do: murder. They’re not going into the army, they’re super soldier assassins meant to do one thing and one thing only. To those girls, war’s a game that you win. Hanna has been out there in the forest, chased by soldiers, forced to kill— it’s not a training exercise or a fun team-building game, it’s real life. Not hard to see why she’s having a tough time being there. Hopefully Stephen can help her, and Marissa, too.
Terri’s been keeping a close eye on Hanna. She understands the girl’s unable to accept a new identity because she had something real with Erik. Terri makes clear to Carmichael that the other girls are easier because there’s a gap in their history, they were given up to the program and cut off from their families from that point. Hanna was broken out of there by Erik, given a chance to live outside of prison-like walls. Nothing can replace that. The irony is, she’ll never be able to live a normal life as herself because Utrax and the CIA won’t stop hunting her, yet the life she’s offered as Mia is nothing but imaginary. That night, Sandy’s upset because her not-real sister may be dying. Jules and Clara act like it’s actually happening. The whole situation is a ruse perpetrated by Terri, in an attempt to push Hanna towards the other girls via tragedy. Sandy gets a message from her not-real mother later saying her not-real sister has died in hospital. Will seeing another girl lose a member of her family, even if they’re not real, actually make Hanna sympathise with Sandy and the rest? It just might. Hanna asks Sandy to go with her, so the four girls sneak into the woods together. They have figurative burial for Sandy’s not-real sister, like they’re standing over a grave. Hanna’s done this very thing for her father, now she’s teaching these girls what it’s like to live an actual life. Maybe, in this, she feels a sense of purpose. Is that enough? Can Terri’s fake social media family reel her in?
Looks like Marissa’s being transferred someplace else. The “powers that be” have other plans for her than just death. Carmichael insists the “fight is over” and Hanna’s now back where she belongs. Will Stephen manage to get Marissa and Hanna out of there? He’s creeping his way closer, taking out guards watching over the Meadows. Marissa isn’t going to take any chances, though. She keeps trying to sweet talk one of the guards, eventually getting hold of him, knocking him out. She slips out of the cell with a passkey and a gun. She gets to the observation room and proceeds to knock Terri out. She gets in contact with Hanna over the laptop, and the girl suddenly doesn’t want to leave.
But that photo Carmichael foolishly left with Marissa gives her a clue to find the girl. Marissa makes it to Hanna’s room and tries her best to tell her she isn’t safe. “You‘re a weapon to them, it‘s all that you are,” she says. The girl’s tired. She doesn’t want to keep running for her whole life. Marissa has to have a fast heart-to-heart about Erik before the guards turn up. The place is already on high alert. Marissa wants to be a surrogate mother to Hanna now, to be part of what was taken away from her.
And Hanna listens. They get to Stephen. First, they’ve got to grab Hanna’s passport where she stashed it, then they’re on their way. She really doesn’t want to leave without Clara.
Then Clara shows up, grabbing the gun off Marissa, trying to stop them. This is when Marissa comes clean to tell Clara her mother’s still alive. She had to lie originally to bring Clara back for Utrax. Marissa wrestles with Clara for the gun and it goes off…
Hanna’s taken the gun, leaving Marissa injured and at the hands of Carmichael.
Soundtrack: Song over credits is “Free Insult” by Victoria+Jean
This episode was a slightly stunning twist in the overall narrative of Hanna. Obviously, sooner or later, Hanna’s going to break out of this mentality. At the moment, she’s been brainwashed again. And WHAT is going to happen to Marissa? Only so many chances she’s going to get from Carmichael and the higher-ups. Exciting and a little scary.