Hannibal Ep 1.13 ‘Savoureux’ is a beautiful, haunted season finale

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Hannibal Season 1, Episode 13 ‘Savoureux’

Written by Bryan Fuller, Steve Lightfoot & Scott Nimerfro

Directed by David Slade

returns for season two in 2013

(note: Randy is filling in for Ricky this week. You can read Randy’s reviews of Hannibal and other shows at Processed Media).

As we’ve seen, Hannibal Lecter is a fan of the orchestra: some might dismiss it as a component of his natural elegance and high-brow demeanor, but his love for the art runs deeper. There’s something about the grandiose organization going on, the management of subtleties among a group of extremely talented people that Hannibal loves: throughout this season, he’s made the FBI his orchestra, overseeing every investigation, defining the tempo of Will’s insanity with his steady hands. In ‘Savoureux’, he almost regrettably reaches his final movement, and with a tear in his eye, finishes grotesque arrangement with a flourish.

Last week’s episode ended with Abigail meeting her death at the hands of Hannibal: ‘Savoureux’ begins with Will vomiting up her ear in his kitchen sink. But let’s back up a step: Will’s first dream frames everything to follow in the episode, paralleling both his chase of Hannibal and his desperate attempts to find himself. In the dream, he’s hunting that damn stag that’s been chasing him around all season (which has become a symbol for both Hannibal and death, intertwining them in the finale to reveal him as the devil), and finally hits it with a long distance shot. But when he chases it down all he finds is a blood stain, paralleling what was to follow in the episode: Will finally connecting the dots and finding his target, but unable to finish the hunt for the man he’s been searching for all season.

Earlier this season, I wondered if Hannibal’s red-walled office represented Hell: those notions were affirmed in Will’s other hallucinations in the episode, as the stag is revealed to Will as the devil, and he finally begins to put the pieces together of what happened back in the pilot with Garrett’s mystery phone call, the key to the events that would eventually unravel Will’s psyche. But as Will is finally piecing together the truth, everyone who he loves and trusts has turned against him: the evidence Hannibal’s placed on Will is outstanding, from human remains in his lures to getting Abigail’s blood under his fingernails (and an ear in his mouth without even waking him up… how did he get a hold of him? We’ve all seen how much Will sweats at night) – even Alana has to face the facts in front of them (her presence in this episode really provides an emotional anchor for Will that it sorely needed: without her, it would’ve been the most depressing season finale ever).

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What’s really genius about the finale is how it quietly lays the groundwork for season two without disrupting the culmination of season one’s events. Jack and Will’s relationship is completely broken – and this season finale suggests that people are starting to turn their heads towards Jack as the man responsible for Will’s supposed bloodshed. Alana screams at him, the forensics team mentions Jack pushing him – and of course, Hannibal, who has to poke at the man who he’s really playing chess with. As Will points out while holding Hannibal at gunpoint, Will was nothing but a toy to Hannibal – a pawn if you will, a player in the game that Hannibal could pluck off the board and make dance around like a marionette.

But all television bromances eventually come to a end, and even Hannibal feels sad that he’s losing the lab guinea pig that he really started to care about. In a way, Will’s the only person who could understand a person like Hannibal, and although it peaked his darker interests, there’s still an emotional connection between the two of them that even a monster like Hannibal recognizes. They understand each other (and now that Will knows, more so than ever), and with Will behind bars, it just leaves Hannibal alone in the world again.

People are starting to wonder, though: if there’s anything to take away from this finale, it’s the seed of doubt placed firmly in the minds of Alana and Jack , even after Jack shoots Will after arriving at the Hobbs residence (bringing the season to a close on a creepy parallel to the pilot: Will is shot in the same spot as Garrett, and utters the same phrase: “See?”). There’s almost too much evidence against Will, placing things in such perfect boxes that has everyone both bewildered and curious: as Beverly points out, they just don’t want to think these things about their colleague, and they’ll be determined to get to the bottom of what happens as the show continues.

Simply put, ‘Savoureux’ was a perfect season finale: all of Hannibal’s machinations come to a head, and we’re left with some fantastic nods to iconic Lecter imagery as he says farewell to Will (by saying “hello”, of course). When Hannibal walks into the room, he begins a beautiful orchestral piece in his mind (a callback to Silence of the Lambs, which referenced Hannibal’s ability to enjoy the layers of music in his mind, like he does with his sense of smell), and walks up to Will behind bars (nods to scenes in both Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs, reversing Hannibal’s usual role of being in prison). And as they greet each other, we say goodbye to the best freshman season of a network drama since LOST, and a finale that firmly establishes Hannibal‘s spot in the highest echelon of television shows.

 

Other thoughts/observations:

– Will: “I know who I am.”

– Only episode we didn’t get Will re-enacting a crime: would’ve been a cool scene to see him re-enact one of Hannibal’s murders, but it certainly wasn’t necessary. The parallels have been made enough through the season.

– no Freddie Lounds in this episode: no worries, Fuller’s got big plans for her in season 2

– other things rumored (or mentioned by Fuller for season two): Mason Verger, who appears post-Hannibalization in Hannibal. We’d be meeting him as Hannibal’s patient, which ends in Hannibal taking the guy apart piece by piece without killing him. Hopefully we won’t have the killer pigs this time, though.

– Alana’s watching Will’s dogs while he’s away, because she’s just the perfect woman.

– Hannibal: “I know what life means.”

– There’s an interesting series of shots in Hannibal’s office when Will shows up that caught my eye. There are a series of shots composed with Will standing between two shades – theoretically, good on his left and evil on his right, with Will trapped in the middle unable to find out. We then see Hannibal sitting in his chair (in the darkness, I might add), his body and head firmly established on the right side of the window’s curtains he is profiled against.

– Hannibal serves veal to Dr. De Maurier, basically giving away who they are eating (someone “young”… aka Abigail).

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