The Lion in the Room

The fight scene between Jack and Hannibal is fantastically satisfying, but what really delighted me was the sequence that immediately precedes it, when Jack stalks Hannibal. We have never seen Hannibal in this position: the prey rather than the hunter. He combs the exhibit hall, uncertain of Jack’s position. But it’s abundantly clear that Jack knows exactly where Hannibal is. Hannibal has completely lost the upper hand.

His powerlessness is emphasized by shots like these: Hannibal spinning in place, showing the camera his vulnerable back. Meanwhile we don’t see Jack at all. He could be hiding in every shadow – this invisibility endows him with an almost supernatural power. He is everywhere and nowhere.

Jack puts on a record to unnerve his quarry, but the music serves another purpose, too. It reflects Jack’s emotions in this scene, a controlled jauntiness as he hurls Hannibal through glass pane after pane (and pain after pain). Very unlike the tense soundtrack for the previous Hannibal/Jack matchup. 

Hannibal is the character on the show who most frequently gets control over the soundtrack. We hear the Lacrimosa when he’s sad, Vide Cor Meum when he’s blissed out, that devastating slowed-down version of the Goldberg Variations when he’s heartbroken. But here the music belongs only to Jack, the surest sign yet that Hannibal has lost control over his own story. 

Jack adds insult to injury by using Hannibal’s old methods against him: he takes off his shoes and soundlessly sneaks up on Hannibal, just as Hannibal once did to Miriam Lass.

Hannibal used to be so sly, so quick to improvise, that he appeared almost superhuman: a murder wizard who could dematerialize himself out of any sticky situation. But now Hannibal is very human indeed. The fallen angel has fallen even further.