Friday, May 23, 2014

REVIEW: 'Hannibal' - The Nightmare Ends as Will, Jack and Alana Descend Upon Hannibal's Home in 'Mizumono'

NBC's Hannibal - Episode 2.13 "Mizumono"

Hannibal prepares for his imminent departure with, he believes, Will. Will prepares for a departure of another sort, tying up loose ends, not sure if he'll survive the trap he's set for Hannibal. Both men feel that Jack deserves the truth, but what is that truth? Loyalties will be tested and forgiveness will be asked... and the inevitable battle between Hannibal and Jack is upon them.

The second half of this season of Hannibal has almost felt like a dream. A dream that quickly and violently turns into a horrific nightmare once the cast descends upon Hannibal's home. Will and Hannibal have grown much closer over their shared experiences. Will's gone down this path with Hannibal eyes wide open. And even then, Hannibal proves to be the smartest and most cunning devil in the room.

"Mizumono" is a season finale of precision. It brings the season's arcs to a brutal concluding point. But even before that, there's the ticking precision ever present in the score. It's meant to unease and disturb us. The clock is ticking down. The fight between Jack and Hannibal is on the verge of happening and all of the pieces are falling into place - both for that event as well as the aftermath once the larger scope is revealed.

And it really does feel like Will doesn't know which side he will align with until he sees Alana's body on the ground outside in the rain. That opening split-screen sequence leads us to believe that he holds all the power. He's the one who's going to decide if Jack dies or Hannibal is imprisoned. But like a nightmare, Will's not really in control of the situation. He and Jack are forced to go to Hannibal's home without the backing of the government. Prurnell forces them to come back to reality. They are acting on impulses without a single shred of evidence that would suggest that Hannibal Lector is the true Chesapeake Ripper. In the mind of the FBI, Dr. Chilton was their man and what Jack and Will are doing to Hannibal is entrapment. It's that moment where Jack hands over his gun and his badge, that we truly see how desperate and angry he is about stopping Hannibal. We never learn how Will convinced him of Hannibal's guilt. That is totally in line with the dream quality of this stretch of episodes. Everything feels like it's going right for our good guys. They will believe without any proof. And that's ultimately very dangerous and fatal for them.

By extension, that also holds true to the female characters in Hannibal's world. This ultimately is the story of the bond between two men but Alana, Freddie and Abigail all hold important meaning to them. With Freddie, it's to make sure the trap is set and that Abigail's name won't be tarnished no matter what happens next. Like Jack, Alana goes along with Will's declaration of Hannibal's guilt almost too easily. And the show never really has enough time to truly go into the depths of what this emotional revelation means to Alana. She literally fell in bed with the evilest devil in this universe. She's been betrayed and manipulated. And even when she tries to take her fate into her own hands, Hannibal is one step ahead of her. Her bullets are gone and she has now signed her death slip. Hannibal and Will both had genuine feelings towards her but it's such thematic irony that it's ultimately Abigail - who is shockingly revealed to be alive and just missing an ear - who pushes her out of a window. She's trapped under Hannibal's control with no way out - except death. That's the fate Hannibal gives her as he thrusts that knife both physically and metaphorically into Will's gut.

And Will could end all of this pain by just retreating back to his mental palace and the stream. That's all he needs to do to escape everything. But that also means giving Hannibal the satisfaction that he has won. Will's clinging on to life knowing that he is the only person in the world who understands Hannibal and can stop him. That's been the whole point of the last few episodes of the second season. Hannibal and Will are one in the same - but they also never fully trust the other. Hannibal has the capacity to ultimately forgive Will and Jack for the actions they took against him. He can never return to the lifestyle he used to live but he's still free to roam the world in his perfect suit. That's powerful. I have no clue where Season 3 picks up this story. I'm guessing it will focus on Will's pursuit of Hannibal the fugitive. But what's to come with Jack, Alana and Abigail? Are they truly dead because of their injuries inflicted by Hannibal? Or will they too survive? It's exciting but tumultuous. Anything is possible. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Mizumono" was written by Steve Lightfoot and directed by David Slade.
  • That rain looked gorgeous! And artful.
  • Jack leaves Bella as she is gasping for air and we leave Jack as he's in the pantry gasping for air. Thematic symmetry!
  • Basically if you don't see a presumably dead character laying motionless in a body bag, then they'll likely be revealed to be alive later. By that logic, both Chilton and Gideon could be seen alive next season.
  • What the hell was Bedelia doing with Hannibal on that plane?!?! That twist was both shocking and mysterious that really does fuel a lot of interest going into Season 3. Here's hoping Gillian Anderson is more available to be in more episodes.
  • I'm eagerly awaiting more episodes but I'm also glad that we won't see anymore until 2015. This finale was devastating and it's going to take awhile to fully digest. These are just my initial thoughts after immediately seeing the episode live. I can only expect to love this episode even more the longer I think about it - which is a good sign that this season will place high on my year end Top 10 list.