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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Hannibal: “Savoureux”

Illustration for article titled Hannibal: “Savoureux”
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As creator Bryan Fuller noted in a message to critics before the finale screener, in French cuisine, savoureux is the final course of the meal meant for the diner who wants to close out their twelfth round with something savory rather than sweet. While other episode titles have fit well with particular episodes, I dare say “Savoureux” is the perfect title for a damn near perfect finale to a great season.

Let’s just go ahead and qualify that waking up to an ear in your sink is the beginning of a no good, very bad day. Hannibal offed Abigail back in Minnesota and has spent a lot of his apparently considerable downtime making sure Will takes the fall for a string of his recent dirty deeds,—i.e. inserting human remains in Will’s handmade fly-fishing lures—ensuring all signs point to Will as the copycat killer. The evidence is there, Beverly reminds Will as she chips the dried blood out from underneath his fingernails. But the evidence is wrong. While Will could have killed the young woman he’s fiercely protected since her serial killer father slit her throat, it’s the other murders that prove to Will he’s innocent. He wasn’t sick when Cassie Boyle, Marissa, or Dr. Sutcliffe had the misfortune of rendezvousing with Hannibal.

David Slade returns to direct the finale, beginning his run with the pilot and returning for “Potage.” While his style was all over the series throughout it’s run—especially the desaturated coloring—”Savoureux” is one of the more visually stunning episodes of a series known for being beautiful. The episode is bathed in darkness. Take the final scene where Mads Mikkelsen’s sharp face protrudes out of the black backdrop as if he is only made up of facial features—all high cheekbones and down-turned mouth—and nothing more. The opening scenes, where we get inside Will’s sickness, is equally effective. This show does a particularly good job of helping us understand Will’s illness, and Hugh Dancy's performance helps considerably. Similarly, I totally dug the staging of this episode, particularly the set pieces of all Will’s supposed victims. As he gets up to examine the victims positioned as statues around Hannibal’s office, Will doesn’t enter into his usual haze of visualizing how each one met their doom, he only sees them as he discovered them. They are Hannibal’s trophies, not his. Will’s diseased brain has been pointing him in the right direction all along, leading to the showdown that gets him incarcerated in the one place he was afraid to be left behind.

But above all, what is really great about this episode is the performances. Each actor expertly conveys the sense of confusion and betrayal upon realizing their colleague, their friend, is the same type of maniac they’re paid to chase. Caroline Dhavernas’ scenes just reiterate how powerful she is. I hope she becomes more of a player next season, because she’s excellent when given something to do. Alana Bloom is really my only snag character-wise for a show that expertly balances action with interpersonal relationships. Each character reacts the way I would expect them to as the evidence stacks up against Will, not because the show is predictable, but because their relationships with Will are so firmly established. Beverly is pissed because she was Will’s closest ally on the BAU team. Jack looks emptied, Alana is incredulous. Even Hannibal, the orchestrator of Will’s misfortune, has a fitting reaction: He is sad his one friend had to go. It’s just one example of what a lesser series couldn’t have pulled off in 13 short episodes.

What’s really interesting about this season’s arc is that Will and Hannibal have become firmly entrenched in the image assigned to them by others. Will was thought of as slightly unstable with the possibility of going over the edge, and ends the season behind bars. Hannibal goes from well-respected doctor to a major part of Will’s demonization because of his resolute trustworthiness. As I’ve said before, identity is a major theme that’s run throughout Hannibal, specifically knowing who you are despite the perceptions of the outside world. Hannibal has consistently told Will to establish who he is for sanity's sake, to anchor Will in reality, even if it is the reality Hannibal prefers. Will deduces his innocence by saying he knows who he is, and it's when Will further muddles his identity with that of Garrett Jacob Hobbs right after Jack takes a shot at him that he looks the most guilty. I’m looking forward to seeing how this perception of identity shifts throughout next season.

Til then, Fannibals.

Stray observations:

  • Recipe of the week: Hay-Smoked Citrus-Cured Pork Loin
  • As Will’s walking down the steps in chains, outfitted in his orange jumpsuit, it struck me how small Hugh Dancy is, which makes it kind of funny that this sick professorial-type could kick the ass of his guard and driver. I would have liked to see that scene.
  • The drive from Baltimore to Bloomington, Minnesota is quite the road trip (about 17 hours according to Google Maps). What do you think Will and Hannibal talked about on the way there? Did they have snacks in the car? (All road trips need snacks.) Who chose the radio station? What songs would Hannibal include on his Ultimate Road Trip Mixtape? I don't think he likes “Life is a Highway”as much as I do.
  • I don’t know what song was playing at the end (hopefully Bryan Fuller will tweet it, so keep me in the loop commenters), but it was perfect.