“Imitation allows us to better understand others.”
This is one of those episodes that allows you to simply sit back and appreciate a wonderful cast. Even without Mads Mikkelsen and Gillian Anderson, the show fires on all cylinders here, tying together all its other characters within the web spun by Hannibal Lecter. We feel his influence at every turn, and each person’s fascinating story serves to highlight one important fact: that Hannibal has scarred them all in one way or another, that who they are in the present is very much a product of their interactions with the man.
We see this idea play out in the very first scene of the episode, which is a fantastic scene consisting of Frederick Chilton–Raul Esparza, we love you–and Mason Verger having their own little face/off. Joe Anderson slides into his new role extremely well, and it’s a delight to watch him interact with Katharine Isabelle and Caroline Dhavernas and Raul Esparza. He unsettles and entertains you all at once, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing him work with the character over the next few episodes. He’s already got a hilarious quote in this episode: “Dr. Lecter got deeper inside of you than any of us,” he tells Alana midway through, and he follows that up by laughing quite a bit at his own joke. I am SOLD.
And speaking of Alana, it’s so refreshing to see the show take a new turn with the character. As much as I love Caroline Dhavernas’s performance, I admit that the handling of her character last year left something to be desired; here, we see Optimistic, Trustworthy Alana replaced with Vengeful Alana, and it’s clear that her experiences with Lecter have both left her deeply damaged and hardened. “I don’t need religion to appreciate the idea of Old Testament revenge,” she tells Mason while at his home, and this makes it clear that this is not the Alana we knew in seasons one and two. As Chilton says, “being broken” was a “breakthrough” of sorts for her, and it’s helped her realize just how damaging Hannibal was and is. Will Graham, however, isn’t quite willing to forget what happened, and he ends the episode sailing to Europe to find the man. “Friendship with Hannibal is blackmail elevated to the level of love,” Alana points out, and as Chilton tells him at the beginning of the episode: “This is your best possible world, Will.”
Aside from all that, my favorite storyline of the episode is also the most poignant. Laurence Fishburne and Gina Torres are absolutely phenomenal throughout the hour, and it’s a storyline that closes off Bella’s character in heartbreaking style. In a show all about death taken to an artistic and grotesque level, this is relatively tame, but the sight of Bella in that casket is just as beautiful (in a unique Hannibal way) as any other corpse we’ve seen in the show. It’s a sequence filled with the weight of a loving and painful history, and the follow up scene between Jack and Will is just as stellar. These characters are all connected to each other in some way, and it’s truly a marvel to see these actors embrace the show’s ideas and visuals and stories. We all knew NBC was wrong to cancel the series, and this episode merely solidifies Hannibal as the best show on television. And it’s only going to get better.
– “It’s only a matter of time before they’re back in each other’s orbit. Shame not to have the good seats.” Like the rest of us, Chilton wants to be in the front row when Hannibal and Will finally make passionate love to each other.
-That facial reconstruction scene music. Damn.
-Hey, it’s the Yellow King (Glenn Fleshler) as Dr. Cordell Doemling!
– “I’ve always enjoyed the word ‘defenestration’.”
– “I wasn’t deciding when I called him. I just called. I wanted to run away with him.” And bloody Abigail–who represents that side of Will–is still there.
– “This is not a revenge thing. I’ve forgiven Hannibal.” This show is definitely intrigued with the idea of forgiveness, especially the relationships between forgiveness and betrayal, revenge, etc.
-Let’s hope a streaming service (or the Food Network) picks up this show. I’m honestly shocked that this lasted three seasons on NBC, so kudos to them for keeping it on. However, after hearing that Aquarius was renewed instead…that just makes me plain angry. For the first time in a while, I won’t have anything on NBC to watch.
Photo credit: NBC, Hannibal