A Sashurai’s Review: Hannibal – Season 3×13 (Compassion is always inconvenient in the eyes of decadence)

Hanni 3x13

Their bodies taste the metal and with it comes the blood-soaked conclusion that closes the book between one profiler and one surrealistic killer. Hannibal takes the known and casts it aside to tell it’s own version of endings that fits the parameters of all episodes that preceded them. When characters plummet, there’s always a chance to rise again, but there’s a healthy assurance that whether their lives continue or not, one thing is for certain, they accepted each other’s strength and weakness for but a fleeting moment, then let go.

The symmetry was for the most part intact. I’m left feeling generally satisfied with how events played out, however the hang-ups I do have don’t detract too much from my overall assessment that we were given a grand finale that made the most sense and was the most deserved. There were no plans to leave thing open for season 4 to handle the “Silence” treatment yet if it snows in hell, then never say never. Some questions do linger most notably the depiction of Bedelia and her insatiable urge to settle as Hannibal’s meal, but I’ll get into that leg of it a bit later.

Francis sets up his death by presumably shooting himself after setting his house on fire with the intention for both he and Reba to die in. Reba escapes believing Francis is dead and converses with Will on the matter. Will says his goodbyes to Hannibal but is later found by Francis who forces Will to help him meet Hannibal face to face. Will returns to Jack and with Dr. Bloom they plan a scenario that sees Hannibal escape from his confines with the intention of dispatching both him and the dragon. While traveling, Will and Hannibal’s car is attacked by Francis, who kills all the cops and drives away. Hannibal takes a cop car and drives to his old home with Will accompanying him. At night, Hannibal treats Will to a glass of wine but is shot through the stomach by Francis. He arrives and intends to film his murder of Hannibal but Will attempts to shoot Francis from behind. Francis stabs Will in the side of the face and shoulder as the three struggle toward the outside of the house. Will and Hannibal work together and kill Francis taking in several wounds. In the final scene, Will and Hannibal embrace by the cliff’s edge with Hannibal saying this was all he ever wanted for the both of them. Will whispers that it’s beautiful and then pulls himself and Hannibal off the cliff toward the ocean hundreds of feet below. In the post-credit scene, Bedelia is seen sitting at a table for three with her left leg dressed as the entree on the table. She patiently waits for Hannibal to arrive and eat her.

Rather than conclude the tale with Francis once more attacking Will with his family, the tale is turned inward and he now wishes to kill Hannibal on his path to changing into the red dragon. While I completely agree this idea was the appropriate way to go, I can’t help but wonder logistically why Will went along with it without tipping anyone’s hand. He never informed Jack or Bloom that Francis was “making” him find a way to join him to Hannibal which I thought was strange. Even their plan collectively to have Hannibal and Francis killed wasn’t spelled out in any discernible way. Jack and Bloom weren’t at the house, and for that matter neither was Chiyo so none of them could have any hand in the plan they were making with Will. Not to mention all the cops who were murdered but I don’t think they intended on Francis to attack while they were on route, which begs the question, where were they actually going? Were they going to pretend stop somewhere and then get attacked? It’s not a huge issue but my main concern was that Jack and Bloom really didn’t have any last scene to wrap up any lingering issues they had. Jack kind of did earlier in the previous episode when he declared Hannibal was the devil. And I suppose Bloom and Chilton’s final scene together was meant to address any mental concerns she had. Something felt underwhelming about getting Francis to make Will pretend to get Hannibal released, but in the end it was to get the three of them alone in that house which happened and that’s what we needed. Logistics aside, the ends justified the means.

The bloody act itself was likened to fighting necessary evil. Will and Hannibal worked together which I think is something fans wanted to see since the beginning. Opposite forces destroy the common enemy and for the time given it was a savage piece of art. I really didn’t expect Will to keep fighting after that first stab wound in the face. I looked at it again and I still think he should have bled out, but he fought on and even sustained more wounds that surely would done him in had he not tossed himself and Hannibal over the edge. I believe Hannibal would have survived his gunshot and other wounds as well. But the nature of these cuts and flesh tears that permeate this show is that the human body is tough and resilient and can survive a lot of pain. Which brings us to the next topic.

Did they actually die from falling into the ocean? Poetry and a flair for the dramatic demands the answer be yes. Will accepted the beauty in Hannibal’s over-arcing vision but still had to put an end to the violence he had done and likely would continue doing. As far as the fall goes. In real life, smacking the ocean at a height like that is just the same as hitting pavement and if you have enough speed to hit terminal velocity, the act is that much more gruesome. Having said that, people have survived falls like that and sustained only broken limbs for the effort. So if the story demanded it, yes, they could both survive. Hannibal could be recaptured and season 4 could continue with the Silence plot, but we all know that’s a non-issue and this ending was the feather in that cap because they knew it too. I choose to believe they met their end mainly because Hannibal accepted Will’s choice to leave that cliff. If Hannibal wanted to live, he would have and this show was always about his driving force. If he gives up, then his body won’t survive. He can always make the best out of a bad situation, but this time, he felt it was okay, because Will finally understood what Hannibal was all about.

FAVORITE MOMENT

That epic final fight. It all built to that moment and seeing Will and Hannibal tear into Francis as a pair was brutal and fierce. It tops out their embrace and suicide at the end because the finale prepared us for that the second they began talking about the cliff and erosion earlier in the day. It was easy to pinpoint what the ending would be, but not necessarily how they reached it. The fight was the payoff and I for one enjoyed the hell out of it.

