Friday, July 3, 2020

REVIEW: 'Hanna' - Hanna Feels Comfortable and Protected in the Forest While Clara Yearns for More in the World in 'Safe

Amazon's Hanna - Episode 2.01 "Safe"

As Hanna hides Clara in the vast forests of Northern Romania, the remaining trainees are transferred to an educational facility called The Meadows, where they are assigned new identities.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of Amazon's Hanna.

"Safe" was written by David Farr and directed by Eva Husson

Is it better to embrace and live within the truth or comply with an elaborate lie orchestrated by someone else to make you feel comfortable? That is the central debate at the heart of this series. It's one frequently motivated by a sense of yearning. Hanna had to escape the forest because she wanted to know a life other than the only one she had known. In doing so, she learned so much more than she could possibly handle. She had so much love for Erik as her father. And yet, her quest for normalcy revealed that he was just the man who chose to protect her instead of sharing any kind of biological connection. That revelation pushed Hanna to confront what she truly wanted. The end result was clarity that she had to save all the other girls who were experimented on just like her. She thought she was unique for her entire life. She didn't belong in the forest. In exploring the city, she understood she didn't belong there either. It was comforting for her to know that there were others just like her. She could offer clarity knowing that they have endured a similar pain and torture. And yet, the experiences of the other girls are much different. The government is trying to create perfect soldiers with enhanced abilities and the inability to reject any orders. Clara was the sole outlier. She wanted to go with Hanna because a connection was formed. It came from the understanding that her mother was out there. She had a past and needed to learn more. As such, it's not surprising that a life on the run in the forest isn't enough for Clara. This tease isn't satisfying her. She longs for that personal connection. That may be lost though because no one knows where her mother is. Her desire to reconnect is the precise action that allows her to get caught by Utrax right away too. Hanna knows that they will be safe in the forest. She knows this terrain incredibly well. The enemy may be armed with the best technology. And yet, Hanna and Clara can evade it for as long as they want. That isn't much of a life though. Hanna accepts it because she has experienced the alternative. She accepts this as the fate that fits her life. That is sad and tragic in its own way. She remains haunted by Erik's death. She lost her father in the hopes of rescuing all of these girls. She only managed to save one. She quickly lost her too. That's how quick life can change. But they are also going up against a nefarious organization that desperately tries to control women's bodies. The program has taken on a new context. The trainees are given more freedom and actual identities. It's all an elaborate lie though. It's a false narrative meant to offer some true sense of connection and belonging. But it's mostly just colorful details to paint in a believable backstory. Some girls can see that right away. Others cling onto these relationships believing them to be of great personal importance. Sandy can communicate with her mother. That is so rewarding right away because she invests so fully in it. Deep down, she understands this is all a fantasy. When pressed, she knows exactly how Clara was convinced to run away with Hanna. But it's lovely to live in this lie as well. It's better than any other life she could be living right now too. Clara doesn't buy into the lie Marissa is selling her. Marissa may only care about Hanna as well. She is rewarded with a reunion by the end of this premiere. But that only shows how the two may still have to work as reluctant allies to disrupt this program. It's hard to go against a preconceived notion. Everyone is made to feel as if this program is revolutionary and beneficial to everyone involved. It's horrifying though because it's robbing individuals of personal agency while training them as soldiers to battle the wars that humans must intensify over and over again to prove their worth and valor. Hanna wants to disrupt that but has no idea how that fits into the idea of life she actually wants for herself. It's easy to be comforted by what she had in the past. This premiere proves that is no longer an option even though John and his team now believe her to be dead. She has to save Clara because she saw that glimmer of hope even though she couldn't offer her exactly what she needed either. It's complicated to reach out on a human level and offer that compassion necessary to fill a void felt elsewhere. That doesn't make it impossible though. It just takes genuine effort and empathy to make it a reality. The show explores these themes while also being an intense action thriller with a crazy government conspiracy.