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Hannibal Season 2 Recap: How Does a Monster Make a Friend?

Phil Hornshaw | 27 May 2014 20:00
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Will's Becoming
As Will is freed and Crawford becomes more and more convinced that Hannibal might be the Ripper, Hannibal executes a plan to throw the trail off himself. He targets Frederick Chilton, the director of the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. There are doubts - Chilton supposedly doesn't have the surgical skill the Ripper does - but Hannibal plays another ace in Miriam Lass, the FBI trainee who discovered him in Season 1. She's found alive, and thanks to light therapy and psychic steering by Hannibal, she identifies Chilton as the Ripper, and then shoots him.

Free and changing, Will looks for a new way to catch Hannibal and restarts therapy with him. The unique nature of Will and Hannibal's minds creates a strange relationship: They really are the only two people who can understand one another, and yet, Will wants to kill Hannibal and feels himself changing into a killer under Hannibal's influence. Hannibal continues experiencing life through the eyes of Will, starting a relationship with Alana and learning more about him through their therapy sessions.

Hannibal sets about trying to help Will become a murderer. First, he sends former patient Randall Tier to kill Will, expecting Will to prevail. He survives the encounter and kills Tier, but goes beyond self-defense to kill Tier with his bare hands.

Will dismembers Tier and uses his body in a tableau - an act meant to help convince Hannibal of Will's changing, but which has more of an effect on Will than simply trying to deceive Hannibal. Bedelia will later tell Will about how Hannibal manipulated her to murder in the same way.

When journalist Freddie Lounds discovers pieces of Tier in Will's refrigerator, he convinces Hannibal that he has killed her. It's a rouse: Freddie is alive and Will is working with Crawford to trap Hannibal.

hannibal s2 recap jack

Meet the Vergers
At about the same time, Hannibal and Will encounter Margot Verger, a patient of Hannibal's who wants to kill her sadistic, abusive brother, Mason. She can't, though: Without a male heir to the Verger fortune, she'll lose everything, and Mason knows it. She seduces Will in an attempt to get pregnant, but Mason, tipped by Hannibal, ambushes her and uses his considerable means to have doctors perform a hysterectomy on Margot.

Hannibal's plan is to goad Will into killing Mason, but Will is hoping to catch Hannibal in the act of killing Mason instead. And both are torn about their feelings about one another, though, and when Mason's men capture Hannibal, Will can't take the opportunity to kill him. With Will's help, Hannibal escapes Mason's plan to kill him and instead convinces Mason, under the influence of drugs, to cut his own face off, then breaks his neck.

Even with everything that happened with Mason, Crawford and Will decide to go forward with their plan to catch Hannibal. Despite the need to catch him, Will remains torn. And even though Hannibal is aware that Will is holding back - Hannibal detects the smell of cordite on Alana from her firing a gun, and later detects the smell of Freddie Lounds on Will - he remains hopeful Will will decide to join him, rather than betray him.

For all that hope, though, in the final episode, none of the characters can stop themselves from acting out their essential natures. Will can't help but stop Hannibal; Crawford can't help but play the part of the lawman, even though he loses his FBI support and he knows there's a good chance he won't survive the encounter; Alana can't help but try to stop their collision before it kills them all.

As Alana warned, however, the plan does not go as Jack and Will hope. FBI agents waylay Will, causing him to arrive late, after Jack has already revealed what he knows of Hannibal. The fight from the beginning of the season marks the beginning of the end, with Jack hiding in the pantry. Alana shows up to stop Hannibal and discovers his ace in the hole: Abigail Hobbs, kept alive like Miriam Lass. She throws Alana out a window, where Will finds her as he arrives.

Inside, he's confronted by Hannibal.

It's a culmination of Will and Hannibal's relationship: even though they have a connection and a genuine feeling for each other, neither can change who he is. With Abigail present, Hannibal stabs Will, then cuts Abigail's throat. He escapes while everyone else bleeds out.

Hannibal Season 3

What now?
Season 2 created major changes among all the characters of Hannibal, not the least of which was the fact that just about everyone ended the season dying. Will Graham's killer instincts have been heightened by his connection with Hannibal, and he's already well gone from the man he was. Jack Crawford has been shown the weaknesses of his faith in the FBI, and his own ability to trust has been shattered even further. Alana Bloom, always attempting to protect and help others as a psychiatrist, has been shown the limits of her abilities.

Hannibal is on the run with Bedelia, and it's unclear who will survive Hannibal's attack. Show developer Bryan Fuller has said his plan is to tackle the events of the novel Red Dragon in season four of Hannibal, which leaves the third season to focus on the aftermath of the attack and the hunt to bring Hannibal Lecter to justice.

If what we've seen of Hannibal so far is any indication, expect the show to draw heavily on the existing novel material even as it diverts into a new story arc. We've seen big portions of the novel Hannibal and its concern with the Vergers in this season of the show, and that book also covers Lecter's escape to Florence, Italy. There's material there that could be used in Season 3, but it's not clear if that's what Fuller has planned.

Should Will Graham survive, Season 3 will likely be harder on him than any before it. Expect to see him struggling with what Hannibal has left in his mind and with what he's lost, even as he hunts his former doctor and friend.

For those less than familiar with the novels (and willing to speculate), it's probable that Crawford and Graham will survive their wounds. Will's presence is necessary for the events of Red Dragon, as are Crawfords; Alana's novel alter-ego, Alan Bloom, is also present for those events. Abigail Hobbs, however, has been a wild card all along.

We've seen a willingness to kill characters (or not) in Hannibal, however - so just because someone makes it through the novels doesn't mean they'll survive the show.

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