Hannibal: Hassun   Rewatch 
March 20, 2015 1:22 AM - Season 2, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Jack Crawford risks his job by going against the FBI's directives and revealing to the court that it was his hand that pushed Will to his limit.

It’s odd. I had little to say last week (but also less time to read the script and sit and think if there was anything new for me to say). This episode isn’t as good as the first two, but it’s off in a way that’s still slightly confusing to me even after a year and change. Maybe even in an enlightening way with the benefit of further hindsight.

HELL of an opening despite the smoke not looking quite right to me. The “dressing for trial” is one of the biggest “I can hear tumblr screaming from miles away” moments in the show. And that little smile at the prosecutor complimenting his murder boyfriend… The ear is just the perfect sort of sick punchline the show would get better at creating in later episodes.

And yet it doesn’t quite all work for me even now with full knowledge of where they were going and everything the creators of the show have said about where their heads were at when they did this one. The show shrugging off the procedural chrysalis and becoming the much weirder moth the show’d become, but it’s still a very odd watch in its own way. Not out there enough to be, well, where we're headed, but not grounded enough to feel right either.

I’d been looking forward very much to the show possibly doing the hilarious circus of a trial that gets Hannibal deemed insane. But maybe it’s for the better that the show stays smaller and more intimate as it has been at its best and as we have good reason to believe they will be.

I don’t recall the weakest moments of S1 engaging me as much as this episode did. The engine’s firing, it’s just needs to finish changing gears.
I'm very much looking forward to just about everything from here on out though.

The script, and Cleolinda recaps part one and two. Nothing really jumped out at me in the script beyond Zeller's, "YES, WE SHOULD'VE," response to Price's line about taking a stool sample not being in it.
posted by sparkletone (11 comments total)
The most important line is "we have to create a desire to find you not guilty" - or is that "innocent"? I can't check right now.

The most important thing is that nobody in the show is really taking an evidence-based approach even if they think they are. For the rest of the season, the case against Hannibal is built on an excuse that they're trying to find evidence, but what they're really trying to do is expose him to disgrace in a way that will make people not want to be associated with him anymore. rue72 was very incisive on this subject.

It's not that they *totally* ignore evidence, but at the point in the season when they're collecting evidence on Hannibal, Bev was literally saying that they weren't expecting to find anything, and therefore, of course, they didn't. Similarly, if Jack hadn't been following his therapist's advice to keep visiting Will, the fishhook evidence in Futamono wouldn't have had any effect on him - he only acknowledged that the evidence exonerated Will because he was emotionally ready to acknowledge that. Otherwise, he might've just gone "bah humbug, guess Will wasn't working alone, we must find his accomplice! Dr Lecter, can you help us profile this mysterious accomplice? We're a bit short handed right now what with most of our staff being in jail or dead."

The "stool sample" line is therefore the other most important line in the episode. You can actually see Hannibal learning from Zeller as he hears that. And of course, Hannibal has been prancing around the evidence lab and the morgue for weeks and weeks now. We were told offline that the cheek swab was masked with pig jowl, which means there would be evidence to find on Hannibal if one looked for it properly - he doesn't have magic powers of not shedding DNA. It's just that nobody on the show ever took his knowledge state into account: that he knew not only how forensics roughly worked, but he knew specifically how *this lab* works and was gaining more and more knowledge all the time.

They might like to comfort themselves with the thought that he's a murder wizard that no human could possibly catch by any natural means, but really, it's more like stage magic: he misdirects their attention from where the true action is. They only embark on Operation Fake Hannigram because they've closed off all other possibilities simply by botching them.

And of course the THE most important line: "Are you going to let his love go to waste?"

And there's the characterization line from Alana in response to the cue "he wants to know me": she says "I wanna save you". Through confession? By bodily rescuing him from the death penalty? But as she says, she was hoping a verdict would get Will to accept his situation, so any reasonable doubt the Admirer might have introduced is no help from her point of view. Basically none of this is going well for her. Also, Will's lawyer - the lawyer she got for Will! - tells her she looks like a giant fool in her support for him. I guess she was lucky not to end up with egg on her face for all her efforts, but that's the best you can say for her.

However, that line embedded about how she was hoping for a verdict is really telling. She *does not* want Will to be exonerated on any *other* grounds than automatism; she wants it to be him. And yet she didn't anticipate being called out on her crush on him, despite the fact that at least two people called her out on it in S1; nor for it to cause credibility problems with her testimony. See, Alana NEVER consults third-party experts: she doesn't have a therapist, and she didn't get a second opinion to shore up her defence from someone who wasn't personally involved. She was absolutely optimistic in episode 1 when she was skipping in the fields with the dogs - she was so sure that all she'd have to do is explain that Will just sleepwalked through these murders, and he'd be back home in no time.

