Roush Review: ‘Hanna’ Is Back on the Run With ‘Alias’ in Its DNA
Those with a long memory for spy thrillers knew it was only a matter of time before the genetically enhanced fugitive Hanna (the quietly intense Esmé Creed-Miles) would get an alias. Even before this deadly serious lethal weapon temporarily becomes “Mia Wolff”—an in-joke referring to wolf DNA—her relentless chase adventure reminded me in all the best ways of Alias, and not just because Hanna can change up her looks like a junior Sydney Bristow.
As in that female-driven espionage classic (2001–06), Hanna seamlessly fuses action with emotion, a thrill ride led by a damaged soul. They don’t come much more broken than Hanna. When the second season opens, the newly orphaned heroine dedicates herself to protecting Clara (Yasmin Monet Prince), a fellow refugee from Utrax, the rogue CIA program that engineered a squadron of female teenage super-assassins. Like Hanna, Clara has significant mommy and abandonment issues along with mad combat skills and a habit of running into danger.
“I just don’t want to be alone anymore,” Clara says, expressing the kind of emotion their handlers and trackers see as weakness, ready to be exploited with cruel emotional manipulation. In another sense, of course, these young and desperate women are not alone, because there are more like them out there, just not yet free or enlightened. Soon to be unleashed on a campaign of state-sanctioned murder, these cloistered-from-birth Stepford robots are being socialized at an idyllic English estate called the Meadows. That’s where Hanna, through circuitous plotting, becomes Mia.
“It’s in your blood to break the rules,” observes her new nemesis, the suave and stony Utrax boss John Carmichael (Dermot Mulroney), who admires her skills enough to allow Hanna inside the gates. And while we wait for Hanna, and maybe even her sisters, to lead a rebellion, much of the intrigue of this season comes from never knowing where anyone’s loyalties lie.
That includes icy agent Marissa Wiegler (Mireille Enos), who spent the first season chasing Hanna as a villain but now insists she’s the girls’ only ally. Little wonder our solemn heroine can’t bring herself to trust anyone. Why would she?
After a repetitive midsection, the season picks up when Hanna, Clara and two more loyal soldiers go on their first mission, which takes them to London and Barcelona. The violent, tense action leads to tragedy and, typically, some wildly improbable rescues and escapes. But it’s not like that ever hurt James Bond’s reputation.
Hanna,Season Premiere, Friday, July 3, Amazon Prime Video