Synopsis: Everything we have ever loved has been ripped away from us violently.
I don’t know.
I am staying up late to write this because my mind is buzzing with the Hannibal season finale and I am not quite sure how to process it yet. There were a lot of things I was expecting but in the end I apparently only realized small chunks of the bigger picture. I was quite confident that Abigail was still alive, I had a feeling Will was going to get stabbed, but there is no way I was expecting the end of the season to play out like it did.
So let’s start from the beginning.
In this case, there are really two big sections of this episode. There is everything leading up to the fight scene, which we all know from the season premiere, and then everything after. Leading up to the fight scene, things are honestly not that interesting.
It opens with Hannibal and Will discussing their upcoming plan to kill Jack Crawford. In this case, Hannibal still has no idea that Will is duping him. He and Jack have played the man up until a little later in the episode, and it seems like everything is finally going to work out. Hannibal will attempt to kill Jack, Jack will be wearing a wire and have people at the ready to take Hannibal down, and our lovely neighborhood cannibal will be locked up in prison. That is the way it was supposed to happen, anyway.
Will has to come to the realization that the two lives he’s been living are about to collide.
So he has a vision of Garret Jacob Hobbs showing him how to shoot. The stag is in his sights and he is ready to pull the trigger. Obviously Will is gearing up to finally put Hannibal down. It is time to finish his seduction and take him in.
Meanwhile, Hannibal and Bella meet in a scene where they talk about dying. At first glance this scene seems a bit out of place. It is important to establish where Bella is in her treatment, because later in the episode Jack gets taken off the case due to ‘compassion leave’ because of her condition, but I think this scene is more than that. A scene about death so early in an episode that ends in a blood bath isn’t ever going to be what it seems. Hannibal points out that death is just a period at the end of a sentence, it is what gives everything that came before it impact.
If that is his view of death then it is no surprise he slices Will open later in order to create that ‘period’ and therefore give meaning and impact to everything that came before it. He killed Will because in his mind, killing Will was the best way to make what they had meaningful. Of course at that point he didn’t have plans to kill Will, but it gives him a reason to stab a man he supposedly cared for.
In a move that changes the entire line of the episode, Will meets with Freddie Lounds in order to make a plea. He asked that whatever she writes, she leave Abigail out of it. They have a bit of a heart to heart, and Freddie delivers a few lines taken from Red Dragon about writing advertisements for cancer. I recognized it the moment I heard it and it was probably the only happy realization I had in the entire episode. I’m a nerd for direct references to the source material.
Freddie asks an important question as Will sits beside her:
You really don’t know if you’re going to survive him, do you?
I really hope she doesn’t end up doing what book Freddie did, a la taking pictures of Will Graham in his hospital bed.
Later, Will meets with Hannibal without showering. You wouldn’t think it is important to shower before going to meet a friend, but when that friend has a nose like a blood hound it is really important. Especially if you’ve been hanging out with someone you said you killed in order to impress that friend and it turns out you didn’t. It was a rookie move, but to be fair, who the hell other than Jack and Bella knows about Hannibal’s super duper sense of smell?
How the fuck did he remember what Freddie even smelled like? Jesus Christ, Hannibal.
So as they are destroying all of Hannibal’s notes on Will in anticipation of their eventual escape after killing Jack, Hannibal realizes Will lied to him about killing Freddie Lounds. There is a brilliant moment where Will is still destroying the notes and Hannibal just stares at his back and looks betrayed and withdrawn. It was the beginning of the end for Will Graham, though Hannibal would eventually give him an out.
Next, Will sees Alana who is unhappy about the entire thing even though she finally understands what is happening. Will has been playing everyone, Freddie Lounds is alive, Jack has been aware of what has been going on, blah blah blah. She has come to realize her (now ex) lover was still being investigated by the FBI and Will had proof that he is a serial killing cannibal. Alana’s reaction to this news, at least in front of the camera, was relatively tame. Honestly if I had been in her place, especially after living in the land of denial for so long, I would have been hella pissed and out for blood. Unfortunately she just seems to come to the realization with a whimper and a tear.
It is at dinner that Hannibal subtly informs Will through their conversation that he knows something is amiss, and if Will comes forward with it everything will be alright. Will is given a chance to come clean, to pursue the relationship with Hannibal, to live up to what the doctor sees as his full potential. Unfortunately, Will refuses the offer in the course of their conversation. He is not going to admit to his game even though he has been made and in the end it is going to cost him more than he ever realized.
Will points out that the meal they share could be their last, Hannibal mentions it doesn’t have to be, but in the end Will digs his own grave and makes his choice. He focuses on justice while Hannibal just focuses on him.
Jack gets into hot water with his superior who yanks his badge, his gun, tells him he’s stepped over the line, and that he’s officially on leave. Jack don’t care, though. Jack gonna go face a cannibalistic serial killer with no FBI back up. Jack gonna get all honeybadger up in here.
Alana, bless her heart, now tries to defend what Will and Jack are doing. The FBI is going to cut the whole thing off and go after Hannibal through typical avenues, like freezing his passport and searching his home. What the FBI doesn’t realize, and Alana points out, is that Hannibal is smarter than any of them ever will be and the best bet they have is the emotional attachment game Will is playing at. Of course the FBI doesn’t care because Hannibal IS smarter than them and they are a bunch of stuffy dumbasses who are going to unleash a blood bath. At least Alana tried, before she ended up taking matters into her own hands by calling Will and telling him he was about to be arrested.
Alana calls Will, Will calls Hannibal, Jack goes to Hannibal’s house, and we’re right back where we started at the beginning of the season…WITH TEN MINUTES TO SPARE WHICH MEANS WE’RE ALL SCREWED AND EVERYONE SHOULD ABANDON SHIP NOW.
