Synopsis: FREDDIE LOUNDS. MARGOT. MASON FUCKING VERGER. HANNIBAL IS A LITTLE SHIT. WILL IS A BAD ASS. ALANA FINALLY GETS IT. I AM DRINKING.
I wasn’t planning on drinking tonight but there is only one response to tonight’s episode and that is a generous amount of strong alcohol. Jesus fucking Christ I can’t believe tonight.
First I’d like to say this: congratulations on a third season! I know this second season has brought up a lot of strife amongst fans but I hope everyone can agree that we’re all excited to get a third season. We’ve broken the Bryan Fuller two season curse and now get a chance to experience 13 more episodes of the show we all hate so much but continue watching because we’re stuck in some sort of Stockholm syndrome relationship with it.
Tonight’s episode was perfect, though, because I think it revealed a key issue: WILL IS PLAYIN’ HANNIBAL. HE IS PLAYING HIM. AND JACK CRAWFORD KNOWS.
So let’s start from the beginning. The episode begins with what David Slade, the director, hoped to be a horror movie unto itself. Boy oh boy was it. We see the nightmare stag in the midst of labor pains with the wendigo standing by to witness the event. As the stag falls, bursting forth from a disgusting layer of bloody membrane is none other than Will Graham. He’s been born again in Hannibal’s image; the stag has given birth to a nightmare.
Then we have dinner. Hannibal makes ortolan. It is a rather macabre dish made of songbirds that were kept alive, force fed, drowned, and then cooked in order to be eaten whole. There is a great blog post about it HERE which explains the symbolism in more detail. For the purpose of this recap, it is just a messed up way of Hannibal celebrating Will’s perceived further descent into darkness. After all, the ortolan is endangered and it is therefore not advised to catch them and eat them.
Will continues to insinuate that he killed Freddie Lounds and Hannibal believes him. Really, he is pleased about it and claims that Will’s design is ‘evolving.’ He is no longer the damaged, confused individual he was but has become what he was always meant to be: a killer of the best kind. It appears that Will has fallen prey to his own darker desires and is becoming the killer that Hannibal wishes him to be, but it is all still part of the lure. Will is becoming what Hannibal wants him to be in order to lure him into a sense of safety, a sense of comfort, and then catch him. This is solidified later in the episode.
Then we get the famous scene straight out of Red Dragon: Freddie Lounds on fire in a wheel chair. I said in my post for last week’s episode that I refused to believe Freddie Lounds was dead. I’ll admit, with the fiery wheel chair and some of the commentary from various Hannibal-affiliated twitter accounts, I felt doubt begin to creep in. I still refused to believe that they would kill her off, though, and I was proven gloriously correct.
FREDDIE LOUNDS LIVES, PEOPLE.
— Nicole (@mikkelecter) May 10, 2014
After the wheelchair scene we get Margot admitting to Will that she used him in order to get an heir. In a weird three-way counseling session, Margot admits to everything and Will seems strangely disturbed that the lesbian who had sex with him did it for her own nefarious purposes. It is difficult to ascertain whether or not this is all part of his act for Hannibal, or if he was really surprised by Margot’s end game. Either way, the situation has become rather precarious as Margot now has to try to conceal a pregnancy from her brother and Will has to figure out exactly what he’s going to do with the news.
Cue a flash over to Mason Verger who is as fucked up as ever and gloriously portrayed by Michael Pitt. While I think the guy’s hair is ridiculous and someone should take a weed whacker to it, the acting is phenomenal. He definitely has echoes of Gary Oldman’s role as an older Mason Verger in Hannibal the film in the way he speaks, but he brings a whole different level of crazy to the role that is absolutely titillating. He’s evil and I hate him but that is by design. Later, in his therapy session with Hannibal it is almost refreshing to see the utter disdain our resident serial killer has for young Mason.
In the next scene, we get more Alana development which honestly blew me away tonight. I know there are a lot of people who are still upset about her characterization, but tonight proves it: Alana is the audience. She is the one who knows something is not quite right but cannot fully comprehend what is happening. She doesn’t have knowledge of the bigger picture. Alana has no reason to suspect that Hannibal is a serial killer and every reason now to wonder about Will. Just like the audience is now asking, “what is Will doing; he seems like he is getting in it too deep,” Alana is coming to the same realization. Something is off about Will and it isn’t good. People are dropping dead like flies and he and Hannibal are ground zero. She’s suspicious, and Will hands her a gun and tells her to use it on whoever she is scared of.
