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Welcome, gourmands, to the final Hannibal review of 2014.

For such an important episode, my analysis of director David Slade’s “Mizumono” will actually be relatively brief (Message from Future James: No, it won’t). Not that there isn’t as much to say about it, but it’s a remarkably streamlined and straightforward episode with little in the way of subplots or other extraneous content. 

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Honestly, there’s not a whole lot to the second season finale: Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) have prepared a plan intended to ensnare Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and end the Chesapeake Ripper’s reign of terror. And it very well could have–had it gone the way they intended.

Hannibal believes Will is his boy, and he agrees with him when Will suggests that it is time to “come out” to Crawford, so to speak…..”chop him up and make G-man casserole” is actually closer to the mark.

The plan was simple: Hannibal would invite Crawford to dinner, Jack will gratefully accept and bring with him with him a team of sharpshooters as surreptitious, uninvited guests. Even if Crawford couldn’t take Hannibal alone, he’d have all manner of backup eager to put a high-caliber sniper rifle round right between the malevolent psychiatrist’s eyes.

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Unfortunately, Cade Prurnell (Cynthia Nixon)–the FBI’s foremost professional buzzkill–rears her severely coiffed head once again. Last we saw of her, she was doing her damnedest to get Will thrown down the nearest bottomless pit, hoping that the colossal mess of his murder trial would disappear into the blackness with him.

Anyhoo, turns out the FBI kinda looks down on an agent and a special investigator working a serial murder case alone, without saying a word to the Bureau or obtaining permission for any of the questionable, potentially litigious acts committed in the course of their dubious investigation. Killing Randall Tier and turning him into a sideshow exhibit didn’t help, either….sure, Graham claims the killing was in self-defense, but the mutilation and grafting of his body parts onto a cave bear’s skeleton is a tad harder to explain away.

However: Despite the protestations of Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas), who knows the score now–and is appropriately contrite and mortified–Prurnell not only ends the investigation and takes Crawford’s badge, she orders him and Graham arrested.

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Thus, Crawford is forced to attend his dinner date with Hannibal alone–leading to the cold opening season two started with (see below).

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Just as in the opening, the fight ends with Crawford getting a large shard of glass stuck in his neck–he locks himself in Hannibal’s pantry and tries not to bleed to death as Alana Bloom arrives. She’s armed, but somewhere along the line, Hannibal took all the bullets out of her gun. Hannibal gives her the option of walking away, but that wouldn’t have made for much of a finale, now would it?

After running upstairs, Alana comes face to face with Hannibal’s secret weapon: Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl)–alive and well. Apparently she’s been living with the doctor all this time, and she seems to have a sort of Manson Family-esque loyalty to him. Abigail shoves Dr. Bloom through a window, and she lands, badly injured, on Lecter’s doorstep.

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Now Will enters the fracas. Hannibal had already figured out that Graham had gone Judas on him when he smelled Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) on Will. Once he knew that Will hadn’t killed Freddie, the rest was pretty easy to put together. Hannibal repaid Will for his duplicity by opening up his lower abdomen with a linoleum knife–a Thomas Harris canon moment I’d been curious about when and how they would handle.

Which brings us to the REAL reason Lecter had kept Abigail alive all this time. She was to be a wonderful surprise and reward for Will if he’d proved loyal…OR, if Graham turned on his psychiatrist/mentor, Hannibal would punish Will by making him watch her die. Lecter slits Abigail’s throat with the same knife he used to gut Will.

So we are left with 4 mostly dead characters as Hannibal laves his Baltimore home–probably for the last time. A teaser after the credits doesn’t tell us jack about who lives or dies–it just shows the doctor sipping Champagne on a French airliner…right next to his former psychiatrist Dr. Bedelia DuMaurier (Gillian Anderson)–though whether she is accomplice or hostage is not entirely clear.

End Season.

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STRONG POINTS

There’s a wonderful feeling of going off to battle at the beginning of the episode. Will has a strangely amicable conversation with Freddie Lounds: He asks her not to write about Abigail, and to her credit, amoral, opportunistic Freddie shows us she’s not entirely heartless by understanding how important this request is.

Gina Torres returns as Jack’s cancer-stricken wife, Bella. She forgives Hannibal for “saving” her when she attempted to take her own life.

And yes, we get the payoff of seeing Alana Bloom properly chastised for her lack of faith in Will, AND her less than stellar choice of boyfriends.

The Hannibal/Will scenes are some of the best so far–Mads Mikkelsen especially stands out: When Will betrays him, part of you honestly feels sorry for Hannibal, whether you wish to admit it or not.

I swear, I didn’t know it was possible to look on someone with so much sincere love–at the exact same time as you are jamming a sharp implement into his intestines…..

But that is the magic of Mikkelsen’s Hannibal: He’s a monster with the soul of a man, which makes him both more sympathetic and more terrifying.

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WEAK POINTS

I don’t expect Alana Bloom to live to season three….and I think that’s probably best. After starting off as a strong and interesting character in season one, she slowly degenerated into a bit player who did little but accuse Will and screw Hannibal. They TRIED to give her some of her lost dignity in the finale–but it’s too little too late.

Otherwise this was quite a solid finale for a season full of ups, downs, twists, turns, and other narrative acrobatics. I’m looking forward to season three: FINALLY, the story can become what I was hoping for since the beginning–the hunt for Hannibal Lecter….and not in the secretive, clandestine manner of this past year….

Come 2015, it’s open season.

See you then–have a lovely summer, and keep the rudeness to a minimum 😉

 

 

 

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