Tick tick tock. What a bloody mess. But what else was it going to be. Because this is Hannibal.
This show. The one where an attentive but untroubled distinction is made between an ideal and a concept of an ideal, between a dream and the nature of a dream. Really it was back in 'Kaiseki' (hell, 'Aperitif'?), we were extended a gorgeous sturdy calligraphed invitation on exquisite paper stock to this finale. Every vignette right up to the last act was like a succession of stain-glass windows, spread over a huge cathedral wall, each with a simple clear scene leading up to the revelation, the source, cause and origin for the story in the first place. Don't you want to know how this ends? HOLY #$%&* GOD, Hannibal throwing himself at the pantry door was one of the most breathtakingly terrifying things ever.
When the moment comes, will you do what needs to be done?
There was genuine care woven into the misdirection that Will might just really be helping Hannibal instead of Jack, even now. Well, especially now. I suppose that's the thread that holds together the next season to this one. That between Hannibal and Will this is no ordinary love. The show hit every single emotional beat between them from the opening scene to Hannibal and Will bloodied in the kitchen. I am tickled by those who ship the two of them (because Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen) but there's no denying what they do share is an extremely complex matrix of emotions, desires and needs. The final minutes of their relationship, no doubt playing out in a way it never will have the luxury of doing so again, tragic, miserable and devastatingly intimate. The caress, the embrace, the linoleum knife, the grief... all teased out to their fullest impact.
I wanted to surprise you. And you... wanted to surprise me.
The scene that hinges the first and second act is a perfect example of something Hannibal does so very well. Hannibal smells Freddie Lounds on Will while the two are preparing his office for its inevitable search and seizure. And like a carwash, the image of Freddie's ropey hair swishes over us with saturated and heavy anticipation and dread. It's not clear in those seconds immediately following how things will shake out. The same thing goes for Will contending with the image of an alive Abigail standing in front of him. The show heightens the tension in ways that are familiar but somehow what happens next is completely unpredictable. If we hadn't seen the fight between Jack and Hannibal, that same tension would have been present when the two were markedly but informally referencing friendship in Hannibal's kitchen. And the act of Hannibal removing Alana's bullets from her gun, but not telling her right away holds in it a twisted up experience of horrible volatility, too.
To the truth, then. And all its consequences.
There was so much rain, wasn't there? Papers in Hannibal's office. The beads of glass from Hannibal's second story window. History repeating itself. Madness. Blood. Mayhem. And only one person felt rinsed by it. Alana, Jack, Will and Abigail lying sincerely in their own blood in or around Hannibal's house is just an insanely hardcore end to this chapter. (Although the stag dying in Hannibal's kitchen was an honest unexpected relief.) But there's still hope because these characters are changed. (The scales have fallen from their eyes.) That is so rare on television, that characters are allowed to change this unambiguously and it's already crafted into this story. I'm so in love this design.
I gave you a rare gift. But you didn’t want it.
“Damn right" is Will's answer (on the closed captions) though this is now subject to much debate that it's not that but rather, "Didn't I?" For my money, they're both fantastic answers, if wildly different in meaning. Both show Will's inclination to go down, trying to win all the fights--intellectual, psychological or otherwise. Will just wants to close his eyes and wade in the quiet of the stream. He doesn't need opulence or flourish. When Hannibal gave Will the chance to change his course at dinner at his house after he figured out the ruse, and Will didn't yield to the offer, he was both thoroughly completely rejected and done being spurned any further. Do you think Hannibal meant the rare gift was himself, meaning Hannibal, or himself, meaning Will? These are the hurt words of a madman but if they're both honest, they changed each other forever. And there's no way in hell it's even close to being over yet.
As for that coda: Oh, shit, followed by... Oh, hell yes, followed by... a standing ovation and tears.
Odds and Ends
*Garret Jacob Hobbs!
*Bella Crawford. Shit.
*Alana and Will's scene together complete with her luscious visual metaphor of her current state was one of my favorite scenes in all of 'Mizumono'.
*Aw yeah! The ole’ “Here’s my gun and badge and now lemme just walk down these once-hallowed halls in slo-mo” routine.
*There’s something so special about people doing mundane things on a show about the extraordinary, in this case, everyone calling each other on the phone. It’s like of course they do, but seeing it happen is still kind of novel. LOL.
*Hey 9-1-1 and ERT: You are so f-ing fired.
*Alan Sepinwall and Dan Fienberg do a weekly podcast called Firewall and Iceberg. Episode #232 has, in my opinion, the best description of what Hannibal is, as a series. As well as who the viewer is. (I am not crazy about the critique of the finale, per se, but what Dan goes on to say about how or why this show is on the air is awesome). I highly recommend it if you enjoy podcasts, the guys from Hit Fix or analysis of Hannibal.
Jack: “Hannibal thinks you’re his man in the room. I think you’re mine.”
Garret Jacob Hobbs: “See? See.”
Hannibal: “The punctuation at the end of the sentence gives meaning to every word, every space that proceeded it.”
Bella: “You moved my punctuation mark, Dr. Lecter. You moved my meaning.”
Hannibal: “Love and death are the great hinges on which all human sympathies turn.”
Freddie: “I am going to enjoy my resurrection. Nothing sells better than a survival story.”
Alana: “I feel poisoned.”
Will: “We’ve all been poisoned.”
Will: “This would be our last supper.”
Hannibal: “Of this life.”
Will: “Jack isn’t offering forgiveness. He wants—justice.”
Alana: “Where’s Jack?”
Hannibal: “In the pantry.”
Hannibal: “In your defense I worked very hard to blind you. You can stay blind. You can hide from this. Walk away. I’ll make no plans to call on you, but if you stay, I will kill you. Be blind, Alana, don’t be brave.
Hannibal: “I took your bullets.”
Will: “You were supposed to leave.”
Hannibal: “We couldn’t leave without you.”
Hannibal: “Time did reverse. The teacup that I shattered did come together. A place was made for Abigail in your world. You understand? A place was made for all of us. Together.”
Hannibal: “I have let you know me. See me..."
Hannibal: “Do you believe you could change me, the way I’ve changed you?”
Will: “I already did.”
Hannibal: “I forgive you, Will. Will you forgive me?”
Hannibal: “You can make it all go away. Put your head back, close your eyes… wade into the quiet of the stream.”