CHARACTER MVP

Will and Hannibal are the dual winners in this clash and rightfully so. The ending needed to focus on them specifically and together they shared enough true moments that capitalized on their brilliant acting ability. In a way one could argue that Hannibal knew how everything was going to play out when he mentioned the cliff with Will, supplanting the idea in his head that they were meant to topple over after they took out Francis. If only they were able to share their last drink where could the conversation go, but forever in reflection on their lives and what got them there.

ENDING THOUGHTS

In the post-credit scene, Bedelia sits alone with a hopeful look that Hannibal will be in attendance. Then there’s a close-up of a right hand picking up a fork on a plate, but then the next shot shows Bedelia moving her left hand down to her side. The camera focused on the fork suggests that its opposing against Bedelia’s sitting position and the hand picking up the fork looked very male. In essence, either Hannibal is in fact there or she’s imagining him there partaking in the meal that is her left leg. However the chair on the opposite end remains pushed in also suggesting that she is in fact alone.

Something else that makes me wonder is why the leg? I kept thinking that there’s some erotic nature with Bedelia wanting to be devoured, but if her leg is already detached, then the devouring aspect is really just the eating act itself and she just wants to watch and experience it as a spectator rather than be the physical meal. She wants Hannibal to enjoy her more than any meal he’s ever had because she’s above the “pet” or the annoying client or anyone else that Hannibal normally considers to be live-stock. Her devotion to being worthy demonstrates that there’s a mountain of wrong in her mind, yet there she was, ready and willing to be the decadent meal he always intended.

I go back to logistics, but according to the scene, Francis held the body up to shoot it with the shotgun and it somehow stayed standing long enough to drop like a normal living body would when it’s shot point blank with the shotgun. I’m curious how fast Francis had to act to put the key around his neck and stand him up after he leaves Reba’s side.

I’m surprised there were no more scenes with Will’s family. I suppose any sentimental moments would have given away some aspect of the ending and they didn’t want to distract Will with believing he had to make a choice between them and Hannibal. It also doesn’t have to clarify if Will intended to make it out of Hannibal’s house alive originally, but he did carry a gun so there’s that.

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. Some of the logistical nitpicks held this from being a perfect score, but otherwise it was the proper finale with the right characters an the right setting to be had. Hannibal and Will shared more than just a bond of opposing ideals, but the fascination of Hannibal’s killing spirit and Will’s reluctance to tap into that spirit made their relationship super conductive. They could sit down and have layered philosophical discussions from dawn to dusk and as long as there were things to discover within each other, they’d play at those roles with Hannibal the ever guiding hand. I believe they had a strong finish, with Bedelia being left at the table. In hindsight, she represents our own unresolved state that the show was cut before its time and we won’t have our final meal to enjoy. It will just grow cold. I’m satisfied with the ending and with the show in general. Brilliant images cascading through the imaginative and cultivating fine pieces of storytelling that will resonate for some time. I always thought Hannibal Lecter was the definitive villain in all of literature, but now I can see that when translated gracefully, he can be that same unique and elegant villain in all forms of media. Thanks for reading.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Hannibal – Season 3×12 (For the record, Bluebeard had 7 wives…or was it five?)

Hanni 3x12

There’s never a shortage of gross misconduct on a show that details the finer points of secular and succulent torture. The penultimate episode of Hannibal takes a chance at rewriting history and settles for a unique perspective on how to possibly end the story of Hannibal, Will, and the Great Red Dragon. With a new trap set in motion, Will attempts to lure out the dragon but Francis has other plans and exacts a bit of revenge on an unsuspecting victim. Hannibal receives a small reward for his efforts and events are put in motion for the final act to begin.

I appreciate that this episode changed up a few elements that naturally occur in the original storyline. Most of the time I tend to keep waiting for the scene to play out how I envisioned and most often I’m surprised by the changes they make. In this case it’s Chilton instead of Freddie being the victim, though death is not necessarily the result, which is also surprising. As long as someone named Fred(ie) was under the threat of Francis then truly the course wasn’t altered that much.

After Will speaks to Bedelia discussing Hannibal and potentially their endgame mindsets, Jack visits Hannibal and proclaims that he’s still the one masterminding the entire act. Jack and Will use Freddie Lounds to post a bogus article detailing a subjective summary on the Toothfairy while using Chilton to accentuate it in a hope to lure the dragon out of hiding. Instead, Francis kidnaps Chilton and tortures him by biting his lips off and setting him on fire. Hannibal receives Chilton’s lips in the mail and devours one of them. Later, Francis kidnaps Reba and reveals that he’s the dragon.

The deviation with the dragon’s main victim was a smart move. By placing Chilton in that role it centered the plot around the right characters and gave Hannibal a chance to savor Chilton’s torture after being ridiculed by Hannibal’s refute of Chilton’s documented events of the past. If this had been Freddie, it wouldn’t have resonated as well and to be fair she’s barely made any impact on this third season. She keeps to playing a minor role and doesn’t suffer for it. As for Chilton. I am a bit shocked they’re keeping him alive in his condition. I can’t imagine he’ll ever be the future character that Silence of the Lambs needs him to be, and in a way, Hannibal got a taste of “having an old friend for dinner” a bit early. I’d like to think that was a nice homage to that old sentiment.

