I’d like to preface these weekly episode recaps by saying that they are written after a third or fourth watch. I intend them to be consumed (cannibal puns) with the hindsight of re-watching or at least watching along. Perhaps it will even inspire you to go view it again with fresh eyes while we wait for Season 4 news. I will try and recapture what was felt at first, alongside what I feel now I know everything. A mixture of recap, bad analysis and fangirling.
TL:DR ***SPOILERS*** and then some.
Mizumono AKA How Much Can You Hurt A Fannibal & They Still Love It
The ‘previously on’ part of this, the second season finale and 9.9 IMDb rated episode, focuses on everyone’s scheming and ends with a snippet of Will’s piano theme… Take a deep breath, Fannibals, we will get through this pain together.
Hannibal is writing Jack an invitation to his dinner-death in perfect calligraphy as the sound of fishing lures and ticking clocks fill our ears. Way to subtly set me on edge right from the first frame there, Bryan & Brian. Will is being briefed by Jack about the letter – this is it – and Will looks about as tormented as a man with a fence post firmly up his ass should be.
Hannibal is also discussing the plan with him but in a different mood. He’s nostalgic about all the chats they’ve had with Will sat in that chair, and how it will hold the memory of them all. Will describes these as, “petty irritations, deadly revelations and flat announcements of disaster” which Hannibal takes as lovely, concluding with a smile, “The grunts and poetry of life” before asking Will what he hears. Will hears whispered echoes of their words and calls it a melody – lie or no lie? Sigh. If he doesn’t know, we have no chance. Again Hannibal is blinded by love and says they are both “orchestrations of carbon” because he has zero chill today. Will reminds him Jack is too and Hannibal says, just to make sure we are all absolutely aware that we are fucked, “All of our destinies flying and swimming in blood and emptiness”. *screaming*
We cut back to Jack and Will, as the sharp shooter strategy is laid out. Will feels sure Hannibal will try to kill Jack in kitchen and hates that he knows that. Back to Hannibal, and Will says Jack will be a tough fight and they can’t hesitate. Back to Jack with what is undoubtedly the focal point of like…the entire show, “Hannibal thinks your his man in the room, I think you’re mine.” Will only nods at nothing in particular since he is far from ready to know which. Back to Hannibal who asks the same thing in his style, and I just love this line from a purely linguistic point of view. “When the fox hears the rabbit scream, he comes running, but not to help. When you hear Jack scream, why will you come running?” Will closes his eyes to shut out his awful choice presumably.
Hannibal asks, “When the moment comes…”, Jack repeats it, and they merge into a split screen to finish the sentence, “…will you do what needs to be done?” Will merges into one Will with two expressions to answer, “Oh yes.” to them both. I think he’s sad talking to Hannibal and mad talking to Jack and I think that is much of what we need to know. He is Hannibal’s man at heart but his conscience won’t allow it, Jack can’t see it and Hannibal hasn’t even considered otherwise. Fucked, I tell you, so fucked.
Will walks towards his house in the darkness to find Garrett Jacob Hobbs on the porch hushing his dogs. They go to the railing together and the house is actually a deer blind, with Will aiming a rifle into the surrounding Woods. GJH says, “See?” because that is his jam and Will takes a shot, hitting the Ravenstag. Oh honey, I cannot bear knowing what fate has in store for you all because you don’t know how to point that gun anywhere but at yourself.
Someone with hella insight is a very sick Bella, who is hazily looking at her visitor, Hannibal. She tells him, “Forgiveness is a profound conscious and unconscious state of affairs, you can’t choose to do it…it happens to you.” She is still mad at Hannibal for not letting her commit suicide and he has the decency to look remorseful having seen the condition she is now in. She doesn’t want to hurt Jack by trying again and Hannibal, lovesick cannibae, says, “Love and death and the hinges on which all human sympathies turn.” She asks him to save Jack, I assume from grief and the pressures of his work, after she dies. Hannibal cannot bring himself to answer in as far as we see.
