Hannibal sends out an invitation to Jack for dinner. Will and Hannibal discuss their evolving relationship while in a parallel conversation, Will informs Jack of Hannibal’s plan. Jack intends to go in prepared and with backup available and nearby. It is unclear who’s side Will is on – he warns Hannibal that Jack will be prepared and armed and the level of detail with which he reveals Hannibal’s plan worries Jack. Both men think Will is theirs but ask him who he will choose when the time comes. He tells both that he will do what needs to be done.
Bella forgives Hannibal for stopping her suicide attempt while Will meets Freddie Lounds and requests that she leave Abigail out of her stories. Later, Hannibal and Will burn his notes on past patients and Will notices Hannibal’s notes on him, including the skewed clock. They discuss their escape mechanisms – Hannibal escapes into his memory palace and Will wades into a mental stream. During their conversation, Hannibal catches a scent that reminds him of Freddie Lounds and his suspicions are roused though he says nothing at the time.
Alana visits Will and tells him not to go through with his plan because none of them are sure who is trapping who. Hannibal and Will have their last supper where Hannibal asks whether Will will take an offer of forgiveness from Jack if he were to offer it. Hannibal suggests leaving that same night (before Will can spring his trap, before Jack meets Hannibal for dinner) but Will cannot let that happen and so turns him down, claiming that he wants Jack to know the truth about both of them. The FBI’s internal affairs department is shutting Jack down on the grounds that Jack’s attempt to get Hannibal to murder him is entrapment and illegal. Jack is forced into compassionate leave and has to surrender his gun and badge. Alana is upset about this and meets with FBI internal affairs claiming that the only way to catch Hannibal is in the act. The FBI internal affairs head is sceptical about Will’s own stability and uses Will’s mutilation of Randall Tier as evidence that maybe Will isn’t as stable as he pretends. She issues arrest warrants for Jack and Will with the intention of bringing them into custody. Alana later warns Will that the FBI are coming for him and he grabs a gun and makes a run for it. Before he leaves, he makes a final call – to Hannibal, saying ‘They know’.
Jack arrives early for dinner at Hannibal’s and the fight from the season opener takes place. Alana arrives at the scene and has Hannibal at gun point. He gives her a chance to walk away but shoots instead or rather, she tries – Hannibal has taken her bullets. She flees and locks herself in and has a spare clip but in the room she finds Abigail Hobbs, alive. Abigail shoves her out of the window where she falls just in time to see Will rush into the house. Will is armed but is surprised to see Abigail still alive but his surprise allows Hannibal to get the drop on him and stick a knife in his gut. Hannibal then cuts Abigail’s throat in front of Will as they both slowly bleed out. He then flees the apartment as Will lies dying on the kitchen floor – his last conscious vision of a black stag dying.
Holy shit, that was quite literally a bloodbath! The twists, the turns, the emotions! I have no idea how I’m going to cover everything but since this is also the last episode of the season, I think it makes most sense to cover my immediate visceral reactions to the events of the episodes before taking a step back and looking at the season as a whole and analysing where our characters started out and where they ended. So, immediate reactions – I think this is as good a time as any to declare unequivocally that I am a huge fan of not only how the episode and season concluded but also the way everything was wrapped up. I’m not saying it was perfect, but I think all things considered it was fairly close and the couple of issues I did have with the finale are sort of nitpicky in nature and don’t really warrant a full discussion centred on them.
