In Los Alamos, N.M., there is a dusty clandestine patch of land on which the first atomic bomb is being developed. The first season of Manhattan saw a variety of characters, mostly scientists, and their families assigned to this location and they all must make adjustments to their environment. together, they must deal with the needs and desires of one another, the desolation of the desert, and the moral conflict of building a weapon that will explode with 20,000 times the power of TNT. The new season finds Dr. Charlie Isaacs (Ashley Zukerman) thrust into a leadership position which he may not be able to swing.

‘Manhattan’ Season 2, Episode 1 Recap

Charlie is reading Mein Kampf while listening to Frank Sinatra in bed with his girlfriend while his wife Abby (Rachel Bosnahan) is visiting the doctor, who is smoking a cigarette. Later, Charlie is in a meeting in which it is announced that he will be in charge of the project. This is not well received and it is clear that there is little faith in Charlie apart from J. Robert Oppenheimer (Daniel London) whose decision it is to put him in charge.

Abby is shows up at Charlie’s girlfriends house and Helen (Katja Roberts) is closed off to her until she confides that she is pregnant with Charlie’s child. Helen tells her that she got an abortion and where she had it done.

Charlie makes a phone call that the operator is reluctant to put through: the Soviet consul in New York. She finally relents, but is he committing treason?

Jim Meeks (Christopher Denham) finds out the hard way that he is being reassigned when he walks into his room to find an MP boxing up his belongings. “This isn’t the Waldorf, we aren’t bell boys,” he is told in way that only a military man from 40s can.

Occam is from OSS (Office of Strategic Services), precursor to the CIA. He drops in on Charlie in his office and begins making vague references and points. Charlie puts up his defenses and accuses Occam (Richard Schiff) of being more of a bureaucrat than a covert government “spook.” He responds to the pointed remark with a little bio about himself:his family is Hungarian Jew, and he has faced the hardships inherent to his race in that specific part of the world. “Twenty years in this country, and still, I keep a packed suitcase by the door.” He makes it clear to Charlie that he is well used to changing tides of world powers. He is a survivor.

Occam then alludes that Frank Winter (John Benjamin Hickeyis dead. Occam had him killed? That would explain the shady notification to Frank’s wife that he was reassigned. Charlie is suddenly aware that he must survive the intelligence game in his new position and that he would be battling his opponents first nature.

Charlie then makes a visit to his wife. They talk about the baby, and how it’s too late for them to make it work. Then, as if touch by divinity, Charlie makes a heartfelt speech that brings them closer together. “It feels like a girl,” Abby says. That must mean she’s keeping it.

Frank’s wife , Liza (Olivia Williams), is then picked up by OSS. They have recording that details her husband explaining the plans for the atom bomb to Liza. The recording continues to reveal that Charlie is being set up to cover someone else’s tracks.

Charlie is full of charismatic speeches and addresses the workers on the project. He proves to be a big fat liar and tells them that he has spoken Frank who gives his regards, but succeeds in building them up with encouragement and they cheer him on in the end.

Meeks meets with Occam hidden location in the desert. The OSS agent seems to believe that Meeks is either with the Germans or the Russians. The questions are innane as he has already made the decision to kill Meeks, who is lucky that Occam is strangled to death by someone outside the car last minute. He is later handed a gun and told that it’s from Winter.

Manhattan airs on Tuesday on WGN.

Pictured: Rachel Bosnahan as Abby.

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