Hannibal – “Hassun” Review: A Weak Outing
Well, that was a disappointing episode. Considering Will's predicament, we all knew that at some point he would have his day in court. But this episode felt more like a placeholder, setting certain elements in motion, rather than taking forward steps to actually solve anything or push the story.
The main action within "Hassun" is the appearance of a new serial killer who has apparently taken an interest in Will and his past "murders." This unnamed killer repeats Will's alleged kills, using the same artistry and mutilation. However, he shoots his victims first and mutilates second while Will's alleged victims are mutilated while still alive (which, I presume allows our real killer Hannibal to preserve his meat for future use?) and then die from their injuries. As we don't know who the killer is, and the kills are slightly different from those committed by Hannibal, we are left to wonder whether or not this mysterious disciple of Will's is actually Hannibal (changing his MO enough to still make Will appear guilty, but taking steps to keep protecting Will- such as killing the judge after he denies Will's new defense).
There are certainly clues pointing to both possibilities, and I'm a bit at war with myself over which scenario I would enjoy more. During the early parts of the episode I was leaning more toward it being Hannibal himself, as the murders seem to be just controlling enough to fit his vain desire to maintain power over Will and the reputation of his own murders. But the evidence that both the judge and the bailiff appeared to know their attackers makes me question whether Hannibal has had the time and inclination to get to know these two men. There would have to be significant groundwork laid, particularly with the bailiff- to ensure that he would bring home Will's knife. And, really, why would Hannibal take these steps after spending so much time setting Will up? To have a "friend" who might understand him? I'm not sure I would buy that.
Outside of this new murder mystery, "Hussan" doesn't really have much going for it, which is quite the disappointment. Full disclosure, in addition to writing I'm a lawyer, so courtroom scenes in television and film often drive me to yell at the screen about how poorly the legal side of the story is being handled. This episode was particularly bad on the accuracy front- Will pretty much has an idiot for a lawyer and he should probably sue for malpractice. But not all that much comes out during the course of the trial that we did not already know.
It is interesting to see Jack take steps to commit career suicide, but after his conversation with Hannibal (which makes it seem as if Jack was going to recant his testimony), nothing happens to resolve this set-up. Hannibal takes calculated steps to try and exonerate Will (including lying on the stand), but the prosecutor seems to know exactly what to ask to completely destroy Hannibal's testimony. Alana once again tries to convince Will that he committed the murders, but also hints she maintains some non-platonic feelings for him (which, I'm assuming everyone had already picked up on). And Freddie (welcome back, Freddie!) and Chilton testify that Will is a killer- again, not at all surprising.
is at its best when Will and Hannibal are given the time and space to interact. The show is set up to be (at least at this stage in the story) a cat and mouse game between the two leading characters, with the supporting cast there for additional balance. It's also one of the most gorgeously shot shows on television. The balance within the characters and the story (weighing the kill of the week with character development) extends to the amazing visuals that grace our screens. Even the murders are creepily beautiful. When this show is moved into a courtroom for 75% of an episode, it mutes it's strengths. "Hassun" felt a bit like putting a square block into a circle hole. It just didn't quite fit correctly. That being said, I have every faith that the show will rebound next week, but this was a disappointing episode.
-- I wasn't kidding about Will suing his lawyer for malpractice. Discussing trial strategy with Alana in the room (even if she is Will's therapist- which isn't really clear) makes all those discussions admissible and not bound by attorney-client privilege. And that's just the tip of the iceberg regarding what he did wrong.
-- I'm not entirely sure the murder of a judge results in a mistrial. If a judge dies during a trial, it will be postponed, but all evidence that has been admitted should still remain admitted and a new judge will be appointed to the case.
-- I had been wondering where Freddie had gotten to. Glad to see she is still the same morally bankrupt tabloid writer she used to be. I assume that she will take on a larger role as we approach the bulk of the "Red Dragon" storyline.
-- Alana really need some more character development. As I've said in other reviews, if we don't know about her, we can't care about her.
-- Finally, I really enjoyed the opening of the episode, with both Will and Hannibal dressing for court. The comparisons and sharp contrasts between these two characters are such an incredible part of the show. It's always interesting to see them mirrored against each other.