As mentioned earlier, we get a therapy session between Hannibal and Mason that is very telling. Mason alludes to the fact that he hurts children, as evident by his earlier run-in with a young boy in the stables. Mason does most of the talking in their little back and forth and seems to purposely be poking and prodding at Hannibal as if he’s trying to see what the other man is made of. With a heavy dose of disdain, Hannibal unemotionally replies and I’m pretty sure he is already day dreaming about all of the ways he plans to hurt Mason Verger because the man is a terrible human being.
We get a touching scene between Will and Hannibal that I think speaks to just how much Hannibal cares for him. Their relationship is unhealthy and is going to end up burning but I truly believe that Hannibal cares about Will. He loves him, in his own messed up way, and this is an intimate moment between them. For once we see a side of Hannibal that is open and vulnerable. He doesn’t withhold information about his past; instead, he shares openly about his long gone sister Mischa and even goes as far as to apologize for doing what he did to Abigail. As Will sits there in tears, Hannibal appears truly penitent and I don’t believe it is an act. At this point, Hannibal is falling deeper into Will’s web of friendship and feels real remorse over destroying something Will cared about.
NOT TO MENTION THE WAY MADS FUCKING MIKKELSEN LETS HIS LIP TREMBLE EVER SO SLIGHTLY WHEN HE SAYS ‘MISCHA’.
So we’re back to Freddie who was buried earlier in the episode and has now been unearthed and posed to look like the Hindu god Shiva. This scene is wonderful because it is Alana’s scene. She’s finally coming to the conclusion that the audience will be soon forced to come to as well. Will has been dancing with the devil not because he has any real desire to become like Hannibal, but because he wants to catch him. Of course Alana, at first, seems to think she has the entire thing figured out and knows that Will is the one who killed Freddie Lounds and is attempting to catch someone’s attention. However, Jack Crawford’s reaction to her revelation is key and is what ultimately gives it all away. I think Alana was perceptive enough to put the information out there in an attempt to provoke a response out of Jack. When he responded casually and seemed to outright ignore the heavy insinuation that Will was the one responsible for Freddie Lounds’ murder, I think it finally clicked in her head that not everything was at it seemed.
As the pieces begin to fall into place for Alana, unfortunately Mason begins putting together pieces of his own. In a scene with Margot in the stables he makes his play and reveals that he seems to know that his sister is pregnant. He appears to confirm this in his third therapy session with Hannibal pictured in this episode as he talks about his father stabbing pigs and then reveals he is very keen regarding his sister’s plan. She wants a baby, she wants to usurp him through an heir to their father’s fortune, and he isn’t going to let that happen.
So as she tries to escape him, he has Carlo drive a car into hers, abduct her, and then subjects her to an abortion and a hysterectomy. Honestly, this is the one part of the episode I could have gone without seeing. I understand that it is, essentially, canon. It is straight out of the books that Margot cannot give birth and that her brother is a sick psychopath who will do everything in his power to keep her under his thumb. It still irked me though and my heart aches for her as a character. She’s so wonderfully, heart-brokenly written and I can’t wait until Hannibal has Mason carving up his own damn face in retribution.
After a discussion with Hannibal that bordered on dangerous, Alana confronts Jack about what he knows regarding Hannibal and Will. She is naturally upset, considering everyone has been withholding information from her. Alana straight up asks Jack if he thinks Will killed Freddie Lounds and he says no. Then she asks if Chilton is the Chesapeake Ripper and he, clearly, doesn’t believe he is. If we didn’t already know Chilton was alive, I would say this proves it. Finally, Alana admits she’s beginning to believe she doesn’t know who Hannibal Lecter is and gets on the same page as everyone else in this damn show. She finally gets her moment of lucidity and understanding and it is wonderful.
In other news, Will and Hannibal both look like they are going to go murder Mason Verger as they stand outside of Margot’s hospital room. Unfortunately for Hannibal, while Will goes to confront Mason it isn’t to kill him, it is to put him on the trail of Hannibal Lecter. He insists that it was Hannibal’s idea for Margot to have an heir, Hannibal’s idea to make it so that Mason knew and would go and kill the heir, and Hannibal’s intent for Will to go and in turn kill Mason because that is the sick little game our favorite cannibal is playing. Hannibal believes he is the puppet master but Will yanks that away from him by pointing it all out to Mason and essentially pitting him against the good doctor.
Unfortunately, as anyone who is familiar with the books knows, it doesn’t really work out and I think in the end this is going to screw Will over. He’s going to suffer for this blatant set up and I think we see a bit of that begin in the preview for next week’s episode.
Tweet of the night goes to Bryan Fuller:
Cheers, Fannibals. I’m going to go drink some more.