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Manhattan - Brooklyn & Jupiter - Review: "The Dawn of the Atomic Age"

Manhattan Season 2 Episode Guide
2.01 - "Damnatio Memoriae" - Review
2.02 - "Fatherland" - Review
2.03 - "The Threshold" - Review
2.04 - "Overlord" - Review
2.05 - "The World of Tomorrow" - Review
2.06 - "33" - Review
2.07 - "Behold, The Lord High Executioner" - Review
2.08 - "Human Error" - Review
2.09 - "Brooklyn" - Review
2.10 - "Jupiter" - Review

2.09: "Brooklyn"
Directed by Michael Uppendahl & Written by Dustin Thomason

And here we go, the penultimate episode of Manhattan! Apologies in the delay that it took to get around to writing the review for this episode, I've been busy in the run-up to Christmas but now that I have the time, I thought I'd catch up with my recaps. So this is pretty much it, then, what the targeting committee and the group on The Hill have been building towards from day one, the launching of the atomic bomb, and as the clock is counting down to zero, Brooklyn draws closer and closer to an end in an episode that could just have easily been a finale as Jupiter was.

Charlie is being reasoned with from Frank who tried to convince the committee to bomb an uninhibited island and Charlie comes up with a plan to protect the children, using a good luck note left by his son Joey on his way to work this morning as a way of hammering home the point. Meanwhile, Frank himself is put in charge of Little Boy along with a new team, Helen and Theodore Sinclair, who learns that the budget that should have been used on new composites was actually given to a laboratory in Rochester up in New York which is working with Liza's research. As expected, Helen is annoyed at this especially after what she has done for Frank, and goes and informs Darrow that she believes Frank is the guilty party behind the failure of the pre-tests earlier in the season.

Outside the base, the man who killed X-4, Victor, a Russian Spy, is captured by Joseph Bucher who Frank ran into earlier in the Season when he was a captive himself. Bucher learns with the help of Paul Crosley more about Brooklyn, the other spy on the hill. However, it doesn't quite go as planned as Victor seems to know more about Crosley than most people - including about his son, which narrows down the list of suspects to the spy who must be close friends. Therefore Victor reveals Sid Liao to be the spy seemingly under pressure, but Crosley doesn't believe it. With Victor then not talking Darrow then ends up killing him during the interrogation, which has an after effect on Nora as Victor's death was staged to look like a suicide by Bucher. Nora assigns Meeks to blow up the bomb ahead of schedule, which would kill everyone in Los Alamos, and so he decides to head to the test site with Stan, who warned Helen about not going earlier in the episode. Meanwhile, Bucher informed Frank about his mother, who is held captive by the Allies, in Alabama at a POW camp.

Fritz meanwhile leaves the project, not wishing to be involved in more deaths after the loss of Jeanne, and not even a pep talk from Crosley can convince Fritz to get back in the game. However, whilst watching the wedding video of Fritz and Jeannie, it's revealed that Meeks was wearing a baseball cap from Brooklyn, and as a result, that's a lead that might single him out as the spy, and Frank is informed.

Abby learns about the deceased Jean Tatlock from her family that she might not have committed suicide after all and it might have been staged like Victor's earlier in the episode (staged suicides do seem to be a thing about Brooklyn, don't they?) - and goes to Oppenheimer who holds Darrow responsible even though he cannot do anything about it. So, Abby confronts him for Oppenheimer who has her listen to the recorded tapes where Charlie claims that they need to dispatch of Jean, so therefore that naturally puts them in a lot of trouble. Panicking, Abby confronts Charlie after sending Joey to her parents, but Charlie tells her that he wasn't actually going to go through with it and proceeds to get angry at her once he learns that Joey had been sent away.

Charlie then goes to the test site where he has changed his mind about going along with Frank's beliefs and wants to show the full, nuclear destructive capability of the United States in force so that nobody will think about attacking them, and wants to use it on a city, which would contain several innocent people. The episode itself ends with Charlie being attacked by Oppenheimer, who holds him responsible and knows that Charlie was in fact, the reason for Jean's death, ending the episode on an interesting note that moves all the pieces together across the board, piling on the drama and tension with twists throughout that allowed for some gripping viewing.

Overall Episode Verdict: A
+Twists! Tension! Turns!
+Crosley and Darrow confronting Victor
+Frank vs. Charlie, Oppenheimer vs. Charlie

2.10: "Jupiter"
Directed by Thomas Schlamme and Written by Sam Shaw

And here we go, the finale of Manhattan which ended the season on an incredibly high note with a perfect conclusion as things finally caught up with the teaser that we were shown in the first episode, Damnatio Memoriae, which was also written by Sam Shaw. Jupiter looked at the buildup to the events concerning the dropping of the first atomic bomb and was incredibly tense, leaving audiences on the edge of their seat from start to finish.

