Hanna continues apace in “Friend”, as the show’s coming-of-age elements begin to surface with welcome levity and without losing the pace and brutality.
This Hanna Episode 2 recap, for the episode titled “Friend”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Whatever Randy Newman might say to the contrary, not everyone has a friend in their time of need, least of all Hanna (Esme Creed-Miles), the eponymous heroine of Amazon’s new espionage-cum-coming-of-age series who, in the show’s second episode, finds herself in prison. A guest at the pleasure of the enigmatic Marissa (Mireille Enos), Hanna wants to talk with her; unfortunately for the poor impersonator whom Marissa sends in her place, Hanna is in no mood for games, brutally executing her and half the facility’s staff before making her escape.
One thing I very much like about Hanna is how willing it is to not pull punches when it comes to its pretty young protagonist; she proudly slashes throats and sends bullets tunneling through heads like ain’t a thing at all, and I respect her attitude. I also respect the show’s clear and concise action; none of that shaky-cam garbage around here, thanks very much.
As information is teased about Hanna’s DNA, “Friend” is interspersed with scenes following Sophie (Rhianne Barreto), a young British girl with perhaps too many friends (and certainly with a propensity to make them too quickly, especially if they’re handsome dudes) reluctantly holidaying with her family in Morroco. Needless to say, the low-key Agency prison where Hanna was being held is also in Morroco, and the two girls predictably cross paths. A friend after all!
A note on Rhianne Barreto, who plays Sophie: She’s (a) not white and (b) not exactly skinny, making her a refreshingly atypical casting choice for a charismatic sexpot teenage girl. She also brings a lot of welcome levity to a show that has thus far been dour and serious almost to a fault. Hanna finding herself in a camper van with her cartoonishly English family is a great turn of events, especially after that mass-murdering escape from Marissa’s, *ahem*, “rendition center”.
Marissa, meanwhile, returns home to her stubbly French fella and his hilariously uninterested son, where she keeps top secret documents in a pop-out floorboard. She also heads out to swanky neon-lit titty bars for more clandestine meetings, while Sophie smuggles Hanna aboard the ferry home and teaches her about “showing off her figure”. This is where the show’s coming-of-age elements start to come into play and this whole dynamic is really endearing; Hanna’s fish-out-water cluelessness isn’t overplayed but deployed in just the right spots to show her innocence and naivete without undermining her cunning or intelligence. It’ll probably be a bit of shame when she inevitably has to brutally murder someone in front of Sophie and her whole family, who are struggling as it is.
A freshly-shaven Erik (Joel Kinnaman) turns up later on in “Friend”, slathering himself in goose fat and going for a swim. At about the same time Sophie takes Hanna out on the lash during a hotel stopover, introducing her to alcohol, makeup, dancing, smooching and inappropriately mounting the opposite sex: the Dutch courage has Hanna spilling the beans about her being on the way to meet her father in Berlin, and about her being pursued by dangerous people who are trying to hurt her, some of whom catch up with them at the station. A fight breaks out (not before Sophie gives Hanna her home address for later use, naturally) and Hanna once again evades capture by owning everyone in the vicinity, although she refrains from killing them at Sophie’s urging.
And there, I assume, we have the central dramatic push-and-pull of the series: Hanna’s extensive training as an elite assassin versus her biological instincts as a teenage girl hungering for normality that she has always been deprived of. Sophie represents that to her, which is partly what makes their burgeoning relationship compelling, even if we’ve seen its type before.