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'Hannibal' - 'Futamono': The Wisdom of the Fool Won't Set You Free

By Cindy Davis | TV | April 5, 2014 |

By Cindy Davis | TV | April 5, 2014 |

“Futamono,” a lidded dish that served up poor Miriam Lass (Anna Chlumsky) as our last course this hour, capped off what might be the most horrifying meal we’ve ever seen. Fuller and company are stepping it up every single episode, from the verbal banter between every set of characters, to the insane and beautiful crime scenes, to the unbelievable food preparation and “meals” Hannibal serves. By the end of “Futamono,” whatever concerns might have arisen over the idea of Hannibal and Alana sleeping together were easily wiped away by slack-jawed repulsion at Gideon’s last supper, and incredulity over Jack’s latest discovery. How can this be, and what does it mean that Hannibal left Lass alive?


This was a jam-packed hour that practically begged for commercial relief, if only to catch a breath and *ahem* digest all the goings-on. Everyone’s angry with Will but Will…and maybe Hannibal, who proffers applause during a verbal waltz. When Will lays out for Jack the idea that Lecter is killing in quick succession because his “meat” spoils, Jack doesn’t want to see or believe. But as patterns and pieces keep revealing themselves, Crawford realizes he has to at least entertain the possibility Will might be right. The Chesapeake Ripper strikes again, turning his toxic, paradise paving victim into a poisoned vessel (“He’s grafted in place—living roots—varicose vines.”) Graham again manages to easily manipulate Gideon and that pompous buffoon Chilton, who really is the most incompetent psychiatrist. After eavesdropping on their conversation, Chilton brings in Jack, only to be properly humiliated; (Chilton’s already planned his revenge), but at Hannibal’s dinner party, Chilton dutifully whispers a few more (correct) suppositions into Jack’s ear. “They’ll call him Hannibal the Cannibal; he does fit the profile.”

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As we know though, Hannibal is no amateur—not amateur killer, nor cook, nor harpsichord player, nor doctor, nor schemer, nor planner…nay. During a wonderfully wicked and ill-advised visit to Will, the two master manipulators—and wry wordsmiths—dueled their way through a lightning round of insinuations that begs multiple re-watches.

Hannibal: “You’ve been lying to me, Will.”
Will: “I don’t have a gauge for reality that works well enough to know if I’ve been lying.”

Hannibal: “You tried to kill me, Will. It’s hard not to take that personally. However if I were Beverly’s murderer, I would applaud your effort.”
Will: “I am no more guilty of what you’ve accused me of than you are of what I’ve accused you of.”


Just before Hannibal arrived at his cage, Will began his transformation into the stag again, assuming his power. This time his antlers didn’t retract. They kept on growing just as Will continues to gain strength, and his antlers symbolically broke through the top of the cage—couldn’t be held inside. Will is little by little working his way out of jail using his greatest strength: his mind. Alana has it right, Will’s not scared anymore. But for all the plays Graham is making, this week still belongs to Hannibal, who is back to form, arranging and composing several parts at once. “A true composer thinks about his unfinished work all the time.”

Indeed, Hannibal is many steps ahead of everyone. He’s planned out his Alana-ibi, and apparently had spare fishing lures at the ready and packed. Dr. Lecter rids Gideon of a bothersome guard (was it an act of revenge for his victim?) and helps the broken-backed prisoner with a get out of jail free card, but at a heck of a price (his legs). Whether Hannibal showing up at Gideon’s hospital bed was merely fortuitous, or a little Chilton birdie whispered in his ear, Lecter made good use of time while Alana slept off her wine. When she wakes, Hannibal plays just the right tune—a funeral (sex) march—so that Jack’s suspicions could be quickly allayed; whether they were or not is another matter entirely.


And just then, after clearing his home of troublesome women and men and less than ten minutes from episode’s end, Bryan Fuller pulled our leg in the most terrible way imaginable. I swear my own limbs were jumping and my whole body squirmed in revolt while Hannibal prepped, and we waited to see…just who he was cooking. After last week creating a situation where Hannibal would seem both pitiable and appealing, both our stomachs and our minds have been forced in the opposite direction. (Now this, Mr. Scott, is how you do a true Hannibal horror moment.) And even though Izzard seemed on the verge of laughter, and even after Mads’ restrained return smile, the scene managed to be just beautifully carried off. It was a moment that could easily have ended the hour, but clearly Fuller’s not one to take the easy route. Jimmy and Zeller confirm Hannibal’s party food was all goose, pig and cow, but…those fishing flies that hooked up the dead guard had plenty of human—including parts from poor Beverly and other Ripper victims. Jack realizes “Will didn’t kill any of those people,” and that the Ripper is taking credit. The lab boys also find a small bit of bark that leads to only one place—an abandoned building in Somerville, VA—and Jack immediately heads out to investigate. He finds Miriam Lass (Catherine Martin-ly stuck) at the bottom of a basement pit, and we find ourselves with plenty of questions. Hannibal must have known the trail he left would be followed; he’s much too careful to have left an inadvertent clue. So why is Miriam stil alive, and why would Lecter lead anyone right to her?

Deep thoughts:

Each week right before I sit down to watch, I’ve felt a little nervous parade of thoughts marching through my head: “What if it’s a filler episode, will it go silly, maybe it won’t be as good as the last one?” And every week when the hour is done, those thoughts have all been banished and replaced by admiration and disbelief—how could the time already be gone?

Alana was taken in by Hannibal, as many people have been—are. While I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to Hannibal and Alana sleeping together, in the context of how and why it happened, I don’t really have a problem with it. Lecter took advantage of her, just like he does everybody. Bedelia figured him out. Beverly figured him out too late. Miriam…just a second too late. I find the women on this series to be smart and capable, and just as taken in (sometimes) by Hannibal as the men. It’s also still possible Bloom and Crawford are working together to leave Lecter feeling secure…perhaps we’ll find Alana wasn’t really asleep all night long.

So many brilliant lines. “You intend me to be my own last supper?” “Tragedy is not to die, Abel, but to be wasted.”

“You and I were probably sipped wine while swallowing the people we were trying to give justice, Jack.”

“Who does he have to kill before you open your eyes?” (cut to Alana’s face)

“Last time someone rang my doorbell this early, it was a census taker.” (SotL shoutout)

Jimmy and Zeller are getting more (deserved) airtime each week, and they’re getting to be as delightful to watch, and listen to, as Hannibal and Will.

This week’s murder scene was simply spectacular—gorgeous. The level of detail, the flowers…


There are those who would complain about the reality of Hannibal’s ability to manufacture the artistically perfect murders he does, this series is clearly meant to be fantastical. Yes, the time factor will pop into your head…no, you shouldn’t really worry about it. Are you worried over Will’s stag transformation visions or the Hannistag, over randomly placed cages in a psychiatric hospital, a man with endless supplies of plastic suits or the cheekbones (legs, body) of a god? Hannibal is clearly outside the reality realm; to expect some events to conform to the norms is…well…unrealistic.

Cindy Davis, (Twitter)

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