Will, the most emo, is visiting Freddie Lounds who is gloating about her upcoming “resurrection” and “survival story” Will warns her not to count her chickens and she is like ‘Will, bro, why so serious?’ He goes full melodrama like a man settling his affairs, and asks her not to write about Abigail. He is truly sincere and Freddie says, a sharp as ever, “You really don’t know if you’re going to survive him do you?” He implores her to let Abi rest in peace and his love for her outweighs his sense of self-preservation at this point. It horribly occurs to me that we have heard her name more and more in the last few episodes. I. Wonder. What. Fresh. Hell. That. Could. Mean. *eye twitches*
Probably later that day all things considered, Hannibal tosses a flurry of books and pages down to Will from his mezzanine, like indie-movie love story debris. A clock flies Harry Potter style at the camera and Will catches the notes in question. Notes on him. They both smile faintly at this ‘moment’ and he skims a bit before starting to burn it. I want to cry and yell and shake them all at once. Hannibal explains he’s sparing everyone the scrutiny of the FBI reading the notes, that he is dismantling and reassembling himself. Will wishes he could do the same, the temptation is STRONG, and they burn stuff together for a bit. Careful of those fingers, guys.
Hannibal says, “When we have gone from this life…I will always have this place.” We. He says “we” and the plan to run off together is clearly a thing they have discussed. He is also going to think fondly of this place where his feelings for Will were forged. Will is familiar with his memory palace and Hannibal describes the “foyer” – the Norman chapel in Palermo, picturing the skeleton floor mosaic in the dancing flames. Did he know this was a message for Will if they ever got separated or was he just sharing with his murder puppy? I can’t think about it too much or I’ll freak out.
Will has no palace, he has the river, the one from during his trial I expect. Hannibal just adores this thing they have in common as Will says, “Put my head back, close my eyes, wade into the quiet of the stream.” and then explains he would live in his palace if he was ever in jail. Foreshadowing alert, all manner of painful foreshadowing at 12 o’clock. Will, desperate for his heart not to hurt as I think it does, asks if he could be happy like that. Hannibal essentially says no and Will looks like the fence post is deepening. He does not want to do this, he just thinks he has to.
Will leans across the desk and Hannibal sniffs him. He can smell a very much alive Freddie Lounds. His Will is not his. He did not kill her and it’s all lies. I swear you can see his heart shattering but he just gazes sadly at Will’s back while Will gazes sadly into the fire. Poor, misunderstood, stubborn soulmates… The ticking gets maddeningly louder.
Alana is Not Ok™ describing to Will he dreams of drowning in darkness, as we get a visual of her being drowned in her sleep by an inky black substance. She says she feels poisoned and Will says they’ve all been. She is feeling bad that nobody believed him about Hannibal but he doesn’t want to make it a big thing. He brushes off the whole issue but she confronts him about her – entirely correct – theory. That he and Jack are trying to trap Hannibal and Will doesn’t confirm or deny. Alana asks how he can be sure Hannibal isn’t tricking him and Will’s mouth trembles in admitting that he can’t. Perhaps that’s part of Will’s reticence, not being sure that Hannibal is sincere. Sad part being that he actually is. Only Will is deceiving right now and it won’t end well. A tear rolls down Alana’s cheek and we see it hit the table as blood. Too apt.
Pan along Hannibal’s dining table past a rib cage centrepiece that I hope is lamb to Will and Hannibal, accompanied by manic violins. I wrote something about this scene once that means I have now seen it…seventeen times. It is so good and yet it makes me feel so bad. They discuss imagos – the transformation kind and the psychoanalysis kind – i.e. an ideal image of a loved one you carry with you. Hannibal notes they have a concept of each other and Will adds neither of them are ideal. Hannibal wonders aloud if it’s ideal that Jack die and Will, confused by this shift, deems it “preordained” and thus needed. He hopes for a change of tack, but not this one…
Hannibal makes him an offer out of the blue, “We could disappear now, tonight. Feed your dogs, leave a note for Alana, and never see her or Jack Crawford again. Almost polite.” and Will’s face is just ‘wtf?’ He tries to imagine what that would even look like and calls it a last supper. “Of this life.” Hannibal points out and my face just crumples at his longing. He says he doesn’t need them to kill Jack. All he wants is you, Will, just be honest! Will says he needs Jack to know and begins to say “If I confessed to Jack…” but Hannibal cuts in to say “I would forgive you. If he told you all is forgiven, would you accept his forgiveness?” Will almost understands that Hannibal is talking about himself, and I think on some level he truly does get it, but he can’t do it, no matter how much his heart might want otherwise.
