The best network show on TV has reached its second season conclusion, and as you’d expect, it’s a gory yet beautiful, brutal, perfect episode.
Mizumono is not a reference to a Japanese sporting good company (that’d be Mizuno), but instead refers to the finale of the Kaiseki, the traditional multi-course tableau that Bryan Fuller and NBC have served us each and every week. The Mizumono is a seasonal dessert, primarily consisting of cake, fruit or ice cream. Additionally, because Hannibal operates on about 14 levels, a Mizumono refers to “Kabuki plays whose setting includes water (e.g., lakes, the ocean, etc.); noted for their spectacular water effects (honmizu).” Water is a constant foreboding motif seen in this episode, as we’ll find out.
Last week’s penultimate chapter ended with Will and Hannibal deciding to bring Jack in on the truth: to give him the Chesapeake Ripper. Hannibal is a man of his word, as we see him write out a fancy pants invitation to Jack Crawford for dinner. Of course Hannibal knows calligraphy.
Jack tells Will he’s received the note. The “time has come.”
Will and Hannibal meet at his office, for one of the last times, the evidence of all of their previous discussions and sessions hanging in the air, vibrating around them, soaked into their chairs. Will mentions Jack’s presence as well, and Hannibal admits that their destinies are intertwined, “all destinies swimming in blood and emptiness.” Hannibal certainly proves that by the end of this gut-wrenching episode.
Jack plans on wearing a wire and placing sharp shooters around the house for the showdown. Will warns him: Hannibal “won’t be easy to kill. He’ll be armed, strong, well-trained. We can’t hesitate.” Because he certainly won’t, preferring to kill Jack in the kitchen, making it that much easier to prepare Jack tartare. “Hannibal thinks you’re his man. I think you’re mine,” Jack says, and there’s evidence that both of these are true, after the last few episodes.
Both Hannibal and Jack are preparing for the feast, and both ask Will the same question, as their faces meld together: When the moment comes, “will you do what needs to be done?” Will’s response is the same to both of his masters, “Oh yes.”
Will arrives home to his barking dogs, and it wouldn’t be Hannibal without a creepy vision, and we find Garrett Jacob Hobbs (Vladimir Jon Cubrt) on his porch. Soon, we see that his house is up in a tree, its jagged, leaf-less branches like the horns in Hobbs’ cabin, like the stag. Will has a rifle in hand, sees the stagg, has it in his sights…and fires.
Hannibal visits Bella (Gina Torres), who is quite literally on her death bed. She talks of forgiveness, but it’s clear she still holds resentment for Hannibal because he stole her ending, he robbed her of choice. Hannibal compares death to the punctuation at the end of a sentence, and Bella responds: You moved my punctuation, altered the meaning. “I’m here because I can’t abandon Jack. Not again.” Bella won’t try to commit suicide again, for Jack’s sake. “You saved me for Jack. Will you save him for me, when I’m gone?” Um, no, he probably won’t.
Freddie’s excited about her resurrection; survival makes for a good story. She used to be a “cancer editor” for a small publication, which made for good material. Now look at her, about to come back from the dead, blessed with a certain bestseller. Will isn’t as ecstatic, or as optimistic that they’re out of this yet. He asks her not to write about Abigail, to leave her alone, no matter what happens. Freddie’s already wide eyes widen: “You don’t know if you’re going to survive him.” Neither do we.
Hannibal tosses books off his bookshelf down to Will, a sight that feels wrong. Hannibal is so tidy, so neat, his possessions a part of him, appearances everything. To see him tear down the office is unsettling. The FBI will come to the office, and read through everything; he’s burning his notes on Will and other patients, because he’d rather spare his patients the scrutiny. It almost seems nice of him. Will and Hannibal plan their departure from these lives, to leave the FBI in the dust. Despite leaving his office, Hannibal will always have it, stored in his memory palace, an intriguing nugget. Mads Mikkelson’s brother Lars played Charles Augustus Magnussen on Sherlock, who had a memory palace to rival Sherlock Holmes’. If Hannibal is apprehended, he’ll live in his memory palace. Will wonders how effective that can be, if he can be happy, and Hannibal admits that there are “holes on the floor of the mind.” As Will drops the books in the fire, Hannibal, with his super-nose, catches a whiff of Freddie Lounds on Will. He immediately knows something is up, his spidey sense tingling. $#*!.