The gory depictions of Chilton’s demise were absolutely well done. Even I had to grab my own lips to make sure they were still there. The close-up of Chilton’s burning face was somewhat comical because it looked so outlandish and abhorrent. I really wasn’t expecting him to pull through that much mutilation. Hannibal’s quick shot with slurping the lip in his mouth made me laugh and I do believe that was the point. Though, with the checking on the envelope, I would have thought they would have confiscated the contents and never let it anywhere near Hannibal, but then we wouldn’t have gotten that scene so I’ll leave that nitpick alone.

After this episode, I’ve made up my mind that Bedelia truly wants to be eaten by Hannibal. She all but said it and it’s eerily creepy that she revels in the thought. Her philosophical duel with Will is equally fascinating because she opposes him and his relationship with Hannibal. True, they accept that under the right circumstances, Hannibal would eat them both, but somehow I get the impression that Bedelia would be annoyed if he ate Will first. In this instance, Will is still seeking to understand his feelings toward Hannibal and it’s great that Bedelia is trying to reel them out of him.

I also believe that while Chilton and Bedelia both believe that Will subconsciously wanted Chilton to be the victim based on his hand placement in the photo used to lure out the dragon, that this is as close as we’re going to get to Will’s descent into murderous madness. It was a prime focus in the books and movies that Will suffers from that stability in becoming a killer himself after all his mind-dippings. Here, they treat it as though Will orchestrated the event to happen just as it did. I don’t mind that Will tries to understand the situation, but I also think we’re a bit past Will’s descent. He’s not going to join the darkside because it’s what he’s meant for, he’ll always pull for doing the right thing, but here it’s at the expense of a man who isn’t a very descent character aside from wanting publicity and fame. Will is set to enact the creature’s downfall and he’ll never stray from that primal focus.

FAVORITE MOMENT

The scene with the letter and subsequent lip devouring. It’s lighthearted in it’s own distasteful way but provided us with a candid reason on why we like the show so much. Hannibal revels in irony and situational opportunity. He’s already living in an empty cell and he still has to get his kicks somewhere. I just wonder if this keeps up he’ll be all about one-liners and that could get strange.

CHARACTER MVP

Francis and Chilton really sold their scenes together so I’ll give it to them as a tie. Chilton remained a sniveling scared construct of his own fear while saying anything to save his own life, pretending to understand but never saying the words that could have helped. Although it was always Francis’s intention to do what he did and his creepy crawl over the couch with the dragon’s fangs (as they basically were) and just bit into Chilton with raw power. It was the bliss of torture and they both played their parts well.

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

The moment could have been set even further in hilarity if Hannibal mentioned what kind of recipe called for the lip of Chilton. Maybe pair it with a fine red wine.

Even though I know where the scene is going, I didn’t feel the ending of this episode had enough gusto on it to truly launch us into the final episode. Him revealing to Reba who he is has monumental structure but it wouldn’t have been my first choice as the final scene.

I somewhat struggle to understand the significance of Will seeing Bloom as a victim with mirror shards in her eyes. Is it pertaining to him believing she’s a victim herself or that he’s still seeing through the eyes of the dragon leading to a possibility that he’ll in fact harm her? Or is it just that he’s stressed out and is still losing focus like when he sees Hannibal as the antler creature and that effect never really goes away?

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Pacing, structure, dialogue, and gore factor were well done. Plans never go off without a hitch and in this case everything went wrong on the surface until people started identifying that Will subconsciously wanted Chilton to be the real bait in this scenario. Bedelia added her own flair for what I want to call a “reverse eating disorder” but it’s good to see her show relevance especially with deconstructing Will while Hannibal is left making the most out of his situation. How will it all end? If the story holds true, Hannibal will have little to play in the grand finale, but this show is and always has been about him. He’ll play a deeper role and since this is in fact the end of the show, I don’t think they’re going to set up a Silence continuation. It’ll have some kind of end and Will and Hannibal’s relationship will be the crux of it. Thanks for reading.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Hannibal – Season 3×11 (Stop hitting yourself. No, really stop, it’s painful to watch!)

Hanni 3x11

The effects of absorbing true art take their toll on the man who would become a mythical creature within modern society. In lieu of Hannibal’s dubious words and helpful hints, Francis wages a critical strike against Will and his family for interfering with his ascension. The FBI continue to plot the dragon’s capture while Hannibal toys with assisting in that endeavor all the while Will suffers more at the hands of both Hannibal and the dragon.

As the tale of one of literature’s most prolific and charismatic serial cannibals draws near its end, I find this episode played it very safe within the confines of its book counterpart. Francis continues to use his voice for allure, an act I feel he is doing better than others portraying the dragon in the past. The dichotomy of his evil is very simple and easy to understand though at times I wonder if even Francis thought ahead with how he’ll continue to exist once he’s fully “transformed”. I doubt he’ll perch on-top of a building and sniff out his meals for the rest of his days. As always, Will and Hannibal make the most out of their time together with Will holding onto intense frustration over Hannibal’s transparent explanations on what Will is truly facing.

