Hannibal: “Mizumono” Review

hannibal-season-2-release-dateThe game is up. The wild ride of Season 2 of Hannibal came to a thrilling, chilling close last night. If I got to name this episode, I might have called it something like “Folies à deux” or maybe “It Takes Two to Tango!”, because it was largely constructed of a series of scenes that were duets between just two actors. I might also have named it “All My Hopes Were Irrevocably Washed Away in an Endless Sea of Blood”. But I didn’t get to name it, so it’s called “Mizumono” instead.

Standard Hannibal triggers apply; the first twenty minutes or so are pretty tame for Hannibal, but be ready for the second half. There will be blood. So much blood. Major spoilers after the jump.

Long time, no see! I almost missed ya. Only not at all.

Long time, no see! I almost missed ya. Only not at all.

The episode opens with Will playing double agent to both Jack and Hannibal, as both sides prepare for the Last Supper Showdown at the Hannibal Corral (pardon the mixed metaphor). Then back at home, Will is joined by an apparition of Garrett Jacob Hobbes, who earnestly enjoins him to “See”, and Will takes aim and fires at the Stag. We see Bella for the first time since “Takiawase”; her health is not doing well at all, but she and Hannibal share a brief moment of waxing philosophic. The next duo we see is Will and Freddie, and he implores her to not write about Abigail Hobbs, to let her and her memory rest in peace.

In which Freddie Lounds demonstrates Bryan Fuller's love of Asian print attire, more frequently seen in Pushing Daisies.

In which Freddie Lounds demonstrates Bryan Fuller’s love of Asian print attire, more frequently seen in Pushing Daisies.

The next pair is our supercouple, Hannibal and Will. Hannibal is presumably cleaning up shop in his office so he can get ready to leave town and escape the FBI, literally burning some of the evidence, and the two muse on just what might happen if Hannibal is apprehended. Hannibal’s superhuman sense of smell picks up traces of Freddie Lounds on Will, which seems to trouble him. (Why? He thinks Will killed and cooked Freddie, why wouldn’t Will have traces of her scent on him?)

Alana Bloom, somewhat unremarkably absent in last week’s episode, makes her appearance, and tells Will how lately she dreams of being covered, drowned in an inky darkness. She says it makes her feel poisoned, and Will replies that they’ve all been poisoned. The rest of the convo has their old “I-care-very-deeply-about-you-and-there-may-or-may-not-be-a-little-romantic-tension-also” feel of Season 1. Next, Hannibal and Will are having a dinner date, and Hannibal tells Will he’ll have to run after their plan to take down Jack. They then share a main course of manpain with a dry red wine and a side of (sacrificial) lamb.

Okay, so apparently her character's name is "Kade Prurnell". Neither one of those seems like a real name.

Okay, so apparently her character’s name is “Kade Prurnell”. Neither one of those seems like a real name.

Surprise, Cynthia Nixon FBI Lady reappears! I was just thinking, “Where has she gone?” Well, I still don’t know where, but she’s back now. She and Jack have more-or-less a duo scene—I don’t really count the two bouncer types in the background—in which she tells him his plan to catch Hannibal is basically attempting to entice Hannibal into committing murder and is therefore tantamount to entrapment. She warns him it will not be sustainable in a court of law. When she tells Jack that she will put him on “forced compassionate leave” (sounds real compassionate), he responds by handing over his gun and badge. Jack is switched out for Alana, who vouches for Jack’s plan, telling Cynthia Nixon that it’s the only way to catch Hannibal. Cynthia is less than pleased with her new scene partner’s argument, and says that she plans to bring Will and Jack into custody to place charges on them for entrapment of Hannibal as well as the murder of Randall Tier.

Alana, in a very rare moment of independent agency.

Alana, in a very rare moment of independent agency.

