“A bloodbath that leaves no one unscarred”
There comes a moment in watching a television show when you go from being a fan to being… well, an avid fan. Let’s call it a becoming of sorts. It’s at that point the show takes on an abnormal importance in your life. I discovered that was true for me when I sat down to watch the Season 2 finale of Hannibal. To my dismay and horror, I found myself staring dumbfoundedly at a baseball game in its seventh inning. After a bit of Internet scurrying, I was able to watch the episode, and holy crap. Without exaggeration, I think I’m ready to declare this the most gut-punchingly amazing non-series-ending season finale I’ve ever seen.
At the beginning of Season 2, we were teased with a flash-forward of a brutal hand-to-hand combat fight between Hannibal Lecter and Jack Crawford. We rightly assumed that the show would build over the course of the season to this deadly confrontation. But what we didn’t expect was that this seemingly straight-forward fight between two characters would culminate in a bloodbath that leaves no one (including the audience) unscarred.
Last episode closed with Will Graham offering up Crawford to Hannibal as bait. As “Mizumono” opens, we learn that Jack is in on this plan. And in a crafty bit of editing we get two separate conversations (Will and Jack, and Will and Hannibal) juxtaposed. We’re seeing both sides of Will, and while it’s tempting to believe Will is lying to Hannibal (“Will’s the good guy!”), I don’t think it’s that black and white. As the editing shows us, these two sides of Will have merged. Somehow two entirely dissonant beliefs exist side by side in his mind — the belief that serial killer Hannibal must be caught, and the belief that friend Hannibal must be saved. “You were supposed to leave,” Will tells Hannibal in that final scene. That’s when I understood. Will expected Hannibal to run. Despite all his empathy and his gifts for insight, Will wasn’t privy to the flash-forward we saw. He didn’t know this confrontation was inevitable. I think he and Hannibal both believed it could somehow be avoided.
For Hannibal that belief was shattered when he smelled the supposedly dead Freddie Lounds on Will. But Will’s belief lived a little longer, right up until Hannibal gutted him. This gets me to the big surprise of the season: The “resurrection” of Abigail Hobbs. (Which makes me wonder, was it Abigail who Beverly Katz found in Hannibal’s basement? I’d assumed it was Miriam Lass.) In a show where off-screen “deaths” are rarely deaths, some viewers might say they saw this coming. But did you see the I’m-still-alive-and-I’ll-shove-you-out-the-window moment coming? I didn’t think so! Seriously though, whether or not you expected Abigail to return (and for the record, I did NOT), Will’s surprise-confusion-betrayal-love at seeing her alive again was heart-breaking. And then to lose her again, right in front of him… F**k you, Hannibal!
Will’s allegiance to Hannibal, no matter how shaky and complicated it was, cost him dearly. The body count hasn’t been tallied yet, but whatever it is, Will’s guilt at his own complicity will surely birth some major personal demons (as if he didn’t have enough already) while he mourns the violent death of Abigail, et al. The drop of blood in Alana’s tears not only foreshadowed the episode’s bloody and tragic climax, but it’s also the perfect metaphor for Will’s becoming. His folly with Hannibal Lecter cost him blood and tears. And we can count on a lot more blood (and at least a few more tears) on what will likely be Will’s Season 3 rampage for revenge.
Speaking of aesthetics, the cinematography and scoring, while always exceptional, reached a new level of artistry toward the end of this season. In Hannibal, these elements rarely call attention to themselves, yet boldly heighten the emotional resonance of the storyline. And in “Mizumono,” ALL of the ingredients of film production — story, cinematography, score, editing, acting — combined perfectly into a magical witch’s brew that left me by the end both choking on it and wanting more. The bar has been set very high for Season 3 of Hannibal. And for this avid fan, it can’t get here soon enough.
Estraven 5/24/2014 4:46:14 PM
This was one of the most riveting, incredible season finales (or even television episodes) that I’ve ever seen. Stylistically gorgeous, with a slow start that leads to an explosive, heart-wrenching ending that left me slack-jawed. Eagerly anticipating season 3 and however many more they can do. They’ve taken Thomas Harris’ work, turned it upside down and created a work that is truly unique.
JDK008 5/24/2014 6:31:41 PM
I haven’t been this floored by a season finale since LOST season 3. Enough said.
CurtisLovesMovies 5/24/2014 8:50:22 PM
Estraven and JDK, agreed. I’ve watched it 3 times already and feel compelled to start it again every time it ends.
domino2008 5/24/2014 11:46:49 PM
Such a good way how the ended the finale , Will thought He could out think Hannibal .NOT ! I couldnt see how they could had another season like this season and last in the same enviroment , It had to change . I liked how this season used source material from the novels, but wrote the characters so We couldnt guess what was going to happen /.Hannibal seem so cool at the end ,In the rain it was it wash away this life to the next one .. when the episode ended . I went Wow.
