Hannibal 2.3: Hassun


Hannibal airs Fridays at 10pm on NBC



Okay, I’ll be honest with you–this episode bored the bejesus out of me. Like the actual bejesus. I can’t feel the lord’s love shining down on me anymore. Courtroom dramas are my least favorite dramas of every existing drama, and on episodes that are dialogue-heavy (like this one) writing about it without devolving into just retyping the script is a huge challenge. Factor these two aspects in together, and episodes like Hassun are basically a nightmare for me to recap like I usually do (i.e. very detailed).

So in the interest of me not having to put out something mediocre and forced and unfunny and you not having to read all 4500 words of that mediocre and forced and unfunny nonsense, this one episode will be done more like a review than a full recap, and just kind of touch on the parts that I was all zzzzzzz through.

Regular longwinded overemotional essay-length recaps will continue with the next episode!

We open on Will’s INCREDIBLY DISTRESSING dream of being fried in an electric chair.

statistically, 59% of all craigslist casual encounters end this way

statistically, 59% of all craigslist casual encounters end this way

It turns out that Will’s also the one who pulled the lever, which is kind of a dick move on his part. He’s woken up by an orderly and given a suit to put on for his trial.

We are then treated to an 80 minute long session of Will and Hannibal both buttoning themselves into suits in preparation for court.




Also Hannibal’s checking out his own ass is matched up against Will putting his face in his hands. Same, Billy.

Also also I would like it noted that Hannibal’s tie that he puts on is NOT the same as the one he’s actually wearing in court, which is a tragedy because the one he wears in court is very beautiful and important to me.


The prosecuting lawyer (maybe? I don’t know how this works. I’ve seen every episode of Law and Order: SVU but I’ve also technically only seen 2/3 of Law and Order: SVU, since I never watch the courtroom parts)(I wanted to go to law school at one point, is the sad thing. But I wanted to be a boaty lawyer, not a prosecutor or a defense attorney) competently tears Will a new asshole, painting him as a psychopath who got too deep into Garrett Jacob Hobbs when profiling him, which led to Will killing Cassie Boyle, Marissa Schurr, SWEET BABY GEORGIA MADCHEN, and ALLEGEDLY DEAD SWEET BABY ABIGAIL HOBBS.

The lawyer doesn’t believe Will has repressed his murder memories, and when she refers to him as maybe the smartest person in the room, Hannibal smirks. Don’t make that face, loser, she’s right.


Jack paces around. Prurnell shows up to go all Prurnell all over Jack’s life and repeat AD NAUSEAM that Will’s guilty/playing Jack.

“If you can’t represent your own beliefs, represent the Bureau’s.” she suggests when Jack is still hesitant to throw Will under the bus.


Jack is called to the stand, Prurnell’s warnings still fresh in his mind. That lasts for precisely .04 seconds

The lawyer asks how Jack and Will met, and we learn that Will’s opinion on Jack’s Evil Minds museum was apparently that it was tacky and “mythologized banal and cruel men who didn’t deserve to be thought of as supervillains.” ADORABLE.

Jack dutifully answers the questions thrown at him until the lawyer suggests that Will used the FBI to cover up his murderous urges and intentions. Jack’s like “No, I don’t think that’s true. He was so sweaty and mean all the time, it was clear he would rather express all 713 of his dogs’ anal glands at once than actually work for the FBI, but he did it because he wanted to help people, and because it is safer to have your dogs’ anal glands expressed by a veterinarian.”

Jack ends up taking a lot of responsibility, which I am glad for. He says flat out that multiple people told him to stop pushing Will, and he didn’t. “I put those checks and balances in place, and then ignored them.” Jack says sadly.

We get our first closeup of Will’s fairly dilf-ass lawyer (played by Shawn Doyle):

his name is leonard braver but it SHOULD be slick hott, esq.

his name is leonard brauer but it SHOULD be slick hotness, esq.

Jack, stonefaced as Prurnell leaves in disgust, nevertheless keeps playing with his own hands on the stand. LAURENCE FISHBURNE’S SO GOOD.


