Will can empathize with and absorb Hannibal’s warped psychology, but he doesn’t share his compulsion to kill and eat people, and he can only be corrupted so much. He’s not so much a great composer, arranging all the sections of an orchestra and getting them to come together in a bombastic finale, as he is a jazz man, taking the melodies and rhythms that are naturally at play and riffing on them so they turn out in his favor. He tells Hannibal he has to fatten him up. Hannibal, never to be topped, surrenders to Jack (Laurence Fishburne) and his armada of police cars, telling him that he’s finally caught the Chesapeake Ripper, setting up a potentially compelling deviation from the source of the upcoming Red Dragon arc. Hannibal’s images are often modeled after paintings, and that’s how one watches the series: with rapt, somewhat distanced appraisal, as one might regard a work hanging up at the Museum of Modern Art. Traditional emotional responses aren’t usually courted, bringing into stark relief how superficially Pavlovian those reactions can be-how they’re used to paper over mediocre craftsmanship and easy rationalizations. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that we get some sort of continuation, whether it be a movie or a miniseries or what have you, but in the meantime, we still have several more weeks of brilliance coming at us. This episode somehow begins with Hannibal sawing into Will’s skull and ends with Hannibal more or less tucking Will into bed.
And in the process of helping Margot, Alana gets her own closure with Hannibal. I don’t want to know where you are or what you do. The characters have been so thoroughly merged at this point that I’m not even sure how Clarice herself would function if she were introduced. Every line uttered by Mason or Cordell is a wonder of inventively ludicrous, quasi-pornographic perversity (one wishes that Fuller had gotten the opportunity to write for Vincent Price), but one of the best is relatively simple, sold with the relish with which Fleshler delivers it: Approaching Hannibal as he’s chained to a chair at the end of a long dining table, Cordell says that his hands and feet will be served first, “sizzling on a Promethean barbeque”. But I’m glad he didn’t and wow was his big scene with Hannibal back at Will’s home excellent.
Will is like an addict going cold turkey here, and Hannibal is both the drug and the enabler, waiting to surrender himself until he’s certain Will is there to witness it. So now that Will has been robbed of the blissful ignorance, he wanted, and knows exactly where Hannibal is, how long is he going to be able to stay away? If he was sitting by all night while Will was out cold, he could easily have nommed down and finished what he started. Hannibal didn’t, for example, see what Will did to Chiyoh’s prisoner.
Punctuating these great Grand Guignol flourishes (and there are too many to catalogue in one semi-succinct encapsulation), which fulfill the fairy-tale promise made at the beginning of the season, is some poignant character work that more or less makes sense in this heightened, anything-goes atmosphere. His declaration that he would not try and find Hannibal after he left showed that these last seven episodes had been about his journey to find out if he and Hannibal were the same, or different. – “You’re going to eat him…”
Getting out of Muskrat Farms was certainly one of the most graphic, if not handsome, sequences we’ve seen on the show in quite some time. I have no idea how far those two locations are meant to be from each other (seemingly in the same county of Virginia, at least) but this is still further evidence that Hannibal has superpowers. Hannibal tells him that there in an inescapable parallel between Mason and Jezebel, “You’ll recall dogs ate her face”.
-Hannibal calmly telling Margot “It would actually be more therapeutic” for her to kill Mason was a wonderfully amusing, twisted Dr. Lecter touch.
You must excuse my absence, as another ghastly affair – namely, Comic-Con – kept me away from the grisly doings and flamboyant excursions of Hannibal, now moved to Saturday nights for the remainder of its run on NBC.
-…but Joe Anderson still did a really strong job and went out with some awesome moments throughout this episode. – “Do you know what happens if we stimulate your prostate gland with a cattle prod?”
Spoiler alert: this blog is published after Hannibal airs on NBC in the USA on Saturdays. Hannibal is chained in a crouching position in a pig pen that’s shown in master shots to include various glass cages and walls that appear to exist for no other reason than to connote a sense of spikey, German expressionist irrationality. His expressions of mild amusement and curiosity as Mason revealed more and more of his plans were glorious.