'Hannibal' - 'Su-zakana': We're Caught in a Trap

By Cindy Davis | TV Reviews | April 19, 2014 | Comments ()


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After last week’s crazy unearthing of a brainwashed Miriam Lass, and the apparent deaths of Abel Gideon and Frederick Chilton, we needed a bit of a palate cleanser. “Su-zakana,” did indeed refresh and begin the killing cycle anew. We are introduced us to a few new characters, and like poor Dickie Peter Bernardone (Jeremy Davies), who tries to create his own Easter miracles, this eighth episode represented the relationship rebirth of Dr. Lecter and his patient, Will Graham. Jack and Will set about trying to “catch a fish that isn’t hungry” by creating a reality where only Will and Hannibal exist. Lecter guts and prepares Will’s catch, since it was “his turn to provide the meat,” while Hannibal extols the Nietzschean virtues of trout, and the three reunited men who consume it. “We will absorb this experience; it will change us.” Will, who knows the danger he faces, aptly remarks, “Make us tastier.”

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Throughout the hour, which fairly flew by, Will is consistently forward with Hannibal — unafraid and challenging. At times, it appears as if Lecter is slightly unnerved by Will’s behavior, but still he attempts to guide and control his patient, and it’s up to us to figure out whether or not Hannibal is indeed reacting to Will as live bait. Is he acting on instinct, or still more clever than Will has estimated?

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The guts and level of gruesomeness was amped up several fold; every scene held some new discovery of stitches ripped into or a body cut open. The psychopathic murderer of the week is an aside to the broken man who tries to find something beautiful to replace senseless death. After Will’s vision as killer easily leads he and Jack right to Peter’s barn door, Graham quickly realizes Peter suffered a head injury and wasn’t the killer, rather, the Rebirther. With elaborately staged after-death crime scenes—a live Starling inside the body of a dead woman, inside the body of a nearly dead horse—Peter seeks the good in bad. There was something inherently beautiful about Bernardone’s childlike desire to save souls, a tenderness only as fine and nuanced an actor as Davies could transmit through a few short and sporadic moments onscreen; he was utterly heartbreaking.

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In the middle of all the stable shenanigans and games Will and Hannibal play, the first of the Verger siblings—Margot (Katharine Isabelle), is introduced. Angry over a failed attempt at murdering her brother (Mason, whose face is yet unseen), Margot spends her therapy session with Dr. Lecter trying to work through her feelings, aka plot to kill him again. With very little screentime, Isabelle quickly and beautifully established Margot’s very controlled rage. Hannibal readers got a sweet nod with the shot of Mason’s pinky-ringed hand holding his beloved martini, sweetened by human tears. Our own Hannibal wants to know each of his patients’ intentions — will Margot go after her brother again, and will Graham come after Lecter? Apropos of the horse-themed hour, both would seem sure bets.

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Hannibal and Alana share a dreamy, possibly drug-enhanced bed again, something that gives me pause. Fuller certainly isn’t going for any sort of non-consensual sex vibe here, but by giving the scene the same visuals as those both Will and Miriam experienced, it’s difficult to interpret something other than—is Alana under the influence of drugs or is this simply an artistic take on a sex scene? It has been established that Alana is attracted to, and we have reason to believe she would willingly sleep with Hannibal. So can we make the assumption that if there are drugs, they have nothing to do with the sex? Hannibal is using psychotropics and some sort of hypnotherapy to gain control of Alana’s mind, the same way he affected Miriam and Will—not as manipulation to allow him to have sex with her. That would seem the intention, but audience interpretation remains to be heard. (I do look forward to your comments, readers.) Whatever is really happening between Alana and Hannibal, Lecter still defends Will’s attempt on his life, asserting that Graham was protecting Alana. He amusingly reassures Dr. Bloom that Will is healthy, and “back in therapy with a good psychiatrist.” Indeed.

