“The event horizon of chaos”
There are very few secrets left between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter. And “Tome-Wan” begins with a frank conversation that picks up immediately after last week’s final scene. Will “warns” Hannibal he’s set Mason Verger out to kill him because, well, he “was curious what would happen.” Will is playing Hannibal, in both senses of the word: He’s performing a version of Hannibal; and he’s doing so in order to lure Hannibal onto his hook. Hannibal of course is aware of this possibility. From his perspective, it’s irrelevant whether or not Will has actually murdered anyone; Will is dancing so close to that line that Hannibal is sure to be delighting in the effects of his influence.
We are witnessing a psychological game of chicken, as Mason calls it. But with two completely different styles. Hannibal’s “veneer of self-composure” is impenetrable. He’s the rock that you don’t see move until it’s crushed you. Will, on the other hand, is like an old coal-fired train racing at dangerously high speeds. You’re never quite sure if it’s going to stay on the tracks, and when it does, you’re amazed that it didn’t crash. An unstoppable force about to hit an immovable object.
At the end of that opening scene, Hannibal instructs Will to close his eyes and imagine what he would like to happen. And as I watched Will’s fantasy of him feeding Hannibal to Mason’s pigs, it felt incredibly satisfying — a culmination of all of Will’s suffering, a vindication of all of his efforts. And at the same time, I could not help feeling sad (and this is coming from someone who thinks all this “Hannigram” stuff is cray-cray). Their friendship is a fascinating dance on “the event horizon of chaos,” and as much as I want Hannibal to get caught, I don’t want the dance to end. But as Will acknowledges, “This is not sustainable.” [Subtextually, imagine how different that line would have felt had the show been canceled last week instead of being renewed — yikes, I don’t want to even think about that.]
Gillian Anderson returns as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, Hannibal’s former psychiatrist, to finally fill in her backstory and to warn us that Hannibal is still in control, no matter how confident Will and Jack seem. She also prophecies two significant plot developments: One, that Hannibal will persuade Will into thinking the only choice Will has is to kill someone he loves; and two, that Hannibal’s downfall will be the result of “whimsy,” or “self-congratulation at his own exquisite taste and cunning.” Concerning the first prediction, we can make a pretty good guess at whose life Will has chosen to offer up (Jack Crawford), based on the flash-forward from the beginning of this season plus Will’s suggestion to Hannibal in the final scene of this episode. But that second prediction… that’s intriguing, and likely something we will see develop over the course of Season 3.
We also get the conclusion (for now, that is) of the beautifully bizarre Verger storyline. Margot Verger has become the surrogate surrogate daughter (redundancy intended) for Will and Hannibal, taking the place of Abigail Hobbs. This complicates their plans for Mason. Both Will and Hannibal know that by killing Mason, they will be hurting Margot, which neither wants to do. How fitting then that Hannibal finds a solution to humiliate Mason by “eating” him (not literally but by proxy), but without killing him. And in a clever twist on the book, Mason feeds his face not to his own dogs, but to Will’s dogs!
Small changes like this remind us of how skillfully Bryan Fuller and his creative team are building on Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter mythology. It’s rare that a derivative work outshines its source material. But I think that’s what we’re witnessing with Fuller’s Hannibal. Fuller has found a way to honor and respect the spirit of the original while shaping his Hannibal into something that’s different — transcendent even. And with just one episode left in Season 2, I can’t wait to see how he pays off that tantalizing flash-forward that began the season and sets up Hannibal’s downfall in Season 3.
moviefan71 5/23/2014 11:40:25 AM
There is no guarantee that we will see the flash forward payoff this week. Although obviously I hope that’s not the case… 🙂
Moz72 5/24/2014 9:33:29 AM
I have’nt watched or followed Hannibal, haven’t had time, …but Im curious to know, what’s with the weird episode titles??? What language is that?
CurtisLovesMovies 5/24/2014 1:05:33 PM
The episode titles are based on the names of Japanese dinner courses. Hannibal is a cannibal and a gourmand.
PussNHikingBoots 5/25/2014 12:45:20 PM
It looks like the comments are finally working again, so I am doing to post my long overdue comment/analysis. It has a prediction in it, so just know that I wrote this prior to seeing the finale. Dems braggin’ rights there, folks 😉
PussNHikingBoots 5/25/2014 6:12:25 PM
I rarely get honest-to-god-deep-down emotional over TV, but this episode was emotional for me. I’ve become hopelessly devoted to Mason in a short amount of time, and watching him mutilate his beautiful face was horrible… and hilarious. I am just completely thankful that they did not kill him off because the crazy in his voice is almost as good as his little face. So at least we still get to hear his crazy and admire his eel. (Plus, there’s Fan Art.)
