Hannibal

Hannibal Season 2 Review

SPOILER ALERT: This post includes spoilers from the second season of Hannibal (NBC). While it does not provide all the details of each episode, it does discuss the season in entirety and as such contains lots of elements, including some from the season finale episode. If you’re not yet caught up with it and you mind spoilers, please come back after you’ve finished the season and feel like reliving it through this post. The post also includes some details from IGN’s interview with executive producer and showrunner Bryan Fuller (which you should also read, I loved it).Hannibal Title CardMy, if that wasn’t one bloody season finale! And I’m starting with the finale because the season in fact started with a flash forward of the finale — a glimpse of a confrontation between Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen)and Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) in Hannibal’s home. A fighting sequence so thrilling you’re not sure which character you’re rooting for. That is, until we see Jack getting stabbed in the neck with a shard of glass, at which point I’d like to think we were all hoping he makes it alive. But all we get is a glimmer of hope as he runs into another room, while Hannibal is shown grabbing a knife and trying to bang the door open. At this point we go back to the present, twelve weeks before this supposed encounter, all we know is that the show is headed toward it and that we do not have all the details (what you don’t expect is how big that final scene actually is).

So we get a fancy dinner between Jack and Hannibal, where Jack tells Hannibal that Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) insists that Hannibal is to be blamed for all the crimes he may be convicted for, and Hannibal expresses his wish to be investigated by Jack in order to put those thoughts behind. Beverly Katz (Hettienne Park) inspects Hannibal’s attire and takes a saliva sample for that purpose, and Hannibal’s innocence is proved, as they cannot find any evidence pointing toward him, it all goes back to Will. Alan Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) believes Will to be innocent as well, but without proof he cannot be saved. Hannibal visits Will in the Baltimore State Hospital, despite Bedelia’s (Gillian Anderson) disapproval of the idea, where Will tells him he is fully correct about Hannibal and that once his mind is clear and he remembers everything he currently doesn’t, he will know the full truth. And while imprisoned there, Will does from time to time receive these flashbacks of the past, such as Hannibal shoving a tube down his throat and using it to place Abigail’s ear in his system without being chewed.

On the other hand, we still have ongoing cases. The first one in the season is with a muralist, someone who is making a palette of people with differently colored skin. Their first hint toward him is in fact given by Will, due to Beverly seeking his advice on the case. Hannibal manages to locate the man before the FBI, sews him in with the rest of the people in the mural, but not before cutting off one of his legs for some delicious recipe. When presented with a photo of the mural, Will tells Beverly that the one person does not fit the mural, he is in fact the muralist and was sewn in there by someone else who took the leg as a trophy. The following two murders are in fact done for Will, by a third party murderer. One is a bailiff impaled on a set of antlers, but it was sadly proved that it was not done by the same person who impaled Cassie Boyle so the trial continues. Until a janitor finds the judge strung up dead in the courtroom, which obviously postpones  the trial.

Bedelia bids her goodbye to Hannibal, saying she believes him to be dangerous and cannot continue her sessions with him, and decides to visit Will and whisper to him that she believes him [regarding Hannibal]. Beverly also visits Will, and through their conversation she starts believing Will about Hannibal and in order to find out the truth she decides to visit Hannibal’s house. Bella Crawford (Gina Torres), who has lung cancer, takes a lethal amount of morphine before her sessions with Hannibal, who after flipping a coin she gave him as gratitude for showing her that death is not defeat, decides to save her. Beverly uses the opportunity to break inside Hannibal’s home, but unfortunately is caught when Hannibal returns. Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) finds her vivisected and the parts pressed between glass panels like for a museum display.

Will is allowed to visit the crime scene as well, and realizes that she must have found the Chesapeake Ripper and the copycat killer who are the same person because those glass panels also held some organs from the muralist. Will being reassured that this was Hannibal, he sets on to stop him, one way or another. Conveniently for him, one of the orderly in the hospital reveals to him that he murdered the bailiff because he admired Will’s work, and Will asks him to kill Hannibal. What’s even more convenient is that Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard) overhears this, and tells Alana Bloom, giving her the chance to save him. Jack and Alana come rushing to the crime scene, on time to shoot the orderly who is cutting Hannibal’s wrists, but a minute too late to see Hannibal’s revelation (the orderly asks him if he’s the Chesapeake Ripper, saying he does not have to answer him, his pupils will dilate with certain mental efforts and we see Hannibal’s pupils dilate).

