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Manhattan - The World of Tomorrow & 33 - Double Review: "Death of a President"



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 Coming Soon)
2.08 - "Human Error" (December 1 2015)
2.09 - "Brooklyn" (December 8 2015)
2.10 - Title To Be Announced (December 15 2015)

The World of Tomorrow
Directed by Daniel Stern & Written by Mark Lafferty

Episode five of the sophomore season of Manhattan signals the halfway mark in the series, and it's an interesting one to reach, and looks primarily at Frank again as he attempts to get used to his new role at The Hill. It's been an interesting journey so far for Frank over the course of the previous episodes of the season and now that he's back, it's clear that he's changed and the show explores this new look Frank in The World of Tomorrow which focuses on the Manhattan Project, telling us the backend of 1944 in different sections via the perspectives of different characters. The show as well as looking at Frank himself also explores what's happened while he's been away, and it's been great to see that what's going on back at the Hill hasn't slowed down the tension at all. This episode went a long way to almost reset the status quo (but at the same time, not entirely) by bringing the great character that is Frank Winter back to the base in an interesting episode that answers the question, why would the USA even consider letting Frank back at all?

"It's all science fiction" is an interesting opening quote to make between Winter and Isaacs and their reunion picks up from where we left off, with Frank telling Charlie that there's no Nazi A-Bomb being constructed and the Army is manipulating them. However, Charlie has changed as much as Frank has, and he doesn't even care anymore that they've been lied to, or at least, on the surface, and tells Frank that the bomb is going to be made anyway, basically trying to get the point across that it's better their side gets it than the enemy. Maybe Charlie was watching Amazon's fantastic The Man in the High Castle, which looks at a world where the Germans and The Japanese won the war. For all we know, Manhattan could be a stealth prequel to that show. It's unlikely, but wouldn't that be cool? It would allow for a nice crossover to see Frank and Charlie showing up in The Man in the High Castle, their results a failure. But anyway, back to the episode itself.

Colonel Darrow is one person who's not happy by the release of Frank Winter and his acceptance back onto the Hill and it's clear that he's not liking the fact that already trouble is being created. Darrow has come up with a solution to stop Winter and keep him close where he can watch him, rather than allow him back as a scientist, offer him the chance to enlist in the Army and he can stay in the Hill as long as he doesn't cause trouble (and then he'll be shipped to fight against the Japanese in the Pacific) or he can be charged with espionage for telling Charlie about the Nazis not building a bomb. As you can expect, Liza's pretty furious at this, especially at seeing Frank dragged back into The Hill again, where they're forbidden from seeing each other.

The time jump to six months later is an interesting one that's tackled well here, especially with the decision to continue with flashbacks to the past that explore Frank and Dunlavey's characters. The fact that Frank is outranked by Dunlavey makes for an interesting one, especially as it's Dunlavey that's being deployed to the front lines in Japan, and that Frank actually served in the First World War. This could also be seen as another way to punish Frank for disobeying Darrow and it's safe to say that Darrow is quickly turning into one of the most detestable characters on the Hill since his introduction, and has become a key player in the second series and makes a very sinister addition to the cast indeed.

Several other elements also played a role in this episode. Abby's baby has been lost she was the only late-term miscarriage so Liza can't tell her if the dangerous materials being used may have lead to this. Meanwhile, The preparations for The Trinity Test are underway and Frank is working with Lazar, (played by Peter Stormare), Fritz, Charlie and Meeks who all run into some trouble when a group of locals arrive on horses to threaten them about trespassing on their lands. It's a potentially deadly situation that Frank managed to neatly avoid by telling the locals that they might be able to get more Government money, but this surprisingly, leads to a confrontation between Frank and Charlie where things only get worse for Frank as he's banished from the Tech Area as well.