A cute courier or aide of some kind drops off a yellow envelope, addressed confidential to Brauer, as Brauer happily says he’s gonna have to send a bottle of something nice Jack’s way, since Jack just “paved the way” for Will’s defense. Brauer is honestly a bright spot in the episode. Will’s pissy because Jack didn’t say he was innocent, and Brauer reminds Will that innocent isn’t a verdict, “not guilty” is.

Brauer sits down and opens the envelope, and a bunch of tiny brown shards sprinkle out onto the table, followed by a human ear. GASP.

I am more startled than either Will or Brauer, who are both like, eh, seen worse. “I think I opened your mail.” Brauer says dully. SWEET JESUS I HOPE BRAUER’S THE SECOND/COPYCAT KILLER. I mean, he’s got access to Will and all of the case info, plus to the judges’ chambers, could be friendly with a bailiff, and has motive.



Hannibal and Jack drink and talk about how good it is that Jack’s just not giving a fuck about anything anymore. Unfortunately, it’s because Bella is going downhill fast. Jack’s eyes are shiny as he says Bella’s trying to keep their room from looking too much like a sickroom, and that he might want to take her to Italy so she can die where they fell in love. I DON’T WANT TO SEE LAURENCE FISHBURNE ABOUT TO CRY NOOOOOOOOOOO THIS IS TERRIBLE IT’S LIKE WATCHING YOUR DAD TEAR UP.



Hannibal says that Jack doesn’t have to die with Bella, and that when Bella’s gone, the FBI could still be there for him. Oh, so it’s not just Will that Hannibal’s a terrible psychiatrist for. Good to know.


The team concludes that the ear was cut from a corpse. Hannibal creepily suggests that it was a “gift” from another killer, and points out that Will always said it was someone else. Jack’s like “But he said that other killer was you?”

Hannibal: Maybe he was half right [about the me being a killer part].

Everyone looks around awkwardly, and Zeller, exasperated, goes “Oh, you gotta be kidding me.” I know he’s talking about the general concept of a non-Will killer, but I like the idea of him being like “DUDE HE JUST CONFESSED AM I THE ONLY PERSON WHO HEARD THAT.”


Hannibal shows up to talk to Will about the ear, but actually about his feelings.

“It seems you have an admirer.” Hannibal says.

“You think someone sent me an ear because they admire me?” Will asks.

“The boundaries of what is considered normal are getting narrower. Outside those boundaries, this may have been intended as a helpful gesture.”

“How far would you go to help me?”

“It hadn’t occurred to me to send you an ear.” Pause. “But I’m glad someone has.”

Will wants there to be another killer, though it’s unclear as to whether he’s playing Hannibal in an attempt to get him to slip up or if he really wants (well, “wants”) there to be one.

Hannibal observes that there’s a part of Will that still believes Hannibal did it. HOW ABOUT THE WHOLE PART. Will, somewhat defeated, agrees but pushes it aside.

(“I know there’s no evidence against you.” Will says.

“There never was.” Hannibal answers. I’m amazed he can hold a conversation with an erection that smug.)

Hannibal says that the person responsible for Will’s crimes may want to be seen now, because “He cares what happens to you.” I’m sure Hannibal is not actually committing these crimes, but is definitely responsible for them in some way, so all his dialogue this episode RE: caring about will is referring to himself, in my opinion. He is…horribly misguided, but not lying.


FREDDIE IS BACK FINALLY. She’s wearing a cute church hat and a subtle reptile-print jacket. She tells the prosecuting attorney that she was “very close” to Abigail, and that Abigail expressed a fear that Will was going to kill and eat her. When the lawyer asks if she blames herself for Abigail’s death, she says “I blame Will Graham.”

Any effect this testimony has is wiped out immediately when Brauer asks Freddie how many times she’s been sued for libel, and how many times she’s settled. Six on both counts. WHOOPS.


Alana, Will, and Brauer are going through Alana’s testimony, Brauer grilling her about her relationship with Will, and any romantic feelings they might have. He’s a dick, but it’s effective, as Alana manages to convincingly hide her emotions about Will and give a neutral statement about her belief as to what caused Will to allegedly murder all those women. AND IT BREAKS BOTH HERS AND WILL’S HEARTS, AND MINE, BUT NOT BRAUER’S PROBABLY.