Alana only gets snippets of sleep now, but when she does, all she sees is darkness. We see Alana, naked, under a black blanket. The blanket becomes fluid, literally, a vast ocean without a bottom, void of light, this water enveloping her, until it blots her out completely, drowning her. There’s your cool water effects befitting a Kabuki play. She feels (rightfully) poisoned, as she talks to Will. Once Jack showed her Freddie and revealed their plans, Alana is beside herself as you might expect. What if you found out you slept with (and maybe loved?) a serial killer? Alana is terrified, not really comforted by Will and Jack’s trap that they’re goading Hannibal into. “How can you be sure he’s not goading you?” Will responds: “I can’t.” Whew this is intense, and then the most dramatic teardrop ever lands on the table from Alana’s eyes. The tear swirls, commingled with blood…and we cut to…
…The end of a crazy feast between Will and Hannibal, their “last supper.” Hannibal, of course, served lamb, a nod to Silence of the Lambs. A sacrificial lamb, Will notes, but Hannibal has nothing to sacrifice. The two discuss metamorphosis, and it’s clear that Will is about to enter his last stage, or at least that’s what Hannibal hopes/believes. Will must feed his dogs, leave a note to Alana, and leave his life behind. But first, they must deal with Jack and his death (ideal and pre-ordained, Will says). Hannibal asks if Will thinks Jack could forgive him. “Jack isn’t offering forgiveness. He wants justice…[to] see you, see what I’ve become…[he] wants the truth.”
Hannibal lifts his glass, “to the truth, then. And all its consequences.” Cue the next act, and a cavalcade of terror.
FBI honcho Kade Prurnell finally decides to do her job, and has caught wind of Jack and Will’s activities, their undercover op. It’s “entrapment;” the only confirmed killer in their investigation is Will Graham. And while Jack argues it’s self-defense, his butchering of the body kind of makes one pause. They are never going to get a conviction, and Kade puts Jack on “forced compassionate leave,” following an inquiry. Jack relinquishes his badge and gun. Great timing.
Alana meets with Kade, to argue for Jack’s sake. They won’t catch Hannibal any other way: they have to catch him in the act. What Jack has done, sanctioning Will’s mutilations, is beyond self-defense. Jack misused the power of his office. They broke the law, and Kade’s bringing up charges. It’s all true, Kade’s right, but she’s just as culpable for being so blind to it all, like Alana was to Hannibal. To catch a monster, sometimes you have to become a monster, and Hannibal is asking if that’s right, or okay. They’re desperate, Alana argues, and this is their best shot to take on Hannibal, and they won’t stop.
Jack kisses Bella goodbye, on his way to face Hannibal. Alana calls Will, warning him that the FBI is coming to issue a warrant for his arrest on grounds of entrapment and murder. They’re practically at his door when Will gets the call, and he grabs his gun and flees. “Bye Alana.” Will calls Hannibal, who’s cooking (what else). “They know.” In an episode flooded with big moments, this is one that will be dissected to death. Why did Will warn Hannibal? Was he Hannibal’s man all along? If he hadn’t called Hannibal, would anything have changed?
Jack comes into Hannibal’s kitchen (Hannibal sees him enter through the reflection of his knives), and we’re back to the flash forward in which this season started. Hannibal notes Jack’s early, and asks if he’d like to sous chef. Jack declines and thanks Hannibal for his friendship. Then it’s the crazy, awesome kitchen fight, blood, utensils everywhere. The kitchen has been Hannibal’s arena for so long, and it’s no accident that this is where the battle royale takes place. Jack’s at a disadvantage, as he’s facing Hannibal on his home turf, in his domain, where he feels most comfortable. But Jack puts up a hell of a fight. Is it enough? No. Hannibal slashes Jack’s neck with a shard of glass, and Jack retreats into Hannibal’s wine cellar. Hannibal tries to bring down the door, armed with knives.
