FINALLY. All is right on my television.
This, Hannibal Season 3 Episode 7, is the one of Hannibal I've been waiting to see all season. It was packed, kept me on the edge of my seat, every minute was incredible, and Mads Mikkelsen was positively captivating.
That ending, though, elevated it above my already high regard. Hannibal Lecter gave himself up to the police so that Will Graham would always know where he was.
Will finally returned to being the Will Graham I have missed so terribly. He had finally gotten Hannibal out of his system, realized that he was no good for him. He said goodbye to Hannibal, cut him out of his life, said that he had no desire to ever know where Hannibal would be.
People, Will missed his dogs!!
It was the best break-up ever. Hannibal had to ruin it.
Hannibal: You caught the Chesapeake Ripper.
Jack: We didn't catch you, you surrendered.
Hannibal: I wanted you to know exactly where I am, and where you can always find me.
I can't decide if that was sweet or maniacal. I am honestly not sure if Hannibal just has too much fun in torturing Will with his presence, or if he really just did not want to be apart from Will. Maybe it's a combination of both. All I know is that Will and Hannibal's facial expressions were both priceless.
Let's talk about Hannibal Lecter some more. Here was Mason Verger with an exquisite – and thus far successful – plan to capture, torture and consume Hannibal Lecter. Mason's plan also involved stealing Will Graham's face. However, what was Hannibal's reaction to all this? Glee.
Hannibal looked like he was having so much fun at the hand of Mason Verger. Nothing fazed him, nothing scared him, nothing threw him off kilter. He practically grinned his way all through Mason's never-ending monologues.
Mads Mikkelsen was so fantastic in every scene, from the amused look on his face with Mason, to the intensity of the veiled threat he made to Alana, to the unexpected compassion (or whatever that was) with Margot. Even his farewell to Will was poignant, as he received Will's dismissal with no response. Mads' performance made the contrast between Hannibal and Mason even more profound.
Both Hannibal and Mason are monsters. Objectively, Hannibal is arguably a worse human being than Mason. Mason's done some horrible things to his sister, but Hannibal's done just as bad to Will. Not to mention he kills and eats people. However, Hannibal's playful, classy stoicism was a stark contrast with Mason's piggish lunatic sadism.
Even though Mason's revenge against Hannibal was more than warranted (he made Mason eat his own face, for crying out loud), we were made to feel every sympathy for Hannibal and complete distaste for Mason. We're also led to think this way through the actions of Alana and Margot, who swiftly decided that Hannibal was the lesser of two evils.
Was he really, though? Was a man who killed countless people over decades really the better option over a revenge-driven lunatic? What makes Mason's plans to torture Hannibal less acceptable than Hannibal's plans to saw Will's head open? Was Margot's inevitable oppression a worse fate than the number of people that would inevitably die at the hands of Hannibal Lecter? What exactly makes Hannibal better than Mason?
This episode raises some fascinating ethical questions, and those are not questions that I have answers to (nor am I asking for those answers). They are fun to consider though, and I think that they are questions that the writers have sneakily and intelligently put before us.
That said, Mason needed to go down. That stunt he pulled with Margot was reprehensible. I knew when he first brought up the surrogate that there was a catch, but a pig surrogate?! Are you kidding me?
There are not many scenes in Hannibal that make me squirm or scream. However, when that eel swam into Mason Verger's mouth-hole, I was absolutely horrified and did both of those things. That scene is right up there with the corpse-wendigo. Mason Verger died as disgustingly as he lived.
Mason: You're dead.
Alana: No Mason. We all are. Didn't you know that?
I don't know how I feel about Alana having a hand (literally) in Mason's death. I wanted to believe that she was still redeemable, that her metaphorical death was only temporary, was a phase. She didn't even seem to have her heart set on Hannibal's death, and mostly wanted to see him tortured.
However, she not only helped orchestrate Mason's death, she physically helped kill him. That's a line that not even Will crossed in his blurred connection with Hannibal Lecter. Can Alana be redeemed now? What lies ahead for her now that she's crossed that line?
Her conversation with Will earlier made me laugh. I was entertained by Will's unintentional hypocrisy. Here he was, filled with indignation at the fact that Alana orchestrated Hannibal's capture when she was supposed to be on the side of the law. This is the same Will Graham – FBI profiler and lecturer extraordinaire – who wanted to run away with Hannibal.
Things are looking good for Will now, though. Hannibal is in federal custody, and Will wants his dogs more than Hannibal. That's always a good sign.
- Chiyo's usefulness was quite fantastic this week. Turns out that she didn't want Hannibal caged after all. Anyone surprised? (Not me...)
- Will Graham biting Cordel's cheek off was probably one of my favorite scenes of the hour.
- Favorite visual: still not over the eel.
- And the cannibalism pun of the day goes to Alana Bloom:
Alana: Play with your food, Mason, and you give it the opportunity to bite back.
Mason: Oh I'm not playing, Dr Bloom.
Alana: Hannibal is. He's always playing.
This was easily, by a mile, my favorite episode of the season so far. Fantastic performances by the whole cast (especially Mads), swiftly moving plot, and a phenomenal resolution. What did you all think?
Remember you can always watch Hannibal online.