This show is getting continually difficult to review because each episode seems to amplify the feelings I had last week to a more extreme degree. I don’t want to be repetitive, but at the same time this show knows what it does well and continues to deliver week after week. The visual design is still gorgeous. Will and Hannibal still have a deep emotional bond that is skirting the line of becoming a canon slash pairing. And we’re still learning the details about who survived last week’s finale. I’m so excited about all of this that I’m on the verge of tears.
The biggest surprise? Jack is back. I thought for sure he’d died. Of all my predictions for who made it out and who didn’t, I was the most certain about him being dead. But no, he’s not only alive, but healthy enough to travel to Europe in pursuit of Hannibal. I’m glad to see he’s not letting a pesky neck stabbing incident keep him down. What’s a shard of glass in the jugular between friends? I really do like Jack and am glad he’s alive, but for some reason I’m more concerned about his wife at this point that I am about him. Perhaps I missed it, but at this point I assume she’s passed away. I don’t think he’d take off to Europe if she was still alive and fighting cancer. I hope that they touch on that a bit more thoroughly in the future because I would hate for her to just silently slip away into the background.
This week’s episode also pushed the boundaries of Will and Hannibal’s relationship to an extreme degree. I try to leave non-canon shipping at the door here, but once more I get these very loud hints at canon love thrown in my face and it makes it impossible not to mention it. Now we have repeated use of the phrase “in love,” and the incredibly emotional line from Will Graham: “I’ve never known myself as well as I know myself when I’m with him.” Oh Will, baby, you are killing me. And making it very hard to do my job here.
I’m wondering at what point do we consider the relationship between Will and Hannibal a canon romance? If it’s the use of the phrase ‘in love,’ we have that. But if it requires one of them to say it to the other, we aren’t quite there yet. If it requires a kiss, we don’t have that either. But if intimate touching qualifies, we got that during the finale last year. So what qualifies? It’s interesting to note that while they skirt this issue, I haven’t once thought of them as ‘queer baiting,’ as many other near canon slash ships tend to do. I’m not sure if it’s my own personal bias towards this show that is keeping me from being upset, or if it’s just so well done and throwing just enough canon at us that I can’t bring myself to be mad. I would love to know your opinion on this, fellow LGBTQ+ aligned people and fellow slash shippers. Queer baiting? Canon slash ship? Neither? This is a discussion I’m dying to explore more because I’m having a hard time separating myself from the love I feel for this show to be completely objective. Do leave your thoughts as a comment.
Another highlight of this week’s episode was that they finally dove into Hannibal’s history in Lithuania and more thoroughly covered details of what happened to his sister. It’s a huge aspect of his character and a major cause for why he went down the path he’s on. I’m not going to excuse his horrific murderous behavior, but looking at things psychologically and from a narrative perspective, knowing what causes villains to tick makes them much more believable. It doesn’t excuse the behavior, but it explains it and adds a depth.
Chiyoh was also a highlight, though I’m not as passionate about her as much of the fandom seems to be. She was a great character and showed that Hannibal has a habit of doing this with people he encounters. He pulls them into his orbit and doesn’t let them go. While Hannibal will never return to Lithuania, he’s left Chiyoh there in his stead. It’ll be interesting to see how her character plays out, but I don’t feel as attached to her as so much of the fandom is. Perhaps she’ll grow on me. She definitely has an interesting story to tell.
Next week will probably amplify everything here threefold, because that’s how we roll on Hannibal. We’ll be blown away by the visual design. We’ll probably know the fate of the last participant in the finale, Alana, whom I’ve been assuming was alive based on the show’s promotion. At this point I could be wrong though. And we’ll probably also get more nods to the love between Hannibal and Will, which means I’ll be incapable of not talking about it once more. Despite its repetitiveness, I’m still very engaged because it’s not even remotely stale. This formula is working, and I’m in this for the long haul.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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