After Hannibal gives Francis the address of Will’s family, he goes to murder them, but the family escapes. Francis continues to wrestle with his change and imagines being attacked by the dragon entity for continuing to resist. Dr. Bloom discovers Hannibal has been speaking to the dragon and with the FBI they coerce Hannibal into setting up the dragon with another call. Hannibal agrees but at the last second informs the dragon that they’re listening. Dr. Bloom then removes all of Hannibal’s prison belongings including his toilet. After Will sees his wife and son he goes to Hannibal to lament his anger while Hannibal continues to react in psychological rhetoric regarding both the dragon’s ascension and Will being similar to him.

I like how a lot of the focus is still on Francis and his struggles although at this point in the storyline, I wouldn’t think he’ll do much to stand in the way of his own change. Leaving Reba after beating himself up was the right move because it’s his last bit of sympathy over caring about anything on the mortal plane. His attack on Will’s family was very cut and dry yet it showed he can still be outsmarted. I’d expect he’ll take his time to manage his next moves from here on out because he’ll consider what he did sloppy work.

A lot of Hannibal’s fine acting comes with his reactions within reactions, particularly around the snide remarks and retorts Dr. Bloom gives him as well as Will’s unstable moments letting Hannibal know how affected he is. Hannibal is amused and remains amused even at the cost of his own dignity, something Dr. Bloom thinks will actually affect Hannibal, but the truth is, it doesn’t. Nowhere do we see Hannibal suffering any indignities because his mind is too powerful to let physical issues trump his razor focus. The best things anyone can do are having the last words while walking through the door to freedom. Even then, Hannibal knows they’ll be back, they always come back.

FAVORITE MOMENT

The final scene with Will and Hannibal. Will has a way with enunciating certain words to inflect his immense displeasure because he can’t just hit Hannibal in the face or even strike the glass in anger. Even at this point, Hannibal continues to play the neutral villain, instructing and criticizing Will over recent events instead of actually helping. But to Hannibal, he needs to see his pawns perform whether he believes on one side or the other. He’ll adapt and survive as he always does.

CHARACTER MVP

Hannibal gets the prize in this episode. He doesn’t falter and is shown to be extremely cunning and resourceful even while locked up with nothing to call his own. As hard as Dr. Bloom tried, she couldn’t get him to crack or even raise a methodical eyebrow. There’s no antagonizing the alpha mind and there’s certainly no good to be had when you give the devil a phone.

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

If Francis imagines the dragon as a separate entity that can attack him, is he really dealing with a split personality where one destroys the other, or does he genuinely believe he’ll retain his own sense of self when he becomes the dragon personified?

Francis’s half mask reminds me of early Daredevil. Nothing there, just an observation.

I almost want to believe that when Hannibal mentions to Bloom and Jack that the Toothfairy should go by the Great Red Dragon, that he was in fact mocking Francis. It had a layer of both respect yet laced with very subtle sarcasm. Or maybe I’m reading too far into it and Hannibal really does hold him in high esteem.

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. It was decent follow up to the previous episode which had a pretty great ending. The attack on Will’s family was very telegraphed, but only in the mindset of knowing how things would play out. Hannibal remains stalwart and resolute with his performance and Will’s descent is nearly equal with the dragon’s ascent. With two episodes left, I expect a few major moments to play out in typical artistic fashion with the gore to balance out intense dialogue sessions that are central to the core of our characters. Will is good with showing he’s having trouble stabilizing his emotions, but I doubt whether he is truly falling into chaos or whether he’ll become something that Hannibal always intended, an insane partner. We’ll see.

No more words

Dark Matter and Hannibal reviews delayed

Hello all,

Apologies in advance, but I’ll be out of town for a while and won’t be able to get to my reviews for the remaining episodes of Hannibal and Dark Matter until I get back in early September.

When I get back, I’ll retroactively pick up where I left off and knock them out as normal. Again, sorry for the quick update for those that have come by each week and for any newcomers who have just discovered me.

See you soon.

A Sashurai’s Review: Hannibal – Season 3×10 (The alchemy of lies and truths and eating works of art)

Hanni 3x10

There are only a handful of episodes left until the legacy that is the TV series version of Hannibal draws to a climactic close. Knowing this I wonder if the writers have plans to have Hannibal escape into a new realm or whether they’ll follow suit and keep him intact and imprisoned for the what-if portion of Silence of the Lambs that we’ll likely never get to see. Either way, tonight’s episode continues to divide attention between Will, Hannibal, Francis, and a returning Bedelia who we finally get to see just how her patient ended up dead. I thought that Sylar looked familiar.

The pacing is wonderfully well kept as we’re led deeper down the rabbit hole of the great dragon. By giving Francis nearly half the episode, we’re given a unique opportunity into his psyche and what it means to try and maintain composure while he’s being pressured into becoming true evil. The dynamic of Will and Hannibal, as important as it is, takes a relative back seat to the courtship Francis takes in both Reba and the original artwork of the dragon. There’s an evolution at work here with Hannibal forced to rework old cinematic lines into his own style that in some ways sells decently, but the charm is slightly off. I only imagine Hopkins’s allure and somehow I forget there were two whole seasons of Mikkelsen owning the performance before getting to this point. Even as Bedelia describes an intimate knowledge between Will and Hannibal, I’m left wondering if Hannibal is in fact over it and ready to succeed Will as the metaphysical killer that he has always been.

