Hanna – S1 E8 and Ending Payoff

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 8

Inciting Incident

Hanna uses skills Erik taught her to hunt and treat Erik’s wounds

Progressive Complication/ Turning Point

Eric tells Hanna about the other girls in the program


Does hanna rescue them or leave them?


Hanna Insists on rescuing the girls, “We’re getting them out of there!”


Hanna and Erik break into the facility, but Erik is killed and Hanna and 249 (Clara) escape while the rest of the girls are taken by UTREX.

Value Shift

This value shift for the episode as a thriller shifts a couple times.

Hanna plans to rescue the girls but end up only rescuing one after losing Eric.

I’d give the Episode a +/++.

Ending Payoff

Inciting Incident: Hanna Rescues Erik

Turning Point: Hanna finds out there are more girls

Crisis Question: Does Hanna rescue the girls or not

Climax: Hanna decides to rescue the girls

Resolution: Erik dies in a shootout and Hanna manages to rescue Clara

I think it’s pretty obvious to see that all of these scenes turn on life and death.

The ending Payoff: After rescuing Erik from UTREX

Conventions and Obligatory Scenes for the Action Genre

Obligatory Scenes

Hero’s All is Lost Moment, when he must change his approach in order to salvage some form of victory – I’d almost say that when Hanna is left with her father by Eric, that could be her all is lost moment, when she realizes she doesn’t belong, that she will never belong

Hero at the Mercy of the Villain – UTREX sends commandos to kill Erik and Hanna

Hero’s Sacrifice is Rewarded – Erik is killed and 249 is saved


Hero, Villain, Victim clearly defined – Hero – Hanna; Villain – Marissa; Victim – Maybe Hanna too

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 – There never really is a Speech in praise of the villain, the villain ending up being UTREX corporation.


I really enjoyed this series. There were enough surprises to keep me interested and just the right enough of action to keep it realistic. And the worldview maturity of Hanna was done very well.

I’ve just begun to analyze the second Jack Ryan series, so stay tuned for those episodes, and I have begun a new podcast called Story Grid Showrunners where I analyze hit TV series with two editor friends of mine, and this season we are working on Killing Eve. I will post episodes on my blog here or you can download them at your favorite podcast platform.

The Story Grid

For more information about the Story Grid, go to the Story Grid Webpage where you will find free videos and articles on how to implement the methodology.

Read these articles for more information about the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.

For an example of how these techniques are used, read Jane Austin’s The Pride and the Prejudice with annotations by Shawn Coyne.

Story Grid Editing

If you are interested in having your manuscript reviewed by me, see my Editing Services.

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