Good line: Brauer, referring to the prosecuting attorney turning Alana’s feelings for Will into something that can undermine her testimony: “And Ms. Vega will smell it on you like you stepped in young adult and tracked it into the courtroom.”


The team discovers that the ear delivered to Brauer was cut off by the same knife used to take off Abigail’s ear (Will’s hunting knife), and that the knife was taken out of evidence by a bailiff named Andrew Sykes and that it was never returned. Zeller tries to fistbump Jack, but Jack is like NO.

Later, at Sykes’s house, Jack orders an FBI team in. As soon as they open the front door, the house blows all the way up.

Even later later, the team+Hannibal shows up to check out the crime scene, which involves Sykes’s crispy body (Georgia) mounted on a stag head (Cassie), Glasgow-smiled (Dr. Sutcliffe), and missing his ear (Abigail).

“Could we have been that wrong?” Jack wonders.

“About Will Graham? No. He practically takes selfies with his victims.” Zeller answers. HAHA.

Katz says the crime scene was gift-wrapped for them, and Jack says that’s basically what Will said at Cassie Boyle’s crime scene, that it was field kabuki. I am annoyed because Jack seems to ignore that Hannibal literally called the crime scene a piece of theater as soon as he walked in, which is way closer to what Will said than what Katz said.

Zeller is adamant that Will still killed the other four, and he and Price have a spirited discussion about how they should have taken stool samples to find out what else was in his stomach when the ear popped up. Katz rolls her eyes so hard they fall out of her head and bounce on the carpet. Hannibal asks Jack what this means for Will’s trial.


Jack and Prurnell argue with each other in front of the judge about whether the new murder should be allowed to influence the case.

The trial continues with Chilton on the stand. Oh god. He’s in full slimy smarmy glorious asshole mode as he tells Vega that Will presents himself as somewhere on the autism spectrum near Asperger’s, but also “claims” an empathy disorder; that he committed the murders and would kill again, if given the opportunity; and that he caught the other killers for the FBI just to prove he was smarter than them, and because “saving lives is just as arousing as ending them.” When asked if Will is an intelligent psychopath, Chilton answers “There is not a word for what Will Graham is.”

The whole time Chilton is speaking, Will is zoned out and flyfishing in his river. HAHA.


Hannibal visits Will in the glass interview room, and gives him the file on the Sykes crime scene for his mind palacing. Will goes through the murder, and it is maybe his hottest creepin’ yet? The killer shot Sykes in the heart and lungs, then impaled him on the stag head, cut his face open with Will’s knife (which is not a hunting knife and is CLEARLY just a multipurpose tool, seriously it’s so small and it’s got a corkscrew on it), and took his ear. “He will die believing we are friends.” Will says in the recreation. UM LAWYERS CAN BE FRIENDS WITH BAILIFFS.

Will comes back to real life and politely ignores how Hannibal is probably just kinda dick-out sexually stimulated at the moment. He says that it’s not the killer who killed everyone else, and Hannibal pretends to be disappointed. Will calls him on how he had to have already known, and Hannibal just sad-sacks at him like “I wanted to dispel your doubts once and for all.”

“My doubts about what?” Will asks.

“Me. I want you to believe in the best of me, just as I believe in the best of you.”

Hannibal encourages Will to lie about this killer being the one who is responsible for Will’s murders.

“This killer wrote you a poem. Are you going to let his love go to waste?” Hannibal asks. If each murder is a poem/declaration of love, Hannibal’s like waaaaaay ahead in the “poeming @ will graham 4 his affections” game. Unfair.


Alana is confused because Brauer is now changing the defense completely, from an unconsciousness defense to reasonable doubt. Alana points out that the best they can hope for is a mistrial, which Brauer counts as a win. Alana reminds Will that he’ll never be able to claim unconsciousness again, and Brauer argues that they’ve got a better play now.

Alana, irritated, asks who is taking the stand in her place, then.



Will glares at Hannibal as Hannibal walks up to the stand.

he's been looking extra precious momentsy this whole episode, but never more than right now

he’s been looking extra precious momentsy this whole episode, but never more than right now

Hannibal is sworn in, but Will sees him with his wendigo face on as he sits down. Brauer grills him about his relationship with Will and the FBI, and Hannibal drops the bomb about the bailiff’s murder, surprising Vega and the judge, who allows it to be presented.

