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'Hannibal' - 'Naka-Choko': There's No I in Threesome

By Cindy Davis | TV Reviews | May 3, 2014 | Comments ()


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With “Naka-Choko” Hannibal serves us up another palate cleanser, lightly acidic, indeed. This was a fun episode, filled with playful banter, grand dialogue and smirking all around. If we’re to play along, in Hannibal’s eyes Will appears well on his way to a full transformation; Dr. Lecter continues coaching Will toward his perfect self. It may be that Lecter is buying what Graham is so aptly selling, but it would be foolish of anyone to underestimate Hannibal. (As quickly as Jack Crawford caught onto the boys’ strange behavior at the Museum of Natural History crime scene, so would the brilliant Lecter pick up on Will’s falsehoods.) Will didn’t kill Freddie Lounds; he’s squirreled her away somewhere, or Jack has. This is all part of a very well set trap. Who is the victim—that’s the real question—is it Hannibal or us?

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After a twisted up version of last week’s final scene, with Will fantasizing Hannibal as Randall Tier, the two men intimately discuss Will’s intimate killing. As he cleans and dresses Will’s wounded hand, Hannibal’s love and pride can barely be contained, and it’s those moments that allow for wondering…is he truly being fooled, or is he as good an actor as Graham? Hannibal sees inside Will, knows Will imagined killing him, which from the glance Will returned, either disturbs or pleases Graham. Lecter’s continuing therapy now focuses on the next step: teaching Will to respect and honor his kill. Did they work on Tier’s becoming tableaux together? It’s interesting contemplation, but we’re never shown how those crime scenes are put together (who has time for all that?); it’s through Will’s visions we interpret the kills. This time, that too must morph and evolve, and Tier’s creepy talking head resembles John Carpenter’s dog-headed alien Thing (“This is the nightmare that followed him out of his dreams”). To Jack’s apparent bewilderment, Hannibal and Will work the crime scene concordantly, their suddenly harmonious turn strange to everyone around them. Freddie Lounds’ questions and demands for real answers are the most overt, and might have cost her life if not for that little field trip she took. It looks like one of the smart girls finally gets to live and like Beverly Katz, the character has really grown on us.

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Margot, poor Margot. She’s so impossibly beaten down, even Hannibal can’t help her rise back up. After a session with Dr. Lecter (murderous pep talk) fails to drum up the necessary hatred, Margot takes to her horse, after which we finally meet her loathsome sibling. With his fur-collared Mason, Pavlovian piglet in hand, Michael Pitt’s Verger hit the right note between creepy and cartoonish. But his fearsome brother routine paled the moment a real monster (Hannibal) walked into the stable; Lecter’s command of the room was like seeing a baby piglet devoured by a wild boar. After Mason’s terrible and cruel demonstration of his newly trained maneaters, poor Margot understandably runs back to her empathetic Will. Going against her “proclivity”? More like employing a desperate plan.

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That wicked Fuller teased his Fannibals right to the brink of brogasm with the back and forth between Hannibal and Will’s love shacks (As I write this, all of Tumblr’s afire). Skillfully cut together, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” the indulgence served fan frenzy, but to what purposeful end? Hannibal and Alana had more of a hot spark going, it’s no wonder Will jumped his bed for theirs. Of the traded entendres, it is Alana whose advice matters most: “People are not instruments. Whatever it is you’re playing, Hannibal, you have to listen very carefully.” And later when she runs into Freddie, the reporter returns the favor: “Maybe what Will understands is if you can’t beat Hannibal Lecter, join him” (or at least pretend you have…). Sadly for Alana, she’s still ten steps behind. As she feasts with Will and Hannibal, discussing their boundaries—or rather, the lack of them—the words exchanged do mock us so.

Alana: “It’s hard to know where you are with each other.”
Will: “We know where we are with each other, shouldn’t that be enough?”

Hannibal: “Better the devil you know.” And he sees his reflection in his glass of wine.

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At their final dinner during this (our) hour (and according to Will and Jack’s plan), Hannibal and Will play against only each other. As with any good chess player, neither flinches through each others’ moves. Hannibal’s coy questions about the meat that isn’t pork are answered by Will’s insinuation it’s a girl they once knew (“It’s long pig.” [human flesh]). Will’s assertion that he’s given up good and evil for behavioralism is deftly handled by Hannibal’s dissection: “Then you can’t say I’m evil…Evil is just destructive… Underwriters lump it all under acts of god. Are you an act of god, Will?” Lecter’s equation of himself and Will imparts enough credence that Will enjoys a moment of self-satisfaction—a barely perceptible Lecter-ish smile—as he slowly chews that last bite of…something, his face morphs to Hannibal’s. Is this transformation from Lecter’s point of view — Will has evolved like him — or rather is it how Will sees himself fully transformed into the Hannistag, and the transference of power complete?


