Hanna – Episode 4

This post analyzes the Amazon Prime television series Hanna using the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.


This post contains spoilers from the Amazon Prime television series Hanna, so make sure you watch the show before you read further.

The 5 Commandments for Episode 4

Inciting Incident

Erik threatens Marissa to work with him or he will hurt her family.

Progressive Complication/ Turning Point

Hanna finds documents in Dieter’s apartment that show Erik isn’t her father.


Does Hanna trust Erik or not?


Hanna decides she can no longer trust Erik


When Erik is trying to fly to safety with Hanna, she confronts him with her new-found knowledge and then runs away. Erik is caught in a trap. He is wounded and escapes. Hanna stows away in a boat heading for the UK.

Value Shift

This value shift is a +/-. In the beginning, Hanna is safe and Erik has control of Marissa. By the end of the episode, Hanna no longer trusts Erik and is on the run, Marissa escapes, and Erik is wounded.

Conventions and Obligatory Scenes for the Action Genre

Obligatory Scenes

Hero’s initial strategy against villain fails – Erik loses control of Marissa and is wounded, his team must now find Hanna and make a new plan.

Hero’s All is Lost Moment, when he must change his approach in order to salvage some form of victory – This might be an all is lost moment, since Hanna is on the run and Erik is being chased and wounded, but if this is the all is lost moment of the first season then it is too early to carry the season. I think their will be another one, and hopefully stronger.

Hero at the Mercy of the Villain – Too early yet.

Hero’s Sacrifice is Rewarded – Too early yet


Hero, Villain, Victim clearly defined – Hero – Hanna; Villain – Marissa; Victim – Maybe Hanna too? (To be determined)

The hero’s object of desire – stop the villain and save the victims

The Power divide between the hero and villain is very large – Hanna is alone, with only her father’s training; Marissa has many resources and men and an agency behind her

Speech in praise of the villain – To early yet, though Erik has warned Hanna that Marissa is dangerous.


More action and intrigue, new knowledge for Hanna and the viewer. Hanna and the viewer are discovering information at the same rate which raises the tension. Most of the action is at the end when Erik has a shoot out with the commandos on the plane. It is not clear what Hanna plans to do now that she has broken ties with Erik.

More Story Analysis

If you want to see more applications of the Story Grid methodology, below are links to my analysis of various novels and television shows in blog posts and podcasts:

Story Grid Showrunners Podcast – Parul, Melanie, and I analyze hit TV series using the Story Grid methodology.

My blog posts analyzing other Television series – my person take using the Story grid 5 Commandments to look at my favorite TV series – Jack Ryan, Batgirl, For All Mankind, Hanna, and more.

Novel analysis – I analyze some of my favorite books using the Story Grid 5 Commandments and 6 core questions – First Blood, Old Man’s War, Waylander, and more to come!

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