When a man deliberately driven to the edge of his insanity gradually recovers bits and pieces of himself, it’s a visual feast and a disturbing train of thought for us audiences. Not only is the musical score truly unnerving, but the different perceptions of death and their horrific implications prove just how intelligent this show really is…
A Reminder of Loss
The very first scene is a poignant one, reminding us that Will is not only dealing with his nearly hopeless defense as a criminal but he’s also suffering from loss of a friend. We see him imagining Abigail Hobbs as a less pained and traumatized version, fishing with him and learning subtle implications about hunting, catching, and luring. It’s amazing how this script parallels the intricacies of criminal profiling into daily hobbies like fishing and hunting.
Will’s attachment to Abigail Hobbs and his willingness to become a father/protector to her is delicately portrayed. Its a river of thought that we traverse with on a visual and visceral level.
Twisting Chilton’s Own Narcissism
Speaking of visceral, Will gradually manipulates Dr. Chilton’s narcissism to help him uncover his lost memories and discover how he was manipulated. Even though we were glued to Season 1’s terrific portrayal of Hannibal and his machinations, we ultimately see that his methods go deeper, inducing seizures and blackouts for Will and driving his encephalitis to the hilt.
It’s really interesting to see Will battling Hannibal with his own intelligence and resources, using whoever he has listening to gain eyes and ears outside of the mental institution. He has Alana to maintain his defense and serve as his moral anchor, he has Beverly to uncover new evidence by encouraging her to follow her own instincts, and he has Dr. Chilton’s narcissism and greed for glory to help him discover what kind of therapies and drugs were used on him.
A Coin Flip on Death
It would be least surprising if Hannibal were listed as one of the shows that keenly and accurately portrayed death. And yet, Hannibal continues to surprise us on a very different level when it features the battling of cancer as one of the most formidable struggles most people live with.
Bella, portrayed by the beautiful and brilliant Gina Torres, suffers from lung cancer who would prefer to die with dignity and peace rather than end her life with pain and misery. “The cancer is an occupying force. I want to surrender while I still have my dignity.”
It’s a chilling portrayal of surrender, death, and love. Wouldn’t you want to keep someone you love as long as possible? And yet, wouldn’t you want to free them of pain and remember them happy and alive? Hannibal surprises us with these precarious and poignant scenes about suffering, pain, suicide, and death; special emphasis on Dr. Lecter’s fickle and almost-indifferent coin toss about letting Bella die peacefully after a morphine overdose.
The Angel of Death
Continuing the descent about death and surrender, Hannibal displayed another archetype killer in the form of the “angel of death”. We’ve seen this kind of psycho countless times in crime dramas before; the killer who acts on the motivation of helping others under the guise of mercy, bringing them the deaths that they want or deserve.
This time, the show features a more disturbing character in the form of the terrific Amanda Plummer. Her chilling smile, her crazed eyes, her spastic hands, and her icy voice convince us that this woman is absolutely nuts. She sees herself as a deliverer of death, bringing helpless people an end that’s free of pain and misery. Her lack of remorse and the immediate discovery of her crimes seemingly amuses Jack. He didn’t even need the help of Will and Hannibal to discover this killer. In fact, they didn’t even need to coax a confession out of her; she immediately confirms her involvement as a sick and twisted angel of death.
Things Aren’t Looking Good for Beverly
We’ve seen plenty of nods to Silence of the Lambs and even Red Dragon. The most obvious of which is the recent mural killer with a fondness for skin; his name James Grey is even a reflection of Silence of the Lamb’s Jame Gumb. In Takiawase, we get another nod in the form of Beverly’s chilling scene with Hannibal, reminding us of Clarice Starling’s gripping game of cat-and-mouse-in-the-dark with Jame Gumb.
We know that Beverly is helping Will uncover more evidence, if there is any, that proves his innocence. Regardless of how doubtful Bev is, her instincts clearly tell her that there’s truth to Will’s words. When she finds an opportunity to check Hannibal’s place after Will realizes that Dr. Lecter must be eating his victims, Bev is in deep shit.
When she discovers his basement and sees all the macabre tools and probably trophies there, she realizes the horrific situation she’s in. More so, when she turns and sees Hannibal standing behind her who immediately turns off the light in a terrifying scene that we don’t see. Is it too pessimistic to assume that Bev will soon end up on the dining table, perhaps as one of Dr. Lecter’s delectable dinners? Gunshots are fired and from the angle of their trajectory, we know that things aren’t going well for Beverly. After all, this is Hannibal’s lair, it’s his maze, his design. From the ominous tone of his offhand comment “So often you open your mouth and I hear Will Graham’s words come out.”, we know that Hannibal had known Beverly would discover him eventually.
How will Beverly’s discovery of Hannibal play out? Will we even see Beverly again or would we have to grimace in disgust as she is served at another one of Hannibal’s famous homecooked dinners? Who is the copycat and what are his motivations? How will Hannibal descend into carelessness that will ultimately lead to Jack Crawford realizing his true nature?
Let’s find out next week in “Mukozuke” 😀