He sticks to his guns, insisting almost to himself that forgiveness isn’t being offered, that he needs Jack to see them both, that he wants justice, the truth. He is of course talking about himself now too. Forgiveness just hasn’t ‘happened to’ Will yet. Hannibal gives up with a tearful, “To the truth, then, and all it’s consequences.”
I have often likened this whole mess to Hannibal and Will as a an actual couple. Hannibal knows Will is ‘cheating’ on him but is silently wishing, praying for him to confess. He doesn’t want to confront him, he wants Will to admit it himself because then it means he cares more for Hannibal than his ‘other man’ (Jack). Then it means Will has climbed his wall, forgiven him and can be trusted. In return, Hannibal could forgive the indiscretion but he cannot forgive the lie, the Will who is not his man in the room. Hate the sin, love the sinner and all that. Will however, keeps his sin to himself for another night, and it’s killing Hannibal inside.
Speaking of hidden truths, Kade Purnell strides down the FBI corridor on a mission, blazing in red with her righteous anger to accuse Jack of entrapment. Jack is all ‘Hannibal was going to kill anyway’ and she’s all ‘still entrapment and y’all crazy’, reminding him that the only person they could try for murder at this point is Will. Jack counters that this is the close they have and maybe will ever get to catching Hannibal but she thinks he’s just losing the plot because of his wife. She is putting him on forced compassionate leave and he hands over his badge and gun with a churlish look before going home to sit by a sleeping Bella, weighing his options.
Kade has gone to Alana next and says they’ll get Hannibal by the book, expecting her to share her disgust, but Alana is of the opinion that even though their plan was batshit, it’s still the best they have. Kade can’t even and shows her pictures of what Will did to Randall Tier’s body. She notes that it was something Jack “sanctioned and hid” to make her point. Alana hates it but says she is clinging to the hope that Will was just maintaining his cover. Kade is like ‘girl, stop they’re getting charged’ and Alana assures her that won’t stop them. She is 100% right because Jack is kissing Bella, probably goodbye, and going back out…
Will is at home and Alana calls him. Despite her pure morals, she has to help them get Lecter if they can, and she tells Will that they’re coming to arrest him and Jack. Will sees them coming already, says goodbye, grabs his gun and coat, and runs out the back to the woods. From there he calls Hannibal, who is blithely preparing the dinner they planned for Jack, and misses only a beat before warning him. “They know.” He says, in a perfect echo of Hannibal’s words to GJH in episode 1×01. The ticking intensifies EVEN more and I realise my heart is in my mouth, sanity slipping, knowing what is to come.
Our own viewer’s teacup gathers itself into the first shot of Season 2, only now with dialogue and fishing lure sounds. Hannibal says Jack is early and Jack politely declines to “sous-chef”. Eeek. Hannibal says something about how the best part of friendship is seeing each other clearly; Jack is all ‘things are so clear rn’; they draw at the same time; the knife goes into Jack’s hand and the battle begins. It is so brutal and scary and just…jarring, even with the preview we had. Glass and blood and rage flies everywhere and Alana, unable to not come, approaches the house. She hears the fight, calls it in and raises her gun. Oh god.
Meanwhile Jack gets stabbed in the neck and recoils back into the pantry, with Hannibal throwing his entire being at the door when Alana walks in. She is horrified, more so by his menacing whisper when he tells her Jack is in there. She holds her nerve a little more than he expected and his face is all ‘holy fuck, ok’. He offers her the chance to walk away and we know he honours that shit, but Alana also wants truth’n’justice and pulls the trigger. Again and again but he’s taken her bullets and she RUNS. He actually looks regretful about having to give chase.
She shuts herself in a bedroom, reloads and shoots throw the door, hitting nothing. Suddenly her (and our) focus is pulled to a figure in the shadows. It can’t be Hannibal…it’s looking Abigail in her jacket ready to leave with her new murder dads. I cannot in all honesty tell you if I had predicted she was alive the first time I watched; but rewatches only bring the same gut punch I get from her reappearance every goddamn time. Nobody can predict her helpless apology followed by her swift shoving of Alana out of the window. She falls, open mouthed, in a stunning David Slade, slow-motion shower of glass, rain and darkness that engulfs the screen.