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During a session with Hannibal, Will openly speaks of Lecter trying to destroy him, and tells Hannibal he can’t abide direct lies. Hannibal asks for the usual quid pro quo; “Do you fantasize about killing me?”

Hannibal: “Tell me how will you do it?”

Will: “With my hands. I discovered a truth about myself when I tried to have you killed.”

Hannibal: “That doing bad things makes you feel good.”

Will: “I don’t want you to kill you anymore, now that I finally find you interesting.”

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And, cue the wicked Lecter smile. The repartee Will and Hannibal enjoy throughout the hour is worth all the guts we were made to suffer; the most intriguing bit is trying to figure out what’s going on in Hannibal’s head. Is his arrogance getting the better of him yet, or is he still ahead of Will’s game? There’s another book nod — this time organic matter lodged in a victim’s throat a la The Silence of the Lambs — which leads the FBI to a field of graves. Will works through another mutilated horse with Peter, while Hannibal pets a…wait for it…a lamb. Nonplussed as Peter’s social worker Clark Ingram (Chris Diamantopoulos) busts his way out from a dead horse and grabs the nearby hammer, Lecter amusingly tells Clark, “I think you might want to crawl back in if you know what’s good for you.” Hannibal being Hannibal, we must presume he already knew Will was right behind him; Hannibal steps aside so Will can show Clark his gun. In a scene no doubt created explicitly for the shipping Fannibals, Lecter (seemingly) has to talk Will down, stepping in at just the right moment to keep the cocked hammer from striking the firing pin as Will pulls the trigger. “This is not the reckoning you promised yourself.” Hannibal likens Will’s own rebirth to the referential moth’s: “With all my knowledge and intrusion, I could never predict you. I can feed the caterpillar, I can whisper through the chrysalis, but when it hatches, it follows it’s own nature and is beyond me.” (This is a near exact quote from Hannibal) And truly, Dr. Lecter seems pleased with Will’s transformation.


Deep thoughts:

On what planet is Will able to carry a gun? Oh wait, ‘murica! I almost forgot.

The fabulous lines were endless. Will to Peter: “Is your social worker inside that horse?” Peter: “Yes. I used to have a horrible fear of hurting something, but he helped me get over that. It feels so abnormal.” (Is Peter Will’s alter ego—and Clark, Hannibal’s? Earlier, Will said to Hannibal that he’d discovered a truth about himself when he tried to have Hannibal killed.) “I just want him to understand what it feels like to suffocate in the death that he created.” Driving with Will, Hannibal asks, “Do you think if you save Peter, you can save yourself?” Later, when Jack releases Clark, Will says, “I know what it’s like to point at the killer and have no one listen. “

Sesame Street sentiment: Hannibal tells Margot it’s fine to be weird.

Did Margot truly catch Hannibal’s offer? “If you really want to kill your brother Margo, wait until you can get away with it or find someone who will do it for you.” I thought I saw understanding flash across her face.

Can’t wait to meet Michael Pitt’s Mason next week.

It was good of Zeller to apologize to Will, and re-break our hearts over Beverly.

Cindy Davis, (Twitter)



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • BizzyBzz

    THAT HEADER PIC! I wanted them to kiss so bad.

  • kali yuga

    I'm come as far as I can with this show. The amazing visuals and effects can no longer make up for the ridiculous plotting and laughable dialogue.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I felt that way often during the first season but they've managed to tie up some of the ridiculous and make them merely improbable. As was mentioned in an earlier recap, you can't think about this too hard or it all falls apart. The artistic crime scenes with zero evidence for one.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    I recognize that this recap section offers a platform for people to discuss the show and its merits as well as its failures.

    It just so happens that the majority adores it because there's never been something similar on TV with the same level of quality, perhaps True Detective. Though I understand it isn't for everyone.

    I'll bite since I'm curious and you seem to genuinely dislike it, what are your problems with it?

  • Ryan Ambrose

    Was that impeccably braised trout eating its own tail?

