Manhattan 2×03 ‘Threshold’ recap/review



The scene begins in a mental institution before Frank and Liza moved to the Hill. Liza was committed for accidentally taking too many pills. Frank visits Liza and promises to bring her home. As he leaves, he hears on the radio that German scientists have discovered how to split the atom. He looks worried and goes see his fellow scientists, including Glen Babbit and a general. He tells them Germany is working on building a bomb and they need to prepare for one. Babbit brings Frank to Albert Einstein to try to convince the president they need to build an atomic bomb.

Back to present time on the Hill, Colonel Darrow is reading the newspaper about Frank’s disappearance. He confronts Liza during her community town council meeting and threatens that Frank’s conditions may worsen with this publication. She wants him to tell that to the council members; instead, he disbands the town council. Frank is given very little food from the consequences of his wife.

As Darrow is reading, Dunlavey interrupts him to let him know they found the reporter. The reporter is outside waiting and asks the Colonel where all the leading scientists are. He threatens the Colonel with exposure if he could get the story on Frank Winter. Instead, the Colonel negotiates with him to drop it and he’ll give him the big story about what they are working on. Liza, who is friends with the reporter and called him initially, tries to reason with him, but he is now the official reporter for the gadget. Liza is picked up by MPs and is confronted by Darrow about her relationship with the reporter. He tries to persuade her to drop the whole thing by telling her Frank was unfaithful. She tells Darrow she would do anything in her power to find Frank. Darrow knows it was Callie who called the reporter. Darrow has a 24/7 security team on Liza. Dunlavey is guarding Liza’s home and tells her that Callie is safe in Canada and where Frank is. He helps her get out of the Hill.

There is another flashback at the mental institution where Liza was staying. Frank arrives as Liza was doing her dance therapy. Frank demands to know what is wrong with his wife – he has not heard a diagnosis or prognosis from the doctor yet. Frank wants to take her home because Liza has been offered a position at Princeton.

Back in present day, we see Babbit in his new position away from the Hill. Liza visits him at his new office and she tells him Frank is in trouble and in an internment camp. Babbit enlists the help of Einstein to get him out.

At Abby’s job at the telephones, she listens to Oppenheimer’s secret call to California and learns he’s having an affair. She tells Charlie and he basically says to mind her own business. Of course, she doesn’t and invites the Oppenheimers to dinner at their home. They meet Mrs. Oppenheimer who is pregnant (close to delivery). Abby sort of pried into Oppenheimer’s business, much to Charlie and Mrs. Oppenheimer’s annoyance. While Charlie and Oppenheimer go for a smoke to discuss work matters, Abby tells Mrs. Oppenheimer about her husband’s affair. Annoyed, Mrs. Oppenheimer tells Abby to mind her own business.

Back at the lab, Fritz is talking about time travel until a young scientist accidentally gets electrocuted. This makes him realize, life is too short. He rushes to Jeanie and proposes to her. She says yes. He asks Meeks to be the best man. Meanwhile, Helen is pretty peeved at Charlie for not letting her be on the G-group list (working on the bomb) since their group were researching implosion. Fritz was the only one on the list.

The scientists celebrate at the bar for Fritz’s bachelor party. Meeks and Fritz are dressed up and plan to create their own film, an adaption of Auro, Lord of Jupiter. Fritz sees Jeanie at the bar and quickly blindfolds himself from seeing her before the wedding. Crosley brings Fritz a prostitute, but Helen tells her to go away. Helen and Crosley get into a heated argument, which causes Helen to confront Charlie, in front of Oppenheimer, about not letting her be in the G-group. She also confronts Oppenheimer’s leadership and thinks it should have been Frank who was in charge. Oppenheimer is impressed by Helen and offers her a position on another team. The next day, Charlie tries to explain Helen’s presence last night, but Abby isn’t thinking about that. She thinks he should have Oppenheimer’s job.

