It’s hard to remember that Hannibal is on network TV when it’s so consistently grotesque, cinematically gorgeous, and experimental with its style of storytelling. This is the type of programming you’d see on HBO, but NBC is lucky enough to be the mainstream network to carry it. I guess they aren’t technically breaking any broadcasting rules with the gore, but it sure does like to push the envelope. This week was no different as the story follows Will Graham to Italy in the pursuit of Hannibal Lecter. I had to rewind several scenes just to watch the beautiful cinematography play out over and over again.
The episode starts with a refresher reminding us of the most romantic stabbing in history. At this point I don’t even have to be watching the show with shipper goggles on. The powerful feelings between Will and Hannibal has gone far beyond subtext and is just plain text now. We’re reminded that Hannibal wanted to take Will and Abigail and flee with them to start a new life. We’re shown that loving face caress right before Hannibal guts him, then the fond embrace as Will bleeds out on the floor. Sure, it’s not a typical romance, but we are talking about a cannibalistic serial killer here. I try so hard to keep my shipping at the door when I review shows, but it’s really hard to do that when I’m having shipping goggles thrown at my face by the writers. The body was warped into a heart and left for Will to find, for goodness sake. If they didn’t want us to go into this feeling shippy feels, they wouldn’t throw things like that at us. Come on guys. Give us a break. (But don’t, actually, please keep going).
Speaking of Abigail, I’m glad they didn’t stretch out the imaginary Abigail story for too long. She never interacted with anyone and Will was always cagey interacting with her with others around, so it was broadcast pretty loudly that she was in his head. They wouldn’t have been able to explain away her isolation from other characters for too long before fans realized something was amiss. Still, she did offer some insight into Will’s mind and his battle with a seeming Stockholm Syndrome type feeling towards Hannibal. Which side Will is on has been a mystery every since he put the puzzle pieces together last season. Sometimes it seems like he’s definitely being a dutiful FBI agent and hoping to capture Hannibal. Other times he’s offering forgiveness or letting Hannibal stroke his face… It’s complicated, man. But perhaps there’s a middle ground. Perhaps he truly is struggling with his feelings and unsure what side he’s on. Or maybe he’s just playing his own game and ‘sides’ are irrelevant. It’s hard to say.
We still don’t know who all died from last year’s finale, but we are slowly being shown how things played out. Will lived (obviously), Abigail died. Considering Caroline Dhavernas was at last year’s Comic-Con, Alana Bloom probably lives. I’m guessing that Jack is dead, though. We haven’t seen him in any promos and he wasn’t at any press events. They also built up the attack on him all of last season and that was a hell of a lot of blood coming out from under that door. The thing is, though, that we just don’t know. They could pull anything on us, and that’s kind of exciting. I trust this show. I trust it more than I should, especially when it comes to things that would probably upset me in other media like character death or subtextual romantic tension. The show has earned my trust and doesn’t show any sign of losing it.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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