Alana calls to warn Will, and Jack kisses a sleeping Bella goodbye as he heads to his doom. The bloody fight scene between Jack and Hannibal in Hannibal’s kitchen that we saw as the first few minutes of the Season 2 opener now takes place. Alana picks a bad time to break-up the duo theme of the episode by showing up at Hannibal’s at this moment (though interestingly enough, Jack is out of frame behind a door, so it’s just her and Hannibal in the scene). She had the foresight to call the police, but then walks into the house and has Hannibal at gunpoint. He says she can go and remain “blind” and he’ll let her be, or she can stay and be “brave” and he will kill her. Unfortunately for Alana, Hannibal has at some earlier point emptied the bullets from her gun. She evades him and manages to find more bullets in his bedroom, but then—plot twist—Abigail Hobbs enters from the shadows and throws Alana out the window. Her fall is, nevertheless, done with exquisite, dark beauty that is quintessential Hannibal cinematography.

I will NOT show any more blood than this.

I will NOT show any more blood than this.

Will arrives, sees the dying Alana, calls an ambulance, and enters the house of death. He is treated to the shock of a very much alive Abigail, who says through tears that she just did what Hannibal told her. An even nastier surprise awaits him in the form of Hannibal creeping behind him. Will says that Hannibal was supposed to leave town, but Hannibal says “we couldn’t leave without you.” (Implying he, Will, and Abigail were supposed to be a happy little family? Aww, that’s precious. #AbbyHasTwoDaddies) Family bonding is cut short by Hannibal gutting Will with a nasty curved knife. Hannibal laments how things should have gone differently as Will bleeds out on the floor, before taking Abigail and slitting her throat. After so brutally attacking the girl he spent a whole season hiding, about five minutes after she reappeared on screen, Hannibal strolls off into the rainy night. Will tries in vain to stop Abigail’s bleeding, but she too bleeds out onto the floor, as Alana bleeds out by the front door, as Jack bleeds out in the pantry while calling Bella on his cell phone (ugh right in the feels). Before he loses consciousness, Will hallucinates a vision of the Stag, bleeding out on the floor along with them.

Credits start to roll over a “clouds-roll-by-a-bright-blue-sky” background, which leads us to an airplane in said sky; an airplane carrying Hannibal and fucking Bedelia du Maurier to freedom. The episode is done. The season is done. I am done.

Fuck you, Bedelia, and your sensual voice and stunningly perfect hair. I trusted you! I loved you!

Fuck you, Bedelia, and your sensual voice and stunningly perfect hair. I trusted you! I loved you! How could you?

Now for the season wrap-up. Well. Where to start. In some ways, Season 2 felt like a whole different show than Season 1, and in a good way. While there was some over-arching continuity in the first season, especially about Abigail Hobbs, Season 1 could easily be seen as a really twisted version of Bones or CSI. Season 2 focused more on the other stuff, the character and plot arcs; it felt more like a drama (albeit highly disturbing drama) rather than a police procedural, which I liked. The pacing was also rather different: that first season over-arching continuity that I mentioned? It moved at a snail’s pace, so unbearably slow. Amid the crazy killer of the week, we’d get a few snippets here or there about Abigail or about Will’s encephalitis, but it took the whole season to make any headway with either of those plot points.

And look at the beautiful teal of this shirt! The color just pops in this photo in ways it did not while I watched the episode. Never woulda seen that in season 1.

And look at the beautiful teal of this shirt! The color just pops in this photo. Never woulda seen that in Season 1.

Team Margot! (seen here rocking the Bedelia side hair)

Team Margot! (seen here rocking the Bedelia side hair)

Season 2 on the other hand, moved much quicker. Generally I approved, but there were times that seemed like they went too fast. Poor Beverly Katz, for instance. I feel like they could have drawn out her storyline until at least the half-way mark (why they had to kill her at all is a whole other issue…). The Vergers were another case of moving too fast. They appeared in Episode 8, kind of late in the game, and their story felt like a rush to cram it all in by the end of Episode 12. This is one place they could have taken a cue from Season 1 pacing and introduce them at the beginning of the season and gradually work up from there. As it was, Margot slept with Will two episodes after making her appearance! They are both very interesting characters who did not get the chance to be explored nearly as much as they could or should have, and Katharine Isabelle and Michael Pitt did phenomenal jobs in the roles. I was particularly drawn to Margot; not only was she a chance to maybe get some actual queer representation (that didn’t pan out so well), she was an extremely nice contrast to Alana Bloom, our token ingenue.

