They aren't wearing matching best friend t-shirts yet—unfortunately—but Will and Hannibal spend an impressive (and, of course, unhealthy) amount of time during "Tome-Wan" assuring each other that they're in it for the long haul. Graham and Lecter. Lecter and Graham. Achilles and Patroclus. Ivory and Ivory. Two sides of the same coin, trying to make it in this crazy world.
It would almost be touching if it weren't for the fact that their friendship can only survive if everyone around them dies.
"I'm good at Chicken, Dr. Lecter. I never blink."
Or, Don't You Mean "Good Like Chicken, Mason?"
Or, How Can Honestly You Expect Me To Even Talk About Anything Else For An Extended Period Of Time?
As expected, Mason is no match for Hannibal and his hubris gets the better of him, despite (or due to) believing himself to be a master of "the general conceit" of suffering. Unfortunately, he doesn't think to take more precautions against Hannibal than hiring a couple of old thugs (one who tasers Hannibal, which the first time around, much like Jane Kerkovich-Williams, only makes him stronger) and ends up paying for it when Will pledges his allegiance to the less "discourteous" (also, less rude and less insane) psychopath.
Hannibal injects Mason with a hodgepodge of psychedelics, providing one of the most intense but visually astounding images of the series. And possibly a scene for Michael Pitt's Emmy reel? Actually scratch that. Every Mason Verger scene should be a scene for Michael Pitt's Emmy reel. You're welcome, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Honestly, what can I even say after witnessing Mason Verger feed his face to dogs, as well as himself? This is an extremely important episode… yet all I can continue to think about is how, for the first time ever, I genuinely could not watch something on Hannibal. Honestly, this is the first time I've ever become physically ill while watching Hannibal. Much like Mason, I too was "enchanted and terrified" (well, mostly terrified) during this entire situation. Of course, that's the way the any Mason scene goes for me, but come on—he eats his own face.
It's not just a literal unmasking of Mason; Hannibal explains how "psychedelic" derives from Greek and means "mind-revealing."
"Patients rhapsodize about the life-changing insights they achieve."
"Mason wants you to know this can never be undone." / "Mason can be undone."
"Tome-Wan" also features the strangest depiction of white-knighting that I have ever seen. It results in the aforementioned facial digestion (ugh, facial digestion), and it's actually more about Hannibal and Will's relationship than it is Margot's protection and sanity. Hannibal, for all of his posturing and the fact that he is the one that undoes Mason, is also the reason why Mason went to such extremes in the first place.
Sorry to cut this short, but the face thing is continuing to make me ill, even with the lifelike—and so, so very creepy—face mask that's ultimately used. But Margot: You go girl.
"What Hannibal does is not coercion. It is persuasion."
"Has he ever tried to persuade you to kill anybody? He will. And it will be somebody you love. And you will think it's the only choice you have."
Case in point: Hannibal doesn't even coerce Mason to eat his face; he merely suggests it and it happens. That is the scale of power the man's working with. Yes, Mason is on an insane amount of psychedelics at the time, but that doesn't make it less impressive. Or disgusting.
Dammit, he made those poor dogs eat his flesh too.
Going back to Hannibal's explanation of psychedelics in psychiatry, Hannibal practically lives by the code of providing his patients with "life-changing insights." These aren't necessarily for the "better," as Mason ends up faceless, Will ends up whatever you want to call him now ("broken" would be the understatement of the century), and Margot ends up empty but simultaneously fulfilled (meaning perhaps Mason wasn't wrong to say her suffering and happiness weren't mutually exclusive). However, you can't really say they all ended up "worse," right? Hooray?!
As I mentioned in "Ko No Mono," Hannibal's need to orchestrate everything, and his God-like aspirations, can't and won't sustain themselves for long—he's shown hints of slipping, and all Will needs is that one crack to win this game. Bedelia being found by Jack, forced to finally answer some questions about Hannibal—even if they are with the standard non-answers of Hannibal—confirms what Will most likely knew in his heart to be true. Hannibal succeeds because he never coerces anyone into doing anything; he's a master at persuasion, a master manipulator. By the time anyone in Hannibal's orbit realizes what they've done, it's too late. Hannibal has already won. Hannibal offers his subjects their own "free will," only he's pulling the strings the whole time without them even realizing it upfront.
"Hiding and revealing identity is a constant theme throughout the Greek epics." / "As are battle-tested friendships."
"So much about this feels like a dream." Wouldn't it be funny if all of a sudden in the finale, we found out this entire season has been a dream and Will's still locked up? No? Ok, I was just making sure. No need for the pitchforks.
I'm usually the type of person to see derivatives of Greek tragedies in everything, so I for one am surprised I haven't constantly gone on about Hannibal being one great big Greek epic. It's pretty telling that Hannibal thinks he and will are Achilles and Petroclus, when I'd definitely peg Will more as Odysseus or even Prometheus (think of his "liver" as his brain and the "bird" as Hannibal poking around in there, constantly just mucking up the works).
Actually, if you have any suggestions for any Greek tragedies or epics (that apply or even ones I can just read and try to shoe-horn into bar conversations), I'm game.
Hannibal has taken everything away from Will, and yet he still, above everything else, considers the man a friend. It's never in a mocking way, it's never in a manipulative way (he can always manipulate Will without calling himself the guy's friend)—it is Hannibal's genuine belief about his relationship with Will. Perhaps, it's the most genuine thing about the man that doesn't involve his stance on "the rude."
However, Hannibal's method of proclaiming his friendship is to remove the other things that Will loves, the distractions. Abigail Hobbs, Alana, the baby. Essentially, all of these losses in Will's life that Hannibal was responsible for were "for the best." They made Will into the man that he is today, the man that is able to have an open and honest relationship with his true other half. It's hauntingly beautiful, don't you think?
Now, the only one left in the way is Jack. Hannibal considers Jack a friend too, which is why he agrees with Will that it is time to "reveal" the truth to him, but Hannibal also knows Jack is another one of those roadblocks in he and Will conquering the world.
Aren't you glad you're not friends with Hannibal?
[Image via NBC]
Morning After is a new home for television discussion online, brought to you by Gawker. Read more here.