Saturday, July 4, 2020

REVIEW: 'Hanna' - Hanna Has Doubts About Her First Mission and How Far She Is Asked to Go in 'You're With Us Now'

Amazon's Hanna - Episode 2.06 "You're With Us Now"

Hanna and Jules are sent on their first mission - to kill a journalist in London planning to meet with a military lawyer intent on exposing Utrax's secrets - while Sandy and Clara fly to Barcelona to recover the evidence.

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 next episode of Amazon's Hanna.

"You're With Us Now" was written by Charlotte Hamblin and directed by Ugla Hauksdóttir

The Meadows offered itself up as the perfect place to find family. The people in charge of the facility could offer the trainees everything that they wanted. The staff were just knowledgeable enough to know how to emotionally manipulate these young girls into compliance. They offered emotional support in the hopes of fostering a strong connection. It was all for the ultimate goal of turning these trainees into full-blown assassins. John props up the program as a great service to one's country. Utrax is a nefarious and mysterious organization though. One that sees the priority of staying in the shadows. No one can suspect that these young girls are actually capable of heinous murders. Hanna and Jules are sent out on a mission not because there is some grave threat to the stability of the world. Instead, they travel to London to eliminate a journalist who is working with a whistleblower to reveal the truth about the program. It's an action driven solely out of self-preservation. It's also a test to see if Hanna truly is loyal to the goals of this program. As such, it's maddening to watch the show reverse itself once again as to where Hanna's loyalties lies. It's frustrating because it seems driven by the plot instead of any sense of internal consistency. The only thing that has defined Hanna throughout this season is just how adrift and lost she feels without Erik. Everything else can change from minute to minute. She wants to stop running. She commits to life at the Meadows. And then, the following episode sends her away on a mission. John explains that it's because she has more field experience. However, there are three other agents who are also capable of traveling aboard to advance the agendas of whomever is delivering the orders. The true turning point for Hanna comes when she is ordered to kill the journalist. Up until that point, she is more than capable and prepared for what this mission details. She has killed plenty of times previously though. Sure, one could argue that it was impulsively. It was done to preserve herself or the mission she was on. But it mostly comes across as the show asking the audience to forget about that. This is the first time murder actually means something to her. She has suffered loss and pain. She has struggled to deal with that. And now, she will be inflicting it on someone else. Moreover, the show presents this journalist as part of a same sex couple. That detail is used as a way in for Hanna and Jules. That comes with the implication that this is simply something that can be exploited in the hopes of getting close enough to commit this murder. It works in the end too. That just unfortunately plays into the horrifying Bury Your Gays stereotypes. Jules may debate the heteronormative view of the world. However, she was programmed to do so instead of actually caring about the merits of that argument or her own questioning. It's all forced in a way that just rings false when it comes to issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. The show pays lip service to it thinking that is enough to convince the audience that it is offering up a take on the world as it currently exists. Instead, it shows just how contained and small it truly is. That's unfortunate. So, the only true value of the story may come from the twists and turns. But the audience still has to feel invested in those. Clara doubts that Marissa was telling the truth about her mother still potentially being alive. That was the first information given to the audience about her this season. So, we shouldn't doubt that. And yet, it's inevitable because so many lies have been told. It's hard to figure out what's true. That just creates a muddled mess. One that isn't all that exciting to watch. Instead, it's just fumbling around trying to create a conspiracy that must be unraveled only for the oppressive force to be seen as too omnipresent and powerful. Sure, Marissa may escape at some point thanks to her new allies. But there is very little to care about at this point because character motivations can change at a flip of coin. Jules showed no hesitation when it came to turning Hanna in and taking out the target as ordered. Sandy and Clara are likely to do the same in Barcelona. A different choice seems inevitable though solely because that particular murder isn't also seen here. That would infer that a different choice is going to be made instead of making the argument that Hanna's friends are all killers when she now has a problem with that. And again, she has a problem with that because the plot needs her to. It's not because the audience understands her fears and doubts.