“I think we’re all working through some issues.”
We open in Florence. One step back. La policia storms Hannibal’s place, cutting in (ha ha) just in time to spare Will from the saw. A mostly sedated Jack implores la policia to do the right thing, but there is talk of a price, and if it wasn’t clear where Will and Hannibal were headed, it would be now.
Two men are left to finish Jack with the saw, but they are cut down from afar. Chiyoh. She comes to speak with Jack, rifle in hand. For a moment, it seems as though Chiyoh may take Jack’s life, after receiving the information she wants, but she departs and leaves a gun with him. And that brings us to the present, and Muskrat Farm.
This episode moves nearly everything forward, which may be necessary to end these storylines, but it’s still incredibly welcome. As beautiful as Europe was, it was very much a honeymoon, and it was past time to get back to real life, or whatever warped version of it the show represents.
So much happens here. Will and Hannibal become guests of Mason and his sinister caretaker, Cordell. Plans are made for a slow, grotesque revenge. There is a nice bit of kinship between Cordell and Hannibal, two men who care dearly for the presentation of food; Hannibal’s appreciation for the detail of his own carefully-planned consumption and eventual murder is both delightful black humor and a clear sign of respect.
Cordell’s sadistic professionalism stands in contrast to his employer, who is becoming more unhinged with each scene. A list of all the things he does in this episode:
- Crudely reveals his knowledge of Alana and Margot’s relationship (“have you peeked under the hood?”
- Also reveals his plan to provide a Verger heir via surrogate
- Also reveals his plan to eat Hannibal while wearing Will’s face
- Has Hannibal branded and restrained with the hogs
- Talks about a German cannibal who screwed up by overcooking his victim’s penis. Penis!
- Gestates a human child inside a sow
I bet I’m missing something here, but these all seem like greatest hits for a loony psychopath holding on to reality by a fingertip. Mason is hardly the only person going crazy here. Will, having been nearly murdered for the last time, bites off a chunk of Cordell’s face in anger, for crying out loud. Alana and Margot actually enable Hannibal, in both the most unsteady truce in history and the clear best option for all parties.
“You’re going to eat him, with my face.”
“Yes. I got a taste for it after you two had me eat my nose.”
Everything goes black just as Cordell makes the first incision, having immobilized – but not anesthetized – Will. “I’m going to cut off your face without anesthesia, Mr. Graham.” And then, well, we have some good, funny times.
(Caption: yes, those are little pigs)
There is sperm harvesting with a cattle prod (offscreen). There is a stillborn child, gestated inside a sow’s womb. There is a man, waking up from an aborted face transplant, wearing his caretaker’s face. And there is a man thrown into his eel pool, where his life ends with his pet eel entering his body through his mouth. All of the deliberate conversations in Europe have led to this parade of lunacy, and it is enchanting and terrifying.
After our principals escape Muskrat Farm, we’re left in Wolf Trap, where Will finally breaks up with Hannibal. It’s a relief to have survived Mason’s meathouse of horrors, but Will’s weary disgust also seems like so much common sense. After being framed for several murders, left for dead once, witnessing most of his closest friends being killed or nearly so, almost having his damn head sawed open, and nearly losing his damn face, Will has no fear left in him. What remains is fatigue. Being the object of affection for a manipulative psychopath is goddamned exhausting. And so Will ends this courtship. Hannibal lingers for a moment, but leaves without a word.
The episode ends with the FBI – led by Jack Crawford with a cane – coming to Wolf Trap in search of Hannibal. He is there, of course – he surrenders without incident. This way, Will Graham will always know where to find him. Chiyoh, watching from the shadows, leaves quietly. Now, Hannibal will know captivity, as she has. Life will move on without anyone else being gruesomely murdered. For a while.
- Goodbye, Mason, you batshit lunatic. You go out in spectacular fashion here, but not without a show.
- Also, goodbye, Cordell. If only everyone could find the joy in their job that you found in yours. Sorry about your face!
- I give this episode four Husserls. There isn’t a ton of blood or mutilation, but the attempted face transplant is not easy to watch. The reveal of the Verger baby is mostly bizarre but it’s still disturbing. And then, Mason ingesting the eel is horrible. I mean, Mason wakes up from sedation wearing Cordell’s face and it’s maybe the fourth-most disturbing thing in this episode.
- Jack is back with the FBI. Instead of a “Welcome Back” party, I hope they had a “You Told Us So” party.
The next episode is “The Great Red Dragon”. I’ll get to it soon enough.
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