When Brauer points out that Will blamed Hannibal for the murders, Hannibal says he has no hard feelings:

“Will Graham is, and will always be, my friend.”

Will’s like haha sure.

Vega, however, dismantles the burgeoning defense by pointing out that a gunshot wound and the excessive mutilation of the previous victims are different enough that Will could conceivably still be responsible for the ones that came before, and the judge rules the defense inadmissible.


Sad piano music over Jack in his office, staring at crime scene photos; Hannibal in his office, staring at the crime scene that is his Will-less life; Will in his cell, staring at the crime scene that are his velcro sneakers worn with no socks; and a janitor buffing floors at the courthouse, stumbling upon the crime scene that is the judge, strung up in the courtroom, with his eyes missing and his own heart and brain on scales he is holding. WTF.


The judged was killed by a single gunshot to the chest. Jack wants to know if Hannibal still believes Will is a murderer, due to the gunshot/mutilation methodology divide, and Hannibal’s like “Hate to say it, but totally. Still totally believe it.”

Prurnell shows up, shocked and disgusted by the death tableaux, but also sort of disgusted by Jack’s continued semi-allegiance to Will. She warns him that everybody has to leave someone behind eventually, and if Jack doesn’t ditch Will, it’s going to be Jack himself.


Will dreams that the featherbutt deer has shown up to lead him out of his suddenly open cell. It leads him to…the orderlies’ office? IS THE KILLER THE CREEPY ORDERLY WHO BROUGHT HIM HIS SUIT? omg. He wouldn’t necessarily have access to the case files and whatnot, but he could have broken into Chilton’s office or something, or if Hannibal is as behind it all as I suspect, Hannibal could have just fed him enough information to carry out the murders.

Before Will can get a good look at the office, Hannibal calls him and gestures back into his cell.

Will wakes up.


Will and Alana smolder at each other a little bit before the conversation turns to the other killer. Will, metaphorically grim as always, says he had the absurd feeling that the killer walked out of the courtroom with him that day. He smiles bitterly and says that the killer is going to reach out to him. Alana asks what the killer wants, and Will says “He wants to know me. What do you want?”

“To save you.” Alana answers.

After a moment, Will reaches out and puts his hand over hers, and they sit like that for a while.

"at least ur no longer 85% flop sweat" alana thinks to herself

“at least ur no longer 85% flop sweat” alana thinks to herself

Please like & share:
  • Hokuto

    FUCKIN’ ZELLER WAS SO GREAT THIS EPISODE. I love Team CSI forever and ever.

    Also I didn’t think it was possible for Hannibal to perv any harder on Will Graham BUT I WAS SO WRONG. SO WRONG.

    I kinda think the murderer is Mason Verger somehow but I’m not married to the theory.

  • Martha

    I wouldn’t say I was BORED by this episode, exactly, but I did feel like the dream-logic of the show didn’t work as well as a courtroom drama. I kept getting distracted by things like, “Why wouldn’t they call Hannibal as an expert witness?” and “Why isn’t Will’s lawyer objecting to all the witness leading and speculation going on here?”

    On the other hand, that judge tableau was about as haunting an image as the show has done, so that was pretty satisfying. And I’m enjoying watching Prurnell and Crawford butt heads. And Fuckin’ Zeller was definitely on fire tonight. Loved the recap, as usual!

  • Rae

    I have a theory as to the identity of the copycat copycat, but it might be spoilery?

    Dr. Gideon is back this season, and we know he likes to send murderous valentines to his serial killer heroes. I imagine he’d take quite a shine to Will, who also has identity issues related to the Chesapeake Ripper. I don’t know *how* he could have done these murders or how he’d know the baliff, but it’s Hannibal so I figure anything is possible, reality-wise.

    “But I wanted to be a boaty lawyer, not a prosecutor or a defense attorney”

    Sounds like you’d be Will’s favorite kind of lawyer!

    “The crime scene that is [Hannibal’s] Will-less life”, omg. I hope he carves out an hour of every work day to sit there and think about what he’s done. He’s awfully needy for an unfeeling shark.