Which brings me to: the ladies. Bryan Fuller & co. seem to have taken some lessons at the Jeff Davis School for Screenwriting in which one learns to kill or maim all the ladies. Bev got killed pretty early in the season (a wonderful character of color now lost), Bella is dying of lung cancer (another PoC), Miriam Lass was kidnapped, tortured, and had an arm amputated, we thought Freddie was killed and cannibalized (later proven to be false), Alana and Abigail are in precarious positions now and one or both very likely will not be in Season 3, and Margot was a lesbian who slept with a man and then had her reproductive organs removed. Dr. Bedelia du Maurier (played with haunting brilliance by the inimitable Gillian Anderson) was terrorized by Hannibal, but oh, may also just so happen to be a bad guy in cahoots with him. Yikes. This is in addition to the fact that Hannibal routinely, possibly always, fails the Bechdel test, largely because the women are hardly ever in any scenes together, and when they are, what do they talk about? Will and/or Hannibal (and sometimes Jack). I suppose there were some scenes in Season 1 with Alana and Freddie talking about Abigail, but I honestly cannot think of a single scene in Season 2 that would pass the Bechdel test.

Look, almost passing the Bechdel test! If only they were talking about a woman.

Look, almost passing the Bechdel test! If only they were talking about a woman. (Also, coincidentally probably the brightest colors ever worn by Hannibal characters.)

Clearly the most pressing question for Season 3 is: who survives? Will, obviously. Alana and Abigail? Tough to say; Alana has been playing an increasingly unimportant role in Season 2, and frankly, her absence would not detract greatly from the show. Abigail was such a WTF plot twist, I feel like she would actually detract by staying, especially with Hannibal off abroad. Jack is another tough call; losing yet another character of color would be the very opposite of good for the show, but they almost seemed to be grooming Cynthia Nixon’s character to be taking his place. Canonically, Jack Crawford shouldn’t be dead at this point, but then again, Fuller has largely reworked the chronology and events of the books; this season pulled a lot from the novel Hannibal with the Vergers, but Miriam Lass was a very Clarice Starling prototype from Silence of the Lambs. There were also heavy elements from Red Dragon: Freddie Lounds being bound to the burning wheelchair and Randall Tier taking on many aspects of the Tooth Fairy murderer. In short, to gauge anyone’s chances of survival based on the books is a poor guess: any attempts for the show to follow the books directly will not make a lot of sense without backtracking on characters and plots they’ve already used.

You know who else wasn't supposed to die before Red Dragon? BEVERLY KATZ. RIP <3

You know who else is canonically supposed to be alive for the events of Red Dragon? BEVERLY KATZ. Miss you forever ❤ RIP

I guess there’s no way to know for sure until Season 3 rolls around. I also anxiously await the theme of the episode titles; that’s always a source of interest. Here’s the full kaiseki menu if you were as curious as I was about where the titles of season 2 came from. I joked with my fellow authors that maybe next season it’ll be a Tex-Mex theme: “Chalupas Grandes”, “Huevos Revueltos”, “Gordita”, “Burrito eXtreme”, followed by a Season 4 of greasy spoon diner food: “Bacon Double Cheeseburger”, “Basket o’ Fries”, “Mac’n’Cheese”, “Chicken Nuggets”. Regardless, I’m gonna take the break between seasons to play in flowery meadows and hug puppies and think bright and happy thoughts to try to heal some of the damage brought by this season/show. Until next time, Fannibals.

Episode Tally:

Garrett Jacob Hobbs reappearances: one
Des Ravenstags Erscheinungen: zwei
Meataphors: that sacrificial lamb
Number of people in almost every scene: two
Deaths: All the deaths.

9 thoughts on “Hannibal: “Mizumono” Review

      • I’ve heard that it is! I’ve got this week’s finale to catch up with and the episode before, so I’m having a mini-marathon tomorrow when I’ve got the house to myself. 🙂

  1. Great review! While I enjoyed this season & the show as a whole, you eloquently wrote what bothered me about the poor treatment of women & characters of color in the show. And Fuller dropped the ball with his poor responses to polite criticism about the plot. I’m not sure how the writers will address the issue.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting! I would like to say I trust Bryan Fuller with the directions the show is going, but I’m not so sure! While I am enjoying the overall focus of the show better now (character drama vs. CSI), there are still several plot points I do not like.

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