Events culminated in a thoroughly exciting and visual episode of Hannibal last night. With all off the pawns finally in play, everyone began actually making their moves on Hannibal’s chessboard.
WARNING: This analysis will contain some spoilers for last night’s episode of Hannibal. Check it out now on Hulu or NBC, or scroll down to “final thoughts” for a brief summation.
Wow. Last night may have been the most entertaining episode of the season so far. Some people may not be enjoying Hannibal’s final season, but I very much am. Bryan Fuller is doing something interesting by weaving both Will and Hannibal’s backstory with events from latter books in the trilogy, and it’s making things pretty interesting.
Easter eggs and references were pretty notable this time around. We got to see Hannibal drawing his representation of the Duomo seen from the Belvedere. If you are well versed in The Silence of the Lambs, you will know that it’s a very similar drawing to one Hannibal keeps inside his cell at Chilton’s hospital when he’s visited by Clarice Starling. Hannibal even mentions that he wants to be able to draw it from memory, because he doesn’t anticipate being able to see it for quite some time.
Lecter and Bedelia feel a sense of finality approaching their time in Florence, and I think the audience watching does too. We finally get to witness all of the characters attempting to act out their plans, but it’s clear Hannibal isn’t intending to be brought down without a fight.
Obviously, Jack should have finished Hannibal off the last time they squared off, as all of these events could have been avoided. Lecter was weakened, and Crawford had a clear upper hand. This time around, though — things did not work out in a similar fashion.
Bedelia hatches a scheme to play the drugged and brainwashed fool, but Jack and Will don’t buy it. Will foolishly slips out without Crawford to hunt Hannibal alone at the museum with the Primavera painting. It’s revealed that Hannibal had planned to eat Bedelia the whole time, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Hannibal prefers to eat people who’ve committed atrocities, or rude people in general. This whole season, Lecter has been trying his damndest to paint her as an accomplice, at the very least. I’m not sure what further part she will have left to play on the show. Only time will tell.
We see more of Mason Verger and Cordell, and their plans to bring Hannibal to their own sense of street justice. Cordell comes off as much more wicked and sinister as other iterations of him have been, with him suggesting the best ways to properly prepare Hannibal for feast. Verger seems a little off-put, but relishes in the idea of taking the power back by poetically eating the cannibal that helped mangle his face.
The strangest and seemingly most arbitrary part of the episode had to be Alana and Margot’s inexplicable..union. I have no problems with it, it just came out of nowhere. It appears that they are both serving their own ends by allying with each other, but I don’t know if their relationship extends beyond that. It’s kind of difficult to tell where Alana’s loyalties lie in particular, but Margot clearly wants to punish her brother as much as she does anybody else. She has good reason to, as well. It’s easy to overlook just how messed up Mason has been to his sister in seasons past, but he is definitely no innocent little lamb. I’m not sure where the lesbian sex began or came into play, but they at least made it visually interesting (not in the pervy way), what with the whole sequence taking form of a kaleidoscope in a slow spin.
Chiyoh is almost blindly Hannibal’s ace-in-the-hole, and it comes off kind of cheaply. Chiyoh tells Bedelia that it’s her hope to bring Hannibal into captivity behind bars — not to kill him. It’s her intervention that becomes Will’s biggest detriment in hunting Hannibal down and finishing him off. As Will is about to shank Hannibal right out in public (already not the best of plans), Chiyoh guns him down from a nearby rooftop. This gives Hannibal the opportunity to gain the upper hand. Seriously? Why help this guy?
Jack is still at Bedelia’s when she’s being interrogated by an inspector that is clearly under Mason Verger’s employ. Since Jack has no real jurisdiction or any federal reasons for being in Italy, he is dismissed. Crawford quickly leaves to find Will and Lecter, while Bedelia is left alone for further interrogation. She is even accused of being an accomplice like she assumed she’d be, so she continues to play coy. The inspector has further plans for Bedelia, though. More on that later.
Some things just aren’t really explained. Somehow, Crawford knows to go to Sigliato’s apartment to find Will and Hannibal, and so does Chiyoh. Because of….REASONS? I’m willing to brush it aside, though. Jack and Chiyoh take an awkward elevator ride together to the top floor, and Chiyoh gets cold feet and bails. I really don’t understand this. Why did she leave? Where did she go? Was she hoping that Jack would be able to arrest Hannibal? I have so many questions about this one weird scene. It doesn’t make any damn sense.
In any event, Jack makes it inside, only to find Will casually restrained at the dinner table. That’s when Hannibal springs from his hidey-hole like a honey badger and strikes. Next thing we know, they’re both imprisoned in the dining room, as Jack is helplessly given an intravenous dose of a calming drug.
Tensions are high at this point. I’m wondering in my head if they’re going to go completely off-book and kill one of these characters. From the looks of things, Hannibal intends to full on “Krendler” Will Graham and feed everyone his brain. Jack screams as Hannibal begins to tear into Will’s skull with a little rotary handsaw. Things aren’t looking good for Will. As I was simultaneously preparing for the entire dynamic of the show to change as Will is savagely murdered and for the episode to abruptly end, mid-headslice we’re suddenly pulled out of the entire scenario.
I’m assuming this happens because the scene may have been in Will’s perspective, who was heavily drugged and unaware of his surroundings. Suddenly, our hero and villain are back in America, and already in the clutches of Mason Verger. How did this happen? It came out of nowhere! I’m hoping they further explain how this happened, or whatever the hell Chiyoh was up to the entire time, otherwise we’ll have a few plot holes on our hands. I’m just going to flat out assume that Bedelia revealed the location of Hannibal’s hideout to the investigator, as it showed her dancing around the subject in a prior scene. It’s likely that once Verger’s men were aware that Hannibal was holed up at Sigliato’s, they managed to storm in right as Hannibal was going to saw through Will’s brain tissue. What’s notable about the brief farm sequence we see is that Jack Crawford doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight. I’m very curious to see what happened with him, and if Verger’s men just left him in Florence to fend for himself. Why bring Will Graham and NOT Jack to the farm as well? Very curious.
Dolce manages to do what Hannibal so far has done best. It kept me on the edge of my seat as all of the characters converged on Lecter, and as Lecter somehow happened to weasel his way in and out of danger. There is some confusion as to how certain characters ended up where they did, but this can be overlooked by just how fun and visually impactful this episode was. There is a sense of looming finality to the first half of this season, and we have to anxiously wait a full week to see how it comes to a close before we finally get to see the Red Dragon himself. I’m upset that Hannibal’s fate is very much still up in the air, but I can at least rest easy enjoying one of the most thrilling seasons of the show to date. Hannibal looks to be going out with a bang, but there is quite a lot of ground to cover before they get there.
What’s Good: the cinematography is awe-inspiring, easter eggs galore
What’s Not-so-good: Chiyoh just seems like a convenient plot device, a tiny lack of seemingly crucial plot information, no Chilton(?)
What are your thoughts on this season so far? Do you have a newfound sympathy for ducks? Let us know in the comments below.