Manhattan 2×04 ‘Overlord’ recap & review –



The scene begins with Oppenheimer’s mistress Jean is reading the Holy Sonnets by John Donne and telling him not to leave. They have a really kinky relationship where he would hold her under the water.

Back at the Hill, Charlie is feeling overwhelmed from his duties and covering for Oppenheimer while he’s away. He finally receives a call from Oppenheimer who gives Charlie the authority to approve on his behalf.

Helen is now in charge of the gun group, or so she thinks. Working with a small group including Paul Crosley and Theodore Sinclair, Helen finds out she has to report to the Chief of the gun group, British scientist Dr. William Hoggard. Crosley talks to Hoggard to get him kicked out of the Hill, but Hoggard refuses to because he wants Crosley to suffer. Hoggard then tells the group he has to send a liaison to Site X to oversee the enrichment of their uranium and has them write reasons why they should go. Eventually, Crosley insults Hoggard enough that he sends him to be the liaison.

During Abby’s medical examination, the doctor tells her to lay off the sex. After she is finished, she runs into Kitty Oppenheimer who is starting to feel contractions. Abby and Kitty have a heart to heart. Kitty admits she knows Oppenheimer is not in Washington and about the affair. She tells Abby that Oppenheimer is leaving her. Of course, Abby reveals this information to Charlie. She thinks this is Charlie’s chance to take Oppenheimer’s job. Charlie goes back to his office where he is greeted by Colonel Darrow with a poop-covered file sent by a judge who Charlie insulted. Darrow tells Charlie that he’s in charge until Oppenheimer returns and Operation Overlord (aka the Battle of Normandy) is in effect. Darrow reminds Charlie that Oppenheimer is important because he keeps everything running with his charm. The government needs Oppenheimer.

Meeks shows up in Nora’s room to tell her about Charlie trying to take over Oppenheimer’s job. Nora wants Meeks to side with Charlie because it will set the gadget back. Nora and Meeks agree to limit their contact from now on.

Fritz, Meeks, and Charlie meet to discuss how important Oppenheimer is. Without Oppenheimer, the project would drop to importance. Charlies goes to Oppenheimer, who is back on the Hill, and finds him in the field. Charlie tells Oppenheimer that he can’t do his job, while doing Oppenheimer’s. Charlie wants Oppenheimer to stay as the head of the project and tries to convince him to. Oppenheimer shows Charlie the location where they will be dropping the bomb. He wants Charlie to replace him as the head of the project. Charlie returns home and tells Abby how important Oppenheimer is. They have to do whatever it takes to make sure Oppenheimer stays.

During her work at the phones, Abby calls Jean in San Francisco pretending to be part of Redbook magazine for a survey about relationships. Jean answers and opens up to Abby, thinking she is the surveyor. Jean figures out it’s not a surveyor and thinks it is Kitty. Abby pretends and reveals that Oppenheimer is going to have another child. Abby then rips her apart emotionally. Jean hangs up. Later on, she commits suicide, leaving Oppenheimer devastated. Listening in, Abby is distraught with what happened. Kitty also gives birth.

Charlies goes to Kitty and tries to get her to reason with Oppenheimer. She reveals to him that Oppenheimer is crazy and that Jean embraces that in him. Kitty was his straight jacket, but now he is free and she can’t hold him anymore. Charlie then goes to Darrow and reveals Oppenheimer’s plan to leave to be with his communist mistress. Charlie asks for Darrow’s help to keep Oppenheimer with the project. Charlie returns to his office to find Oppenheimer in his office sulking.

Meanwhile, back at the internment camp with Frank. He is finally released from the camp thanks to Liza, Babbit, and Dr. Einstein. Liza takes him to Texas Red where she tells him of their plans to start over. He tells her he has to go back. He doesn’t expect her to go with him. He tells her his reasons – Darrow and the military are feeding the team lies to get the bomb done. He needs a car to get back to the hill, so he does the Texas Red contest of eating a bunch of beans. After seeing Frank suffering eating the beans, Liza agrees to take him to the bottom of the Hill. He gives her a choice of going to Princeton or back on the Hill.

Charlie comes home upset from the day. Hoping to see Abby, Frank comes into Charlie’s place. Shocked, Charlies said they told him he was dead. Frank replies, ‘They lied.’



Holy crap. Every moment of this episode was intense and really well crafted. The whole episode was all about how important Oppenheimer was to this project, which actually reflected the importance of the REAL Oppenheimer in the Manhattan Project and Frank’s release.


The whole story regarding Oppenheimer and his mistress was true. Although we don’t know if he was planning on leaving Kitty and the Manhattan Project, he did have an affair with Jean who eventually committed suicide during his time at the Hill. Of course, TV will dramatize the whole situation, but it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Oppenheimer was extremely important to the project and many generals and scientists agree that the bomb wouldn’t have been made without him.

Daniel London plays Oppenheimer with so much zen and ‘badassery’. He is a man who was assigned a job that he doesn’t want to do or doesn’t believe in anymore. He seems to have been swayed into becoming like his Communist mistress and just wants to get out of it all. He ‘volunteered’ his time for the Project and could leave anytime. He honestly just doesn’t care anymore. This can be frustrating because the fate of the world is in this man’s hands.

Everyone seems to think Frank and Charlie were the most important people on the Hill because they are smart and are brilliant physicists. But, it takes more than a brilliant mind to handle a government-operated project at this size. It takes charm, charisma, and a way with words – everything that Oppenheimer is. The money to fund the project is from the government. People like Charlie and Frank – who SO are not people pleasers – cannot hold a project like this. So, the whole plot for this episode was how to keep Oppenheimer on the Hill. He’s important. He may be quiet and have this Qarantinoesque to him, but he knows how to handle people.



Overall, Abby meant well. She thought she was doing the right thing to keep Oppenheimer on the Hill and to save a marriage between Kitty and Oppenheimer. She didn’t know Jean was suffering from depression or that she would kill herself. She just wanted to help Charlie because they were a team. She wants what’s best for Charlie and their family. Let’s just hope no one finds out she called Jean on her own.



Liza had Frank back and all she wants to do is go to Princeton and start a new life with him. Instead, Frank feels obligated to go back to warn the others about what Darrow is doing (lying to everyone about the Germans) and finish what he started. Implosion is his baby and he needs to finish it – for the troops!

I have to say, Liza is the most understanding wife ever. She fought so hard to bring Frank home and now he wants to go back to the place that imprisoned him!? She gave up so much of her life. Of course, that’s the whole reason we saw the previous episodes of Frank supporting Liza during her stint in the mental hospital. It shows us both were willing to do whatever it took to save each other.

Of course, Frank puts pressure on Liza telling her it’s her choice to pick – Princeton or the Hill. Of course, she chooses the Hill for Frank’s sake. Such a selfless woman.



  • It’s so tough to see two minorities on the Hill fighting for their moment as physicists. Helen and Sinclair should be working together as minorities to show everyone else what they can do.
  • Crosley is just doing whatever it takes to get kicked out. It’s actually adorable.
  • Meeks and Nora’s relationship steps up. I hope they make them more interesting. So far, it’s all “secret this” “secret that”.

Can’t wait to see what Frank tells Charlie, Abby’s eventual spiral, and if Oppenheimer stays or not.


Facebook Comments