Jack and Hannibal fight. We knew this was coming, though it was delightful to see the fight scene again. It is a beautiful work of art and I’m pretty sure I could watch Mads Mikkelsen leap over things on repeat and never get bored. As Jack is stabbed and locks himself in the pantry, Alana calls 911 (AFTER DECIDING TO GO TO HANNIBAL’S HOUSE UGH) and then enters the house to find a very bloody Hannibal throwing himself violently against the door to try and get to Jack.
For the second time in the episode, Hannibal gives someone a chance to leave. It is fascinating to me to see him do it. I certainly wasn’t expecting him to let Alana go but at the same time, I feel like if she backed out of the house and left he would stay true to his word. She was not a part in it, he truly cared for her in his own demented way, and if she was willing to make the choice to turn and leave and forget everything then she would live. He would allow her to live because she’s someone he appreciates and he would rather not see her die, just as he would rather not have to end Will’s life.
Hannibal is a man, I think, who would rather see the good people of the world live. He kills the rude, people he rationalizes to have sinned against him somehow or who are a stain on the world. The man has standards, and Will and Alana fall outside of those standards. He made a connection with them, and for Hannibal connection seems to be one of the most important things because he can so rarely feel connected to the majority of people in the world. They are all below him, pigs, but Alana and Will and even Jack are all outliers. They see the world differently, live differently, pursue life differently and that attracts Hannibal.
So while it would have been easy for Hannibal to track down Alana later, had she left, to kill her I feel like he would have stayed true to his word. She would get to live and he would disappear.
Unfortunately our brave girl made the choice to pull the trigger instead and put herself right back into dangerous territory. She could have been blind, could have turned around and walked out the door, but she made the hard choice. Alana fucking Bloom made the choice to stay and probably die as she pulled the trigger and found the clip empty. Hannibal, somewhere along the way, had taken her bullets and left her defenseless but she continued to fight. This is where I feel like the criticism regarding sexism and the accusations that Bryan Fuller doesn’t do women justice fall short. In a single moment, he turned a character who the world probably pities into one of the strongest people in the room. Even in the face of certain death, of an adversary who is an agent of destruction, she pulls the trigger and seals her fate.
Yet it isn’t Hannibal who ends up killing her during her mad scramble to locate an extra clip which she then attempts to empty into the good doctor. No, Abigail makes an appearance and then, right after apologizing, SHOVES ALANA OUT THE FUCKING SECOND STORY WINDOW. I made a terribly distressed noise as I watched Alana fall out of the window onto the ground below. She was still breathing when we last saw her, so maybe it won’t be the end, but I’m still terrified that we won’t get to see her continue to grow in season three.
Will finally arrives on the scene, long before the Baltimore police department who apparently have the longest response time in the world. He finds Alana on the ground and covers her in his jacket before marching inside to face Hannibal. Instead of Hannibal he finds Abigail and is understandably shocked. After all, the doctor told him in no uncertain terms that he’d killed Abigail. To see her standing in front of him, alive and well, was too good to be true and unfortunately shocked him enough that Hannibal was able to step up behind him.
The next sequence is so important because it is the ultimate climax of Hannibal and Will’s relationship. An event which was just barely touched on in Red Dragon comes to life in a beautifully dynamic moment. Hannibal had been planning this surprise all along, set on revealing Abigail to Will and solidifying their relationship. He was going to give Will his sense of fatherhood back, and they would all be happy together. They’d be a weird family, but they’d all have each other.
Will made his choice, though, and what he could have had was ripped away from him as Hannibal plunged the knife into his gut and sliced. As Will bleeds, Hannibal pulls him into an embrace and whispers about all the things they could have been. It is the ultimate break-up, a painful divorce, the relationship that has been build since the first episode of season one is over. Will betrayed Hannibal and then refused to cop to it. I imagine Hannibal justified this by believing that it was ultimately Will’s choice to betray him and choices often have consequences.
He was going to end Will’s life with a period in order to give everything that came before it between them a greater impact.
The thing that did me in was Will on the floor bleeding and watching as Hannibal grabbed Abigail and sliced her throat open. I’m not going to lie, I started sobbing the moment Kacey Rohl said ‘no’. There were so many emotions written on her face and so many terrible things contained in that single syllable. Above everything else, slicing open her throat was the ultimate sense of betrayal. Hannibal and Will had rescued her, put her through hell, and then when Will finally got to see her alive and well Hannibal killed her right in front of him in the same way her father tried to.
In what could very well be Will Graham’s last moments, he had to re-live the single event that changed his life forever. Garret Jacob Hobbs and Hannibal became one in a single fluid movement of a knife.
I don’t cry usually, especially not for television shows. To be honest, I didn’t even cry at my own grandmother’s funeral and I loved my grandma. I’m just not a crier. But this whole scene made me bawl my eyes out. I had to slap a hand over my mouth so that I didn’t startle the other members of my household as I mourned alongside Will. Everything about that scene destroyed me and left me feeling completely hollow, even though it was absolutely phenomenal.
So as we close out the season, Jack is bleeding to death in a pantry, Will and Abigail are bleeding to death in another room, Alana is probably internally bleeding to death outside on the ground, and freaking Hannibal and Bedelia ARE ON A PLANE TO EUROPE LIKE THE SMUG ASSHOLES THEY ARE.
Et tu, Bedelia?
Meanwhile, the Baltimore PD finished their donuts and finally arrived on the scene.
I’m pretty sure if Hannibal wasn’t getting a third season, I would be so pissed off. As it is, I’m dreading having to wait an entire year to figure out what the hell is going on.
Well done, season two. Well done, cast and crew of Hannibal. Well done BryAN FULLER YOU LIFE RUINER.
Until next year, Nerdophiles!