Hannibal 2×13 ‘Mizumono’: The teacup shatters

Hannibal 2x13 Cover

Fuller has teased Season 3 as being the “fugitive” season, where Hannibal is on the run and is in the process of being hunted down.  I had assumed that, even with Jack being stabbed in the flash-forward, that the season finale would end with Hannibal running away with his tail between his legs.  Because how else would he end up running away?  There was a plan in motion against him; he was eventually going to have to be cornered in order for him to be imprisoned.

Boy, was I wrong.

Hannibal - Season 2

Source: NBC

This second season has done a remarkable job understanding the portrayal of its antagonist.  In order for Hannibal to be an effective television show, we as the audience have to believe both that Hannibal has the upper hand at all times and that Hannibal has human flaws that will eventually spell his downfall.  Knowing that he would eventually be found out, it was important to reiterate both how Will/Jack’s plan might work and that Hannibal was capable of thwarting all plans.  So, going into the finale, Fuller really played up that there was going to be a showdown.  And, in playing that aspect of the confrontation up, Fuller was able to dive into how Will is conflicted.  He wants to catch the man that murdered Abigail and Beverly, but he’s been contorted so mercilessly by Hannibal that their relationship is fighting that want.

Hannibal - Season 2

Source: NBC

But as soon as Hannibal smelled Freddie Lounds on Will, I knew it was over.  Hannibal’s victory was going to be a victory; it was just unclear as to how total that victory would be.  The slow revelation as to the full scale of Hannibal’s victory was one of the most horrific aspects of the episode, as everything just continued to escalate to the point of absolute chaos.  First, Jack’s plan was compromised by his boss, who decided to call off the investigation and bring both him and Will up on charges.  Then, after Jack was beaten down and Alana was defenseless, Abigail shows up to give Hannibal another ally.  Then, after Alana was thrown out of a window, Hannibal stabs Will and murders Abigail to punish Will’s betrayal.  Step by step, the victory become more complete, until we see Hannibal escape with everybody else bleeding out in his house.  If anything, “Mizumono” was uncompromisingly brutal, an unforgiving failure on the part of all of the protagonists.

Hannibal 2x13-3

Source: NBC

But, more than anything, Will and Hannibal’s relationship was what grounded this episode, providing the emotional resonance that makes “Mizumono” the greatest episode of the season, if not the whole series.  (The only episode that has even a chance of topping this is Season 1’s “Savoureux”.)  Hannibal is just as heartbroken as Will is.  He brought Will into his life because he wanted somebody who was more than just a friend.  He wanted somebody who was able to see him for what he is, somebody whose capacity for violence made them able to accept and even appreciate his violent nature.  So, when Hannibal smelled Freddie on Will, he felt the full force of his partner’s betrayal.  He even gave Will an opportunity to confess his crimes.  Serving the imago to Will was the tipping point, where Will could confess, plot to kill Jack, and secure his transformation, or stay silent and die alongside his friends.

So when it was revealed that Abigail was alive (minus an ear), the season’s meditation on parenting came full circle.  Will, Hannibal, and Abigail could have run off into the sunset together, but because of Will’s betrayal, Hannibal had to eviscerate any remnants of him from his life.  And, sadly, that included Abigail, who will most likely be dead for Hannibal’s third season.  This season brilliantly delved into the horror of codependency through charting Will’s shifting personality as a result of Hannibal, and how connection to others can be so damning.  Hannibal knew exactly how to twist Will, and, in the end, he knew exactly how to punish him.  Abigail’s death at Hannibal’s hands was undoubtedly the most heartbreaking moment in the finale.  Jack calling Bella as he bled out was a close second, reminding us how Hannibal promised to take care of him for her.  The entire episode was horribly tragic in how Hannibal’s intense connection to those around him spelled their doom from the start.  Because Hannibal had created these failsafes and Plan B’s a long time ago, crafting an intricate web that keeps him safe while he burns everyone around him.  There was no way that anybody could have defeated him, not while they were so closely linked to him.

Hannibal - Season 2

Source: NBC

Ultimately, when Will shot the stag, he wasn’t shooting Hannibal.  His mind was so distorted by Hannibal’s influence that he couldn’t see that he was shooting himself.  He was so intertwined with Hannibal that the lines between friend and enemy blurred to the point where he ended up blindfolded, shooting at his own animal in a blind fury.  Hannibal is a brutal reminder to what happens when we are exposed to the pervasive nature of evil.  We’re contorted, little by little, until lashing out is futile.  Because, by the time we’ve formulated a plan to lash out, we’ve already been imprisoned.

Hannibal’s second season was mostly incredible, minus some slip-ups in the season’s second half concerning the introduction of the Vergers and the portrayal of the show’s women.  But Fuller has effectively taken the construct of the season and blown it up again, wiping the slate clean so that anybody could be dead, and so that Hannibal was on the run with Bedelia.  As for what happens next, NBC renewed the show for a third season, so it’s up to Fuller as to how Hannibal is finally caught.  But what a remarkable way to close out a beautiful, masterful season of television.

Thanks to those who read my Hannibal reviews!  I know that the show has low viewership, so please come back next year to hear my thoughts on the show’s third season.  So, let me know.  Who is going to live to Season 3 and who is going to die?  Was “Mizumono” everything you thought it would be?  Let me know in the comments!

Michael St. Charles

is just a Michigan State University grad who loves a good story. If he’s not off teaching the young ones how to solve quadratic functions or to write an expository essay, he’s watching old-school HBO shows, indie horror movies, or he’s playing Resident Evil 4.

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