Francis breaks into Hannibal’s old establishment as we see the call take place and continue from his point of view. Francis and Hannibal share their fascination with each other in typical other-worldly style. Later, Francis takes Reba to the zoo to experience touching a medicated tiger. Afterward the two share the night in bed together at his house. In the morning, Francis is called by the dragon to continue his work. Will meets with Bedelia as the two verbally serenade one another in psychological taunts and revelations. We witness a brilliant flashback with how Bedelia ultimately killed Neal Frank (Quinto) who had become increasingly upset over his treatment by both Hannibal and herself. Later, Hannibal uses his phone privilege to make an outside call and acquire Will’s home address. Francis then arrives at the Brooklyn museum and attacks the attendant who shows him the original red dragon painting. He proceeds to eat the painting as Will arrives with another attendant. The two cross paths as Francis attacks Will and escapes.

What never ceases to impress is the imaginative way in which Hannibal is allowed to have conversations with his peers and pupils. This is the intimate performance and knowledge I believe Bedelia is speaking about and in the first segment we get to view Hannibal’s representative view on what Francis intends to turn into, which by the way was the most gorgeous CGI I’ve seen to date on this show. There’s no mockery or misunderstanding between Francis and Hannibal. In the past, Hannibal used killers like Francis to stay hidden or further his own edible desires, but here, there’s an eloquent performance with watching chaos run rampant outside of his cell. He’s pulling strings in a ways that points his evil in the direction of Will, just as it always intended.

Bedelia’s return marks a settling argument that she was ever a victim in Hannibal’s care when she chose to leave with him last season. Here, she relents to Will what it was like for her to be behind Hannibal’s veil and in during this conversation, Will surmises that if Hannibal ever does “eat” her, she’ll have it coming. Bedelia never bats an eyelash, but considering how Bedelia told Hannibal nearly the same thing, it’s good to see Will’s caught onto the stigma as well. Her perception is to own those moments of killing rather than helping wounded things which compels her to also tell Will that he’ll never be like Hannibal or her. In a way it’s uplifting because the idea this whole second-half of the season is to watch Will descend into that unstable personality that could be capable. And I would like to think Will isn’t going to naturally prove her wrong. I do believe her role on this show is about wrapped up. She’s neither in the mood to give Will good guidance nor is she going to own her part in his escape any more than she was when she changed her name and stuck to it while in a drug induced state. In the end, she believes to be smarter than Hannibal, and it’s fine to leave it at that.

The moment with Francis eating the painting to his rampant attack on Will was a great way to set up the final arc. The two have now squared off and recognize each other for who they are. The devouring was much more poignant this time around as he chewed the pieces apart rather than tearing them up first. If it’s the near-final stage to his becoming all that’s left is to cut the chords on those he’s connected to. Although I thought it was a silly moment that Francis’s shoe was sticking out of the elevator. He should have just pressed the doors to close. With Will’s address in Hannibal’s hands, we all know where this is going.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Finally getting to see Bedelia’s flashback in its pivotal moment. The scene played on the aspect that she was and is always on Hannibal’s side which can make a psychiatrist’s point of view really cold-hearted considering everything Neal was saying was in fact accurate and fair. And that moment when she stuck her arm down his throat was so raw and disturbing I needed to cringe when they showed the inside view of it. It took three seasons but we finally understand what went down on that fateful day. She didn’t mean to, until she meant to.

CHARACTR MVP

Francis deserves credit again. What’s both fascinating and puzzling is his appearance and how he has to conduct himself in order to maintain the persona of normality. It’s an old 80’s form, but it still checks out. A killer who is losing control will find moments when they’re in perfect clarity and can compose themselves enough to not draw attention or to fool those who aren’t looking hard enough. His scene with Hannibal in the old home didn’t really jive as well considering the practice he’s had on Will, but the ending of that opening scene was still stupendous to watch.

ENDING THOUGHTS

With Will knowing the face of the Toothfairy, I expect there will be backlash in the next episode, which could include Freddie’s demise.

Does that gum wrapper trick really work on those kinds of phones? It’s hard to know just how much practical knowledge Hannibal has in the realm of electronics and wires.

No Jack, Freddie, or Bloom in this episode. I expect all three in next week’s along with some development on Freddie’s reporting and how much it will get her into continued trouble.

If Hannibal successfully helps Francis take out Will, what does that really say about Hannibal? Is he in fact petty that any kind of tortured death will do? He still let himself get captured, so unless his plan is to help Will thwart the Toothfairy but as great cost such as his family, that’s some extra dimensional level thinking right there.

It’s hard to forget the evil acts of bad guys, but the warmth and care he showed Reba especially at the zoo with the tiger was exotic and touching. It unfortunately doesn’t get to count because once you start killing families you don’t get to play any sort of good character after the fact. Still, he’s feuding with his normal side and that was the point. There’s someone out there who is incapable of judging him on appearance and he’s trying to hold onto that for as long as possible.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. We’re still on solid build-up mode, but the journey thus far is maintaining interest and intrigue. Hannibal is a constant jar of chaotic intentions, both helping and hindering Will’s investigation which is what he’s done since the beginning. Here, he can be more polite behind the window which makes me wonder why Chilton hasn’t gone to see him as of late. I’d rather he didn’t, that’s for next season which we’ll never see. On it’s own, the spread of highly intense piano mixed with the doom and gloom of Francis’s obscene gesture to consume the red dragon made for a particularly flavored episode this time around. I don’t believe we’re in store for many or even any flashbacks left unless it relates to Francis himself. We’ve learned all we can from Bedelia and there’s nothing left to be gained by more Abigail drama, should they choose to continue that trend. Will and Hannibal have to deal with the future from this point forward, and the future is looking very red indeed. Thank you for reading.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Hannibal – Season 3×09 (The art of becoming requires a collect call to the devil)

Hanni 3x09

Clandestine thoughts burrow to the surface between those who seek to understand and the rest who understand too well. In gaining insight on the Toothfairy killer, Will begins to show more signs of distress and rigidity with the second family’s murders all while Hannibal injects his serum of truth and honesty through his triangle of conversations between those he attempted to murder last season. In the midst of the Toothfairy’s vested interest in the blind co-worker, Reba, Hannibal also recalls his nurturing of Abigail before the fateful night he murdered her.

