“Manhattan” recap (1.12 &1.13): Sex, Lies and Espionage

When we last saw Abby in Episode 11, she had just very likely betrayed her lover Elodie and Elodie’s husband Tom, by planting sensitive documents in their home. Abby watched through the window as Elodie was carted away in an unmarked car, to an uncertain fate. As the world starts to spin out of control for everyone in Manhattan, with backstabbing and accusations of espionage about, Abby floats through her day like a ghost. The decision to betray Elodie weights heavily on Abby as we see in Episode 12, when while taking down the laundry, she is drawn back into Elodie’s now empty home.


As she wanders through the empty house, its pink kitchen walls bare, Abby finds one of Elodie’s naked lady playing cards, and begins to cry. She is startled by a young, chipper woman holding a moving box. As the woman introduces herself and comments on how quickly it looks like the last tenants vacated, Abby inexplicably slaps the poor stranger. Well that’s a hell of a welcome to Los Alamos. Abby, evidently seeing something of herself in this wide eyed, young woman, tells her to “wake up,” before running out of the house.


Later that day, the scientist that Charlie has been collaborating with on the sly, Frank Winter (John Benjamin Hickey), shows up and the two men argue about the secret project they’ve been working on together. Charlie, feeling the heat from his boss Reed Akley (David Harbour) no longer knows who to trust and tosses Winter out of the house.

After Frank Winter leaves, Charlie goes to Abby, who has overheard their conversation. Charlie tells her that he made a mistake and trusted the wrong person. That’s not quite good enough for Abby, however. She calls him a pawn in a political game, and resents being made a pawn as well. When she accuses Charlie of not being the man she married, he goes on the offensive: “When’s the last time you told me that you loved me? You’ve barely touched me in months.” Abby doesn’t defend her pulling away, and tells Charlie that she’s going back home to Boston, and in order to do that, she’ll need him to agree to a divorce. Divorce is no small thing to ask for in the 1940’s, so Abby means business. Later that evening, Charlie attempts to resign from the program to save his marriage, but Akley refuses to accept it. Charlie also discovers that the Thin Man project has been destined to fail all along. After he leaves, Akley confronts Winter and ends up killing himself.


The season finale opens up in a location very far from Los Alamos. Ellis Island. There, Rachel’s cousin and her daughter, both thought to be dead, arrive looking for asylum. An intimidating gent named Occam (Richard Schiff), the Manhattan project’s Chief of Security, shows up because she’s listed Charlie as her sponsor. Occam asks the woman to tell him all about Charlie.

Speaking of Charlie, he’s been avoiding home for the last two days. He finally comes home to tell Abby about what happened to Reed Akley, and how he feels responsible. Just then, they hear the familiar sound of wheels on gravel. This time, the MPs have come for Charlie. They haul him out of the house, while more police ransack their home. Abby stands clutching her young son, crying with fear.