    And even Will's new wardrobe is starting to resemble a variant look from Manhunter when Will regained control of his own mental faculties after Dr. Lecter's corrupting influence damaged his psyche.

    The only piece missing is an 80's tie.

    Fuller, you clever bastard.

  • Debra Kessing

    "There was something inherently beautiful about Bernardone’s childlike
    desire to save souls, a tenderness only as fine and nuanced an actor as
    Davies could transmit through a few short and sporadic moments onscreen;
    he was utterly heartbreaking."
    ^^ THIS. I had never seen this actor before he was Dickie Bennett, we should see much much more of him.

    Also I don't think Hugh Dancy gets enough props -- I for one had only seen him in brief roles before but he is absolutely superb as Will (and, like Hugh Laurie before him, he is superb in an accent not his own)

  • Ryan Ambrose

    Indeed.

    An actor who can deliver a line such as "is your social worker inside the horse?" with a straight face deserves all the accolades.

  • The dreamy steamy sexytimes scene felt very much like other times that Hannibal has used some inhibitions-lowering device to grant himself deeper access to manipulate someone. With Abigail, it was the mushroom tea. With Will, flashy lights and untreated encephalitis. With Alanna, it would appear that flooding her brain with new relationship hormones is granting him all the deeper access he needs.

    If ya know what I mean.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    The Hannibal/Alana sex scene reminds me of that line about filming your romantic scenes like murder and murder scenes like romance. The line between the two is incredibly thin for Hannibal. When he explained to Alana why Will tried to kill him, it was almost an act of kindness towards them. In a way, he was attempting to repair their friendship. He is not, however, above sticking it to Will by sticking it in Alana. I'm still not convinced that relationship is anything more than that, especially considering Will is all what they talk about in bed.

    During the shipper scene, you could hear the collective screams of every shipper watching, shippers not watching, their families, their pets, and anyone who read the book "Hannibal."

  • lonolove

    Even my boyfriend was screaming "KISS!!!!" at the TV.

  • Brady

    I jumped out of my skin when the starling flew out of that dead body. Scared the shit out of me.

  • Zirza

    I don't know whether this is a coincidence or plagiarism, but the EXACT.SAME.THING happens in the novel Birdman by Mo Hayder. Until I read American Psycho, that was the grossest book I ever read.

  • foolsage

    Minor but important correction: Hannibal didn't say, "That doing bad things makes you feel good." Rather, he said, "That doing bad things to bad people makes you feel good."

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Will Graham, attending the school of Magneto villainy. Two wrongs are starting to make a right in his world.

  • Genevieve Burgess

    My assumption on the styling of the Alana/Hannibal scene is that Mads is playing Hannibal with such a stately and self-possessed demeanor that it'd be difficult to find a realistic way to show him in the throes of passion that didn't look cartoonish or out of character. Can Hannibal ever truly drop his facade enough to have sex? They want to say yes, but I'm betting they can't figure out how to show that.

    Also, could someone explain to me how Hannibal (recently under investigation as a suspected serial killer), Will (recently under investigation and committed as a suspected serial killer, definitely hired a hitman to take out Hannibal), and Alana (sleeping with Hannibal, consulted on Will's murder trial) are all not only still working for the FBI but working the same case? I mean, besides "the show needs them all in the same place" because I get that part.

    That Starling thing was cute, but not half as clever as they want it to be.

  • Three_nineteen

    No one but Will, and now Jack, ever really suspected Hannibal. He has been an FBI consultant ever since Will was imprisoned, and there is no reason for that to end yet.

    Will has been cleared of all charges, and since the reason everyone thought he was mentally deranged was because they thought he was a serial killer, he is no longer considered insane. I don't think he officially consulted on this case - he makes a comment about how he's "REALLY not FBI now", and Hannibal was the first consultant - he is the one who told Jack they needed Will to solve the case. My interpretation is that Jack brought Will in unofficially.