For the first half the episode, it felt like the old scenes bubbling back to the surface where Will and Hannibal share thoughts and expertise on the case at hand. What surprised me yet again was the continued use of Abigail’s character, this time giving us an in depth look at how he kept her alive during season 2. The remainder of the episode wisely focused on more of Francis’s daily routine, this time introducing Reba who has taken an interest in him as well. What felt overused was each characters need to return to Hannibal and offer their own relevant theories on his current stature and their own changes in life. Will and Hannibal alone should be the only two interacting. Truth is I’m no longer interested in what Hannibal thinks of Jack or Dr. Bloom. He’s isolated and I have yet to truly feel that on this second half of the season. Still, tonight’s episode proved to continue moving elements forward in a fresh pace as well as re-introduce absent characters like Freddie who will likely meet her end in this season as per story rules.

Hannibal and Will share the opening scene discussing both past events and the subject of the Toothfairy, which Hannibal agrees to assist. Peppered throughout the plot are flashbacks to when Hannibal used a willing Abigail to fake her murder, confront her dead father, and prepare for Will’s arrival the night she died. Meanwhile, Francis meets a fellow blind co-worker named Reba and becomes infatuated with her. Dr. Bloom tells Will that she carried Margot’s child and they had a son. Both Jack and Dr. Bloom speak with Hannibal about his role in helping Will which lead to nothing more than personal gloating on their part. Will relives the Toothfairy’s encounter with the second family and finds only parcel clues along with nightmares of becoming the killer himself. Freddie Lounds returns and attempts to convince Will to use her as a communication medium for the Toothfairy, but Will refuses. In the final scene, Hannibal receives a phone-call from the Toothfairy revealing he is becoming the Great Red Dragon.

Familiar Hannibal cliché’s are rampant that I both like and feel should continue being displayed. Most notably are his keen sense of smell and admiration for what’s taking place. What seems to be lacking is the premise that even though he’s locked up, he’s still very much in control of the conversations that take place. He doesn’t get that with Dr. Bloom and Jack which I feel makes him seem less of a threat. Jack really should be reduced to the minor role he has in the Red Dragon storyline and quite honestly, it should be Chilton goading Hannibal, not Dr. Bloom. She’s has more star power and is technically more appropriate given their history, but at the same time, she’s rooted in some strange alignment that I can’t tell if she’s adversely a good or quasi-evil character. If there was more substance to her I’d be all for an intellectual showdown between her and Hannibal, but that’s not what this season is about anymore, at least not between those two. Even the point to mention she carried the Verger child seemed a bit left field and no longer relevant to the storyline. I’d like to see Hannibal’s conversations stay with Will alone to keep the relationship between the two focused and eccentric. They match up the best and it’s not optimal to keep Hannibal running around the psyche’s of several characters.

The flashbacks with Abigail were interesting to witness but I also felt, as an Abigail fan, that this is just more twisting of the knife. He continued to instruct her and the art of facing one’s dead parent(s) with their corpse in play. It was a great nod to the third book’s moment when he does the same thing for Clarice. It shows how much he still cared for Abigail and right up until the end, she really thought they would leave together making her death that much more heart-wrenching. It’s just disappointing that she was always under his spell and never broke loose of it, even in Will’s mind that he built her from after the fact.

Francis and Reba’s scenes were about as typical as any film’s establishment of a killer trying to seem a peaceful person to others. What is unique and always has been is how that’s interpreted through a blind person who can’t see, literally the man Francis is. It’s what drew him to her and will eventually blossom into something chaotic but serene at the same time. Rutina Wesley joins the cast as Reba, I haven’t spotted her since her days on True Blood, so it’ll be a switch to see how she manages the docile Reba.

Will’s descent is running along as bumpy as it can be. They’re hitting on the right beats and making sure that he’s slipping in all the right ways. The scenes with Hannibal from different mental environments are always a standing joy to watch and even with Hannibal’s help we can still tell he’s holding back real pivotal information since after all, he’s just a spectator. If there’s one thing he can do is manipulate the right chess pieces to do the most damage and Will is still his pawn, but now he has a knight in the Red Dragon to move around as well.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Hannibal’s flashbacks with Abigail. I don’t know if they were filmed back then but either way for me it’s fun to watch the in-between moments that originally left us wondering how Hannibal does certain things. In this case, how he managed to keep Abigail hidden and protected that whole season while doing what he did. It really does drag that knowing she never gets to survive makes her growth in those flashback rather meaningless. Still, Hannibal did care in his own psychotic way for her.

