[WARNING — THIS POST CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR SEASONS 2 AND 3 OF “HANNIBAL,” AS WELL AS STEPHEN KING’S “THE DARK TOWER” SERIES. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.]
This could be overeager nerd eisigesis, but something jumped out at me immediately in the second episode of this summer’s “Hannibal.”
When Will Graham greets Abigail Hobbes at the beginning, he wonders about “some other world.”
The doomed young Abigail responds: “I’m having a hard enough time dealing with this world. I hope some of the other worlds are easier.”
That’s “worlds,” plural — not “another world” or “the next world.” It sounds a hell of a lot like the doomed Jake Chambers’ famous line towards the end of “The Gunslinger,” before he falls to his fate: “Go then. There are other worlds than these.”
Graham goes on the discuss string theory: “Everything that can happen, happens.” This dovetails perfectly with the idea of the nearly infinite parallel universes that comprise different levels of “The Tower.”
Then other story parallels occurred to me:
1) Both Abigail and Jake are children of surrogate fathers who are on a crusade (Graham’s pursuit of Hannibal Lecter, the Gunslinger’s quest for The Tower).
2) Both are specialized, cold-blooded killers by training (Abigail’s bizarre tutelage by her serial killer biological father, Jake’s training by the Gunslinger).
3) Both are willingly sacrificed by their surrogate fathers. (NBC’s show makes it clear that Hannibal is also a father figure to Abigail.)
4) Both characters were sacrificed by the show’s/book’s title character.
5) The memories of both haunt the stories’ protagonists as a recurring motif. Both appear to drive the heroes insane.
6) Both characters are ostensibly dead at some point, and then are quasi-resurrected by a surprise plot device. (Abigail has been secreted away by Hannibal; Jake is returned from a parallel universe to which he was consigned.)
7) The loss of both characters are tied to themes of forgiveness. (Jake forgives the Gunslinger for letting him fall; Graham explicitly forgives Hannibal for Abigail’s loss as part of the show’s overarching theme.)
It would be fun and perfectly viable to imagine that the show’s events transpire on a “level” of The Tower. The differing continuities of the original books and feature films could even comprise other levels. King makes it clear that “twinners” are character analogs living in different universes.
But I am probably just imagining things. I also thought that Hannibal’s reference to his “person suit” in this season’s first episode was a reference to “Donnie Darko” (2001): “Why do you wear that silly man suit?” And, in retrospect, that seems like a coincidence.