Deep thoughts:

Answering my own question, I believe Will sees himself now, fully in power. Whether or not he is, remains to be seen.

I loved that we heard Hannibal acknowledge his dead sister (and book spoilers—whited out, swipe to see: As book readers know, the murder and consumption of Hannibal’s young sister is what set him on his path. End spoilers.

Of course, book readers also know the significance of Mason’s livestock.

Perhaps the outraged Tumblr fans forgot to watch next week’s previews. I’ll white out again, in case any of you don’t watch them—swipe to see: Margot slept with Will to make a baby heir, not because she randomly changed from lesbian to heterosexual. End spoilers.

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So Hannibal was waiting in her house to kill Freddie, yes?

Jack is playing along. He certainly didn’t need to call in Hannibal and Alana for that Will conversation (unless tag-along shrinks are FBI de rigueur). I’m a little surprised that so many people seem to think Will has really gone off the deep end. We saw Jack and Will make their plan; Will has created a reality where only he and Hannibal exist.


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Cindy Davis, (Twitter)



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Nate

    This is literally the only well-put and though out review I've seen of this episode. The rest were just taking every little thing at face value, and with this show you just can't do that. Though, I'll admit, I actually was tricked by the show, in regards to the Freddie scenario. Great review, keep up the good work!

  • eil

    I almost died during this episode!
    So, in the end it wasn't a threesome, but an imaginary foursome. During the dinner between Alana, Will and Hannibal, I felt like Alana was the third wheel. And Will's looks to her were angry, grieving and heartbreaking.
    A very intense episode, can't wait for next.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    So, uh, that Mason Verger is quite the peacockish fella, isn't he?

    He sure as hell did not disappoint, although I admit to be kind of expecting a less scenery-chewing and full-blown moustache-twirling (so many hyphens) Michael Pitt in a show defined by sublime yet subtle performances.

    But I had forgotten how much camp there was Thomas Harris' Hannibal novel.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Well, when you cast an actor who is the complete thespian opposite of Anthony Hopkins for your leading character, it does dictate the tone of the general acting in the show. Someone told me today that Pitt seems to be making an effort to at least partially imitate Gary Oldman's inflections in the movie, and I found it really interesting.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    That makes sense, when you put it like that. It took me some getting using to, mainly because at least Gary Oldman had been "restrained" for that role due to tons of make-up and prosthetics while still chewing the scenery and being eeeeevilll.

    I can already envision him screaming "Cordell! Cordell!".

  • "You slice the ginger."

    Aw, Hannibal has somebody to make sly cannibal puns with! He looked tickled pink over it.

  • Aidan Harr

    Book Spoilers ahead:
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    Did anybody notice that the iconic Lounds death scene from Red Dragon makes an appearance in the "next-time-on" montage? What's up with that?

  • Andrew Jara

    I noticed that too. I hope that's not the case. If he keeps stealing from the well, what is gonna happen when he catches up to the books? I mean on one hand I'd like to see how he can change things up but on the other hand, I'll miss his interpretations of scenes

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    ...Huh. I didn't see the previews so I missed that. I'm really, really not sure how you do Red Dragon without Freddie Lounds. The character is pretty important to that story, I'm not sure killing her here and subbing in something new would make sense.

  • maja

    i was fully concentrated until that gif came up, with all those arms and sighs and whatnot. it took me some time to pull myself together and read it till the end. and then, that last picture! the tie! fabulous.
    pictures and gifs aside, i agree on everything.

  • Maddy

    I totally get people being pissed about the Margot/ Will thing based on this episode. As someone who doesn't know where this is going it made me super uncomfortable. It makes more sense now that I've seen the preview (although still kind of problematic) but yeah - lesbians secretly needing the hot dude to turn them 'straight' is such a common trope in fiction so ... you know, I get it.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    Though I understand where you're coming from I did not get the impression that Fuller -- who is openly gay -- is turning Margot straight.

    Will said it himself "I don't have the parts for your proclivities", I'm sensing she's playing a long con and using Will to achieve whatever it is that she's planning against her brother.

  • Maddy

    Looking at it now I can totally see that and it makes sense. I mainly just think it's understandable for some people to be not happy about this plot development based only on seeing this episode and not seeing what's coming up.