During the celebration, Helen is talking to a new USO girl named Nora who has her eyes on Meeks. She takes Meeks away from the party and pleasures him.  She reveals herself to be his spy contact – revealing the other Hersey bar. He runs off and burns any evidence he has, but she comes to his quarters and they discuss his next steps. The scene reveals he’s working with Russia (the Communists) because the government shot and killed Sid. Meeks is not a Communist or a spy but didn’t want the US to only have a bomb. Meeks says he’s out because of the death of X-4, but she pulls him back in because they will kill him. Meeks must find a way to get in the G-Group. As Fritz is getting ready to get married, Meeks tells Fritz to take the job with the G-Group… and then to somehow get Meeks in. Fritz agrees and said he will try. Jeanie and Fritz get married.




Abby seems to be really bored with her life on the Hill. She is listening to calls, knows secrets, and is becoming the gossip queen. I do like that Abby is taking the initiative to try to move Charlie on up the ladder like a good societal wife should, but it feels like she misses the drama in her life. I don’t blame her. She knows what they are building and must keep this secret from everyone. Plus, she has no friends. It could drive a woman crazy. Now, she knows another secret – Oppenheimer’s affair. She is probably thinking of using this to her and Charlie’s advantage. Oh, you scheming housewife, you!



We got to see a softer and respectful side to Liza and Frank’s relationship. He saved her from the mental institution and believed in her. That whole flashback storyline showed us how loving and kind their relationship was prior to the gadget. It was loving, sweet, and caused you to have #relationshipgoals. It was this that motivated Liza to stop at nothing to find Frank. Frank was there for Liza during her worst of times, it was her turn to do the same for him. Thanks to Callie, Dunlavey, Babbit, and potentially Albert Einstein – they may just have saved Frank.

We also got to see the planning stages for the Manhattan Project. It was thanks to Babbit and Frank who spoke to Albert Einstein that the project even got started. Hence, Helen’s tirade with Oppenheimer. It was all thanks to Frank Winter, who was stuck in an internment camp.



So, we finally found out who Meeks has been spying for and why – the Soviets! Of course, if you follow actual history, Meeks was based on an actual scientist working on the Manhattan Project who was working with the Soviets – Klaus Fuchs. They even look alike. Great job, casting crew.

Christopher Denham is really good as a conflicted, desperate geek. Denham compared his character to Edward Snowden at this year’s TCA and it shows. Meeks was deeply affected by the death of his friend Sid and felt determined to do something about it, even if it meant betraying his country. He thinks he is doing the right thing, but ends up being stuck to completing the task because the Soviets are way scarier. Mamie Gummer’s character is actually pretty scary.

Gummer as Nora was a great addition. She is just great at what she does, but I don’t understand why Nora gave him fellatio. I guess it could be seen as a way to get him to trust her. But, honestly, what can you really say about that? It actually was really unnecessary. Did they want to show that she’s like Helen and not care about who she sleeps with? If so, okay, then that’s fine.



  • I’m really happy about this pairing. Fritz has always been this  goofy side character who served as the comic-relief. It’s nice to see him happily married.
  • I think Liza owes Dunlavey an apology for all the crap she threw at him. Sure, he killed Sid, was going to deflower her daughter, and reported her to the authorities. But, he also made sure Callie got out of the country and risked his job to get Liza out with intel on Frank. I say this is good ‘son-in-law’ material.
  • Neve Campbell as the multiple-marrying, pregnant Mrs. Oppenheimer is very different from how we usually see Campbell play. She is known to play the young daughter – hero roles, but she seemed like the depressed wife trapped in a loveless married because of a baby. Exactly that. I don’t blame her character for not wanting to accept the truth from Abby – especially since Abby isn’t moral herself. I can’t wait to see more of Mrs. Oppenheimer. It seems like Abby and she are The Real Housewives of The Hill.
  • I’m excited to explore the Oppenheimer affair. The real J. Robert Oppenheimer of the Manhattan Project was known for his personal scandal in his life… Seriously, the guy lived an interesting life. I can’t wait to see where the show takes it.

What did you think of this week’s episode?

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