I feel like Alana was surprised that her word wasn't law, in the same way that Hannibal was surprised that his word wasn't law. Braver rejects Alana and puts Hannibal on the stand and Hannibal basically turns into a sparkly emoji telling everyone how much he loves Will in purple ink with the i's dotted with little hearts. You will recall that Will *did* try to kill Hannibal last season - Mukozuke isn't his first attempt - so shouldn't it be enough that Hannibal says Will's a great guy? Anyway, Hannibal is a rich white middle-aged man with a medical licence and a Bentley! What do you mean, he's not going to get his way just because he wants it?!?

I agree that, despite its making a bunch of important thematic points that it was right to make, this episode is just kind of crap. I've heard objections about how the legal process just doesn't work like this, and I don't doubt that it's wayyyyyy inaccurate... but for every point of critique I've heard a counterpoint from the real world. Someone gets mad because it's a legal requirement to present exonerating evidence and the judge can't just dismiss it... Well, then I read something by a junior lawyer complaining that he's never allowed to present exonerating evidence despite it being a legal requirement. That sort of thing. I mean I've yet to be convinced that the real world *doesn't* actually work the way NBC Hannibal says it does and that due process and evidence and the rule of law and stuff *aren't* just empty words. I'm guessing that most people, institutions, professions in the real world operate more like they do on *Hannibal* than on any other TV show and the only reason Hannibal seems unrealistic is because we're just not used to seeing this level of human idiocy portrayed on TV. But this episode seems kinda crap even to me.
posted by tel3path at 1:20 PM on March 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

The most important line is "we have to create a desire to find you not guilty" - or is that "innocent"? I can't check right now.

Straight out the script:

WILL: Advertising trivializes, it manipulates, it's vulgar.
LAWYER BRO: Boo-hoo. So's the law. We have to create the desire to find you "not guilty," which does not exist in this courtroom. We're manipulating the consumer into buying something they don't need. They don't want your innocence. Unconsciousness in a pretty package, that I can sell.

I may have changed the lawyer's name because my click and drag to select the text didn't catch it and I didn't feel like switching back to my PDF reader.
posted by sparkletone at 4:45 PM on March 20, 2015

Also also also

Our first sign of "time reserving" in the season season, which as we know becomes a Thing.
posted by The Whelk at 9:11 AM on March 24, 2015

Also, Fuller said this was the hardest episode to write cause court drama isn't really his thing, so we more of a moody noir feel (THAT HAT) and its a court dram in the same way like, Brecht or Kafka would be a court drama.

Another big motif for the shows, along with abuse disguised as care are major spcietical institutions like the Law which are either completely ineffective or actively aiding and supporting Monsters.
posted by The Whelk at 9:13 AM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

That being said, the rhythms of this episode are really strange and awkward and it almost feels like they could've done away with the court scene entirely a and just jumped to Will working with Brown .....of course then we'd miss Chilton giving a description of Hannibal while talking about Will, a thematic delight.
posted by The Whelk at 11:02 AM on March 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

If this is time reversing, does that mean that at some point in the future Will actually does get the chair?
posted by tel3path at 12:39 PM on March 24, 2015

I think it's to represent possible futures, but it's also the first time we see the time reversal thing, which, along with Will's "forgotten" memories, ties into the whole motif.
posted by The Whelk at 12:42 PM on March 24, 2015

It would be horrible if Will actually did end up like that.
posted by tel3path at 12:45 PM on March 24, 2015

Not that the book fate he suffers is any better, an alcoholic with a ruined face.
posted by tel3path at 2:16 PM on March 24, 2015

I feel like Jack really begins to make progress as a character when he insists on going on the witness stand to tell the truth as he sees it. As much of an asshole as he is, he's got enough humility to admit it. It's a self-sacrificing act from someone whose besetting sin is his tendency to sacrifice others.

And then he does it AGAIN with Beverly!!!! And then he does it AGAIN with Will, though admittedly he thinks he's burned all his legit forensic bridges by then because he's bought the hype of Hannibal as Murder Wizard.

But you know, Jack did the right thing here according to his knowledge state.

Granted, he was being fooled by Hannibal, and he also didn't have the specific knowledge that Will was hallucinating, which was never reported to him either by Hannibal or by Alana. But the way he disingenously grinned at Will when Will came to him in distress in Trou Normand - that negates his position, and he was an asshole, albeit an incompletely informed asshole.

Sigh. He just can't help it, I think.
posted by tel3path at 4:16 AM on March 26, 2015

Actually, that is kind of what it feels like to be a sinner, aka a human.

You do the thing you should do to fix the fine mess you're in, but it's too late.

So you don't know what else to do besides the thing that got you into this mess in the first place. And keep doing it for all you're worth.

Not that I'd know anything about that of course.
posted by tel3path at 7:26 AM on March 27, 2015

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