CHARACTER MVP

Hannibal had a lot to juggle but I think he did an excellent job considering how many personalities he had to deal with. His silent stare during Dr. Bloom’s rant with telling him his fear is indignity was shot very well. We know Hannibal is capable of dealing with any situation he’s up against, but for a short moment you can tell he’s not particularly fond of being called out on any fear whatsoever. He’s stone-faced at the right times and for the moment it’s easy to lose sight and see him as the sympathetic villain even as he reminds Jack that he should have eaten Will’s brain, another doppelganger seen from the third novel.

ENDING THOUGHTS

I’ll be honest, I kept forgetting Freddie’s role in the Red Dragon plot and now that I remember, I’ll be very sad when Francis kills her. It’s a 34 year old spoiler, but they’re already piling on her tabloid personality so we’ll forget she was very humanizing for a short while back in the day.

I don’t buy that Francis could just pretend to be Hannibal’s lawyer, but that does make it easier to digest rather than Hannibal’s reading between the lines in certain columns of newspapers. I rather like how those went down because it shows the ingenuity of both killers and their ability to dialogue. Here, we just get a simple phone call. A little too simple in my opinion.

Will Hannibal and Will share that epic moment when they converse about how Hannibal was caught and Will tells Hannibal that his disadvantages were that he’s insane? Probably not, considering Hannibal gave himself up. I’d like there to be something there Will can use to keep a leg up on Hannibal’s brilliance, but I’ll understand if they can’t weave that conversation into this season. Shame. This Hannibal’s facial reaction would be equally priceless and the others.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Good pacing and though I thought they would keep Francis out of the episode entirely, it was good they got him in with those scenes of Reba to establish the human side of him. All the beats were good and the flashbacks with Abigail reminded us how things got to this point with both Hannibal and Will. The dreams and hallucinations remain classic and inventive, even the reflection of Hannibal’s deer-human self was still creepy as ever. I’d like once for Will to interact with that character in dialogue, but that’s probably asking for too much. Hannibal and Francis are now speaking to each other and it’s just a matter of time before Hannibal begins playing his real game, so there’s a lot to look forward to. Just please stop twisting the knife on us. Abigail is gone, we need to move on. Thanks for reading.

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A Sashurai’s Review: Hannibal – Season 3×08 (The smashing of mirrors begins)

Hanni 3x08

The design has returned and with it Will’s new test against a distinct villain engulfed by the painted entity known as The Great Red Dragon. In the midst of the landmark capture of Hannibal, his legacy has been dissolved to make room for the up and coming killer of families. Now Will’s been reintroduced to old methods of mind games knowing full well his investigation will bring him once more in the sights of Hannibal the Cannibal.

This marks the third on screen interpretation of Thomas Harris’s 1981 piece that introduced us to Will and Hannibal. But this time there’s a unique focus on their relationship that was built for two seasons before Francis Dolarhyde came to be known as The Toothfairy. Familiar themes mark their return including Will’s process with looking into the killer’s mind, something he hasn’t done in quite some time. There’s simplicity at work now, because at this point The Red Dragon storyline will be following the script as opposed to taking the characters and making their own stories from them. The visuals and close-ups excel as usual, but the time jump and fast introduction to the killer’s origin make the 8th episode slightly rushed in execution. Will and Hannibal have to share screen time with The Toothfairy, and there’s only so many ways to make the bad guy interesting before we’re left wanting more conversation time between Will and Hannibal. Still, it’s an impressive new take on old literature and the two biggest selling points thus far are knowing Will is headed down a dark path again, and Hannibal is essentially attempting to keep him from stepping into it. Or maybe reverse psychology works best to those who can’t stay clear from evil.

Three years have past since Hannibal’s surrender at Will’s home. Hannibal plead to insanity and everyone who knew of their part in Hannibal’s capture and release remain quiet about it. Meanwhile, a man is seen growing into his role as a new killer dubbed The Toothfairy who has a painting of William Blake’s Red Dragon tattooed on his back as part of his transformation into the beast. He murders two families each on a full moon. Jack eventually goes to Will for help and finds him with a mother and son who he has become a part of. Though a letter from Hannibal urges him to not pursue the murderer, Molly, his wife convinces him to investigate. Meanwhile, Dr. Bloom and Dr. Chilton both converse with Hannibal with Chilton attempting to capitalize on Hannibal’s opinion of The Toothfairy. Will goes to New York and interprets the crime scene once more getting into the mindset of the killer. After a partial print and teeth imprints are recovered from the scene Will decides he has to see Hannibal sooner rather than later to get intel on the new killer. The episode ends with Will and Hannibal once more in the same room.

One of the main aspects that’s been redesigned to fit Hannibal’s more romantic solitude is his current cell. It’s not the harsh and dull atmosphere that we’ve recognized in the past but a rather suave and spotless room befitting the man who couldn’t be named appropriately for the kind of killing he did. It works for the character, but I wonder if the man would have been better suited in the same line up as more mundane psychopaths. He’s enriched and likely kept alone due to Chilton’s hold on him. This Chilton doesn’t antagonize Hannibal and even more so, he dines with him even sampling a dessert that he apparently let Hannibal create for him. That part sill has me perplexed considering such an act would never be permitted under the authority of any real security. Still, in a way it’s almost as if Chilton is allowing him more privileges due to the arrangement of his capture and other extenuating circumstances. Hannibal is after all a rare speciman.