Jack pays an angry visit to Will because of the attempted murder, but Will manages to pinch his thoughts with the idea that if the Chesapeake Ripper is killing, that means Hannibal is planning a dinner party. And of course, he does. After hearing a tape from a conversation between Gideon and Will, Jack starts suspecting Hannibal as well. In fact, he comes to Hannibal’s party, mentions he has to leave quickly but would love to take some food for home, but instead takes the food for testing in FBI’s lab. No worries, the food is only food (just this once) so it proves nothing (but it was apparently very good because after the party Alana gets in bed with Hannibal). However, some evidence from a case leads Jack to an abandoned cabin where he finds Miriam Lass (Anna Chlumsky), obviously missing an arm. She’s asked to confirm the identity of the Chesapeake Ripper, and she confirms it is not Hannibal, but upon seeing and hearing Dr. Chilton (Raul Esparza) she becomes disorientated and shoots him, leaving us to think that Hannibal conditioned her to think Chilton is the Ripper. All of this helps Will, as both the murders and that “confirmation” free him of his charges,and he decides to continue his therapy with Hannibal, slowly appearing to be under Hannibal’s influence.

At this point we take a different turn, adding in Margot Verger (Katharine Isabelle) as a patient of Hannibal’s, who has been abused with years by her brother, Mason Verger (Michael Pitt). The latter loves spending time with the pigs he has trained to eat human flesh, and in facts manages to catch Hannibal and hangs him there, though Will comes to his aid, after which he finds Mason in his house feeding Will’s dogs bits of his face (though he survives that and last we see him he is in the hospital telling Jack how he means to repay Dr. Lecter for his great therapy sessions). Margot, on the other hand, becomes somewhat close to Will using the “oh we’re both Hannibal’s patients” card, to the point where they have sex and she becomes pregnant. That was apparently her plan all along, as she needs a male heir in order to inherit the Verger business after she gets rid of her horrid brother. But Hannibal can’t have Will tied to the place when he envisions the two of them leaving together at some point, so he tips off Mason on it, eventually leading Margot to a car crash and waking up with the information that she’s now infertile.

Moving back to our favorite duo, we have Will appear further under Hannibal’s influence when we see him killing Freddie after she finds out human organs at his place. Technically though, we don’t see the murder taking place, we just see Freddie disappearing and her last call being panicky screaming which through her phone is tracked back to Will’s place. And that’s the beauty of it, you’re lead to believe he killed her, when in fact he’s been working with Jack to make it seem like he’s Hannibal’s partner so they can finally catch Hannibal. Jack shows the alive Freddie to Alana, so they’re all in the same boat. Unfortunately, the FBI isn’t — Jack is suspended because of everything, while there is a warrant for the arrest of Will. Alana warns Will, who in turn warns Hannibal that “they know.” Prior to this we see Hannibal and Will discussing their leave together, at which point Hannibal notes the smell of Freddie on Will and is likely when he realizes that Will has been working against him all this time.

And, 1500 words later I reach the finale again and that confrontation scene we mentioned at that start. Do you see now how different the scenario actually becomes? Jack visits Hannibal, we get to the point we mentioned (Jack’s neck is stabbed, he runs to hide in another room) and we have Alana coming in Jack’s rescue, with a gun. Unfortunately, Hannibal has previously taken out all the bullets, so she ends up running on the second floor to hide in a room, where we have the shocking reappearance of Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl) who pushes her out of the window. Alas, Will arrives, and seeing Alana he phones for help. Inside the house, in the kitcher, he says “You were meant to leave.” to Hannibal, in such a way it makes me think he was secretly hoping he’d leave and none of this would have happened. Hannibal responds that he and Abigail could not leave without Will, and swiftly guts him with a knife after which he cuts Abigail’s throat just before Will closes his eyes. We see Hannibal leaving the house, and thus ends the so-called Red Dinner (a fan-made name as a nod to the “Red Wedding” in A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones where many characters died).

