Sushi for Twelve, $482 plus delivery f Manhattan - Fatherland - Review: "The Price of Freedom"

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Manhattan - Fatherland - Review: "The Price of Freedom"



If you wanted to know where Frank Winter was following the events of the excellent premiere, "Fatherland" answered that question in a superb solo effort which allowed us to explore Frank's character when he found himself pushed with his back to the wall in a prison cell, accused of treason by the Government Agent Fischer who will eventually end up dead, as he was shot by the spy at the end of the premiere. It's clear that this episode isn't exactly set straight after and neither does it deal with the direct consequences from Fischer's death, preferring instead to spend most of its time in behind bars as we saw Frank go head to head with someone who we were lead to believe was an imprisoned Nazi sympathiser (who didn't particularly share Hitler's view on Jews), Joseph Beucker. Frank paid for taking the fall from Charlie last season heavily, and is starting to feel the consequences.

At first, Frank believes that it's going to be a straightforward experiment from the guards to see how well he and Beucker fair against each other. Frank's decision not to tell Beucker his name led him to using Charlie's, even though he was mostly addressed by "Houdini." There were various cruel experiments that were pitted against the two characters, such as a locked hatch that didn't lead anywhere once freed, and two covered dining plates that were believed to be simply food, but instead were replaced by a gun and a bullet. Frank's initial decision, believing the food on only to be on one plate and therefore they would have to eat something from both to make sure that they would suffer the same effects if only one of them was drugged, denying the other man the advantage. However, the twist allowed the characters to grab one of each, making sure that a straight kill was out of the question. However, it meant that they had to watch each other's backs, in case one could gain the upper hand. But it turned out that Frank was being conned, and the gun couldn't actually be used at all, allowing for another twist that kept the episode incredibly entertaining to watch, and extremely suspenseful even if for the large part, the cast was extremely limited to just two men. Yes, it was a way at saving the show's budget, but it was an effective one regardless, executed in a way that most other shows would fail to utilise, thanks in large part due to the acting talents from both John Benjamin Hickey and the show's guest star, Justin Kirk. The writing from Dan Attias was also top notch as well, continuing the strong start for the series.

Frank's past really got fleshed out in this episode as we learnt about his background in Nazi Germany, and watched these events unfold that suggested how his character might have been formed from them. His deeply personal experiences had an effect on the character this episode as he confessed his past, where learnt his mother was a German Nazi who abandoned him and was so reluctant to see him again that she even called the Gestapo on her own son. This was a powerful moment that really allowed Hickey to showcase his superb acting ability that makes him such a great addition to the show, and a fantastic actor. Something else that also worked was the big twist at the end when it was revealed that the German's progress on their Atomic bomb was all a lie, constructed to make the scientists work faster in fear of their own destruction. He knew that the German math that was presented to him was in fact his own, and as a result he was eventually able to see through the ruse from his captives, even if it didn't exactly mean that he was a free man by the end of the hour. It was a brutal awakening for Frank when he realised that it wasn't just the Germans that employed unorthodox tactics like this, the Americans did so as well.

Despite the fact that most of the time was spent with Frank behind bars, "Fatherland" allowed time for the other characters to return to the focus of things briefly as Abby and Helen came up with their own ideas to aid the war effort, unaware of what's happening to Frank at another location. First, because the scientists were close with each other before war broke out, Abby thought it might be a good idea for Charlie to suggest that their names and locations be delivered to the Government so they could target them, and in addition to that, Helen also came up with a solution of her own to work out where the Germans were building their own A-Bomb. So there was still plenty of interesting stuff going on that didn't feature Hickey, but when it did, everything really shined in another excellent episode of Manhattan that continues to show that Season 2 isn't afraid to keep delivering on excellent quality. This is one of the best period dramas on TV at the moment right now (along with The Americans and The Knick, with Halt and Catch Fire falling closely behind), so it's great to see that the series' form has gone from strength to strength.

What did you think of this week's episode of Manhattan? Did you like the decision to spend so much time of the episode with Frank? What did you enjoy about "Fatherland"? And what are your other favourite period dramas currently on TV? Let me know in the comments below!

VERDICT: A+
Positives:
+Frank's back! John Benjamin Hickey's superb performance.
+The games played on Frank in the prison.
+Abby and Helen!

Manhattan continues at 9pm next Tuesday on WGN America.

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, The 100, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Black Sails, Childhoods End, Da Vinci's Demons, Hell on Wheels, The Knick, Manhattan, Murder in the First, Narcos and Veep for Spoiler TV as well as books, films and games for his own blog The Fictional Hangout and contributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic.
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