Warning: Spoilers ahead for Hanna’s season 2 finale, “The List.”
“So, what now?” Those are the final words of Hanna season 2. They are said by the Amazon Prime series’ titular Hanna (Esme Creed-Miles), who has no idea she has been tossed into a yet another conspiracy ahead of a prospective Hanna season 3. In Hanna’s mind, she has finally defeated the Utrax villains who murdered her parents (Joel Kinnaman and Joanna Kulig) and turned her into a killing machine. Many of the CIA operatives associated with the program are dead, and its leader, John Carmichael (Dermot Mulroney), has been shot. This should be a win.
Unfortunately for Hanna, she has actually been redrafted into Utrax’s worst machinations by her former enemy/supposedly new ally Marissa Wiegler (Mireille Enos). Marissa has just learned about the “Pioneer” target list, which aims to assassinate young people around the globe using Hanna’s Utrax program. Rather than try to destroy the unapologetically evil mission, Marissa ends season 2 finale “The List” by announcing her desire to lead the dastardly unit herself with Hanna’s help — all behind Hanna’s back.
That is why Hanna’s closing question feels so profound as “The List”comes to an end — it’s impossible not to wonder what unimaginable horror looms in the future of the teen thriller. When you look at all the evidence, it easy to assume Hanna and Marissa are once again set to be on opposing teams come a possible Hanna season 3. After all, Hanna reaffirms her purpose —destroying Utrax by any means necessary — repeatedly in Hanna season 2. Yet, there is still reason to hope Marissa isn’t betraying Hanna — she’s finally laying the groundwork to set Hanna free.
The final episodes in Hanna season 2 revolve around a whistleblowing attempt by a man named Robert Gelder (Mark Bazeley). In response, the Utrax team is determined to eliminate (read: murder) Robert, along with any of his collaborators. Prior to “The List,” all fans know about Robert — code name Tacitus — is that he is a military lawyer holding onto some damning evidence about Utrax, the program that created Hanna and dozens of genetically modified teenage girls like her. Multiple boozy flashbacks suggest Utrax boss John Carmichael said something to Robert about the program — and therefore started this entire intelligence crisis — but it is unclear what, precisely, Carmichael did.
The final major flashback of “The List” explains all. In July 2019, Carmichael and Robert — who were already acquaintances at this point — had drinks at a posh D.C. hotel bar. Carmichael got drunk and told Robert all about the Utrax program, including its true objective, which is so much bigger than general espionage. Instead, Utrax’s directive is to kill people under the age of 30 whom the American government has deemed “dangerous.” Many of these youthful marks are international citizens; they live across the globe in cities like Mexico City, Baghdad, and Seoul. Some of the targets are as young as 17. That is why the fresh-faced assassins of Utrax are so valuable — no one is more qualified to get close to these targets than other young adults like Hanna, Clara/Clemency (Yasmin Monet Prince), and Sandy (Áine Rose Daly).
“We’re controlling the future, Bobby,” Carmichael explains in the flashback. “The young are beautiful, but so very dangerous for what they might become. Want to join us?”
Robert Gelder is wholly uninterested in Carmichael’s invitation, and attempts to unmask the program for its horrific goals. Marissa seems to have a similar outlook throughout Hanna season 2, as she hides Hanna in a safehouse away from Utrax, breaks out of The Meadows training facility with the express purpose of taking Hanna with her to safety, and fatally shoots various Utrax-affiliated agents. Then we get to the end of “The List” when Marissa has the “Pioneer” list and the chance for a solo conversation with Carmichael.
Marissa uses this free moment to demand ultimate power over Utrax and the murder of the Pioneer targets.
“Robert Gelder was a threat to the Utrax program. You killed him, covered it up perfectly,” Marissa tells Carmichael, informing him of what lies he will tell his bosses if he wants her to let him live. Marissa also orders Carmichael to say Hanna — code name “Mia Wolf” — was a double agent who seemingly betrayed Utrax to take down the program’s enemies. “Mia and Clemency will be welcomed back into The Meadows with open arms. Together we’ll take the Pioneers down … I’m running this now.”
Marissa then ends the shady conversation the moment Hanna returns (albeit without Clemency/Clara, who escaped Hanna’s spy games to reunite with her mother). It is possible Marissa stopped her scheming to keep Hanna from knowing she has completely returned to the dark side. But, the first two seasons of Hanna puts so much work into proving it is impossible for Marissa and Hanna to escape Utrax if the shadowy intelligence program still exists. Utrax found Hanna even after she hid in the wilderness for 16 years. They tricked Marissa with a multi-level double-cross. If Marissa truly wants to be free of Utrax and the people who are behind it — the same people who nearly killed her multiple times in Hanna season 2 — she will likely have to destroy it from the inside.
If anyone is smart enough to realize her freedom demands a long-game approach like the one laid out in Hanna’s finale, it’s Marissa.