PussNHikingBoots 5/25/2014 12:56:04 PM
I will be posting as soon as possible, but I’m still trying to get last episode’s comment to post. The system keeps telling me no.
Plus, I am still recovering from the finale. Talk about a feel trip!
CalamityJohnson 5/25/2014 2:56:54 PM
…and nobody has even mentioned that other twist… during the credit end scene?
TheSilentKiller 5/25/2014 9:28:15 PM
This was some of the most beautiful television I’ve ever seen.
ddiaz28 5/26/2014 7:48:58 AM
What a great review Curtis! You summed up my feelings to a T. Easily the most brilliant episode of television I have ever seen. And JDK, I said the same thing to my friend about Lost season 3’s finale.
When watching a television show, I probably rarely take note of the music. But as this episode went on it stayed in the forefront of my mind. The constant ticking was just genius. It just kept counting down to the inevitable Hannibal vs. Jack fight. And I’m so glad in the premiere we didn’t get Jack and Hannibal’s discussion. And Jack’s last comment This is the clearest moment of our friendship, just incredible writing!
Most finales will punch you in the gut once or twice. This one did it 6 times! Even though we knew it was coming, Jack getting glass to the throat! Abigail’s alive! Abigail pushes Alana out the window! Hannibal guts Will! Hannibal kills kills Abigail! And then after all that, Bedilia is with him on the plane! I was slack jawed and exhausted after that episode finished. I had to sit quietly with the tv off for a few minutes processing before I could get on with my evening. Now that’s powerful television.
ddiaz28 5/26/2014 7:51:30 AM
The spam filter on this site is way high. I tried several times to post my last comment and it wouldn’t let me. I finally deleted the quotation marks I had around Jack’s line to Hannibal, and it posted.
Check if you have any punctuation like that PussNHikingBoots. It’s probably a similar issue in your text.
ddiaz28 5/26/2014 7:53:04 AM
Holy crap. I just started watching the finale for a second time, and I didn’t notice during the first watch through, but as Hannibal is writing the letter to Jack, you hear the sounds of a watch being set, then as soon as he reveals Jack’s name on the letter, the ticking starts. Just brilliant!
moviefan71 5/26/2014 2:30:22 PM
Wow. Just wow. This show continues to absolutely amaze me. After this episode I can honestly say LOST is no longer my favourite all time show.
Curtis, excellent review! I agreed with all your points. And I don’t think I’ve ever read a review with such emotion (or F-bombs). Well done. And a very well deserved A .
isgrimner 5/27/2014 6:59:57 AM
I too was impressed. Great episode of a great show. So who survives beside Will? I can see them killing both Jack and Alanna off, even though the characters are around in the books later on. I think Jack will probably survive, and Alanna is toast.
domino2008 5/29/2014 4:36:38 PM
Hey . I missed that last part on the plane , mid way thru the ending credits , Thanks Calamity Jones , for pointing that out . Now I have to re tape it on my DVD reccoder ! and On Demand ends today . I had just rewatched it while on computer an saw Your post. This show is outstanding , Wonder who all makes it to next season and who wont ,And they most have the slowest Police force an EMT , Will should had said offiicer down an every Cop in town would show up within 5 minutes . I know this is sick , but I kinda want Hannibal to get away .
PussNHikingBoots 5/30/2014 1:27:05 PM
Working on my comment, but meanwhile, this piece of awesomeness from Dori Hartley:
Will has given Hannibal his forgiveness by offering him his life…when he comes close to Hannibal, he is saying – TAKE ME. This is the intimacy that is beyond the mind – he is ASKING, begging Hannibal to take his life, he offers his flesh – why else would he be there? All the dramatic plot twists in the world can’t erase the fact that Will WANTED to be in front of Hannibal, and knowing him as he does – and HE DOES – he knew Hannibal would be the master, and plunge a knife into him. This… is their sex. This is the penetration of Hannibal to Will.
domino2008 5/31/2014 9:51:00 PM
I went to other sites to look at reviews on that finale , and so many Women are Fans just for Mads. Also I didnt know that was Fishbornes wife , playing His wife on the show . Mads can speak like French , German He is also a big star overseas , and was about to be in Thor 2 , but Hannibal producers got Him first .. I have seen the Pusher movies both sub titled . He was good in an supporting roles in King Arthur and Clash of the Titans. And hit big with some film called the Hunt , He won a award for it , This Dude is off to be a big star.