  • foolsage

    It seemed clear to me that Margot has had an agenda the whole time. Actually, two agendas: pregnancy and murder (and/or murderous therapists or therapy). Nothing about her relationship with Will made me think she just 'turned straight' because he's so attractive.

    I do know the trope to which you refer though; it's an offensive idea that sadly still gets traction. I can see how people would read that into this scene.

  • Maddy

    I need to rewatch it but yeah it was definitely hinted at now you point it out to me. I feel like this is the opposite to Game of Thrones where I don't know where things are going and it's nice to not be constantly comparing it and just enjoying the show. I'm sure I'm probably missing lots of things though but hey that's what reviews are for.

  • Sara h

    yeah I'm not really ok with all this too, for it looks like a stereotipe, but at least Fuller in this tweet confirmed that she is gay, but she needed a man to get pregnant.

    https://twitter.com/BryanFulle...

  • Maddy

    That makes me feel a bit better. I don't really understand why she can't go to a sperm bank, or why Will decided not to use a condom with a girl he basically just met? But OK

  • Emran Huq

    Perhaps Will did not use a condom because Margot didn't want him to (it's only my personal experience, but all the women that I've been with were quite clear about whether or not they wanted me to put the rubber on).

  • Sara h

    it may be possible, but still, condoms should be used anyway against diseases. I'm surprised Will didn't use it. But yeah, in the end this is secondary, for the writers needed to get the plot advance,

  • cruzzercruz

    If this version of Margot wanted me to go raw, I wouldn't argue either.

  • Maddy

    I mean whatever. I tend to overlook a lot of these details on this show aka apparently the FBI not caring about conflict of interest because it's so well done overall

  • Andrew Jara

    Spoilers for book... In hannibal, her main motivation is to have kids. I don't think she can so I'm thinking this is how she finds out and also it helps show her desperation to have a kid more than being turned straight, that may not be the case but I hope it is

  • Sara h

    spoilers from the book
    mmhm, in the book she couldn't because of all the steroids she took during her life, while Fuller said he didn't want to tell this story for it was linked to her sexual abuses, and show!Margot wasn't raped by Mason. So, unless they made her naturally barren anyway, I am inclined to believe she will have a child in the show, and this will be the "ok pass" for Hannibal to mutilate Mason as in the book. For with a child, she will be safe against her father's will.

  • Andrew Jara

    I thought she was going to be barren but that might just be my mind mixing the book and the show together to form a new narrative

  • Sara h

    I think she doesn't own money (or not enough?) for an artificial insemination. (correct me if I'm wrong, I do not live in the US, but here in Europe it costs money)
    She said only his brother inherited the family fortune and Mason even told Hannibal he is the one who pay for his sister therapy. She could not had asked her brother for it, 'cos he'd had understood she wanted to cheat on their father's will.
    About the condom, I asked myself the same question! safety first goddamn! I do not like that Will wasn't aware of her intentions, it is unfair! but if he didn't use a condom...well do not be surprised if she got pregnant.

    plus, in the book she wanted to have babies, so the choice to made her becoming a mother is canon, at least!

  • Some Guy

    The whole character of Margot is a change up so it's not surprising that she got the sperm from Will. In the book she's a bodybuilder and seems to be trying to make up for the fact that she's not a man and therefore less in the eyes of her esteemed father by becoming more masculine than her brother.

    Coincidentally, she's involved in a side story with Barney the medical guard, played by Frankie Faison in the movies.

    She of course gets the sperm from her brother at the end of the book through means only Thomas Harris would conjure up.

  • Maddy

    I've never read any of the books/ seen any of the movies, have only vague knowledge of the source material .... so I was totally buying it at first. Maybe I'm gullible. I'm not sure I'm a fan of the sex scene(s). I like all the weird/ creepy stuff they do on this show, but it would be nice if Alana got to do anything besides literally being a sex object. The Margot/ Will thing ... not a fan.

  • Billybob

    So, uh, book spoilers.

    S

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    So, in the books Will Graham has a big-time grudge against Freddy Lounds, because Freddy snuck into hospital to photograph his horrible injuries. Which is a major dick move, and neatly establishes Freddy as scum, deserving of having his lips bitten off and the rest of him incinerated.

    In the TV show, though, if Freddie pulls that move... it'll be against the guy who terrorised her, manipulated her, and (presumably) chained her up in his barn next to a freezer full of dead serial killer. Which - motive aside - is a pretty epic dick move in its own right.

