Oh. My. Lord.
The ending to Hannibal’s second season was so unexpected, so shocking, so intense — it was absolutely, utterly amazing. With rare exception has this reviewer ever experienced a television finale this awe-inspiring and beautifully crafted.
The performance of Madds Mikkelsen was breathtaking. His monologue at the end of the episode, where he reveals everything is so wrought with maniacal devilishness and sincere, unbridled emotion that you don’t know whether to hate him or feel sorry for him. The actor’s breathy, deliberate cadence and his cold stare send chills up your spine as unfolds everything before the audience.
God, this wasn’t television, this was high art.
But, before we put this one in the Louvre, let’s recap.
The narrative build-up of the episode is that after last week’s botched attempt at catching Hannibal in the act of murder, Will (Hugh Dancy) and Jack (Laurence Fishburne) devise a Hail Mary plan — put Jack’s life on the line. The plan, while dangerous, will be effective, as the FBI will surround Hannibal’s home and Jack will be protected even if Hannibal does gain the upper hand.
However, a severe monkey wrench is thrown into the mix as Jack’s boss (Cynthia Nixon) suspends Jack for the reckless behavior of both he and Will. Jack decides that he has nothing to lose, particularly with his life on her death bed, and goes it alone against Hannibal.
Yes, we finally get the answers and motivations to the opening sequence of the second season when we saw Hannibal and Jack in a deadly fight which left Jack with a shard of glass plunged into his neck.
Meanwhile, Will has been playing both sides of the fence, and at times we don’t know whose side he’s on, Jack’s or Hannibal’s. He has a love and affection for both men, but also a reason to distrust and hate both men too.
The tension leading up to the brutal climax is at a fever pitch. It’s greatly bolstered by the absolutely mind-blowing visuals employed in tonight’s episode. Hannibal has been known for its vibrant and gruesomely cinematic imagery, but in “Mizumono,” it was a hallucinogenic trip down the rabbit hole.
The climax was just beyond everything you could imagine this series, known for pushing boundaries, could ever do. There are so many twists, shocks and reveals, that you will never see coming, well at least there’s one thing you’ll never see coming and if you did, you are an absolute genius. The reveals here are so exciting, that you’ll find yourself, exclaiming your shock out loud. It’s nearly unbelievable what happens.
Then there’s that speech. Mikkelsen shows here that the Hannibal Lecter character is as much his own as it is Anthony Hopkins’ character. He’s developed his own distinct take on the famed cannibal, one that is uniquely his, but also one that is faithful to Hopkins’ portrayal. This scene alone should garner Mikkelsen at least some consideration for an Emmy…it’s just too good to ignore.
To be honest, Hannibal’s second season was starting to get a bit stale. The game of human chess between Will and Hannibal lost some steam, episodes became a bit throwaway, episodic “big bads” become caricatures and then there was the three episode detour with Michael Pitt’s pig farmer and his sister, which took the show off the rails a bit. Luckily, “Mizumono” put the show back on the right track and then promptly knocked the show and the viewers on its ears and changed the game, leaving us salivating for the series return in 2015.