Renato pleads with Chief Black to call Hex off, warning that Operation Undershaft will be compromised if she kills Jonah. Black gives him Hex’s location, but leaves it up to him. While walking through Praha with Koko, Jonah senses danger, and they’re jumped by two of Hex’s ten men. Jonah is shot with a paralytic drug and can’t move. R confesses to Koko that he’s a spy, but helps her and Jonah escape. He and Hex face off; he misses, but Hex shoots him through the eye. Lutz and Leim take out all of Hex’s men but two, and she retreats. Black visits R’s grave and meets Koko, but then learns Koko used HCLI to track Hex down to Iraq, where the cave she’s hiding in was bombed by a B-52. Black starts seeing ghosts of R and Hex.
Chief Black’s left hand Hex told him Koko was a monster who must be methodically dismantled and destroyed. Chief Black’s right hand Renato told him Koko was nothing but a normal girl beneath her iron mask. The truth is, she’s both. We saw more sides of her this week than perhaps any time in the past, as she faces the prospect of losing Jonah, is told she’s been betrayed by one of her most-trusted bodyguards who taught her how to carry herself, and then loses that bodyguard shortly thereafter. The mask disappears the moment she hears the truth from R. Her viciousness returns when she orders Hex hunted down. And her mask returns for her meeting with Bookman, save a tear she sheds when leaving a bottle of liquor on R’s grave.
In a way, we like how this arc turned out. It didn’t cheat by letting everyone stay alive, or eliminating all threats around Koko and her crew. Hex is dead, but the rather strange scene of Bookman conversing with her and R’s ghosts tells us Bookman remains as dangerous as ever, and he vows to continue “dancing” with Koko “till she screams”, which is just creepy when accompanied by his attempt at dancing. Losing Jonah would have definitely had more impact, though. Koko’s loss of composure is only temporary, and she roars back fast after R’s death. We’re not so sure she’d so quickly forgive someone enough to give them so quick a death as she gave Hex if it were Jonah who was killed – nor do we think she’d forgive herself so quickly.
Rating: 8 (Great)
Car Cameos: The cars that line Praha (Prague) include a Peugeot 406, a BMW 7-Series, and many Mercedes-Benzes: an S-Class and GL-Class, plus Bookman’s CL-Class coupe.
This episode, like the last, was a lot of table-setting, but we got more specifics about the relationships between Chief Black, Renato, and Hex. Those specifics give us a better understanding of what drives them. All of this is leading up to Hex going after Jonah, the one life she believes will matter to Koko above all others. Koko isn’t just hanging off of Jonah to tease him, or as some kind of act. He’s her restoration project, her bodyguard, and her little brother.
Is Hex hunting him just because she’s evil? Well, no. She’s a bitter former elite special forces officer who was cast aside by the military and joined up with the CIA. She also lost her fiance in the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers. That attack was orchestrated by terrorists who got weapons from arms dealers like Koko. In Hex’s eyes that makes Koko every bit a terrorist as Bin Laden, and she’s going to make her pay nice and slowly.
Black won’t allow her to kill Koko, but he’ll allow her a “sacrifice” if it makes her feel better; after all, she’s his left hand while R is his right; and he needs both to fulfill Operation Undershaft. Yet Hex and R have totally different mindsets; Black’s two hands don’t know what the other is doing, nor do they understand. R owes Black a debt and wants to be loyal, but he’s none too pleased about Jonah’s life being dangled in front of Hex like a mouse for a cat. He’s safe right now, with the trust of both of his bosses, but inevitably he’ll have to make a choice he won’t like that will betray one of them.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
P.S. In one of the many flashbacks, Koko is totally freaking out; fearing for her life. You know, like any normal person would. R tells her he’ll protect her…but she has to keep smiling no matter what.
Click here to browse our reviews of the first season (12 episodes) of Jormungand.
Dr. Miami finds Karen Low on the street in Port Elizabeth and hires her as a secretary. She meets up with Koko on a ship in the Solomans to watch the launch of the last of the 126 rockets sending up satellites for a navigation support system that will give HCLI a decisive business advantage. Meanwhile, R meets with Bookman, who wants Koko kept on a leash, while Hex – who sent the three assassins to Koko – wants her dead…but not before she hurts her.
The last time we hung out with Koko & Friends, Valmet was gettin’ her catharsis on, Koko was getting rid of assassins, and R was revealing himself as a CIA mole. This week picks up pretty much where we left off, but also shows us what was going on in the first episode with the rockets. It’s a huge project that will no doubt make Koko more money (whether or not that’s what she wants), but is also netting her plenty of unwanted attention from concerned (she’d say nosy) parties all over the world.
