This is how Hannibal‘s Season 2 finale ends, not with the bang of a gunshot, but with an absolute bloodbath.
We’ve known, of course, since the season premiere, that we were headed toward a violent, kitchen-decimating alteraction between Hannibal Lecter and Jack Crawford, one in which the titular serial killer would nearly be choked to death and one that would leave the FBI honcho with a shard of glass in his neck, before locking himself in Lecter’s wine closet.
What we couldn’t have foreseen was Alana Bloom being hurled out a second story window (by a resurrected Abigail Hobbs!) and to the concrete walkway below; Will Graham arriving on the scene and promptly getting gutted by Dr. Lecter (and I’m not talkin’ emotionally gutted); Abigail playing the role of sacrificial lamb (a punishment for Will’s sins); and Jack’s blood flowing so copiously that it dripped into the basement below.
Oh, and none of the above counts as the episode’s biggest bombshell — the payoff to the clock ticking we’d heard throughout the hour. (Hope you stuck around after the closing credits!)
Let’s do a quick recap of the action (and don’t forget to check back Tuesday for my Q&A/Season 3 preview with
the delightfully twisted executive producer Bryan Fuller).
SPLIT LOYALTIES | We open with Hannibal sending a gorgeously handwritten invite to Jack — Dr. Hannibal Lecter Requests the Pleasure of Your Company for Dinner (so cheeky!) — followed by intersecting conversations between Will/Hannibal and Will/Jack. Our addled profiler offers intel to both of his “buddies” in advance of the main event. “He’ll try to kill you in the kitchen — for convenience. Make it easier to prepare the tartare,” he tells Jack (who’s planning to have plenty of backup on standby). Meanwhile, Will warns Hannibal that Jack won’t be easy to kill. “When the moment comes,” Hannibal and Will both ask, their faces morphing into a horrifying split-screen mask, “will you do what needs to be done?” Will replies, to both, “Oh yes.” And the game is on…
DEATHBED AND THE MAIDEN | Hannibal swings by to see Bella, who seems a little ambivalent about forgiving the good doctor for thwarting her suicide, for “moving [her] punctuation mark, for [moving] her meaning.” She asks, however, that he watch out for Jack after she’s died — not realizing that Hannibal intends for her hubby to precede her!
A HINT OF GINGER RUINS THE RECIPE | Will and Hannibal, who’ve made plans to escape together after Jack’s last supper, dismantle evidence of the therapist’s old life and burn his patient files. But as Bedelia warned last week, Lecter’s the smartest guy in the room, and he catches a whiff of Freddie Lounds on Will’s skin, the same Freddie Lounds that Will supposedly murdered and set on fire — cementing their relationship in the process. (Hannibal’s realization — and his haunting mind’s-eye image of Freddie — will stick in my brain forever.) Later, over dinner, Hannibal asks Will how he’d feel about confessing his crimes and getting Jack’s forgiveness. “He’s not offering that,” Jack replies. “He wants the truth.” And Hannibal lobs back a chilling statement that sets the tone for all that comes after it: “To the truth, then, and all its consequences.”
THE BEST LAID PLANS… | On the eve of Jack’s final chess move, his boss Kade Prurnell drops in and puts him on forced compassionate leave — arguing that his enticement of Hannibal Lecter to commit murder represents entrapment, won’t lead to a conviction (true, but does Jack really intend for this to end in a courtroom?) and is ultimately “outrageous government conduct.” After reviewing his files, she puts out a warrant for Will and Jack’s arrests — but let’s be honest, it’s just a plot device to make sure Jack doesn’t have any backup, and that Will and Jack are forced to act fast (before they’re thrown in the clink). Alana, learning of Prurnell’s plans, tips off Will. And as the FBI rolls up to his house, Will dials Hannibal and offers his own warning: “They know.” (Question I’m dying to know: WHY did Will make the call? Was he truly hoping Hannibal might make an early escape? Or were there other possible motives?)
