The best episodes of Hannibal, not that they have bad episodes, but the best episodes generally end up playing out like a well rounded game of chess. Instead of using a board and pieces, Lecter and Graham compete with brain power and an unrelenting willingness to destroy the other person. Chess was never meant to be played with three people, though, and as Mason Verger learns by the end of this episode, Lecter and Hannibal have a closed game.
I am continually impressed by how much Hannibal is able to get away with in terms of graphic violence. “Tome-wan” has to take the cake in terms of the most brutal, and detailed violence this show has witnessed, with an opening that involves a throat slitting and blood spraying, and an ending that involves a man eating his own nose. I was left to wonder how the hell this episode made it to air. I’m not sure if it’s the late Friday night time slot, or if Fuller is handing out handy’s on the side, but this episode probably wouldn’t have seen the light of day on other similar networks.
After Mason was left still alive at the end of last week’s episode, and his sights now set on Lecter, “Tome-wan” was a non stop ride from start to finish. The majority of the plot focused on the conclusion of the Verger Family story line, but we also got a couple of nice hints as to what’s coming next week. One thing that I am particularly excited about, is seeing the outcome of the flash forward way back in episode 1. In case you forgot, that is when Crawford finally shows up to confront Lecter and a brawl ensues. It’s left as a cliffhanger, but I am sure it’s going to be resolved in next week’s finale.
Dr. Maurier makes a welcome return to confess to Crawford everything she knows about Lecter’s powers of persuasion. She is granted immunity and then confesses to murdering a patient under Dr. Lecter’s influence. Now that the eyes are finally opening and setting their sights to Hannibal, the season finale may witness another changing of the guards as Graham is finally closing in on Lecter. Though as Maurier puts it “If you think you will catch Lecter, it’s because that’s what he wants you to think”.
Much of “Tome-Wan” had to do with the ideas of control and persuasion. The opening back and forth between Lecter and Graham was some of the strongest, and funniest, of the show’s entire history. Trying to determine who is actually in control of things is always a challenge for this show as all the characters, particularly the two main ones, are so smart. Going back to the game of chess, at this point it seems like a stalemate is more likely than anything, but I am hoping that maybe this will be the end of Hannibal’s reign in the company of FBI profilers. If I had to guess, I imagine next season may involve the actual hunt for Lecter. Or perhaps it will take a similar road to that of Silence of the Lambs, where Lecter is used as a consultant for Graham.
Having never read the novels, I have limited insight into where the show could potentially end up. I’ve read a few theories, and thought of a few endings I’d like myself, but part of what I love about Hannibal is its lack of predictability. The season finale will surely have a few tricks up its sleeve. Or it better, if it has a hope of beating, or at least matching “Tome-wan”.
Grade = A