Hannibal: Hassun Review
Hannibal is delicious as always this week. Here's Marc's review...
Last week on Hannibal, thechess match between Hannibal and Will escalated as a queen switches sides, and Hannibal makes basted serial killer leg look delectable. In a world where the horror genre has grown stale and predictable, horror aficionados must thank their lucky stars for Hannibal and Will Graham.
The consequences of Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier leaving Hannibal are staggering. Hannibal only had one person that had an inkling of his true nature and now that his confidant has abandoned him there is no moral anchor. Could this mean an even deeper monstrous descent for Hannibal, and does the conversation that Bedelia and Jack Crawford share last week lead to the knife fight that kicked off the season? Sadly, Bedelia does not play a role in this episode.
“Hassun” opens with a disturbing look at the consequences of how Will’s time displacement disorder affects a condemned man. Will dreams of his own execution, an eternity of being electrocuted because Will lives in all possible moments at once. Will’s ability to see patterns shows him his eventual path to the electric chair, and he experiences the execution over and over again. This is why Hannibal rules Friday night, it has the creative guts to tell a story from the point of view of a character who lives non-linearly, this isn’t a character designed to spoon feed a viewer the complex plot, this is a very ill man who is caught up in a game of life and death with a maestro.
This episode also sees the return of Freddie Lounds and her giant red quaff. The dishonest true crime reporter returns to point the finger of guilt at Will. Will’s lawyer pounces, driving home the fact that Lounds is a woman who does not stand on the side of truth. It’s good to see Lounds again, just so perhaps we can see Hannibal finally chow down on her lying ass. Is it wrong to root for the devil sometimes?
Lounds is followed by a woman who sees too much truth, Alana Bloom, who must practice her testimony before the trial because her personal truth is wrapped up in Will’s innocence. The characters of this show each serve their purpose on Hannibal’s chessboard, as he brilliantly weaves their motivations and damages. This is why fans tune in, that and the putrid moments of severe atrocity, along with, of course, the prospect of Lounds becoming part of an entrée.
The game is not all Will and Hannibal. Jack Crawford’s soul is at stake if Will is found guilty. Every moment brings him closer to that fight with Hannibal. As Jack discusses how he wishes he can turn his back on the FBI and spend his days with his dying wife, we see a man torn between duty and desire. Jack is another complex character, a man who is trying to redeem himself because he used Will as a tool to bring killers to justice, something that damaged the already delicate Will. This season has really presented Jack on a new level, a level beyond the simple user from last season. Jack is now open to new ideas which produces another layer to the show, as Jack’s soul is at stake in the game between Will and Hannibal.
The show is an episodic character symphony underscored with insane amount of gore for TV. For instance, Will’s lawyer opening a letter containing a severed ear. The ear kicks off Hannibal and Will returning to their role of last season, this time, with prison bars between them. After the ear incident, Hannibal and Will share another jail house meeting as they both fall into the role of crime solvers once again. It seems, a bailiff checked out Will’s knife from evidence, the same knife that was found to have severed this latest ear. Jack and company arrive to the bailiff’s house as it explodes.The bailiff is found mounted on a stag’s head, burnt, and missing an ear. This sheds doubts on Will’s guilt, as the bailiff was killed in the same way Will supposedly killed his victims.
Many can’t see Will’s innocence because Will is so beyond the norm that no one can imagine his perspective. Will Graham is someone so removed from the cultural definition of normal that he can only be imagined as a killer because what else is someone so beyond perception supposed to be? This is a wonderful portrayal of the public’s view of mental illness as the show continues to present challenging characters in the most unusual of places, network television.
Hannibal’s reasons for helping Will are almost impossible to grasp. He encourages Will to find his way to freedom. Hannibal seems sincere, until it becomes clear that he manipulated events so he can testify instead of Dr. Bloom. Hannibal now has control of the courtroom and as the prosecutor harangues Lecter, there is a feeling she is poking a lion. Hannibal’s testimony is not allowed and he momentarily loses control of his carefully crafted drama. Hannibal is forced to take action and all are shocked to find the judge of the case is chained up in a mocking tableau of the sanctity of the justice system; brain scooped out and placed on the scales of justice. Yikes. Hannibal wants this game to continue, and since his testimony was cast out, he continued the game as only he can.
As the episode ends, and Dr. Bloom proclaims that she is motivated to save Will, Will has a rare human moment, one very difficult for someone on the autism spectrum, he takes his potential saviors hand. The portrayal of Will as someone with autism is very daring and welcome. It gives viewers an idea of how someone with social or personality disorders must fight to be allowed to exist in their own realities and not be judged as monstrous. Will is in this position because most people cannot relate to how he views the world, how he cannot experience joy or sorrow, but must endure the violence and blackness in his own mind to help others. Will is one of the most damaged and fascinating protagonists in modern television history and viewers are lucky to have him.