Hanna – Middle Build

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 Middle Build

The Middle Build for Hanna lies between Episode 2 through Episode 7. The middle build is where about 50% of the story takes place, it’s where a lot of the action happens, and it’s where the protagonist enters into a new world (whether physical/ or situational). In this case, Hanna leaves here wilderness with her father, escapes from captivity and finds herself in the real world.

As in the Beginning Hook, there are 5 core scenes in the Middle Build, and since this is the Thriller Genre, they will all turn on the global value of life and death.

Inciting Incident: Hanna escapes captivity, killing a fake Marrisa

Turning Point: Hanna suspects that Erik is hiding something from her

Crisis Question: Does Hanna confront Erik about her birth or not

Climax: Hanna decides to not trust Erik and confront him as they are boarding a plane to suppose safety

Resolution: Hanna runs away and Erik is wounded in a trap, Erik is captured and tortured and eventually escapes, Erik reunites with Hanna and facilitates her escape from Marrisa, then leaves he with his real father.

The Middle Build – After escaping captivity, Hanna learns to live in the real world and realizes that Erik is not her real father, so she runs away. hanna is then captured by Marissa and rescued by Erik who reunites her with her real father.

Middle Build Value Change – hanna goes from ignorant of the real world and trusting of Erik to reunited to her real father and less trusting. -/+

Conventions and Obligatory Scenes for the Action Genre

Obligatory Scenes

Forced to leave ordinary world, Hero lashes out – Hanna wants to help Erik during his raids, but she does not know the way the city works and Erik refuses resulting in some fights.

Hero’s initial strategy against villain fails – Erik captures Marissa. If this is his first strategy, then she will be probably escape in the the next episode or two.

Hero’s All is Lost Moment, when he must change his approach in order to salvage some form of victory – Too early yet

Hero at the Mercy of the Villain – Hanna was at the mercy of Marrisa until Erik helped he escape

Hero’s Sacrifice is Rewarded – Too early yet


Hero, Villain, Victim clearly defined – Hero – Hanna; Villain – Marissa; Victim – other girls? Hanna?

The hero’s object of desire – stop the villain and save the girls from UTREX.

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 – Though Erik has warned Hanna that Marissa is dangerous, I think UTREX is ultimately the villain in this show.


I think the writers have done a good job with this series, developing Hanna as she comes to understand and appreciate the real world and moves for innocent follower of her father (Erik) to making her own way and doing things her way. The action is just enough to keep the viewers interested, we were waiting for Hanna to pull out the stops, and at the end of episode 7 she does it. It was a great scene. I would classify the end of episode 7 as part of the ending payoff.

Next week we’ll discuss Episode 8 and the final payoff and my final comments. See you there!!

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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