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Manhattan recap: Brooklyn

Protectors become monsters, villains become saviors

Posted on

Greg Peters

Manhattan

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
2
run date:
07/27/14
performer:
Rachel Brosnahan, Michael Chernus, Christopher Denham
broadcaster:
WGN
genre:
Drama

It’s the penultimate episode of Manhattan’s second season, but this installment feels like a pretty big chain reaction all by itself.

“Brooklyn” is the title, and like the name of the series itself, it is a New York-themed codename. “Brooklyn” is Jim Meeks (Christopher Denham), an American scientist turned Soviet spy, who thinks creating a nuclear stalemate between the two countries will protect the world once this weapon is deployed.

Charlie Isaacs (Ashley Zukerman) leaves home and finds a stick-figure drawing from his son on the windshield. He meets Frank Winter (John Benjamin Hickey) briefly to talk about the Target Committee, and Frank again urges him to convince the group to drop the bomb on an uninhabited South Pacific island as a show of strength that will make the Japanese surrender without causing mass civilian casualties.

Even if they target a military base, Winter expects there to be 50,000 civilian casualties — about 20,000 of them children.

Charlie seems doubtful that Emperor Hirohito will surrender to a warning shot. “It’s not a warning shot. It’s not even another bomb,” Winter says. “It’s a second sun. The emperor is not surrendering to an army; he’s surrendering to the power of the universe.”

Winter urges him to wait and seize the last word and try to make it personal. Isaacs takes out the drawing, which has a note written on it: GOOD LUCK DADDY. “If we don’t show mercy without WMD in this war, how can we expect anyone to show our kids mercy in the next one.”

Winter thinks that will be persuasive. “Just make sure you get the last word.”

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Meanwhile, at a diner, Victor Green (Victor Talmadge), the Soviet handler, finds himself seized by U.S. agents, including  Bucher (Justin Kirk), the character last seen playing mind games with Frank Winter in an offsite U.S. detention camp.

In custody, Kirk’s counter-intelligence agent grills Mr. Green about scraps of partially burned paper they found on his property, referring to “Brooklyn.” The U.S. has determined this is code, but for what? Paul Crosley (Harry Lloyd), who proved his loyalty by revealing the espionage of his fellow Brit William Hogarth in the last episode, is invited to be part of the effort to crack Mr. Green.

Green begs him to help him commit suicide and refers to his son, which makes Crosley aware that someone who knows him well must be “Brooklyn.”

Meeks and his direct handler, Nora (Mamie Gummer), are in crisis mode — preparing to sabotage the upcoming test while simultaneously considering their escape. They have no idea how long Green will hold back what he knows. When his interrogators bring up his daughter, Eleanor (similar name, right?), a student at the University of Pittsburgh who has since disappeared, Green says he’ll talk if they leave her out of this. He offers a name, for the spy on the Hill: Sid Liao, the Asian-American scientist from the first season who was killed after stealing tech, not for another country, but for his own profit after the war.

Crosley doesn’t buy it.

NEXT: What really happened to Jean?