“The Mckenna Erasure” was packed with the best action of the season as stories and characters continue to intersect.
This recap of Treadstone Season 1, Episode 8, “The Mckenna Erasure”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
It almost certainly isn’t intentional, but Treadstone Episode 8, “The McKenna Erasure”, opens with Doug McKenna (Brian J. Smith) attempting to save the life of Marcus Sachs, a geologist marked for death by Treadstone played by, fittingly, Alan McKenna. That’s two McKennas for the price of one, and both of them get erased, though admittedly in slightly different ways.
That this episode immediately reveals that Doug survived the explosion which closed the last one shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. He’s one of the heroes — sort of, anyway, inasmuch as a brainwashed CIA super soldier can really be considered a hero. He finds Marcus alive in the rubble, and his wife, Gloria (Emma Campbell-Jones), badly wounded and being used as bait by an asset who looks like Agent 47 in casualwear. He and Doug fight, and it’s probably the best hand-to-hand scrap of the season thus far, somewhat reminiscent of Equilibrium, now that I think about it. Sam (Tess Haubrich) — another McKenna! — intervenes, and refers to the asset as Vincent (Martin Goeres), another of her pet human science experiments. A plan is hatched. Doug snaps a photograph of himself covered in blood, and the corpses of Mr. and Mrs. Sachs, who were both killed during the fight, and sends them to Vincent’s handlers. Then he and Sam go to Vincent’s swanky apartment so that Doug can impersonate him by shaving his head and learning to write with his left hand. Sam, in the meantime, decides she’s going to go to Treadstone and figure out what’s going on, which sounds like an absolutely terrible idea.
But nevermind that. “The McKenna Erasure” didn’t just spare time for various made-up and real-life McKennas. In Seoul, SoYun (Hyo-Joo Han) is floating around Chroma’s VIP section, charming Yuri and bugging his meeting with Shin, which she eavesdrops on from nearby. She overhears that Dae (Jung Woo Seo) is going to take the fall for the launch of Stiletto Six, which naturally she doesn’t like the sound of, so using various bottles of expensive champagne and empty drinks trays, she batters her way through the entire club. This sequence knocks the punch-up from the top of the episode into second-place as far as the season’s best action set-pieces are concerned. The neon Wickian vibe is cool and Han is dynamite — I hope she gets a lot more work in the West on the back of this.
Anyway, SoYun manages to flee to the American embassy, where she insists she has urgent info for the CIA. That’s something of an understatement.
Still on the run elsewhere are Edwards (Omar Metwally) and Haynes (Patrick Fugit), though given they’re being tracked by Ellen (Michelle Forbes), Dan (Michael Gaston), and the full might of the CIA’s surveillance wing, they need to come up with a plan pretty quickly. And they do. First, they ensure that Edwards will be taken alive, which they accomplish by having Haynes hide in a tree with an AR-15 and a reflective blanket that shields him from thermal scans and threaten to shoot everyone if Edwards is harmed. Easy. Then Haynes surrenders and is executed, which strikes me as a bit unnecessary and also entirely contrary to the plan? What if the CIA goons had just gunned down Edwards after Haynes surrendered?
Whatever. Edwards is brought in and talks with Ellen, though neither seems much closer to any concrete answers regarding why the Treadstone assets were reactivated, who authorized it, and what their ultimate goal is. Edwards later looks up Carol (Kerry Godliman) and discovers that her recent flights were paid for by a company whose fellows include Yuri. He’s able to print off the names just before his user account is childishly suspended, and Dan orders a full surveillance package on him.
And finally, we have matters in Moscow, where Tara (Tracy Ifeachor) goes to see Nolan (Set Sjöstrand), who has Hanson hair but Dolph Lundgren’s accent. He tells her that Treadstone is connected to the Blackbriar hearings and agrees to dig up info on Yuri Leniov. In typical former-KGB fashion, most of his files have been destroyed or heavily redacted, but there are plenty of references in his history to both the cicadas and Stiletto Six. A telling physical file that was never digitized happens to be stored in the Russian State Military Archive, and since Nolan is one of those enigmatic TV hackers, he can get Tara credentials.
“The McKenna Erasure” includes some classics of the imposter-entering-a-secure-location subgenre, including a delay on the fake ID, the pausing of CCTV, riffling through files while guards are incoming, and photographing important evidence in the nick of time. By cross-referencing the names associated with the cicada project with those associated with Stiletto Six, Tara uncovers her next person of interest: Petra. She somewhat improbably has no digital footprint, but Nolan is able to look up her husband’s rural address, and Tara calls Edwards to let him know that’s where she’s going. Dan is obviously listening in. When she gets there, Petra (Gabrielle Scharnitzky), upon hearing she’s a journalist, warmly invites her inside for tea. I think we all remember what happened the last time she put the kettle on.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.