But, if you watched till the credits then you missed out on a lot! By pulling a Marvel move we were shown Hannibal on a plain, with a french-speaking stewardess and Bedelia sitting to him with a lovely smile on her face. What the heck, right?! Bryan Fuller says we can imagine they had a conversation off-screen which is why Bedelia decided to go with him. My own personal opinion is that Bedelia realized just how dangerous Hannibal is, and that the protection the FBI promised her would likely not suffice. She’d be better off pretending to be on his side than to openly be against him. We’ll also be getting a lot more of her next season, and apparently the first episode will focus solely on Hannibal and Bedelia, so we won’t get to find out who survived this lovely dinner this the second episode. What Fuller mentions is that we can expect not everyone will make it out alive.

Personally, I think Abigail, having her throat sliced open, will definitely not make it. I’m having trouble decide if anyone else will bite the dust — Jack would be too important now (I see him leading a hunt after Hannibal), Will as always is such a fascinating character that I don’t think they can let go of him yet (he’ll likely be helping Jack), and with Alana I just don’t think her injury was fatal. I’m practically torn here. But I do believe this was one crazy good season and would probably give it a 9.5 out of 10 or something. I know the show is not for everyone, it’s quite complicated and very graphic with the deaths, but I truly believe not enough people appreciate how good Hannibal is (it’s sad to think it keeps getting “threatened” with cancellation after every season). If you got through the whole review, please do let me know your thoughts on that ending and which character you think (or at least hope) will make it out alive.

TV Finales & Endings

Okay okay, I promise I’ll move beyond the TV show posts, just have to get down these thoughts that have been haunting my mind lately.

Note — This post/article/rant/younameit contains spoilers for the following TV shows: The Walking Dead, Hannibal, How I Met Your Mother, Dexter, Lost, Parks and Recreation, Suits, and Breaking Bad. If you’re not caught with them and you do not want spoilers, please locate the shiny red ‘x’ button and fly away somewhere safe.

It is my opinion that a TV show’s strongest potential lies within the finale episodes. Assuming that the first few, or even just the premiere episode of a season captures your interest, you’re likely to stick with the season hoping what you saw at the beginning will get even better. Taking Hannibal as an example, the season 2 premiere starts with a showdown between Hannibal Lecter and Jack Crawford, it can’t get better than that! Of course you soon realize this is just a glimpse of the future, we move back to previous events right after that scene. But the point is, you’re shown what you can expect by the end of the season, and you’re practically hooked for the rest of it. Not that I needed any more reasons to watch Hannibal, but it definitely works in their advantage.

However, whether or not I’m satisfied with the season would depend on that actual finale that features said scene I’ve been waiting for all that time. You’re showing me the candy you have in store, and I’ll gladly pay the price, but if that candy ain’t no good, you might not see me back for more. Hannibal’s season 2 finale takes place tomorrow, on the 23rd, so I can’t comment yet on whether or not it will be as fantastic as we all hope it will be, though the whole season has been great. But, again, if the end goal is not good, it would lower the value of the whole walk to said goal. The Walking Dead‘s finales, for example, are simply mind-blowing, and are probably the main reason I still watch the show. I find quite a few of the episodes to be rather boring with no progress whatsoever (and no, they’re not character development episodes, they’re simply filler material since those specific episodes do not contribute to the story or the characters at all — I still strongly believe the show could have less but stronger episodes if they just cut off some of the watching-grass-grow elements), but they keep doing these finales that ensure I come back next year for another season.

The finale of finales, the ending episode of a show, has that same impact multiplied by 10. I can still feel the disappointed some great shows have left me with their ending whenever I think of them. A rather recent example would be How I Met Your Mother‘s final episode. You know, where in the first half we got everything that the show was working toward through all their seasons, and then in the second half we see it all crumble down and we get the complete opposite. I keep seeing “it was logical” in defense of the ending, which makes no sense really. HIMYM was never logical, no episode was fully logical, it is a comedy and it had only one goal — to show how Ted met the mom. Somewhere along the way, they realized they’re making big bucks so they decided to have a full season leading to Robin and Barney’s wedding, in addition to showing the kids’ mom and having the fans become closer with her. And all that was undone in several minutes when the mom dies, the kids show absolutely no emotion regarding that, and they push Ted to go to Robin who divorced Barney (who went back to his old slutty ways but got a girl pregnant and he “fell in love” with his daughter) because her work was too important to make any sacrifice.