Let’s start with a purely plot focused analysis. The episode opens with big question marks hanging over Jack, Will and Hannibal with everyone else more or less satisfactorily out of the picture but closes with the fate of two more characters up in the air; Abigail Hobbs and Alana Bloom. Alana’s involvement in the whole thing wasn’t strictly speaking necessary but at the same time, it worked. The last few episodes went so deeply into Will and Hannibal and their ever-evolving relationship that the other characters felt like they had been abandoned and left to die (almost literally) outside that special bond that the two leads shared. Bringing Alana back allowed the audience to see Hannibal for what he was, outside of the connection that Will shared with him. Abigail’s return, I’m less a fan of. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad writing that she’s still alive – in fact, the idea that Hannibal want her, Will and Hannibal to run away together to start a new psychotic family of killers is rather sweet in its own incredibly twisted way and really brings the betrayal Hannibal feels into sharp relief – “I offered you something special, but you threw it away”, he tells Will as he kills him and Abigail is at the centre of it. Her being alive would have been the definite switch that would have resulted in Will going over to Hannibal’s side, yet the fact that she isn’t dead makes the end of the last season seem a little cheap, in my opinion. It isn’t as bad as it could be because she still dies (or should, I think) at the end of this episode and her death has a much higher emotional impact this time around since it is done out of spite rather than sheer necessity and it is done right in front of Will to drive home the idea of just how hurt Hannibal is that Will was playing him false (seriously, Hannibal is the worst kind of boyfriend). There are other very strong elements in the plot – Bella’s reappearance in the plot perfectly coincides with a point where Jack’s own mental stability is being called into question. They don’t talk about it directly in the episode, but I had my own questions about whether Jack would have continued to Hannibal’s place for dinner had Bella’s condition not taken a turn for the worse – remember he no longer had backup. The reasoning behind the lack of back-up was also well done. I suspended my disbelief over the lack of oversight in the FBI in this show for a long while because it would be no fun if I kept wondering how Will was able to get away with some of the stunts he pulled if he had to clear that much red tape each episode but it seems like there was an easier explanation the whole while – the FBI didn’t know. I predict that Will and Jack survive their injuries (not perfectly) but I don’t know about Alana. I’m almost entirely convinced that Abigail is done for; one does not simply survive their necks being sliced out twice in what, a year? A year and a half? The final scene in which Hannibal is seen with Dr. Du Maurier gives me a feeling that he’s ‘won’ but there was a sense that he was unhappy with how things turned out between him and Will.
From an acting standpoint, there isn’t actually a whole lot to comment on in this episode, actually. A large part of this episode was action; there was always something happening and the long conversations between characters were gone for the most part. I’m not complaining; far from it, it gave the episode urgency and the few conversations we did get were filled with great writing and foreshadowing of this to come. I should also take this time to note that Will telling Hannibal that ‘They know’, is brilliantly appropriate and one of the real shock moments before the fifteen minutes of carnage at the episode’s end. I mentioned in the last episode’s discussion that Hugh Dancy has been killing it lately but this episode was all about Mads Mikkelsen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show or a movie in which a character kills a bunch of people (a bunch of nice people I should add) out of spite and in the coldest of bloods and still ends up having my sympathies. I can’t really explain why I felt what I did towards Hannibal in this episode especially after genuinely routing for Will and Jack throughout the season. I guess all the horrible things Hannibal did in the earlier bits of the season had faded in my mind and instead the impression that the script and Mikkelsen left me with that here was a man, a heavily misunderstood and lonely man, who had extended a hand of (murderous) friendship to his fellow human beings only to be misled and deceived. I know it makes no sense whatsoever but I think that itself is a testament to the conviction with which Mikkelsen played the character and the way he was able to portray the shock, the betrayal and most of all the pain of having to kill Will after coming so close to fully accepting him. The rest of the cast had less notable screen time but played their parts well. Lawrence Fishbourne especially also seemed to find his feet in that intense conversation mode that both Will and Hannibal find themselves in so often.
Honestly, this episode does a lot right and I could go on and on for a long while (implying that I haven’t already) but it’s equally important to look at the episode in relation to the rest of the season. Like I’ve said in previous episode discussion, it’s been a little bit of an up-and-down season in the sense that the season began with a lot of intensity and maintained that pace and urgency all the way through to the halfway mark. There was an episode in which Will and Hannibal established their new status quo and I think that episode drained the show of its momentum right until the last three or so episodes. Still, it finished on a very strong note and I’m very much looking forward to the new season in mid-2015. From an acting perspective, the main trio has pretty consistently delivered but apart from them I’ve been less than impressed with (Alana actress) and (Freddie actress). It’s not that they did particularly poor jobs but both characters received a fair amount of screen time and compared to the likes of (Abel Gideon actor) and (Chilton actor) who both stood out one way or another, I find (Alana actress) to be especially bland. Still, the fate of the show hardly depends on her and there is a good chance that Alana might not even make it out of this season alive. Regardless of the character’s fate, it’s been one heck of a season and I can’t wait for season 3!