SOUP’S ON! | Slow clap for director David Slade for creating such a visually sumptuous final course. Jack’s reflection appearing on Hannibal’s kitchen knife. Hannibal observing his own reflection against the blade. The brilliant redness of the meat on the cutting board. And Mads Mikkelsen and Laurence Fishburne loading every single word of the script with significance, too. “The most beautiful quality of a true friendship is to understand and be understood with absolute clarity,” says Hannibal, ruefully. To which Jack replies, “Then this is the clearest moment of our friendship.” He draws his gun. Hannibal is faster, hurling a knife that lodges in Jack’s hand, then leaping over the island like a sociopathic gazelle at the start of an epic fight to the death.
WHAT THE BLOODY HELL? | Alana arrives on the scene, smart enough to dial 9-1-1 at the sight of Hannibal’s half-open front door, but not smart enough to stay out in the relative safety of a torrential downpour. (“Alana, you in danger, girl!”) Jack, meanwhile, gets a kitchen towel around Hannibal’s neck, hoists his rival’s back onto his back, and begins to choke him using Hannibal’s own body weight. But in one final reversal, Hannibal grabs a piece of shattered glass, impales Jack’s neck and then (after Jack scrambles into the very impressive wine closet) begins vigorously leaping into the door to break it down. (Absolutely terrifying, somehow, even after watching a million madmen pull this exact same maneuver, no?) That’s when Alana spies Hannibal, and Hannibal spies Alana, telling her to “be blind, don’t be brave,” and he’ll let her walk. But instead, she fires her gun, the gun from which Hannibal’s already removed the bullets. She races upstairs — a direct violation of Horror Scene Survival 101 — and bumps into… ABIGAIL, down one ear but not down a life. And then Abigail HURLS ALANA OUT THE FREAKIN’ WINDOW. It’s a long, long, glass-and-rain-and-blood-drops infused fall — a most beautiful (possible) death. And finally, Will is on the scene, rushing into the house, frozen in shock by the sight of Abigail, the pseudo-daughter he thought he’d failed to save. “I didn’t know what else to do, so I just did what he told me,” she weeps.
ABSOLUTELY GUTTED | “You were supposed to leave,” Will says to Hannibal. “We couldn’t leave without you,” Lecter replies, cradling Will’s face in his hands (perhaps for a second, the fulfillment of something homoerotic?), and then driving a small, curved blade into his soul mate’s stomach. “Time did reverse. The teacup that I shattered did come together. A place was made for Abigail in your world. You understand?” Hannibal asks, revealing the depths of his madness, and the depths to which his love/loyalty/friendship/trust for Will had gone. “A place was made for all of us, together. I wanted to suprise you,” Hannibal notes with regret, and then adds with a hint of spite, “And you wanted to surprise me.” The truth is out, and all its consequences must now come to bear. “I let you know me, see me,” Hannibal tells Will. “I gave you a rare gift, but you didn’t want it.” And because it’s the only way left that he can hurt Will, Hannibal calls Abigail to his side and slits her throat, blood spraying, pumping so ferociously, it’s almost art. Will sees the dark stag groan and take its final breath on the kitchen floor, and Hannibal makes his exit past his many victims, into the rainy night.
LEAVING, ON A JET PLANE | After the credits roll, we see a jetliner taking off, flight attendants offering champagne or orange juice (in French) to pampered passengers. We know we’re about to see Hannibal, sipping on bubbly, but who’s that next to him? His own therapist Bedelia du Maurier (the incomparable Gillian Anderson), a woman both fascinated by and fearful of our shark-eyed antihero!? Is this the start of a bold new chapter or a trip to a Bermuda Triangle of “Are you freakin’ kidding me?” Thankfully, with NBC having greenlit Season 3, we’ll be able to find out. (I’m voting for the former option, obviously, how about you?)
What did you think of the Hannibal Season 2 finale? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments! And feel free to stick around the site — just so you don’t have to be alone after an hour of TV that scary!