And then. And then. As another recapper I have mentioned before – @wellntruly – rightly says, the slow, eerie version of the Aria just floors you on rewatch more than the first time. It’s because of what that music – known as the ‘bloodfest’ Aria – scores in this next scene. Although on first watch I was just agog, every subsequent time this is where the tears start and don’t stop for me. I’ll see you on the other side
The notes tinkle like the rain on a fallen but just alive Alana, as Will arrives in a cab and sees her. He goes to her and she tries to speak, he calls for medics and covers her with his coat before she urges him to go in, to help Jack. Of course he does and she watches the rain fall as blood as she clings to life. Jack is on the floor of the pantry, bleeding heavily and trying to call Bella. A wet and shaky Will sees the blood flow under the door, comes right into the kitchen, and sees Abigail. Oh dear God. She is crumpled in tears and Will is so furious-devastated as he asks where Hannibal is. He’s behind you.
Will manages to say he was supposed to leave and Hannibal responds, “We couldn’t leave without you.” Will is a wreck and he knows it as Hannibal pets his face, and for a moment I still wish for the kiss that hangs in the air. Hannibal drags his linoleum knife across Will’s belly and holds him close. He explains about his teacup coming together and Will inexplicably says he doesn’t understand that. I mean, come on – he ‘reversed time’ and ‘brought Abigail back’ but after it didn’t work, I guess he just wanted to hurt Will as much as the betrayal hurt him. There follows some absolutely agonising gold star dialogue as Will cowers on the floor clutching his wound.
H: I let you know me, see me. I gave you a rare gift but you didn’t want it.
W: Didn’t I?
H: You would deny me my life.
W: No, not your life.
H: My freedom then…did you think you could change me the way I changed you?
W: I already did.
I have no words – those say it all. Hannibal’s tear-streaked face when he realises Will is right would crush you. He laments the turn of events undoing his plans, “Fate and circumstance have returned us to this moment, when the teacup shatters.” Of course, in the spirit of leaving everything behind in the wake of the rejection, he calls a terrified Abigail to him. Will’s pitiful begging goes unheard and Hannibal holds her like her dad did. He slashes her throat right across her old wound and the blood sprays right over Will before he drop her like trash. Horrific ‘punishment’ for Will’s wishy washy ‘choice’. NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS IN KITCHENS.
Hannibal uses Will’s safe space against him, leaning over him and repeating his own words back to him about wading into the quiet of the stream before leaving. If you’re not crying yet (yeah right) that will do it. Will probably would have given in too, just let death take him, but soft puppy that he is he uses his last strength to try and put pressure on Abigail’s neck. Hannibal steps out into the rain and rubs the blood off his face. There isn’t enough holy water in the world to cleanse your soul, you monster! We scan back through his victims – Will and Abigail lie together on a floor covered in blood – so much I can’t believe it’s network TV – but he cannot hold her anymore; Jack’s phone finally connects to Bella as he gasps; Alana is doubly floored by the sight of Hannibal escaping after all that.
There is a fandom theory that he lifts Will’s coat from her and put it on, and I wanted it to be true, but it’s not. She is still covered when he walks past her and away so it must be his own. Will’s last vision is of the Ravenstag – his HanniHorcrux – dying in the corner before all is black.
Over the credits we get a clear sky and the normal speed Aria. The storm is over and Hannibal is alone again. Or is he? A plane crosses our vision and a stewardess offers drinks to passengers in French. Hannibal accepts champagne, also in French, and beside him BEDELIA politely refuses. WHAT THE WHOLE HELL? I mean we know now but at the time, oh lord I was aghast. Hannibal smiles at her and she tries her best to return the gesture. He takes a pensive sip and gazes off, thinking of the lost family that should be with him now, their fate unknown to us all.
So ends a fabulous (the best?) season with a veritable ocean of pain and tortuous loose ends. Bryan Fuller knew that we could not handle diving right back into horrendous revelations of who lived and who sadly did not. Or maybe he just wanted to be the tease he is. Either way, episode 3×01 is actually a dark comedy interlude and we shall soothe ourselves with that…soon.