Though it doesn’t quite reach the heights of “Sakizuki,” Hannibal’s latest episode keeps the gears turning and the gore coming. “Hassun” is a great reminder of why we’ll all be so bummed out when this show inevitably gets cancelled far before its time.
If you’re a little fuzzy on the previous episode and just really, really don’t want to read my recap of it, this should help refresh your memory:
WARNING: THERE WILL BE HELLA SPOILERS AHEAD PROCEED WITH CAUTION
Will’s trial begins, but is quickly derailed by the appearance of a copycat killer, who mutilates his/her (probably his, since we all know it’s Hannibal) victim to match all of Will’s supposed crimes. As a result, Will drops his “I was crazy” defense.” Meanwhile, Jack continues to question his certainty of Will’s guilt, and Hannibal continues to be a manipulative bastard. Freddie Lounds shows up as a witness in the hearing and straight-up lies, as she is wont to do. Alana does what she can to save her friend’s life. Will mostly just bides his time and subtly manipulates Hannibal. After Will’s new “admirer” murders the judge, the entire trial is derailed. The episode ends with Alana telling Will that she wants to save him. He takes her hand, and they sit in silence.
Time is running out for Will. In a dream, he pulls the switch and then watches himself fry in the electric chair. If his plan doesn’t work, he’s sealed his fate. Parallel shots of Will and Hannibal getting dressed for the trial remind us both of the reason that he’s there, and also the stark injustice of it all. Hannibal dresses calmly, ever poised and unflappable, while a rumpled and exhausted Will gets ready to defend his life.
At the trial, the lawyer for the prosecution acts like a lawyer and smugly tells the court how awful Will is (ugh, lawyers). Though, to be fair, the evidence against Will is pretty convincing, so Ms. Vega thinks that she’s prosecuting a serial killer, and probably feels pretty good about that.
Things don’t seem to be going to well, until Jack has his “moment of truth” and takes the stand. Being the swell guy that he is, Jack speaks from the heart, telling the court how Will “hated every minute of his work,” and only continued to take the job because he cared about saving lives. Even if he hadn’t started to doubt his own convictions in the previous episode, it’s a moment of honesty that speaks volumes about Jack’s character.
Aaaand just before the credits, Will’s defense attorney gets a package and finds it to contain a severed human ear: “I think I opened your mail.”
“This isn’t Law, it’s Advertising”
I like Will’s lawyer, in spite of myself. That line heading this section? It’s kind of douche, but he somehow pulls it off. Though his approach to law is, in the words of Will, “vulgar,” he seems dedicated to winning the case. I mean, that’s his job, but he could totally have been a dick about the whole murder thing, you know? That having been said, the scene where he coaches Alana on how to act in court is kind of sad. Watching her tell Will to his face that she doesn’t feel anything more than a “professional” curiosity for him once again emphasizes that he is totally alone. Even the people who care about him the most have become distant.
In terms of Will’s defense, the big change in “Hassun” was his decision to drop it. Once Hannibal (probably, right?) murders the bailiff, Will has something approaching proof of another killer’s existence. It doesn’t wash in court, since the details don’t match up and it’s all just theorizing anyway, so now Will…doesn’t really have a defense. Given that he never really wanted to plead crazy, I have the feeling that losing that defense was a very canny move on his part.
“He Likes to Play God”
We get some good moments in this episode from people testifying against Will. Freddie Lounds makes her first appearance of the season, showing up long enough to straight-up lie in court, saying that Abigail had told her that she was afraid Will wanted to “kill her and cannibalize her, just like her father.” As much as her presence is always frustrating, I kind of missed Freddie’s selfish, lying ways.
Chilton testifies as well, and the smug little bastard describes Hannibal perfectly: “That man is a fiction…he likes to play God.” He’s playin’ you, bud. I have the feeling that once Chilton has outlived his usefulness, he isn’t long for this world. Of course, I’ve felt that way since he first showed up in season one, so what the hell do I know? Maybe he totally makes it out of this alive. Maybe Hannibal is the career-making intelligent psychopath that he so desperately wants Will to be. Then again, maybe Dr. Lecter’s got an eye on 80s Principal Chilton’s other kidney.