On the whole, then, The World of Tomorrow was another solid, if not groundbreaking,, episode of Manhattan that reached the halfway mark of the series and handled the six month time-jump into the future. We also what happened to Dunlavey, who was predictably killed in battle in the Pacific, and we learnt just why Frank is being kept back at the Hill. He's a backup plan in case Charlie can't figure out a problem himself. Just because he's lower down in rank won't stop the Colonel from calling Frank to help him, and it'll be interesting to see whether that need ever arises. Again, we have to remind herself, the flashforward at the premiere showed that conditions don't exactly improve between the Colonel and Frank, so we've still got that to look forward to in the future episodes that lie in store.

Overall Episode Verdict: B+
Positives:
+Timejump and the flashbacks afterwards.
+Frank's return to the Hill.
+Frank discovering that not everyone is the same.
+The scene with the locals on horseback.

33
Directed by Kimberley Pierce & Written by Scott Brown & Megan Ferrell Burke

The second episode that I'm covering in the weekly recaps, 33, followed on from the time jumps of The World of Tomorrow with the sixth episode of the season and we've seen the establishment of a new dynamic that for most shows would normally come after either a midseason finale or at the start of the new season, not so with Manhattan, although I suppose if this were on Network TV this would be the episode that we'd probably return to were the show split in two over the winter break. The episode itself saw the discovery of a car, and a body, which belonged to X-4, where they were brought back to base by the Army, and served as an interesting way to kickstart 33.

The episode spent a lot of time looking at radiation issues and where the use of the bomb will be because they have to participate in tests. Nobody's really sure what what effects it will have on the environment and Charlie is asked by Fritz to look into the matter but Charlie says only if he finds someone with the time available, so Fritz turns to Liza instead who eventually joins in but only after approval from the Colonel, who was shown the risk of radiation exposure from the tech area. Helen herself is also calling for safety for everyone involved in the current project, because the research that they are undertaking could have potentially damaging effects. Another problem that arises is the actual deployment of the bomb and where it is used, so she gets her fellow scientists to try and get someone on the Targeting Comittee. The show also managed to dip into theatre in this episode with Meeks, the spy, starring in The Mikado from Gilbert and Sullivan in a community theatre production as the lead act. However, we soon learn that Meeks is not the only spy on the Hill, even if it is for an ally, and Abby finds out that Paul Crosley is informing the British the goings on in Los Alamos.

Charlie meanwhile isn't on the best of terms with Helen and whilst at the bar, Helen pours a drink that she believes was sent by Charlie on his lap only discover awkwardly it was not actually sent by him. Charlie himself plans to invite Helen into the group who are testing the primary bomb, which they're three months off from completing, but they also suffer a problem from being understaffed. Helen takes the offer, as G Group need to be on form to prepare for the arrival of the President's science advisor, Vannevar Bush.

Frank himself also made a speech about the use of the Bomb as well as it's quickly becoming apparent that the scientists know more about the Bomb than what the Government do, as they don't even care about the lasting effects that it will have on the populace. The speech would have been a perfect moment for the show but as usual he seems to have some pretty bad luck because the timing of the speech also took place just before the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. His death came as a shock especially given the fact that he was so well renowned, and no doubt this will have some effect on the reactions to Frank's comments about the bomb and Frank's plan about who made and used it.

On the whole then, 33 was a good episode that continued the strong form from The World of Tomorrow as we entered the second half of the season. The stage is being set for greater things to come and we'll look at that in the next double review of Behold the Lord High Executioner and Human Error, which is tonight's episode. I'll try and put that up at some point over the Weekend.

So what did you think of The World of Tomorrow and 33? Apologies for the delays in the reviews of these two episodes but as usual I've been super busy. Regardless of what I've been doing though, this show has been moving along at a solid pace, and it's good to see that this season is still maintaining its excellent level of consistency. Be sure to leave your comments below and check out the next episode at 9pm tonight on WGN America.

Overall Episode Verdict: A
Positives:
+Addressing the problem of the A-Bomb's after effects.
+Real history having an impact of what takes place in the show.
+Not just enemies spying on The Hill.
+"Pearl Harbour was an inside job!"

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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