Monday, June 29, 2015

RECAP: Hannibal 3x04 - Frederick Chilton Is Not Nick Fury

Just as a quick reminder, we now have Kyla Furey from Feedback Force doing weekly Hannibal recaps for us! 

Frederick Chilton is not Nick Furey, but god damn is he ever trying. He got himself a bum eye (although he uses a contact lens to make it look normal rather than an eyepatch), and he spends this entire episode randomly turning up and trying to recruit people to his Avengers Initiative. ...Excuse me, Revenge Initiative. Unfortunately he is nowhere near as convincing as Nick Furey, and everyone in the episode just tells him to screw off. Sorry Chilton honey, no one likes you.

Episode 4 was basically a survey episode, where we flow gradually from one character to another as we see what happened at the end of the last season after everyone woke up (or failed to wake up) from the events of Mizumono. Hannibal isn’t even in the episode, except in Will’s imagination (and one tiny letter-writing moment). Instead we see Chilton, Mason, Jack, Alana, and of course Will as they deal with the weight of the trauma that now hangs perpetually over their existence.

We begin with Chilton and Mason comparing scars - we see the extent of Mason’s* facial destruction, while Chilton removes all of his makeup and prosthetics to reveal a disturbingly drooping facial profile along with a dead eye and significant bullet hole in his cheek.** Chilton is trying to recruit Mason for his revenge “lock up Hannibal in my hospital so I can torment him” scheme, but Mason is having none of it. Mostly because Mason actually wants to kill Hannibal, not just lock him up.

Chilton’s next recruitment stop is Will Graham, trying to commiserate with him over their matching abdominal scars and framing by Hannibal. Will knows better than to give Chilton the time of day though, regardless of whether he comes bearing flowers or not. 

Instead, Will completely tunes Chilton out and fantasizes that Abigail came to visit him. He pictures a different ending to his own story - what it might have been like if he’d helped Hannibal to kill Jack instead of following Jack’s lead.***

Later, out of the hospital, Will is working on a boat motor in his garage when Jack comes to visit him. Jack wants to know why Will gave Hannibal a heads-up about Jack’s plan, giving the cannibal a chance to escape. Will finally admits out loud that he wanted to run away with Hannibal. It seems like he wasn’t sure of himself at the time, but he admits the secret now like the terrible confession that it is, startling Jack and perhaps even himself.

Jack’s story is full of sadness and is one of the most heart-tearing parts of the episode - its emotional core, I would even venture - because although Jack survived his encounter with Hannibal, his wife Bella is still dying of cancer. We see here her slow passing, and Jack’s presence with her in her final hours. 

It’s all heart-wrenching and inevitable, but in a quietly sad way rather than the otherwise ostentatious emotionality that is typical of the series. Which really helps to emphasize how stable and meaningful their relationship truly was; one of the only truly functional relationships in the series. One of the last scenes of Jack in the episode is at her funeral, picturing their wedding day in the same church and fuming over a condolence card sent by Hannibal himself.

Even in the midst of all Jack’s trauma though, he still gets the requisite visit from Chilton, trying to keep him focused on apprehending Hannibal and trying to convince him that Will will lead them to the fugitive cannibal. Which is probably true, but Jack is having none of it, having only the space in his heart and mind right now for his dying wife. As well he should.****

The other main character arc we get to see in this story is Alana’s, whose bones were shattered in her fall out of Hannibal’s second-story window. She too is approached by Chilton while she’s still in traction and she too - like everyone else - completely blows him off.***** 

Once out of the hospital, Alana starts in a wheelchair, trying to approach the grieving Will (and failing, because Will is too busy angsting over Hannibal to listen to anyone except his own hallucination of Abigail), but soon graduates to a cane and plans for revenge. She joins Mason in his quest to find and kill Hannibal (after a significant amount of flirting with his sister Margot, hooray for bisexuality on TV), transforming into some kind of steely-gazed stone-hearted femme fatale. 

I’m not sure how I feel about this transformation. I mean, on the one hand Alana was always the most stable and rational character on the show, the most capable of dealing with her emotions and balancing her mental state with the craziness around her. But now suddenly she’s cold and calculating and out for revenge? It seems a bit of a stretch. 

But on the other hand, if anything was going to do that to you, I imagine having your lover’s accomplice shove you out a window would probably be it. At least they’re doing something interesting with her this season. We’ll see where that goes.

Finally, after the death of Bella, we see Jack come to find Will, perhaps intending to save him from himself. But as Alana - at Will’s house and presumably caring for his dogs - tells Jack, it’s too late; Will is already gone. (Apparently SAILING off to Europe across the Atlantic? Or maybe he just sailed out to an airport. The former is funnier though, and somehow more poignant.) Everyone is in place - this is how the hunt begins, and it seems as though next week, we shall see how the hunt ends!

Side note, as I’m sure you’ve already heard if you read Debbi’s news post, Hannibal has not been picked up for a fourth season, much to the despair of the fans. There’s still a ray of hope, though! The creators are shopping the show around to other services (Amazon video looks like the top contender right now, since they already have the streaming rights to the first three seasons), so there’s still a chance we may get it back! If you want to help out the cause, everyone’s been tweeting (and e-mailing and chatting with) Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon using the #SaveHannibal hashtag in an attempt to revive the show.

But regardless of what happens later, we’ve still got the rest of the season to enjoy and indulge ourselves in! Onward, to cannibal confrontations!

* Mason is played by a new actor compared to last season, but you can honestly barely tell under all that scar makeup.

** Am I crazy, or was Chilton shot in the opposite cheek in the episode last season? Am I just completely misremembering that?

*** Some more great cinematography here, as we literally see Will separating from himself as he imagines the different ways his story might have gone.

**** One funny aside though that we learn in this scene - apparently Chilton copyrighted the term “Hannibal the Cannibal,” presumably to use in future writings on the subject. Good grief, Frederick.

***** To be fair, Chilton’s kind of an asshole about it, basically telling her “I told you so.”

Kyla Furey is an independent game designer and writer. She is also one of the hosts of the game-analysis podcast, Feedback Force, and hosts a weekly Saturday night game livestream on Twitch TV. She enjoys the surreal and the moody in her media, hence her great love of NBC’s Hannibal. You can follow her on Twitter @Kyla_Go where she livetweets Hannibal on Thursdays at 10pm Pacific, following which, she posts delirious stream-of-consciousness reaction videos on YouTube.

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