  • sbnstar

    Now I’m off to go and read it! I just wanted to express how delighted I was when I saw that it was up. Your recaps are the best!

  • John

    Kade Prurnell’s name is an anagram of “Paul Krendler,” the character Ray Liotta played in the film Hannibal. Bryan Fuller couldn’t get the rights to that character since he originated in SOTL so he anagrammed and gender-switched it.

  • Brett Davidson

    Just got to say, I’ve loved every one of your recaps. You get and show just what it is to be an adult fan with complete honesty – and you’re hilarious to boot.

    No, I mean it. “Adult” means going beyond “Best ever and if you don’t like it I’ll hate you forever/worst ever, I hate it forever.” Adult fan is, emphasis on the fan, is, “Right, let’s see what sort of ride we’re in for, wheeeeeee!” (because real adults are kids, not teenagers) and I get that every time with your writing.

  • thingswithteeth

    This may be vain hope, but I’m going to cling like a clingy thing to Will’s line about Abigail’s ear being cut off while her heart was still beating. (SWEET BABY.)

  • IvyB

    I didn’t mind the episode the first time around, but I found it really boring during the rewatch I did. I know Bryan isn’t a fan of courtroom dramas (not that he wrote the episode) and I know the episode sets up a lot of future stuff, so I don’t quite mind the episode not being that exciting, as long as it’s a one time thing.

    “The lawyer asks how Jack and Will met, and we learn that Will’s opinion on Jack’s Evil Minds museum was apparently that it was tacky and “mythologized banal and cruel men who didn’t deserve to be thought of as supervillains.” ADORABLE.”

    I know, right? My sweet mongoose prince.

    Jack ends up taking a lot of responsibility, which I am glad for.

    Me too, first episode I unequivocally liked Jack, between this and him discussing Bella with Hannibal. Him actually taking ersponsibility in court and not just expressing his guilty feelings made me really appreciate Jack.

    The whole time Chilton is speaking, Will is zoned out and flyfishing in his river. HAHA.

    Besides loving how Chilton was basically describing Hannibal, I just love that Will doesn’t GAF about Chilton and always goes fishing whenever he talks (he doesn’t do that with Freddie and he despises her)

    Brauer is honestly a bright spot in the episode.

    I loved this guy so much, he had the best lines (the “I think I opened up your mail” but also all his lines to Alana, they were so on point).

    It leads him to…the orderlies’ office? IS THE KILLER THE CREEPY ORDERLY WHO BROUGHT HIM HIS SUIT?

    Orderly yes, suit-bringer no, there was an orderly in 2X01 who brought Will his food and I’m pretty sure he’s the fanboy in question.

  • platoapproved

    Oh man I’m SO GLAD I wasn’t the only one bored by this episode, I feel like a traitor to my favorite show but it just felt off. I think part of it was the courtroom thing, but partly because Will is so completely silent and non-reactive the entire episode? I mean I can see why, his fate is out of his hands and everyone is talking about him and no one is listening, but Will is the brightest best thing about this show to me, and as much as I love him just sitting there looking “precious momentsy,” it all felt weirdly exterior to him this episode.

    I really hope Brauer is the copycat-copycat killer. Otherwise why the hell was he so chill about getting an ear in the mail? Is that something that just happens to lawyers? “Oh goodness that’s the third severed body part I’ve gotten in the mail this week”. My brother is a lawyer is this what his life is like?

  • Mister Jay

    I thought the Resin killer was “Multiple Miggs” from Silence of the Lambs partially because I only remember him from the movie for what he did to jodie foster and what hannibal manipulated him into doing to himself. I keep expecting diffrent characters from the movies to show up just like I expect one day Freddie Lounds will end up in a wheelchair set on fire by The Red Dragon. Freddie was Totes McScrotes bribed by FBI Bus Thrower Lady. But Chilton was just against Will because his feelings were hurt. I wonder if before Hannibal ate him in south america he talked about the missing kidney business.

  • Lisa

    I’m so happy this recap is here! It is glorious. I can’t wait until 2.4, when we can all cry together! :(

  • Mister Jay

    I wonder if the author is too in mourning to review Takiawase.