Like R for the two years he’s worked for her, we’ve still only seen the Princess, the girl with the mask so perfect and complete, ascertaining her thoughts and true self are all but impossible. R believes that mask isn’t indestructable, and even saw her lose composure for a brief moment. Hex, a new face this season, is planning on shattering that mask, and the episode is not subtle about her potential first target: Koko’s teddy bear Jonah. We’ll see if the Real Koko (if there even is one) comes out this season as a result of external forces.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Car Cameos: Many cars seen in previous episodes are also seen here, including a Citroën C4 3-door, Mercedes C-Class, and Volkswagen Touareg 2. Hex drives up in a yellow Bentley Continental GT convertible.
Gregoire gets the jump on Ugo, but Lehm is able to incapacitate him, while Liliane is dealt with by Koko herself. Ugo drives Koko out of danger, but Dominique follows and a chase ensues, ending in Dominique’s car being wrecked. Koko lets him go if he tells her who hired him, and he does. Meanwhile, Valmer drugs Jonah and asaults the refinery on her own, cutting her way through Daxinghai until she reaches Cheng and kills him. Later, Karen catches up to and shoots her, but Jonah shoots Karen back, and gets both women help in time to save their lives. Valmer vows to stick with Koko henceforth. A CIA chief with many nicknames meets in Paris with R.
With Valmer and Jonah out of the picture for the time being and Lehm, Lutz and Ugo in deep shit, Koko & Co. looked decidedly vulnerable last week, but to our surprise, Team Dominique is dealt with in the first five minutes, and no one is killed or maimed. Huh. So much for lasting consequences! The balance of the episode was about Valmer. She’s a big strong Finn on a mission to avenge her comrades – and her eye. We like how she tries to keep Jonah out of it, but he’s a harder kid to shake than she’d thought. Her rampage through Daxinghai’s refinery is thrilling, especially, because it’s such a cathartic, cleansing event for her.
It’s good that Valmer can put (the majority of) her past behind her, because new threats are on the horizon that spell trouble for Koko in the future: the fact she has a CIA mole in R is most disturbing – up until this point, we’d assumed everyones’ loyalties were secured , if not by Koko’s reaching out to them (as she did with Jonah, Valmer, and Ugo), but by the big bucks she pays them. Alas, there’s a chink in her armor. That mitigates the ease with which she dismissed the threat of Dominique (though he and his are still alive). There’s a lot more to cover in the second season, which won’t arrive until October. We’ll be waiting anxiously.
Rating: 8 (Great)
Valmer breaks formation and goes straight after Karen; the two duel in the snow with guns and knives. In the meantime, Jonah suggests they stay quiet until their inexperienced foes come out of hiding so they can pick them off. In the city, Koko enjoys a Chinese dinner with Chang, while Hugo has her back and both Scarecrow and his sidekick Chocolade eavesdrop. Chang asks Koko to join forces; she refuses. When Valmer is finished with Karen, all of Chang’s men are dead, and they phone it in. Koko tells Chocolade about a trap waiting for them. In exchange for her warning, Scarecrow lets Koko and Hugo escape with them. In the end, Doctor Miami gives Koko the slip once more.
We like Sophia Valmer. She’s a complicated lass; simultaneously infatuated with her beautiful young boss Koko and haunted by voices and images from her bloody past. In a way, she reminds us of Roberta from Black Lagoon, only before she went totally apeshit crazy. She makes surprisingly quick work of Karen, who’d we’d only seen in action against small fries, and whose gunblades proved ineffective against her older, wiser, stronger opponent. Valmer didn’t get a lot out of Karen, but she did see a little of her younger self in her, and gained a new enemy who will try to kill her when next they meet. Let’s face it, you can never have enough off them!
We liked the A/B stories running in tandem, cutting from the cold night in the mountains to the warm, luxurious restaurant in the city. Koko and Chang are really only sitting back and waiting to see whose team will be left standing. We like the addition of Chocolade to provide a pragmatic voice to Scarecrow, and Koko’s little meeting with her in the toilet stall was pretty funny way to confide. We also like how Hugo had to keep an eye on how much Koko had to drink. As for Doctor Miami, she was able to stay a step ahead of all the arms dealers for another day; at least in this two-parter, she was merely a McGuffin.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)