    As for Will trying to kill Hannibal, I'm fanwanking it by deciding that Will has only confessed to Jack about the attempt. Alana only knows because Gideon told her, but since he and Murder Nurse are apparently dead, there's no corroboration. I don't think Will has explicitly stated to anyone else that he was behind the attempt. Jack has turned his obsessive single-mindedness to proving Hannibal is the Chesapeake Ripper and killed Bev, so anything that can get in the way of that, like Will being an attempted murderer, is inconsequential and to be ignored.

    I really can't explain Alana, except that she does work for the FBI, so why not? I don't think her relationship with Hannibal would preclude her from being involved with the case. The whole Will thing is being chalked up to a misunderstanding in the show, so apparently nothing that happened because of Will's arrest has any bearing on the cases of the week.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Um... I don't know? I mean, technically Will should be basically exonerated, and I don't think they ever managed to really prove Will had convinced the guy to take out Hannibal, so... I guess that's fair enough. But Hannibal is a little weird, you'd think they may at least want to take a break.

  • Nadiney

    Wait, Michael Pitt? Well shit. Fucking hate that guy and his mushy face. Damn it. But if more Katherine Isabelle, I shall take eet.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    I also dislike the guy, which is why I think he is going to be perfect as Mason Verger.

    He may be a douche but I think he is a talented one.

  • Nadiney

    I find it hard with him, to appreciate if he is a good actor or not. He seems sullen and fucking miserable every second he's on screen, he just looks uncomfortable. And not like he's doing a great job with a character but like he has gastro-intestinal distress but also maybe he's doing a great job with the character.

    Like, he does the crying and squirming and being conflicted really, really well but I honestly can't tell if he's acting or he had a bad curry.

  • Guest

    Peter Bernardone is more Daniel Faraday then Dickie Bennett.

    *Excellent episode overall. Thanks for the recap Cindy.

    Will: “I don’t want to kill you anymore, now that I finally find you interesting.” - I've been waiting for and FVCKING loved hearing Will say those words.

  • Zirza

    It did make me wonder how Hannibal would feel about the Justified folk. I have a gut feeling Hannibal and Boyd would get on like a house on fire.

  • How so? Dickie and Peter are both simple-minded, though for different reasons.

  • Guest

    1. Jeremy Davies will always be Daniel Faraday to me. PERIOD.

    2. The kick to Peter's head and it's effects I thought were comparable to Daniel's memory loss other effects of his time experiments. I don't think Peter was "simple-minded" but rather incapable of expressing himself because of the injury. He was essentially trying to bring back the groomer, so he could talk to her which I think parallels nicely with Charlotte.
    (Dickie is just your average redneck criminal.)

    Jeremy Davies needs to be in more things.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    "Jeremy Davies needs to be in more things."

    Yes. He looked horrible, though. I don't know if that was "movie magic" or real life.

  • Maddy

    The Alana/ Hannibal thing makes me feel really icky. And I'm sure it's supposed to, but I really wish they hadn't gone in this direction. We'll see how it plays out I guess.

  • freetickles

    I didn't get the drug vibe that Cindy did. I thought they were just trying to show it was hottt sexxxx with that shaky cam stuff.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    Plus, it's NBC.

    "We can show flayed skin in the format of an angel wing but God forbid we show a nipple or some buttocks"

  • Ryan Ambrose

    Well, you know a show has succeeded when it can make a sex scene between Mads Mikkelsen and Caroline Dhavernas, two otherworldly attractive people, look nightmarish.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    I think it feels icky because Alana has no idea what quicksand she's in. Will does, and that's why his relationship with Hannibal is fascinating, when hers is sickening.

  • kali yuga

    This show is ridiculously bad.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    Son, just don't.

  • gerald christie

    Then why the hell are you here?!

  • Jenn TheYellowDart

    Well, thank god you commented on a post written for people who enjoy the show.

  • aroorda

    We are all entitled to our opinions but your's is wrong.

  • Blake Shrapnel

    Can we cut it out with the tubular Hanni-Bells? It's starting to sound like a Blue Man Group concert up in here.

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