I’m well aware that they had this ending filmed back when the show started. However, that is no excuse for going along with it. The show went longer than planned, had a lot more content that initially planned, obviously, so that “old ending” no longer fit there. Ted and Robin kept going back and forth that them being together in the end is absolutely the last thing I wanted to see.

A similar case, but on a smaller level, took place with Dexter‘s finale. After realizing that he cannot change who he is and that those around him would always be in danger, he has Hannah and Harrison leave the country while he disappears with his boat. That would have been an average ending, leaving up to our imagination on what actually happens afterward. But they decided to show him working as a lumberjack, apparently living with the consequences his actions left him. The issue with this? Well, if he managed to become a peaceful Buddha lumberjack, that means he can go back to Hannah and Harrison. If he still posed danger to those around him, then why wasn’t he shown doing the oh so lovely deaths he used to do? Shake my head in disbelief.

A complete opposite of the Lost ending, which added more questions than resolving the plethora of mysteries we already had going. Yet I cannot decide which one was worse. It’s not about closure, giving us something that says “well, this show is over”, but rather about finalizing the story you told, the story the fans have so faithfully followed for years. You owe the audience at least that, a proper ending. It doesn’t have to be anything Disney-like (heck, I’m all for the harsh, cruel endings), but something that will truly complete the tale.

I feel like Parks and Recreation just schooled every other show on that front with their season 6 finale. Yes, it wasn’t even the actual last episode of the show, but I can guarantee you if that was in fact the last episode, 99% of the fans would have been satisfied. Leslie met Michelle Obama, the Mouse Rats reunited for the Unity Concert which also featured a Lil Sebastian hologram, Tom finally has a good business going thanks to all his friends, Leslie accepted the National Parks job but managed to find a way to work in Pawnee thanks to Ron who was fixing the third floor throughout the season, and we fast-forward in time to actually see this. If that wasn’t enough, we see Leslie’s triplets, and a cameo from Jon Hamm (Mad Men) being fired by Leslie because he was apparently worse than Garry, Jerry, Larry, Terry. Seriously, the episode had everything (with the exception of Ann and Chris) that a fan would want from the actual ending, it was that good!

They might yet screw up the actual ending, but the writing is so brilliant I doubt that’s possible. Let’s move to something that’s already over though — Breaking Bad. It kept going better and better and I was rather worried that moving up the ladder all the time would lead to an inevitable downfall with the ending. Oh boy, was I wrong. And I’ve never been that glad to be wrong. The highlight, and likely the best episode on TV ever was definitely S5E14 – Ozymandias, but the two following afterward, Granite State and Felina, provided a rather bittersweet yet satisfying ending. I kept imagining possible scenarios for the end and I didn’t like any of them, so thank you Vince Gilligan for providing that unique one that felt just right. Heisenberg manages to pull a final mastermind act to save Jesse, while losing his own life. But obviously ensures that the money he worked so hard to obtain will eventually be given to his family. There’s a reason why everyone was, is, and likely will still be talking about Breaking Bad for a while.

Last, but not least, I’d like to give some credit to Suits. I feel like it’s this baby show that no many are aware of but it will eventually have its BOOM because they deserves it with the outstanding writing and acting. Its finales never disappoint, are full of twists and misleading plots, and they make the impossible quite possible — I don’t believe I can ever sit down and watch full seasons of any other lawyer show. Might be because it is not your typical courtroom lawyers, but still, season after season even when I think the show might start losing its juice and will likely end soon, they spin things around and bring enough freshness for me to crave at least a few more seasons. These lawyers have some tricks up their sleeves, and they know how to use them.

So, to sum up, if you’re going to do a finale for a season or for the end of a show, make it bloody count. Because it will have an impact on who continues to watch your show, and who praises or curses your show after it’s all done.