Everyone’s playing mind games in the latest episode of Hannibal as the house of cards surrounding Will (Hugh Dancy), Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) and Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl) comes crashing down. So who ends up under the wreckage?
Let’s bitch it out…
It’s easy to imagine why NBC greenlit Hannibal in the first place: along with the brand recognition that accompanies the character of Hannibal Lecter and the success of crime-procedurals, there’s a dynamic cat and mouse relationship between the series’ main characters that makes for captivating television. The back and forth has been front and center throughout most of the first season as Will and Hannibal try to figure each other. There’s clear intent (beyond the succession plan demanded by Robert Harris’ source material, Red Dragon) that Will will eventually discover Hannibal’s true nature and the two will come to blows. What we haven’t known before these last few episodes was the timeline that creator Bryan Fuller has been using for structure: should we expect to see the truth come out before season’s end or would Hannibal remain Will’s confidant going into the second season?
I, perhaps naively, thought that it would be the latter option. After all, Mikkelsen’s work as Lecter has been so successful in part because he’s had the freedom to do more than pace and purr behind bars. When he’s captured and jailed, it is inevitable that viewers will draw comparisons to Anthony Hopkins’ Oscar winning performance (the introduction of Eddie Izzard’s Gideon in 1×06 ‘Entrée’ felt like an attempt to get that over with).
So I figured that Hannibal would remain at large as long as possible. In hindsight, this seems unlikely, especially given the show’s lacklustre ratings. Whether Fuller and his writers saw the writing on the wall early on and prepared for a single season or anticipated that they would need to end the season with the revelation out in the open, it now seems clear that Hannibal will be exposed as a serial killer in next week’s finale.
The person labeled a serial killer for the time being, however, is Will. This possibility of this plotline has been brewing for a few weeks, particularly when Will began losing significant chunks of time. The suspicion isn’t entirely coincidental, though; indeed it’s courtesy of some very calculated word play by Hannibal and Jack Crawford’s (Laurence Fishburne) gullible nature. Perhaps it’s unfair to Jack to insinuate he should be wiser than this, especially considering he’s also acting on a trail of evidence the lab squints uncover in their investigation of Garret Jacob Hobbs (an unseen Vladimir Cubrt) and the copycat killer. Still, he seems far more open to suggestion from Lecter than usual.
Naturally any investigation into Hobbs also uncovers the truth about Abigail and her role as the “lure” in her father’s kills. This has been another long gestating development – if you consider when we learned about Abigail’s potential homicidal impulses, you have to look back to 1×03 ‘Potage’. Still, it’s terrible how quickly her world unravels as she goes from planning her book at the start of the episode to being wanted to murder by its end (Side Note: It’s surprising that it’s taken Jack this long to discover Abigail’s involvement considering his suspicion of her earlier this season. It’s not as though discovering the second set of tickets would have taken much investigating).
Everything comes to a head when Will and Abigail jet off to revisit the Hobbs cabin, but not before Will spills the beans to Lecter. Armed with Will’s whereabouts, all Hannibal needs to do is feed Jack exactly what he needs to hear about Will’s dissociative personality and blackouts. Then, with Jack focused on Will, Lecter is free to meet Abigail and presumably kill her (Side Note #2: How does Lecter arrive in Minnesota so quickly?)
It’s a fitting (albeit sad) end to the Abigail storyline and ends ‘Relevés’ on an ambiguous, cliffhanger-y note that will segue well into next week’s finale. And so the battle lines between Will and Hannibal are drawn, but only if Will can clear his name with Jack…
- ‘Relevés’ is a showcase of supporting characters who come out to play before the final episode. In addition to the always welcome Rohl (whose character I will be quite sad to see go if she is, in fact, dead) we get the return of “cool as a cucumber” Gillian Anderson as Hannibal’s shrink, Bedlia Du Maurier. I’ll freely admit that I am obsessed with Anderson right now (drop everything and watch The Fall on Netflix) and her performance on Hannibal has been incredible. I’m especially fond of her verbal wit, on display here in circular and repetitive statements to both Jack and Hannibal. Isn’t it strange that Rohl and Anderson have more intriguing, complicated characters to play than the series’ two female regulars?
- As suspected we get confirmation that Hannibal saved Du Maurier’s life when her patient attacked her. I’m still intrigued by what exactly occurred, though I doubt the topic will be raised again
- Poor Ellen Muth. The Dead Like Me actress is a Fuller regular, but her role here proves short-lived as Georgia goes up like a pack of matches in her oxygen recovery. I honestly didn’t expect her to be killed because I figured Hannibal understood that she couldn’t identify him at Dr. Sutcliffe’s murder. Guess he didn’t want to chance it. Regarding the visual component of her death: the slow-motion explosion is gorgeous (if such a macabre thing can be described as such) and exquisitely dream-like. No other show on TV has the panache to pull off these murders
- Can we agree that this is the best we’ve seen from Lara Jean Chorostecki as Freddie Lounds? Thus far she’s been the most disappointing addition to the cast; the character seems to be awkwardly insert into the fabric of the show or she disappears for multiple episodes at a time. We’ve long known Freddie has the ability to hold her own in conversation (exhibit A: her conversation with Jack in the hospital), but here she also demonstrates that she’s smarter than she acts by catching onto Abigail’s lies about the murder of Nicholas Boyle (an unseen Mark Rendall) in 1×03 ‘Potage’. As the show heads into its final episode of the season and plans for next season, I hope the writers spend some time to figure out how to use Freddie better
- Finally, Bev (Hetienne Park) is on jury duty. This is TV code for “we need to cut costs by giving someone the week off.” See also: Caroline Dhavernas
And so we’re at the precipice of the finale. Any guesses where this will go? Do you think that Du Maurier is aware of how disturbed Hannibal is? Are his actions a reflection of her advice to maintain boundaries or is he merely acting on self-preservation? Are you sad to see Abigail Hobbs go? Hit the comments below
Hannibal airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on NBC