May 30, 2014


This review contains spoilers.

and falling headlong 
he burst open in the middle 
and all his entrails gushed out

Acts 1:18

So the second season of the only decent NBC's drama series has ended in a blood bath. I don't like this kind of cliffhangers, when you're left wondering, who, if anyone at all, lives. Make no mistake, I have no issues with the brutal massacre itself, it was actually very much in place; it's the fact that for several months we won't know, who is gone forever that annoys me. The scene in the plane is far more appropriate for the finale, and if the only mystery left was how these two ended up together and why, it would have suffice. Unfortunately, the creators of the show decided to go all-in, and that was the general feeling I got from the entire season.

I thought it was smart of them to gradually walk away from the procedural genre, though they still tried to shock the audience with very peculiar murders. The funniest episode was of course the one with the pig lord getting what he deserved. It amused me quite a bit.

It appeared to me that the psychiatrist-patient dialogues, which I really enjoyed last season, got a lot simpler, and one did not need to think to get the subtext. For example, I personally thought it was unnecessary to say "last supper" out loud in the final episode:  what this meal was to the main characters was clear from how the scene was set up.

The series has less respect (or regard?) for women than Silicon Valley. The only female character that shows any signs of free will is Du Maurier. Miriam, Alana, Beverly, Margot, Freddie, Abigail, Bella - all of them are merely the means to affect other men's behavior and feelings. They die and resurrect as easily as they burst into tears and start yelling. Hannibal explores the world of complicated men and plain and simple women.

Now closer to the plot. If the first season is dedicated almost solely to Will, the second one is definitely about Hannibal, whom we get to know mainly by watching Will change. 

What is Hannibal? Well, he tends to think he's God, so he acts like one. Turns out, killing people, as well as devouring human flesh and internal organs, is not his main focus. Surely, Hannibal enjoys the sacrifice, while comparing his actions to natural disasters, but despite all indications, he doesn't really live to eat. What is more interesting about him is that like God, who created man in his image, Hannibal is turning his patients into some versions of himself. Graham seems to be the first one whom he intended to keep, which means he thought of Will as of his finest creation, although surely not as divine: something like a human son. Only Du Maurier came as close before, which is why Hannibal liked having her around and tried to reveal himself to her, but she preferred to play blind, which was not ideal.

Dr. Lecter felt connection with Will from the moment he's heard his own profile done by Graham at the academy. This shaky brilliant man saw him, understood him, which meant it would have been so easy for him to become Hannibal. In this piece of raw material he saw his future creation. This weird bond, together with Lecter's sense of superiority to Will and his confidence in his own capability to change the guy, and turn him into someone he can reveal his true nature to, inadvertently got him too invested with Will's world and Will's attractions. Du Maurier was wrong about Hannibal; he was not aware of the FBI trap, and he was hurt by the untold truth, the way a psychopath can be hurt by failing to control another person. 

In the end Hannibal asked if Will thought he could change him, the way Hannibal changed Will, and Graham responded that he already did, which seemed to strike Dr. Lecter, as if he realized this statement was true. And the only way to put this all behind was to destroy Will and his world and those whom he loves - everything that reminds Hannibal of his vulnerability, his mistake, his ungodliness. Hannibal and Will were through for good. The cup had to remain broken, and so it did. 

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