It’s like waking from a dream. Florence has the art and surreal scope of beautiful and enriched storytelling, and now the watcher must wake and remember how this show got off the ground to begin with. Tonight’s episode of Hannibal concludes the arc that kept the lead antagonist outside of capture as we know the lore and wraps up all loose ends with Verger preemptively leading into unknown territory. Although we all know that territory is the soon to be unleashed red dragon.
As inevitable as journeys are, Will and Hannibal’s reached a point that suggested Will finally let go of the monster and because of it, Hannibal reasons that he’s not ready to do the same. Getting to that moment was rough because Verger’s tempest was one of the least complex storylines that the season had to offer. Expectations and memories of earlier versions kept bombarding me and I was left with conflicted feelings over whether this version held a better standing or if it was just a strange interpretation. I’m going with the latter because the problem was never with Verger and his agenda, it was with Will and his decision to let go. But I have to give the final act credit, I really thought for a few seconds that Will’s face was being removed. Kudos to those close ups for fooling me.
We’re given a flashback to Hannibal cutting into Will’s head. The corrupt investigator and his team storm in and capture both Hannibal and Will. Two remain behind to kill Jack but Chiyo assassinates them. At Verger’s estate, Mason has Will and Hannibal prepared in suits to dine and converse over the subject of being cooked and eaten. After an incident involving Will biting a piece of the cook’s cheek off, he and Hannibal are separated. Margot speaks with Mason about an heir and he offers a clue to the whereabouts of a surrogate that’s holding their baby. Meanwhile, Alana speaks briefly with Will over Hannibal and her alliance with Mason. Later, Margot and Alana release Hannibal under the condition that Hannibal keep Will safe. Hannibal accepts and kills the cook, then leaves with Will and being watched by Chiyo. Margot and Alana then take to Mason and reveal their plan to create an heir of their own and subsequently kill Mason by drowning. Will is then seen back home and he tells Hannibal that he will no longer pursue him and doesn’t expect to see him again. Hannibal then leaves. That night, Jack and the police arrive and find Hannibal remained to surrender. He is taken into custody and Will realizes that Hannibal wants to remain close to him.
It was the bookend to a very outlandish plot. What centers around this kind of engagement is how Hannibal treats his captors. There isn’t disdain or ridicule, there’s just more conversation and even embellishment on his part. It’s what really sets him apart from other basic villain types. He doesn’t endure nor show fear, there’s just his interpretation of other people trying to claim his evil seat on the hierarchy. You can tell he’s studying and biding his time because nothing is accomplished by showing his hand while those hands are tired. It was easy to let Mason to all the talking and that’s what he did. And a lot of credit for Will by dishing some unexpected violence of his own, one last hurrah in the art of using teeth to rip flesh, which is the very definition of the parental evil that sustains this show.
Alana and Margot’s scenes were the least enticing, mainly because it was very choreographed especially when Hannibal told Alana that Margot would be the one to kill Mason. Verger explaining there was a surrogate on the farm, of course it would be a pig and of course the baby wouldn’t be alive. Maybe I’m still wrapped on why Alana was so smitten with Margot to begin with, but it’s the change in her life that she needed. What I did appreciate was her questions to Hannibal about understanding him and him saying “no.” It wasn’t cheap honesty, it was meaningful because it’s rare to get a one word response from the master of manipulations. And his promise to Margot in regards to keeping Will safe had much more lasting relevance than it could have been known at the time. It was a clever foreshadow into his surrender at Will’s house.
The imagery was very minimal, only coming out during Will’s decline in the flashback viewing Hannibal and the horned-beast. Very little was introduced, which I can’t blame the episode for. Verger’s plot was at a single location with no real value or rich atmosphere that necessitated a lot of hallucinations or extra-dimensional CGI. It was fine, though the back and forth between the pig and the cook’s face being sliced off was exquisitely dramatic and a touch of the bold and eerie.
Will and Hannibal’s last conversation. That was the last time they could speak like that on equal ground. For once, it was Hannibal that almost wished for more and Will was the one who was saying goodbye, and it was truthfully convincing in the telling. Plus the music helped illuminate Will’s perspective in letting go. It really did feel like the two were never going to see each other again which made the surrender that much more compelling to watch because Hannibal absolutely had to be caught by this episodes end.
Hannibal gets the top spot this week. In every act he was the hero this time around, and Chiyo the sidekick. He saved Will, the “damsel” and did the presumably right thing and turned himself in. Of course the layers involved are numerous, but he never wavered and essentially helped subdue the real villain of the episode. I would have liked more banter between him and Mason, but it was never for those two to clash the way Margot and Mason needed to. Is Hannibal truly alone with Will? His surrender shouldn’t suggest he’s giving up. There’s too much going on in Hannibal’s head and I assume Chiyo will be the liaison to that freedom when he needs to once more claim it.
What will the future hold for Alana and Bedelia now that their parts have essentially been played? Bedelia probably won’t be on any more episodes but I would find it odd if Alana just disappears outright.
One aspect I wonder if they’ll keep is the red dragon’s interest in Hannibal and their communication with each other. No doubt Will will force himself to speak to Hannibal to understand this new villain, but how much insight is Hannibal willing to give and whose side will be play toward?
Does this also mean Chilton will finally weave Hannibal back to his asylum as the lore would have it? We can’t forget about the little villains who protrude onto the screen every now and again.
7 out of 10. This was a little above average because it told the story to its completion and gave us a new lease on the future of the main characters. Hannibal’s time was always borrowed, something Bedelia warned him about but Hannibal still made it his own choice to be captured. That’s the genius of his nature because he’ll always be in control no matter what situation he’s in. Most of the beats were on point with the exception of Margot’s subplot which took a wicked turn. Her mental state and choices were the subject of a harsh yet rich living style, and now she’s free to pick up the pieces with Alana at her side. Not sure if that’s a long term investment but for the moment they need each other. Very good halfway point and now we’re back to familiar ground with a new killer on the way. Can’t wait for next week. Thanks for reading!
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