[Review] - Hannibal Season 2 Finale, Episode 13, "Mizumono"

I feel, in the aftermath of all that, that is is important to remember two things: first, the old cliche, "the villain is the hero of his own story." The second is the name of this show: Hannibal. In which case, I'd say that counts as a win for the hero of the story.

Too bad about everyone else.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that requests the pleasure of your company.

The entire episode hinged on what Hannibal and Jack later call "the clearest moment of our relationship." Not the battle royal that began the season, and which played out in glorious and expanded fashion. But rather that, in every relationship, there is a moment of brutal honesty, and from that moment the relationship either withers and dies, or fortifies and grows. Every relationship in the series came to a head this episode, every character exposed to a moment of brutal honesty. And not everyone survived the revelation.

Jack's way of doing things came back to kick him in the ass here. As with last season, where he drove Will insane by over exposing him to the poisons of the world, this season he went too far in his use of Will to try to bring down Hannibal Lecter. The DOJ caught wind of what he was doing, and shut him down. Jack did not survive this encounter. His career is tarnished beyond all reasonable expectation of survival. His wife lie dying, and he is unable to accomplish the only thing that has ever motivated him: bringing an end to the terror of the Ripper. Jack's obsession with results has always meant that the ends justify the means, even if that means having to take the law into his own hands.

Will and Alana had a moment of honesty too, though it wasn't necessarily one they shared together. But Will's actions earlier this season were justified as Hannibal and Alana shared their own moment. Hannibal's choice, "leave, or die" was Alana's defining decision, finally throwing off the rose coloured glasses she's worn for too long and accepted the truths that have been told to her repeated but she was never ready to accept. She chose the just path, which also turned out to be the wrong one. It is important to note that none of these character chose sacrifice. None welcomed death, none invited it. They were all aware that their actions might lead to it, but each believed that they, on the side of justice, would prevail. Talk about having your beliefs questioned.

For me, the moment that had the most emotional weight wasn't during the bloodbath. It was earlier, when Hannibal caught a whiff of Freddie on Will. The crushed look on his face was a reminder that, this is his show, it is his story, and no matter his evil, we as an audience have come to care for him. And that moment was nothing more than pure heartbreak. Mads deserves an Emmy nomination for some of the work he has done this season, but nothing moves me more than his expressions. He whiffs, he knows, he is crestfallen, then the clockwork sets to motion, and he plans. Hannibal's defining trait is his survival, his ability to turn any situation to his advantage and walk away the victor. This episode made that clear. Despite impossible odds and multiple adversaries appealing to his physical, emotional and animal instincts, he was the one that walked away with barely a hair out of place.

There were three moments that lingered with me after the episode was done. The first, was Abigail. If it hadn't been for Miriam appearing earlier this season, I wouldn't have bought it. And it still doesn't sit quiet as right with me as Miriam did. Yes, it is absolutely something that Hannibal would do, probably explains what Bev saw in the cellar all those episodes ago that forced her death, and given Hannibal's affections for both Abigail and Will, the idea of creating a perfect family together would have been something he devoted a lot of time and energy to. That she was dispatched so quickly, the teacup put back together only to drop one again, seemed both fitting in the moment, and little like a cheap manipulation of the audience's emotions. I don't think I know exactly how I feel about Abigail's reappearance, but I know I'm not completely sold on the idea just yet. Time, and next season, will have to convince me of it's appropriateness.

The second thing that stuck with me was Dr. DuMaurier. I don't usually stick around for the credits, but something about that blue sky told me that the story wasn't over just yet. Fuller was convinced that this episode would have to serve as a series finale, and what a finale that would have been. But the surprise, seeing Gillian Anderson in the seat next to him (I wasn't certain who they would go with, once I realized what was happening, and part of me expected Miriam), was a gut punch reminder of how fiendish this series can be. Here is a character who has properly feared for her own life, has seen Hannibal at his most exposed, has given life lines to Will and to Jack to aid their search, only to have every interaction we've seen with her to this point called into question. Hannibal's gift, she said, is persuasion. Making people do things without having them realize they they are doing them at his insistence. She alone seems to have been aware of his tricks, able to spot when he is trying to push someone in his intended direction. So, is she there under her own free will, or his. Is she ensuring her own survival by appealing to him, or does she only think that she is going with him because it is her choice.

The third thing that stuck with me was Bella and Hannibal's conversation. About there being a moment, about allowing that moment to pass. About moving "the moment" and being stuck between deaths. If there was ever a more appropriate metaphor for network television, I haven't heard it. Hannibal is an odd duck on NBC. And NBC has to know that. They had a chance to kill it, and they let that pass (thus making Hannibal the first of Fuller's series' to last beyond two seasons). Now, the series enters the time between two deaths: the death they avoided, and the death that waits for them at the end of next season, or the next, or the next. Now the question becomes, what will Fuller do with his reprieve. Hannibal has the freedom he desired, but not the family he designed. He has left death and destruction in his wake, and we'll have to wait to see who beyond Will survives Hannibal's escape. It'll be a different kind of story, one where Hannibal doesn't have the benefits of the long term, the home advantage, and the deliberation he once so counted on, much as the series and it's writers cannot rely on those comforts either. Whatever comes next, in whatever form, with whatever survivours, I doubt Fuller will let the series languish in it's death bed like Bella.
Share on Google Plus

About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


Post a Comment