The countdown is on.
In this final episode of Manhattan season 2, two of our main characters are on the run.
Turncoat scientist Jim Meeks (Christopher Denham) is on his way to the Trinity test site alongside fellow Soviet spy Perseus (the patent lawyer Stan, played by Jason Ralph). The Soviets want Jim to rig the bomb to go off when the trigger is tested, obliterating most of the researchers who worked to develop it. He can’t do it and tries to persuade his comrade to abandon the plan.
“What’s your part? To make sure I do mine?” Jim asks.
Elsewhere, Frank Winter (John Benjamin Hickey) learns that Meeks may be a spy from scientist-turned-counter-espionage-agent Paul Crosley (Harry Lloyd). Winter also soon learns he is now wanted by the project’s leadership because Helen Prins (Katja Herbers) has revealed he has been deliberately siphoning money away from his team to slow the development of the bomb.
He heads to the test site to intercept Jim while military police hunt for him. Jim sidelines “Perseus” when he’s hunting for his test-site pass in the trunk by knocking him out — or killing him? That part is unclear. It was a pretty brutal takedown.
It’s a game of cat and mouse with lots of cats and lots of mice.
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As a storm sweeps over the test site, Fritz (Michael Chernus) turns up at Trinity to witness the first man-made atomic blast. He meets with Liza Winter (Olivia Williams) who is hoping to study the effects of fallout. She turns him into her own spy — infiltrating the command tent and urging Charlie Isaacs (Ashley Zukerman) to wait out the rain or risk contaminating a wider swath of New Mexico.
As we saw in a flash-forward on the first episode of this season, Jim ends up stationed inside the tower to safeguard the bomb, because Isaacs has received word that Winter sabotaged one of the pre-tests as a way of earning his trust and getting him to advocate against using the weapon in a populated area. (That effort failed last episode when Isaacs not only urged them to hit a populated place, he suggested a city full of civilians instead of a military target.)
Helen turns up at Trinity. (She stole Stan’s pass, which is why he couldn’t find it — and is not probably dead. Oops.) She makes peace with Charlie after their affair went badly. “In case you set the atmosphere on fire tonight and this is goodbye… I don’t blame you for choosing your family.” The MPs show up to escort her away, and she ends up in a car with Oppenheimer, who has a major new assignment for her: She is the new head of the tech group, and she’ll be responsible for delivering the bomb to the South Pacific. “Buy a slicker,” he says. “It’s monsoon season.”
Charlie ends up calling his in-laws house to talk to his son and discovers the boy is not there. Then the in-laws hang up on him. Back at his home, Abby (Rachel Brosnahan) won’t take his call either. She is planning her own escape.
NEXT: “I don’t want to hurt anybody!”