The episode opens with a new antlered monster resembling Will, born out of the carcass of a dying stag. Hannibal has Will over for dinner again where he offers him a roasted baby songbird as a ‘rite of passage’. Will has and enjoys the bird while Hannibal discusses his first murder, using the songbird as a metaphor. Freddie Lounds’ body is found, set aflame in a wheelchair. The dental records match Freddie Lounds’. Hannibal and Will make an attempt at theorizing the thought process of Lounds’ killer.
Margot and Will talk to Hannibal together. She is pregnant and not proud of her actions. She says she doesn’t need Will in the baby’s life but isn’t opposed to his influence either – any male influence is welcome as long as it isn’t her brother. Meanwhile, her brother is harvesting tears again, this time with from schoolchildren visiting his farm. Will is having difficulty sleeping again and is suffering from night sweats. Alana comes to visit, wanting to know if Will killed Freddie Lounds. He dodges the question and instead gives her a gun and tells her to practice and not to hesitate to use it.
Mason is back in therapy with Hannibal, who is less than pleased at his presence. Hannibal lets slip the possibility of Margot being pregnant as a means to cut Mason out of his inheritance. Alana appears at Freddie Lounds’ funeral and is upset to find Will there. Will consults Hannibal on his feelings about being a father. Hannibal mentions having a sister and being her guardian and also reveals that she passed away. He admits to murdering Abigail out of necessity. He apologizes for taking Abigail away from Will. Mason confronts Margot about her child. Alana is not certain anymore that Hannibal is trying to help Will and she talks about it to Hannibal who assure her he is very much on Will’s side.
Mason has Margot undergo a forced abortion. Alana has finally had enough and confronts Jack on whether he thinks Will killed Freddie Lounds to which Jack replies in the negative. She then asks if Jack believes that Chilton is the Chesapeake Ripper which Jack also denies. She insists that Jack is making a big mistake trusting Will and Hannibal but that’s when Jack reveals that Freddie Lounds has been alive the whole while – implying that Will didn’t kill her and that her murder was a ploy to lure Hannibal into the open.
Will visits Margot in the hospital with Hannibal. He goes to confront Mason, who is expecting him. The two come to blows but Will tells Mason that the only thing all three of them have in common is their psychiatrist which gives Mason some food for thought.
One of the things that I’ve realized in the process of doing these write-ups for Hannibal is just how difficult it is to capture all the nuances of the dialogue in the summary. In any case, I can’t tell y’all just how glad I am that it turned out that Will didn’t kill Freddie Lounds. I mean, I’ll admit that there
was a part of me that didn’t want to believe that he did it but with this series it’s always hard to figure out which parts are going to stick the whole good guys do good things routine and which parts are going to go full subversive on your ass.
This episode was fairly well-paced in my opinion. There was a better balance between the intellectual conversations and actual plot progression, something that this season has been rather spotty with. Let’s start with a look at Hannibal and his character as we approach the end game. We get snippets of the inside of Hannibal’s mind in this episode – his relationship with his sister and hints at a dark past that might indicate how he came to become what he is today. I find the way he played both sides in this Margot affair a little repulsive actually and here’s the reason I even bother mentioning it – usually, I find that there’s almost an elegance to Hannibal’s plans. He goes after the rude and distasteful elements in our society – not always, of course and I haven’t forgotten Beverly Katz or Abigail Hobbs – but by and large, outside of the necessary, it feels like his victims are always the assholes in society that we’re better off without. I’m not trying to elevate him to a vigilante or anything, but I think that having Hannibal always have these asshole victims is a way that the show producers have kept him from being a fully unsympathetic villain. Or even more than that, I would say that he is still unsympathetic but before this move of getting an innocent unborn child involved, I would watched Hannibal’s manipulations with at least some interest in seeing how he makes his machinations come about. I guess, I just don’t know but this episode felt like a low blow for him.
I suppose we should also talk about Will and what these newest revelations mean vis-à-vis his plans to bait Hannibal. I feel like the various revelations regarding Hannibal’s sister and his intentions to keep Abigail alive until circumstances forced his hand (which didn’t sound right to me, but that might just be because I’ve lost track of the order of events) are slowly swaying Will towards Hannibal’s side but I want to believe that he has a master plan to resist Hannibal’s influence. One of the things that I totally don’t understand is how exactly, Will can still be lured by Hannibal after basically witnessing everything Hannibal has done? Is this his empathy disorder backfiring on the good guys? The thing is, based on the fact that they revealed that Freddie Lounds is still alive, there is still one big plot twist left in this season, which makes me wonder what exactly it can be. There’s a lot of room left for twists and that by itself makes me uneasy though not really in a bad way.
I do know one thing for sure though – Mason Verger has got to go. There is literally no way for this season to end with Mason Verger coming out unscathed. I mean, Will hates him (and Will sicking Mason on Hannibal was a brilliant move, I have to say), Hannibal doesn’t seem too fond of the man either and he’s just a total creep in every way possible. He has none of Hannibal’s nuances and at his best he is just a bully that the story could easily do without. Margot’s forced abortion was horrifying, perhaps more so than previous murders featured on the show just because of how extreme it was. I can’t wait to see how the three way conflict between Hannibal, Will and Mason resolves itself now that we’ve seen what each man is capable of doing. Will’s assault on Mason was cathartic for the viewers but I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that he had gone rouge, in a sense. Assuming that Jack is in the loop regarding his actions, I wonder how Will’s eventual report is going to justify beating up Mason or getting Margot pregnant or, and this just occurred to me, the murder of Randall Tier. I mean, yes there is a very good case for self-defence but everything that followed afterwards is a step too far as far as policing ethics is concerned. I guess desperate times called for desperate measures.
The last item of note is the game that Will and Hannibal seem to playing with each other. It’s almost a dance in its own way – Will is trying to convince Hannibal that he has turned to the dark side but doesn’t seem fully aware of the effect Hannibal’s influence is having on him and this episode’s discussion on destruction and creation highlights the often thin line that separates the two. Hannibal, meanwhile, seems like he knows or at least suspects what Will is up to but at the same time also senses that there is a good chance that Will can be actually flipped to his side. I’ll note further that it’s Hannibal that Will turns to talk about his fears about fatherhood, not Jack and understandably, not Alana.
The next two episodes will be an hour long each and will wrap this season of Hannibal up.