    Basically, I'm saying they're going to have to go a lot further than a little invasion of privacy to make Freddie look like she deserves her (probable) fate.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    If Will has chained her up in his barn next to a freezer full of dead serial killer and all that... Then yes, definitely there's going to be some issues later with selling certain character actions and reactions.

    But I think it's more likely Freddie, while definitely terrorized in the short-term in the scene we saw, was then sat down by Will and got the whole deal explained to her and offered an exclusive of some kind. So yeah, he scares the shit out of her for a bit, but then he sells her a good story, has Jack confirm it and it's all square. And then she does what happens in Red Dragon, and it's still a dick move; possibly more so given prior serious cooperation.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Fuller is getting bombarded by angry fannibals about Margot right now, that I can tell you, regardless of the spoiler. And tumblr is so alight about the whole Hannibal/Alana/Will/Margot scene that they seem to have forgotten the wendigo is there too, and the wendigo is very important, because it signifies that Will is very much on the long con, and he knows he won't come out of it unscathed.

    Also, there were tons of cannibal and devil puns last night. As the season draws into a close, like last season, we are slowly descending into an inferno.

    PS: my point about last week's acting stands. I have never seen Hannibal smile so openly so much, or Will being so stony faced. Mikkelsen and Dancy are so well-coordinated, it's like watching an ice skating duo go for the gold.

  • Maddy

    That thing is called a wendigo? That interpretation makes sense to me.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Yes. I saw it called the Stagman until Fuller himself said it was a wendigo.

  • foolsage

    That's a good name for it, actually. A wendigo is a mythical cannibalistic monster from the northeast U.S.

  • Nadiney

    I had forgotten Jack and Will's fishing conversation even took place until I was reminded of it. At the moment, I absolutely think Will is obviously playing Hannibal. How involved Jack is eludes me. I have a hard time believing he'd sign off on the display of the body. He didn't seem terribly pleased about it. And not in a 'I hate that we have to do this' kind of way. More like he genuinely didn't know what Will would do with the body. But I do think Will called Jack before he arrived at Hannibal's house with the body.

    He was in this episode so little that it's almost irrelevant, but his previous incidents of playing it dumb around Hannibal have been too convincing. FIshburne either needs to scale it back the writing does, I can't decide. That's why I've been so confused.

    I'd also missed the part where Margot was stated to be gay, so I wasn't aware of the issue with her banging Will. That said, I didn't think of her seduction as anything other than a planned action, something tactical.

    If people think it was anything but that, I'm sad for them. Alana is the exception but the major players in this show are all playing games. No one is seeking a real connection, physical or otherwise. All the fuckin' is tactical fuckin We know that. Even Hannibal and Alana's 'thing' has to be a ploy on his part. I used to think he was screwing with Will. I realise now it's more likely he's trying to keep Alana in a fog of lust and love and mistrust of Will.

    I hate it, because it's insulting and stupid and gross and it would be far creepier if he was messing with her in other, smarter way but it doesn't feel like they're some amazing OTP. He is making her fall in love with him because he needs her to think any comment by Will about Hannibal is also coming from his jealousy.

    But it shows that innocence doesn't get you far on this show. Margot was not an innocent seeking companionship. Even if she wasn't trying to get his baby jelly to make an heir, any seduction she had pulled off would have been strategical.

  • stardust

    Somewhere along the line I missed that besides being a mentor Hannibal was one of Alanna's professors in school. That casts their relationship in a whole new light for me. Looking at it from her perspective, here is a person that she's been friends with for probably at least 10 years. I'm betting that she's known him longer than she's known any of the other main characters, probably all put together. It makes sense to me that she is holding fast to that friendship, which has lately become more than just platonic, in spite of everyone else's suspicions. The further she goes with the relationship, the worse I feel for her. When Hannibal is exposed Alanna is going to feel horribly betrayed. I really don't think she's dumb or blinded by lust, just loyal to her friend.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Alana herself says she's known Hannibal longer than all of the other characters, and therefore does not question his judgement already in season 1. Her story is the true tragedy of the show, I feel.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    Yeah, in the first episode I got the impression that those people were all former classmates and have been professionally acquainted for years before the Garret Jacob Hobbs incident, I can see why Alana would appear gullible from the outside but seeing it from her perspective Hannibal Lecter was the only man who has acted as a mentor and a colleague to her and apparently did not feed her lies as far as she knows.

    I do agree though that that sort of prior relationship could have been shown instead of told but I believe the actors do a marvelous job at compensating for that lack of development by conveying years of affinity through tiny gestures and inflections.

