tv review – NBC’s Hannibal, episode 2.13

Like the first season’s final episode ‘Savoureux’ before it, ‘Mizumono’ was this season’s concluding and strongest outing, an exquisite 43 minutes of gut-wrenching emotion and shocking turns. Mizumono is of course another kaiseki dish, a seasonal desert, which made for a fitting title, not only given the fact that this is indeed the last episode this season, but also because there were definitely moments of sweetness and affection to be found throughout the episode. Leave it to the Hannibal team to find small moments of sincerity, warmth and love in between grisly acts of violence and a ballet of blood. ‘Mizumono’ was everything one would want a finale to be and, while it left us hanging and clamoring for more, it offered us a promising glimpse into the future of the show, told us where the next season’s heading.

Ever since this season’s the first episode we’ve known that Jack and Lecter would get into a devastating fight that would leave Crawford in dire straits, but the context ‘Mizumono’ provided for this situation was not only surprising, it also made perfect sense. We were treated to the return of Kade Purnell, who didn’t approve of Jack’s rash and unconventional methods and sent him on compassionate leave. Even worse: she wanted to arrest Crawford and Will for entrapment. This led Jack to say goodbye to his wife and to do what he felt had to be done before he couldn’t anymore: he had to take down Hannibal Lecter because he and Will had gotten too close to let Lecter go now. It led to “the clearest moment of our friendship”, as Jack put it, after Hannibal told him “The most beautiful quality of a true friendship is to understand and be understood with absolute clarity.” Laurence Fishburne’s acting was phenomenal, his Crawford stepped into the room vulnerable, as a man who knew that this moment would be decisive and that he could very well die. Not only was he determined, he was also scared, because this was the moment he would actually finally meet the Ripper. The mutual respect of the characters really added something to the scene: these shades of gray made the fight much more interesting, so much more than just someone bringing down a bad guy; everything in the last couple of years of these characters’ lives has been building up to this moment.

Enter Alana, who did completely turn over a new leaf after discovering she had been wrong about Will, Jack and Hannibal two episodes ago. She warned Purnell, told her that Jack wouldn’t stop and went in herself to help him. She entered Lecter’s mansion just after Jack had fled into the pantry and here she was finally confronted with the real Hannibal. “I was so blind,” she whispered. “In your defense: I worked very hard to blind you,” Hannibal responded before offering her the chance to run. Instead she pulled the trigger on him, unaware that Lecter had taken her bullets, and was horrified at the dull click of the gun. She then ran upstairs, got more bullets for her gun, fired three rounds, but nothing could’ve prepared her for what happened next: she was approached by Abigail. Shocked Alana lowered her gun, helpless when Abigail pushed her through the window and left her lying on the porch of Hannibal’s house, bleeding out. It was a stroke of genius that the show decided to reveal Abigail’s fate in this moment, because right now we were as surprised as Alana was. It also added another crazy element to the violent insanity that viewers found themselves in, rendering the entire outcome of the situation even more unpredictable.

It’s this situation that Will finally stepped into. Over the course of the episode, like the entire season, Will tried to maintain his cover identity in the presence of Hannibal Lecter, but even now there was unmistakably an affection there. Much like Hannibal in him, Will found a kindred spirit in Lecter, but the paths these two men decided to walk their entire lives were vastly different. Despite the knowledge of their differences, it were the overlapping aspects that tied these men together, and it’s this that Will used to lure the doctor to eventually trap him. The moment Hannibal finally found out about the truth, was masterfully done: the two men had a conversation in Lecter’s study, while they were burning patient files, and suddenly Lecter knew that Will had been lying. He smelled Freddie Lounds on him, illustrated by an artful reveal that saw the camera zip through her hair before it finally focused on Freddie’s face, and the subsequent look on Hannibal’s face was one of disappointment, and of pain. Much like Alana he gave Will an out, a chance to come clean to him when they were having dinner, but Will didn’t, which led to the truth “and all its consequences”. When Will entered the house after having called an ambulance for Alana, he was paralyzed after he saw Abigail, which gave Hannibal the opportunity to gut him with the linoleum knife Thomas Harris readers will remember from the Red Dragon book. “I wanted to surprise you,” Lecter told Will, “And you wanted to surprise me. I let you know me, see me. I gave you a rare gift but you didn’t want it.” The exchange between Will and Hannibal was very moving despite the gruesome and twisted circumstances, beautifully written and wonderfully performed by Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen. These two actors not only grounded the scenes amidst grotesque circumstances, they also managed to make you feel for both characters; both men who felt hurt, betrayed and lost. Well, at least before Lecter delivered the final gut punch: he slid Abigail’s throat, the second time Will witnessed the act. Here Will was again, losing Abigail once again. Brian Reitzell’s ethereal score underlined the final horrid and poetic moments of the episode, where Hannibal washed his face clean in the rain and left, leaving four people to die. It was the most powerful sequence the series’ done so far, ending with Will witnessing the dying ravenstag in front of him before ‘Mizumono’ rolled the credits and pulled a Marvel movie moment: a post-credits scene showed Lecter on a plane to Europe, joined by none other than Bedelia. It seems likely we’re in for more of Hannibal’s backstory next season, as well as more Bedelia, both of which are never a bad thing.

‘Mizumono’ was outstanding, exceptional television, and it wrapped Hannibal‘s second season up in style. Season 3 can’t come soon enough. 10/10

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