I talked about Jack’s testimony earlier, and that’s probably the most important, in terms of character stuff. But I gave Agent Crawford his own section, so y’all get to hear what I thought about Hannibal’s defense of his “friend.” He continues to wear his “I’m a decent guy” person suit, going so far as to say that his biggest mistake with Will pre-trial was: “never considering his innocence.” Since the murder of the bailiff is Hannibal’s “love poem” to Will, he talks it up as evidence that Will is innocent of the murders. When his efforts are ruled as inadmissible, well…
“Such a Gift Has Great Significance”
Hannibal’s obsession with Will may be reaching its peak. I doubt that Hannibal’s definition of “friend” is anything approaching normal, since he’s super evil, but there’s something genuine in his efforts to “know” Will. And this episode’s murders were both intended to pretend-strengthen Will’s defense and derail his trial, respectively. Hannibal isn’t ready to see Will behind bars, yet. He’s less like a predator toying with his food than an inquisitive alien taking apart a radio to see how it works. Hannibal doesn’t quite understand the radio yet, so he’s going to buy himself more time to tinker. We’ve seen this before when he met the Human Mural killer in the previous episode. Yes, it gratifies him to be the smartest killer in the room, wearing the best-tailored person suit, but he can’t have that satisfaction without understanding. Killers, he gets. Someone who thinks like a killer but abhors that ability? A rare specimen indeed.
All that pondering aside, it’s clever how Hannibal switches up his M.O. for the murders in this episode. Shooting first, mutilating later. It’s obvious that someone is going to catch on that the details don’t line up, but it convinces Will to drop his insanity defense. He knows that Mr. Graham will go for anything that could prove his innocence, although I suspect that Will already knows the identity of his new “admirer.”
“My Instincts Have Not Yet Arrived at Conviction”
For me, the most important part of this episode was Jack kind of standing up for Will. Yes, Hannibal continues to be manipulative and murder-y, but that’s to be expected. We know he’s going to keep messing with Will and his trial for as long as he possibly can. I’m not saying that it isn’t fun to watch, or, y’know, integral to the show, but Jack’s internal struggle is as vital now as it was in season one. As Hannibal steps up his game, Jack Crawford’s moral compass may ultimately be what saves Will’s life.
But that struggle isn’t just Jack dithering over whether or not he thinks that Will is a murderer. “Hassun” finally brings up his dying wife again, and we realize that Jack’s “career suicide” is as much about dealing with that loss as it is about loyalty to Will. Hannibal, ever playing the good friend, advises Jack that he doesn’t have to “go into the ground with her.” On the one hand, that’s something that I guess a friend could say. Dude, it sucks that your wife is dying, but you have to keep on living. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that Hannibal just wants Jack to keep his job so he can keep messing with the FBI. Either way, I was glad to hear about Bella again, even if it was only briefly. Her illness gave us some good insights into Jack’s character in season one. Here’s hoping that continues in season two, maybe with the added bonus of some more insights into her character.
Recap of the Recap:
Going by the title, “Hassun” sets the tone for the season. “Kaiseki” and “Sakizuki” set events in motion, with the latter especially giving us a taste (heh) of where things could go from here. While “Hassun” may not be quite as tense as the previous episode, the gears, as I said earlier, are turning. We’re really getting into season two’s main storyline now, and I look forward to seeing the battle of wills/minds between Hannibal and Will escalate from here.
What do you guys think? Will Hannibal’s “gift” to Will end up proving to be his own undoing? Or will he continue to get away with murder until Will finds a trump card to play? How long do you think it’ll be until we’re back in court? As always, let me know in the comments or by Pony Express rider.
Tune in at some point after today’s episode and before the next for my recap of episode four.