The most amazing thing about “Mizumono”—beyond its quality—is that it does not feel much like an episode of Hannibal, yet it is an entirely perfect cap to this season. It ups the dreamy qualities that have made the show so interesting from the beginning, but the biggest difference in “Mizumono” is the pacing. There are quite a few things that have to happen before Hannibal can escape into the rain to what will be an inevitably truncated freedom. But the episode never feels rushed, or overstuffed. That aforementioned dreaminess has slowed proceedings down, giving the series a signature feel that is often punctuated with bouts of fast-paced action. That dreaminess is announced at the beginning of the episode, with a demonstration of Will’s duality shown literally. Good is embodied by Jack, and evil by Hannibal, as it has been since the beginning. Hannibal speaks in superfluous elegance, while Jack is blunt, much like the fighting styles that we will see later in the episode. The comparatively slow pace allows those moments of action or abject horror to stand out and have a greater impact, as evidenced by the next scene in which Will takes aim at a stag with the long-dead Garrett Jacob Hobbs standing next to him. But “Mizumono” marries the dream state with more of the thriller feel that’s so associated with Thomas Harris’ onscreen works.
That pacing is thanks, in part, to the score, which is near constant throughout the episode. I have praised i’s sound design throughout, but in “Mizumono,” there was elegance tied to urgency. The ticking clock, the evidence of Will’s state of mind—between encephalitis-induced insanity versus his normal fragile state—becomes an aural reminder that Will knows what he’s doing even if we as an audience is not fully aware of whose aid he will eventually come to. But there is a sense momentum, of moving forward, tied to that ticking. There are plans in place, and it’s impossible to know what they are. (Credit is also due to both episode writer Steve Lightfoot, who was able to put all of these pieces together, and director David Slade who was able to pull the tone of the episode together, even in how different it can feel from the rest of the series.)
The predictability of those plans is called into further question as Kade Prurnell puts the kibosh on both Jack and Hannibal’s dinner date by essentially doing the right thing: recognizing that her agents are out of line. However, her decision imparts consequences that lead to the death or injury of several key members of the series, including Abigail, whom we thought long dead. But it’s Abigail who leads to Will’s terrible evening, not Prurnell (whom I hope comes back to fill the iciness void left by Bedelia’s absence). “Love and death are the great hinges in which all human sympathies turn,” Hannibal tells Bella in what is presumably their final conversation. It’s those two things that bring Will and Freddie together, this desire to protect Abigail even in her supposed death, so she can remain the imago he currently has in his head of her. The imago idea extends for both of the meanings that Hannibal explains, in that it’s the last stage of transformation. In a way, Jack’s death should be the test of that last stage, a test that Hannibal already knows Will has failed by his association with Freddie.
The final scene between Will and Hannibal, as Will lies bleeding out on the floor was so oddly touching. Hannibal is hurt by Will’s action: “Now that you know me, see me. I gave you a rare gift, but you didn’t want it,” Hannibal says. Hannibal’s identity duality of perception versus reality did not have to be blurred with Will. Yet, Hannibal forgives him. Forgiveness, as Bella says earlier in the episode, is a state she says that cannot be controlled. Instead, it happens to us. But Hannibal takes fate into his own hands. If he can dictate forgiveness, he can put the teacup back together again. But Will and Abigail aren’t the only victims left for dead. Jack is seen gasping for air, just as he left Bella. Hannibal has taken care of Jack in his absence, as Bella requested, although not in the way she hoped.
Alana is left to a similarly horrific fate, to die alone in the street. One of the downfalls of a 13 episode arc: I would have loved to see more of Alana’s inner struggle. It’s hinted at here, and there just wasn’t time to explore it. This is the show about the epic love story of two men, but women, and especially Alana, became less of a factor in a season two. Regardless, here’s a woman whose very core has been shaken, who has slept with the darkest of enemies, and we get to see only a little of that. It’s interesting that the other great feminine love in both Hannibal and Will’s live, Abigail, is the agent of her supposed demise. Yet, out of all of them, it’s Hannibal who gets to walk free in the rain.
The fate of the series is in such a state of flux, and it’s quite a feat. I have no idea where the writers will take us next season. As was the case this season, the series will essentially begin anew, with Hannibal on the run and presumably Will recuperating both emotionally and physically. Considering how Bryan Fuller and company fared with a whole new set of rules during season two, season three seems that much further away.
- Recipe of the week: Julia Child’s rack of lamb
- Poor Brian Zeller and Jimmy Price are going to get quite the shock when they get back to work, huh?