Will’s venture into the mind of the Toothfairy was a welcome sight through a savage one filled with relentless slaughter and a pension for putting broken glass on human faces. In the grand scheme of serial killers in the past two seasons, this one honestly feels a bit tame in the style. I mean, compare this to the plethora of bodies stitched together in a lucid form of human shading based on a color scheme and then there’s this. Different times and to be fair, this storyline has to stick to a script so if watchers have never read the book version, it might be give some extra insight on the murders at hand. In any case, Will slipped right back into the role of profiler and it didn’t take him long to feel the urge. Right now it’s not very defined, but you can gather that his hesitation stems from becoming the darkness again.

The Red Dragon himself, Francis is more or less what we’d come to expect both from the original interpretation and the stylized version we now see on TV. Without uttering a single word we understand he’s of two minds, one methodical and thorough, and the other almost childlike in the qualities of his day to day activities. There’s a monster in the background of his psyche and he intends to become it one piece at a time. He’s strong and on his own and he keeps a scrap book of his killings as well as the man known as Hannibal. Here’s where things get interesting fast.

The script jumps everyone into assuming that The Toothfairy is essentially the only killer in America that’s worthy of the attention of Chilton, Hannibal and furthermore the F.B.I. The whole feeling this episode rushed into the book plot was because Hannibal knows about the Toothfairy already and has little morsels of knowledge presuming to know that Francis doesn’t like being called the Toothfairy. I don’t know why, but I would have liked to have seen the machination behind how Hannibal discovered this killer and some relevance to why he cares about this new creature at all. Hannibal’s greatest selling point at this juncture is his prominent omniscience about what The Toothfairy will become and what he believes everyone is thinking during all points. He’ll play on that in many ways which is fantastic, I just think there could have been some more room to ease into it rather than just skip through 3 years. It wasn’t hard to believe that Will would settle into a family of his own, but this method makes me feel that the family is a band-aid and the real problem he has wasn’t going to be solved by trying to live a normal life in the woods and snow. I have a lot of respect for Molly in that she’s the one who convinced him to go which means she probably knows next to everything Will went through, but we’re not completely sure on that.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Will’s descent into the murder flashback. The light cascading across the screen and his face was monumental and almost creates this eerie atmosphere of transformation, making Will once more the pinnacle of superhuman qualities. He ran through each murder step by step and drew just enough to know he needs help from old acquaintances. I doubt we’ll get many more of this type of scene because there will be only one killer to focus on for the rest of the season and there’s only one more family to discover how they were killed. It was a well shot scene and the bloodspatter background was a creepy moment of transcendence for the profiler as he slips back into the old coat.

CHARACTER MVP

The Toothfairy has a lot of pressure to become a character worthy of his namesake. What I think worked best for him is his silence in telling his tragic story. He won’t be eloquent or jovial as Hannibal, but there’s respect for the man and he’ll want to reach out to him. Francis so far is integrating into the show at a descent pace, though he seems slightly too charismatic considering I don’t recall any other version of him being depicted that way. He’s smart and it shows, but he’s also controlled and that shows even more. I think he’ll do just fine with the time remaining this season.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Seeing Dr. Bloom engage with Hannibal is interesting. She still has a part to play but we don’t know if she’s still seeing Margot or what the status of that relationship is currently at. I can’t imagine she and Will have a lot of things to talk about, but it’ll be nice to see them have a few scenes together.

Speaking of Bloom, she and Bedelia have this strange visual acceptance that one day they’ll both be killed by Hannibal, and presumably eaten. It’s probably the most peculiar yet exotic personality trait they’ve both exhibited. We’ll never know for sure because the fates of TV deemed Hannibal won’t reach a 4th season, but still, I wonder if that’s the intention or if people just randomly see it that way.

I liked the scene interaction between reality and the landscapes that Hannibal puts himself in, even during conversations with characters like Bloom and Chilton. It’s a fascinating style that helps show us that Hannibal is forever resolute in his mind, never at the mercy of anything except his own desires. I didn’t get a good look at the audience with the child choir singer which led me to believe it was an actual flashback as opposed to a point he created in his mind. He usually doesn’t fill it with people, so to me the scene remains ambiguous which is fine.

The one person who’s likely going to become more of a minor character from here on out is Jack. He has little to do except direct Will, guide him from time to time, and play the concerned friend when he begins to recognize Will’s descent. To be honest, he may not have any more growing to do except to be that mentor to Will he always was.

No sign of Chiyo after three years. Is she close by or did she return to Lithuania? Hopefully she hasn’t disappeared forever, though a reunion with Will would probably be in bad spirits considering she threw him off a train when last they spoke.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Falling back into the old formula is good for this show. The one main difference is we get several episodes dedicated to a substantial villain while Hannibal becomes the visceral psychopath behind a glass cell wall. Will’s back in the driver’s seat and will need to play all the roles of profiler, father, and friend to Hannibal considering their relationship is deeper than they’ll ever admit to anyone else. Tonight’s episode spent a great deal letting us know who the killer is instead of typically only viewing the aftermath of their killings. We know more than Will does and Hannibal knows more than anyone. Pacing, visuals, music, and acting were solid all around. The humorous pair of Price and Zeller are the only characters I consider to be outdated, but they only shared two small scenes so it wasn’t at all too distracting. I’m looking forward to the last run of Will and Hannibal, so make them count. Thanks for reading.

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