This is when Alana comes in, gun trained on Hannibal. There’s a fantastic moment when Alana asks Hannibal where Jack is, and in a high-pitched, insane voice, Hannibal says “in the pantry,” before he recovers his normal demeanor. Alana has already called 911, though that does no good. Alana can’t believe how blind she was. Hannibal tries to comfort her one last time, admitting how hard he worked to blind her, and that she can still hide from this. Walk away, and he won’t pay her a visit. “If you stay, I will kill you…Be blind, don’t be brave.” Alana pulls the trigger. Click. Again, click. No bullets. Hannibal removed them, and comes at her. He drops his knives, as he calmly climbs the stairs after Alana, who’s running for dear life. AHHH. Alana loads her gun, and stupidly shoots at the locked door several times, instead of him.
Then….Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl) pops out. Is Alana having one of Will’s day dreams? No, Abby is alive. She’s in tears, shaking. She apologizes to Alana. FOR WHAT?! Don’t do it Abby…and she does. Abby pushes Alana out the window. WHAAA?!
Alana’s on the pavement, in the pouring rain (water motif alert), dying. Will comes to her, and drapes his coat over her. “Jack is inside,” she says. It’d have been nice if she could’ve warned Will about Abby, but of course, that would rob the surprise.
In the cellar, Jack is choking on his own blood, putting pressure on the wound, his back to the cellar door. He grabs his phone, obviously going to call Bella. Will sees the blood pooling from the cellar door. That’s when Abby comes out of the darkness again, crying, trembling. “I didn’t know what else to do, so I did what he told me.” He happens to be right behind Will.
After seeing Hannibal with nary a hair out of place, always perfectly manicured and dapper for two seasons, it’s terrifying to see him shaken, bloody and almost bedraggled. “We couldn’t leave without you,” Hannibal purrs. Is he going to bring Will with him? He holds Will affectionately, then stabs and guts him, hugging him to the floor. Hannibal wanted to surprise Will (with Abby). “You wanted to surprise me” (with the trap).
Hannibal is heartbroken, on the verge of tears. While he’s been manipulating Will since the moment they met, there was genuine love there. Will was as close as he had to an equal, and it’s clear he had every intention to go with him into his next life, and his betrayal cuts deep. “You know me. You see me. I gave you a rare gift. But you didn’t want it.” Instead, Will planned to take his life, his freedom. Hannibal asks Will: “Did you believe you could change me, as I did you?” Will rightfully responds: “I already did.” Hannibal forgives Will, the interminably shattering teacup coming back together again. “Will you forgive me?”
Hannibal then kills Abby again, this time in front of Will, telling him to wade into his stream (more water), Will’s happy place, his mental palace. There is so much blood, as Abby collapses, the red stuff spurting from her neck, mixing with Will’s. Alana and Jack are in similarly dire straits.
Hannibal feels the rain as he exits his home, practically exultant. He puts on a nice coat, and walks away, leaving Will, Abby, Alana and Jack dying in his wake. The stag, the symbol of Hannibal‘s first two seasons, also lays dying, the third season of Hannibal requiring a new mascot.
We end on the image of a sunny, blue sky day filled with clouds. Heavenly, an ideal in stark contrast to the turmoil we just left. Do any of Will, Abby, Alana and Jack have a happy ending ahead of them? Or are they all dead, in heaven now? Would any of them merit a place in heaven? How are Bryan Fuller and company going to pick up the pieces for season 3?! I have no answers (except that it’s going to be a Hannibal-on-the-run season). We have a long time to wait, but it’s clear that Hannibal will be a different show when it returns. Whatever we will be greeted with, I have no doubt as to its excellence.