In the second to last episode of the season, we focus heavily on the relationship between Will and Hannibal. We’re also treated to the return of Dr. Du Maurier, and what might be the final act in the story of Mason Verger. This episode was intense and dark, but I couldn’t help but be delighted by how funny it was. Maybe Hannibal’s done a number on my sense of humor.
Some fairly intense drug-fueled self-harm, plus the usual Hannibal trigger warnings, after the cut. Also, spoilers!
The episode opens with Will and Hannibal discussing just how similar they are to one another. Hannibal really wants to be twinsies with Will. He asks Will why Will told Mason about his plans to murder him, and Will responds in true Hannibal-esque fashion: “I was curious what would happen.” Hannibal digs it, and they start talking about what makes Mason Verger so worthy of murder. Hannibal muses that discourtesy is “unspeakably ugly”, and we all know how much Hannibal appreciates beauty in every aspect of his life. “Whenever feasible, one should always eat the rude,” he continues. I think I see a resurgence of memes in the future.
Later on, Will and Hannibal meet again in his study, and Hannibal tells Will that murdering Mason is a pleasure the two of them could share. It almost feels like romantic tension. Will points out that Hannibal is fostering codependency in their relationship. He tells Hannibal that he’s tried to sabotage pretty much every relationship Will has with anyone except himself (and Jack, but Hannibal likes Jack). This isn’t necessarily a condemnation, but comes off more as Will stating a fact.
We cut to a scene with Will and Jack arguing about the best way to reel in Hannibal. I’m glad they included this scene; I’d almost forgotten that Jack and Will were in cahoots with each other. Jack points out that Will has killed someone and put the body on display, and Will responds in a way that reminds me of a teenager getting caught breaking curfew. It’s clear that Jack isn’t going to prosecute Will for murder, but he certainly doesn’t like his tactics. Will reminds Jack that he’s a good fisherman, and Jack responds with, “I’m a good fisherman too.”
Will and Jack leave the room to go interview… Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier! It looks like Jack’s caught Hannibal’s elusive former psychiatrist, despite her apparent efforts to leave no trail. Dr. Du Maurier isn’t happy about it. She is all kinds of nervous and dressed in a very red, “blood on my hands” blouse. It turns out she’s been tracked down and compelled to give evidence against Hannibal. They offer her all kinds of immunity in order to get her to spill the beans. I had hoped that we’d finally get some satisfying backstory about what really happened between her, Hannibal, and the mysterious dead patient, with a creepy flashback. Sadly, we aren’t treated to anything of the sort. Bedelia tells us how manipulative and persuasive Hannibal is, notes that the patient who attacked her swallowed his “unattached” tongue, and we find out that she was the one who killed the patient. In an earlier scene we catch up with Margot Verger, who has lost nearly all agency and wants nothing to do with killing Mason. Finding out Bedelia killed the patient would have given us a little female agency to balance out Margot’s passivity, but the moment is shrugged off and I’m left unsatisfied. I’m getting a distinct “men need to protect and save the women” vibe.
Meanwhile, Mason’s cronies ambush Hannibal in his study and kidnap him, but not before Hannibal takes out one of them with a tiny scalpel. We cut to Hannibal, in a strait-jacket, ready to be fed to Mason’s pigs. Hannibal’s clearly in mortal danger, but he looks mostly a little annoyed and amused. Mason allows Will the honor of slicing Hannibal’s throat, but Will cuts Hannibal’s binds instead. Will is knocked out in the scuffle, and wakes up to find swaths of blood and no people. Hannibal’s brought Mason to his study, and given him some hallucinatory drugs. “Show me how Papa would check the depth of a pig’s fat,” he tells Mason, “No, on yourself.” Uh oh.
Will comes home to find Mason sitting in his living room, feeding his dogs bits of meat… from Mason’s own face. Will’s obviously concerned (for his dogs, of course), and Hannibal steps out of the shadows to reassure him that Mason’s only broadening the dogs’ palettes. Yeah, okay. Mason tells Hannibal that he’s hungry, and Hannibal helpfully suggests that he eat his own nose. Mason does, and comments that he tastes like chicken gizzard. Hannibal looks like a kid with a new favorite toy. Will is less impressed, probably still annoyed that Mason ruined his dogs’ diet. Hannibal seems to want to share his new Mason-toy with Will, but Will tells him that Mason is Hannibal’s patient. Hannibal walks over and snaps Mason’s neck. He checks Mason’s pulse, and nods.
It turns out that Hannibal only paralyzed Mason, not killed him. The man really knows what he’s doing. Coming away from this episode, the first thing I noticed was Hannibal’s lack of plastic murder suit. The man is getting comfortable in Will’s domain, and a little sloppy. He’s really become vulnerable for Will. This tells me a lot about how Hannibal perceives their relationship. The two have become close, similar to brothers or lovers, and Will’s exploiting that closeness in order to manipulate Hannibal. In the final scene Will suggests to him that he reveal himself as the Chesapeake Ripper to Jack, to come clean to his friend.
But is Will really out to get Hannibal to turn himself in to Jack? In the preview for next week, we see Will hallucinate a Hannibal-Jack hybrid man asking him if he will do what needs to be done, to which Will replies, “Oh yes.” With so much pleasure in Will’s voice, it’s hard for me to predict what Will’s going to do. I think the question is less about whether Will is Jack or Hannibal’s man, and more about whether Will is his own man or has truly become another version of Hannibal. Is he going to let Jack and the justice system play out, or does Will still need to kill Hannibal himself? We know he’s certainly capable of murder, and with Hannibal’s murder Will’s transformation would be complete. Will can only break free of Hannibal’s influence if he resists the urge to kill him for his own gratification. After all, that’s what Hannibal does—kill people for his own, gratifying experiences of pleasure, whether that pleasure comes in the form of retribution or a delicious meal. Most of the time, it’s both.
Eat the rude: One “free range” rude
Eat the people: Dogs get to eat the people
Eat the food: Strange, fish-based jello mold. Nope, not touching that, I don’t care how many metaphors are in it.