  • Sara h

    Well, it was subtle, but they showed their friendship in season 1. She helped Hannibal making dinner, she was always at his parties, she also set right beside him at the dinner table and she had the "luxury" of showing up uninvited at his door. Plus he said he kept a stock of beer at home just for her.
    One thing I really love about this show is that stories are told also by little details such these. But I do understand that not all the audience pay attention to all the little particulars/or have time to watch episodes twice to caught them, And maybe they should had showed more scenes depicting their relationship.

  • Ingridtoday

    A lot of ego/trust/self preservation also goes into Alana refusing to even consider Hannibal maybe a serial killer. It's similar to Jack. You think you understand people, can read people, and you've so thoroughly fooled. You just can't believe you would trust/love a monster.

    A lot of the fans issues seems to be that we as a viewer know exactly what Hannibal is doing. If this show is from Alana's perspective she finally gets to be with the man she's admired, respected, been in awe of and attracted to for a decade. She's going to hold onto her view until the bitter end.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    As I mentioned elsewhere, I feel like the issue with this aspect of Alana's character is that the prior relationship really was never something they actually demonstrated on screen. They talked about it a lot, but there was very little in actual actions that showed she's known this guy for a long time and is really rather close with him. So now it comes time to show a relationship we haven't really seen evolve into a new one (largely due to Hannibal's subtle manipulations)... It doesn't track well for people.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Well, the focus of the show really shifted this season to Hannibal himself, whereas Will was the focus of last season. We see the world mostly through Will's eyes, so we don't get to see Hannibal and Alana interacting with each other alone, except for the time during the marvelous episode "Sorbet" in which Hannibal is the focus. Generally speaking, I feel that the shift has been really good, but it's creating pacing issues for a show that is already undecided on its pacing a lot of the time.

  • Maddy

    I really really hate the Alana/ Hannibal thing. I get that it's probably supposed to be gross and uncomfortable but all it does is make her look gullible. Her character just doesn't make that much sense to me. Minor complaint in an amazing show, but it definitely bugs me.

  • Abby Cadabby

    Agreed. Alana is all self-righteousness and no intuition. But I can accept it since they keep playing up how Hannibal and her have known each other for so long and have this history dating back to when she was still a student.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I'd agree that it's ultimately not working out and that Alana is coming off gullible, but my sense is that their intent is more to portray another side of Hannibal's predatory nature in his romantic/sexual manipulation of Alana, to make him more threatening by giving him tools that are outside of the expected super serial killer toolkit.

    In practice, of course, there's basically not been enough development of Alana and/or background on her prior relationship with Hannibal to really sell the investment we're seeing from her. All of that is basically just told, not shown, so when it comes down to it we don't understand how she could be so stupid when I suspect the intent is for us to see it as Hannibal having spent literally years grooming her to potentially serve this kind of role, if not this specific one. I'd suspect Hannibal has multiple female (and perhaps male, too) acquaintances he's maintained similar connections with-- nothing in particular happening, but primed to be turned with little enough effort.

    Again, not that they actually pulled that off, but I do believe that is something like the intent. It's supposed to be creepy, but Alana isn't supposed to seem stupid.

  • Maddy

    Yeah I agree - they just haven't done enough to show her motivations in the show.

  • ponpon

    I personally think there's been sufficient development for their relationship since all the way from Aperitif, where the first thing Hannibal says about her is "I learned as much from her as she learned from me". Then they had those great scenes in Oeuf and Sorbet, and it was pretty clear Hannibal's mannerisms are different with her than with anyone else. A lot of people seem to forget about all these smaller interactions between them before saying that their hook-up came out of nowhere. I don't really understand why Alana's seen as so stupid, I think she has legitimate reasons for her actions...

  • Pants_are_a_must

    I think it's shot to make you uncomfortable. It's simultaneously as if she and Hannibal participate in different forms of BD/SM and Hannibal killing her. There's a petit mort pun in there, I'm sure. My one consolation in regards to Alana is that she definitely has her bearings the whole time and does not seem to be inclined to make the relationship formal in any way.

  • Enrique del Castillo

    Yeah, Hannibal fooling Jack is kind of dumb but at least he got out of it. Hannibal having a "relationship" with Alana just makes her a very dumb character.

  • Three_nineteen

    How does it make her dumb? There are at most five people in the world who suspect Hannibal of being the Chesapeake Ripper. Alana has know Hannibal most of her adult life. It doesn't make any sense for her to suspect him.

  • Sara h

    finally someone who wrote about this episode thinking it through! thank you!

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