Dark!Will does exist. (To my delight.)
I can’t possibly imagine standing there and watching that go down the way Will did. I would be throwing up, screaming, running out of the room, calling the police… But Will just stands there beside his Murder Husband like, ‘Gee, I hope my doggies don’t get sick from Mason Face Strips.’
Only the righteous Winston doesn’t come a beggin’.
I thought that Will was completely clear and lucid this season, but I was wrong. Will is descending further into madness, only this season he is fully aware of it. But Hannibal did not break Will. Will started out broken. Hannibal just rearranged the pieces.
PussNHikingBoots 5/25/2014 6:14:38 PM
Losing Mason’s face was tolerable only for all of the blatant Hannigram in this episode, from sharing the wine and talking about the pleasure they can share to that opening scene- not to mention that damn picture that Hannibal is drawing and then what WIll has to say about it and Will saving Hannibal!!! That was my favorite part. Thank God I was right about Will saving Hannibal. And what about when Hannibal was hanging near the pig pit, looking at Will, and Mason had to physically force him to turn just so that Hannibal’s eyes would be on him and not Will. (maybe some superkink Hannigramason?)
PussNHikingBoots 5/25/2014 6:20:31 PM
That opening scene:
Did Hannibal seriously just drench Will in bodily fluids while Will ‘bathed’ in it? Why, I believe he did.
After that erotic drawing, it’s not a secret anymore that Hannibal wants to get into Will’s not-so-proverbial pants. Not that it ever was.
Look at all the Hannigram – look at it!
PussNHikingBoots 5/25/2014 6:22:15 PM
Do we know if Hugh has a seven-year contract? I am so scared for him after hearing the story of Patroclus dying on the fields disguised as Achilles.
PussNHikingBoots 5/25/2014 6:44:00 PM
When Will is telling Hannibal “you won’t let me have anything that’s not you,” the camera on both of them only shows half their faces because it is allowing room for the other’s face to be superimposed, because they are codependent.
Will is arguably the rudest person in Hannibal’s life (save for Mason) but Will has immunity. Love is blind.
PussNHikingBoots 5/27/2014 8:42:05 PM
Dori Hartley (Fannibal/Artist) found this obscure reference: Let’s not forget the most memorable scene in the movie Rebecca, where Mrs. Danvers tries to ‘persuade’ Rebecca to take her life. The author of Rebecca: Daphne DuMaurier.
It’s always been notable to me that Will’s dogs do not growl at Hannibal (did he hypnotize them too with his people sausages?) I feel like there is an Omen reference in there somewhere, but I cannot find it. And now I cannot resist– Did Hannibal hypnotize Will’s dogs with his people sausages the way he dickmotized Alana with his sausage? [props to After Buzz TV for coining dickmotize.]
PussNHikingBoots 5/27/2014 8:50:21 PM
Since Will and Hanni have agreed not to lie to each other (sins of omission are still okay), it bothered me that Will blatantly lied when he made the comment about eating Freddie Lounds, though Hannibal played along. I’m guessing Hannibal can smell a lie the way a dog can smell fear. [Is this the only show in existence that can make lying seem like an unforgivable sin but cannibalism, murder, and face peeling are just dandy?]
Hannibal is not fooled – has not been fooled the entire time. He is a fish aware; cold and not hungry. If this fish gets caught, it will be because he put himself on the hook.
Whimsy is Hannibal’s Achilles’ Heel. So Whimsy is how Hannibal will be caught. I think it would be very whimsical to find Will in Hannibal’s bed, naked. Very whimsical indeed.
PussNHikingBoots 5/27/2014 8:55:39 PM
I don’t ever want Hannibal to be caught, but I know that he will be, and I know he will only allow Will to be the one to do it. I swear when Will said, This is not sustainable, I thought he was referring to the teasing, because- kiss already guys, come on. I’m very interested to see how Hannibal chooses to unveil the Ripper to Jack. And very scared for Jack. Is it now so personal to Will that he no longer cares who he sacrifices? All is fair in love and war.
PussNHikingBoots 5/27/2014 8:57:10 PM
Hannigram is sailing the high seas now, but I hope the Fandom is prepared because this ship is titanic. I want to cry and scream and laugh and gag and jump up and down all at the same time.