This week on Hannibal, our titular psychopath forfeits his control for the first time in a long time (or dare I say ever), and Will (Hugh Dancy) undergoes a significant transformation.
Let’s bitch it out…
I’m taking over this week as cinephilactic, your regular reviewer, takes some R&R. And what an episode to sub in on! Who wouldn’t want to see one of our main characters dissected and displayed in such a glorious, macabre fashion? Poor Beverly (Hetienne Park). We knew her chances would be slim to none in last week’s cliffhanger. We’ll miss her, but at least she was immortalized in one of the show’s most dazzlingly gruesome killings. I’ve got to hand it to Hannibal, never has a show delivered a plethora of vomit-inducing scenarios in such a visually stunning way.
The fact that Bev emerged as a character to care about in the last few episodes made the stakes higher and the emotional weight exhibited by Jack (Laurence Fishburne), Brian (Aaron Abrams), and Jimmy (Scott Thompson) evoked a sadness that I had yet to feel from the murders that came before. Heck even the insufferable Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) managed to illicit some genuine sympathy.
But Beverley’s death has the most impact when it comes to Will. This episode marks the point where Will’s thirst for vengeance pushes him beyond the point of no return. His motivation is no longer simply implicating Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) as the Chesapeake Ripper & Copycat and thus reclaiming his innocence, but to avenge the murder of Bev, plain and simple. To hell with the consequences – Hannibal must die. The episode does an exquisite job of reinforcing Will’s methodical transformation into a murderer. ‘Mukozuke’ establishes Will as more than just Hannibal’s innocent victim.
Once he’s visited the observatory where Beverly is displayed, Will reaches out to Freddie in order to smoke out the true killer of the bailiff from 2×03. We’re reminded via Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) that Will despises Freddie, but selling his soul (i.e. the exclusive rights to his story) to Freddie is just the tip of the iceberg.
Dr. Abel Gideon’s (the always wonderful, Eddie Izzard) presence does well to support Will’s descent. His scenes inform the audience of Will’s evolution. The banter he shares with Will while both are enclosed in cages is intriguing – there’s a sense that Gideon is slowly leading Will to embrace the dark urges Will has worked so hard to resist. Furthermore, the interrogation scene Gideon shares with Alana is equally powerful – their conversation framed high-angled shots, quickly cut as if to evoke two sides of Will’s conscience. Gideon’s snickered prediction that Will is not yet the Chesapeake Ripper is the most telling of all.
Orderly Matthew Brown (Jonathan Tucker) emerges as the bailiff’s killer (a plot point spoiled by last week’s preview) only to be commissioned by Will to kill Hannibal on his behalf. We’re then privy to stag horns clawing out from Will’s back during one of his hallucinations as proxy Brown captures Hannibal at the local swimming pool. Perhaps it’s a bit obvious to denote Will’s full transformation, but I’m inclined to think it’s necessary in terms of pushing the narrative forward. The stag horns, thus far have been used to represent Hannibal’s true urges, are now a part of Will. Visually marrying the two characters establishes fertile ground between them going forward.
Although we want to see Hannibal pay for his crimes (which almost happens as Brown symbolically crucifies him), it’s not as black and white as we would hope. Will’s part in Hannibal’s attempted murder complicates events going forward. It’s no longer about Will besting Hannibal in order to prove his innocence but showing us how Will’s psyche is irrevocably damaged due to Hannibal’s entrapment. It’s important that we see Will exhibiting the consequences of that damage and will inevitably make for interesting television for the remainder of the season.
- I’m a bit bummed that Brown was killed off so immediately. It would have been interesting to see what Hannibal might have done with him after he recovers.
- The religious symbolism is rampant throughout this episode, from allusions to water turning into blood and, most blatantly, with Hannibal’s attempted murder tableaux. It’s almost too much work to wade through each and every one. Perhaps cinephilactic is better suited to address them in comparison to the series as a whole, when he returns next week.
- I was yet again divided during the ‘Cooking with Hannibal’ sequence. That mincemeat pie was equally repulsive and appetizing. I continue to be in awe of the visual prowess exhibited by this show again and again.
What did you think viewers? Are you upset that Beverly is gone? (Side note: Actress Hetienne Park wrote a lengthy blog post defending the show’s decision to kill her character). How do you think Hannibal and Will’s relationship will develop now that Hannibal knows what Will’s capable of? Who will be Will’s ally now that Bev is gone? Will Jack be able to trust Will after this stunt? Any continuing theories on what Bev saw in Hannibal’s cellar of doom? Will we ever get to see what she found so shocking in her last moments? Sound off in the comments below.
Hannibal airs Fridays at 10pm EST on NBC.