Clean off your knives and have a rest, Fannibals — there’s a lot to unpack here. Hannibal has always been about the monster within. Throughout this second season, Hannibal himself has tried to cultivate that monster in Will like he did with Garrett Jacob Hobbs and others. After Will was finally freed, though, he was ready to implement his master plan against Hannibal, which meant pretending to go along. Except, as DuMaurier warned him as well as Jack, if you think you’ve got Hannibal cornered, it’s probably because he wants you to think that. Hit the jump for why “we’re all desperate for a little hope.”
What an unbelievable bloodbath. No, wait — scratch “unbelievable.” This is Hannibal. And yet, the show often displays a cool aesthetic with its violence. It was telling that “Mizumono” ended in such a feral way for Hannibal. Throughout the series, his violence, or capacity for violence, has only been hinted at. He did engage in hand-to-hand combat once or twice, but never to such a bloody end. In this hour, he chastised Will for thinking he could take his life, or his freedom. This is Hannibal, uncaged. You like him now?
Though it was Will who seemed to be the one goaded towards violence and killing throughout the season, it was Hannibal who was covered in blood and ready to kill at every turn in this finale. His fight with Jack had been teased since the premiere, but the extent of that fight, and how many others would become casualties, was a surprise. All of this was an elaborate dance concocted by Hannibal (and, apparently, DuMaurier) to snuff out Jack, Will and Alana. As well as, potentially, the forever-beleaguered Abigail Hobbs. How many times can one girl die?
Will seemed to be Hannibal’s match in this round — they both had a hidden girl they supposedly killed, but actually were saving for a later reveal; they both had people on the inside; they both played both sides; and they both committed murder as necessary to bond together and to control their mutual situation. To think Will was really Hannibal’s equal in any of this was clearly folly, as Hannibal had apparently anticipated all of this from the start, manipulating each of the trio in turn so as to create this final horror show. The logic for this reality requires something akin to superhuman abilities for Hannibal.
On the more human side, Hannibal gave everyone a chance (except, perhaps, Jack). He told Alana to be blind, not brave, but he anticipated her choice, placing Abigail upstairs to kill her. It was Will, though, who seemed to disappoint him the most. It was a weird, tense moment when Hannibal, with tears in his eyes, almost seemed to want to kiss Will, before stabbing and embracing him. To then slit Abigail’s throat in front of him was the final emotional blow. “I don’t need a sacrifice, do you?” he had asked Will earlier. Abigail has only ever been something to trade, from her father to Will to Hannibal. It was a tragic end for an otherwise incredibly resilient character. To trot her out just to spray her blood on Will was cruel to him, and to us.
These elements of Hannibal are problematic, and I’ve spoken here and there about the show’s treatment of women and female characters (when did they all get so dumb?) Because beneath the exceptional graphics (which, thanks to David Slade‘s return, were beautiful throughout the episode) and the well-chosen classical pieces, Hannibal doesn’t always hold up to scrutiny. It’s a show that asks its viewers to float along in its nightmare, hoping we don’t try to wake ourselves up. When you do, like Alana did, things can get ugly quite fast.
Moving forward, the reality is that we don’t know who is actually dead. Dead is clearly not dead on Hannibal, so any / all / none of those who got the sharp end of something from Hannibal might survive into the next season. While a full purge seems crazy, Alana seemed to portend what would happen if they weren’t all dead. “Nothing will stop them,” she says about Will and Jack. They spent an entire season plotting, Will often from a jail cell. This was their design. And it failed.
What “Mizumono” gave us what a mini horror movie that started off like a regular Hannibal episode, and ended down a bloody, haunted path. There’s still clearly so much more to explore with Hannibal, like his true feelings of betrayal with Will, and his shrouded history that the Vergers helped illuminate some parts of. In the clearest part of his friendship with Will, though, the teacup remained broken. But can he be forgiven? We’re all desperate for a little hope. Let the stag live!
Episode Rating: B+
Season Rating: A
Musings and Miscellanea:
– Overall this was a great season for Hannibal. The Cases of The Week slipped away, allowing for more character development within the season-long story. It seems like that story was explored to its nth degree, though, and was given the space to be told before coming to one hell of a bloody end. If everyone actually died, I wouldn’t be surprised. Where do you go from here?
– This was Hannibal‘s Red Wedding.
– Alana brought a gun to a knife party, and still lost.
– Abigail, girl, what the hell? Apparently the element of surprise and emotion is still the greatest weakness for Hannibal to exploit in others.
– Naturally, Garrett Jacob Hobbs had to appear in this episode. It’s been a season without him!
– Hannibal sniffing out Freddie’s hair on Will, and that freaky graphic …
– Alana’s fall, her description of evil, the shimmering glass, the blood rain, the bloody tear … everything was beautiful and terrible.
– The details of Hannibal’s memory palace are apparently straight from the book. I didn’t really need to hear all of that, but I did like the skeleton in the fire imagery.
– Admittedly, the first half of this hour dragged, but it was essentially so everyone could say goodbye (mostly Will / Hannibal). My Lord, those last fifteen minutes though …
– “You moved my punctuation mark, Dr. Lecter. You moved my meaning” – Bella. He does have a way of controlling women, and orchestrating whether they live or die.
– Jack removing his gun and badge was such a typical rogue cop move. As soon as he was told he was under investigation though, I knew he was dead. He no longer had the backup he needed to survive. Further, where in fuck were the Baltimore PD??
– “I forgive you, will. Will you forgive me?” – Hannibal.
– Few shows make me want to both cry and vomit so much at the same time.
– “Then this is the clearest moment of our friendship” – Jack.
– “I couldn’t leave without you” – Hannibal.
– Did anyone else think that Hannibal’s blood mustache was a little Hitler-esque?
– “We’re all desperate for a little hope” – Will.