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- Episode: Mizumono (Season 2, Episode 13)
- Starring: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas
- Written By: Bryan Fuller & Steve Lightfoot
- Directed By: David Slade
- Network: NBC
- Studio: Dino De Laurentiis Company, Living Dead Guy Productions, AXN: Original X Production
Hannibal: Mizumono Review
A bloodbath that leaves no one unscarred
By Curtis G. Schmitt
May 24, 2014
Season 2 Finale
There comes a moment in watching a television show when you go from being a fan to being... well, an avid fan. Let’s call it a becoming of sorts. It’s at that point the show takes on an abnormal importance in your life. I discovered that was true for me when I sat down to watch the Season 2 finale of HANNIBAL. To my dismay and horror, I found myself staring dumbfoundedly at a baseball game in its seventh inning. After a bit of Internet scurrying, I was able to watch the episode, and holy crap. Without exaggeration, I think I’m ready to declare this the most gut-punchingly amazing non-series-ending season finale I’ve ever seen.
At the beginning of Season 2, we were teased with a flash-forward of a brutal hand-to-hand combat fight between Hannibal Lecter and Jack Crawford. We rightly assumed that the show would build over the course of the season to this deadly confrontation. But what we didn’t expect was that this seemingly straight-forward fight between two characters would culminate in a bloodbath that leaves no one (including the audience) unscarred.
Last episode closed with Will Graham offering up Crawford to Hannibal as bait. As “Mizumono” opens, we learn that Jack is in on this plan. And in a crafty bit of editing we get two separate conversations (Will and Jack, and Will and Hannibal) juxtaposed. We’re seeing both sides of Will, and while it’s tempting to believe Will is lying to Hannibal (“Will’s the good guy!”), I don’t think it’s that black and white. As the editing shows us, these two sides of Will have merged. Somehow two entirely dissonant beliefs exist side by side in his mind -- the belief that serial killer Hannibal must be caught, and the belief that friend Hannibal must be saved. “You were supposed to leave,” Will tells Hannibal in that final scene. That’s when I understood. Will expected Hannibal to run. Despite all his empathy and his gifts for insight, Will wasn’t privy to the flash-forward we saw. He didn’t know this confrontation was inevitable. I think he and Hannibal both believed it could somehow be avoided.
For Hannibal that belief was shattered when he smelled the supposedly dead Freddie Lounds on Will. But Will’s belief lived a little longer, right up until Hannibal gutted him. This gets me to the big surprise of the season: The “resurrection” of Abigail Hobbs. (Which makes me wonder, was it Abigail who Beverly Katz found in Hannibal’s basement? I’d assumed it was Miriam Lass.) In a show where off-screen “deaths” are rarely deaths, some viewers might say they saw this coming. But did you see the I’m-still-alive-and-I’ll-shove-you-out-the-window moment coming? I didn’t think so! Seriously though, whether or not you expected Abigail to return (and for the record, I did NOT), Will’s surprise-confusion-betrayal-love at seeing her alive again was heart-breaking. And then to lose her again, right in front of him... F**k you, Hannibal!
Will’s allegiance to Hannibal, no matter how shaky and complicated it was, cost him dearly. The body count hasn’t been tallied yet, but whatever it is, Will’s guilt at his own complicity will surely birth some major personal demons (as if he didn’t have enough already) while he mourns the violent death of Abigail, et al. The drop of blood in Alana’s tears not only foreshadowed the episode’s bloody and tragic climax, but it’s also the perfect metaphor for Will’s becoming. His folly with Hannibal Lecter cost him blood <i>and</i> tears. And we can count on a lot more blood (and at least a few more tears) on what will likely be Will’s Season 3 rampage for revenge.
Speaking of aesthetics, the cinematography and scoring, while always exceptional, reached a new level of artistry toward the end of this season. In HANNIBAL, these elements rarely call attention to themselves, yet boldly heighten the emotional resonance of the storyline. And in “Mizumono,” ALL of the ingredients of film production -- story, cinematography, score, editing, acting -- combined perfectly into a magical witch’s brew that left me by the end both choking on it and wanting more. The bar has been set very high for Season 3 of HANNIBAL. And for this avid fan, it can’t get here soon enough.