The episode itself managed to wrap up several loose ends as it headed towards the finale, Meeks himself is on his way to the Trinity test site with a goal to destroy the bomb when the trigger is tested, therefore killing most of the researchers, but seems reluctant to do so and tries to talk his Russian ally, Stan, aka Perseus out of trouble. Meeks doesn't know that Frank is looking for him yet but Frank has his own problems, he's on the run from the military police after the events in the previous episode where Helen revealed that he was purposely halting the development of the bomb in the best way that he could. So, needless to say, Darrow is pretty annoyed at Frank and this makes the second time in a finale of a season on this show that Frank's gone head to head with someone in charge. Not caring about the police after him he heads to confront Meeks once and for all. Meeks himself has come up with a plan to dispatch Stan, and ends up taking him out of the game at least for the moment, giving the character more freedom in where he goes from here.

And that's when a third player gets brought into the game, Fritz, who wants to witness the atomic blast for himself, but is also spying for Liza, who wants to study what happens after the bomb blows up. He even ties to stop Charlie from waiting to better weather conditions, but to no avail. We also get to see the flashforward from the first episode where Lorentzen is interviewing Charlie, as Meeks is working his way up and offers to just check over the detonators, climbing up to the bomb without anyone being any the wiser. And the security is increased around the test site with every measure being taken to make sure that Frank doesn't get near the test site, with Charlie receiving a note from Oppenheimer informing him of Frank's involvement, at the same time that everyone is beginning to clear the test site for detonation.

This leads to Helen running into Charlie at the test site and is placed in the same car as Oppenheimer when she's escorted out. The bomb known as Little Boy is being deported to be used overseas and Oppenheimer wants Helen to go out and prepare the delivery of the device on the island. Meanwhile, Abby is informed that Charlie wants to speak to her, but can't leave the Hill because her pass is expired. She bluffs her way past the guard under the guise of attending Church, and heads to meet with Juanita, the woman who has her son.

Back on the test site, Frank finds Meeks already near the bomb when he arrives and tells Jim that he talked to his mother, knowing that he is the spy. Frank attempts to get on Meeks' good books by telling him that he sabotaged the pre-test and it works, and helps Meeks fix a problem with the Machine. Meanwhile, Meeks tells Frank why he turned traitor, saying that he doesn't want just the Americans to have the bomb believing that both the US and the Soviets will cancel each other out. Meeks is then called down by Charlie leaving Frank with the rest of the bomb, and a get out clause is offered with the car but it is turned down, with Meeks deciding to stay because he's not afraid.

Meanwhile, Charlie is attacked by Darrow over the delays in the bomb test as Liza figures out that Frank is in the tower causing them after he stalls the countdown. Charlie however refuses to back down from Darrow and reveals that he sent a letter to the Secretary of War explaining how Darrow not only manipulated reports but also murdered Jean Tatlock, which naturally, hits the character hard.

Back with the bomb, Frank believes that they can't have a Soviet spy responsible for the damaging of the bomb believing that it will sabotage the alliance between America and Russia. He agrees to frame himself for Jim's sake, but then is told by Liza via a phonecall that everyone working below knows that Frank is responsible and believes he'll get shot. We soon learn that there is just over half an hour until the launch of the bomb, and they're running out of time.

And then to make things more complicated, Fritz steps into the picture at Liza's request where he's told that Frank is the one who set the bomb, and the three get to work trying to fix the gadget before driving away from the blast radius. Whilst hiding in a bunker, Jim reveals that he's played a part in the death of Fritz's wife, and as things come to a boiling point, the bomb is launched, in the horizon, causing the three to look on in awe at the devastation that they have unleashed upon the world. And then this ends with Fritz's act of suicide, pointing the gun at himself and pulling the trigger.

And there we wrap things up. I don't think this show has been renewed yet so this could be the last season of Manhattan, but at the same time, I really hope it gets renewed for another go because it's just been utterly excellent. The series has been full of great twists and turns and Season 2 has really kept continuously improving, establishing itself as hands down, the best show that not enough people are watching. Compelling, engaging and riveting stuff, this season finale was arguably one of the best of the year, and in a year of excellent season endings, that's saying something. Now that the Season's over though, it's time to ask the usual questions once more - what did you think of the episodes that I've covered here, and the season as a whole? Is Manhattan still must watch entertainment for you? Let me know in the comments below!

Overall Episode Verdict:: A+
+Meeks and Frank working on the bomb.
+Charlie standing up to Darrow.
+KABOOOM! The bomb is launched.

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, 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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