The eleventh Hannibal episode starts as it often does, with a surrealistic Will nightmare. The Hannistag watches as Will is birthed, setting up the parent/child theme that runs through the hour. Will sees himself as a powerful monster now, in control and leading those around him to believe the reality he’s set before them. But as good a show as Will has put on, as cleverly crafted a trap he’s laid, there are cracks beginning to appear. While he waits for Hannibal to slip up and make a mistake, Will may have inadvertently sabotaged himself.
Hannibal and Will enjoy another meal together; this time it’s tiny songbirds (Orlotans) methodically prepared. Hannibal explains the ritual live drowning in Armagnac, roasting and eating of the whole birds — though he and Will don’t cover their heads to hide from the god Hannibal doesn’t believe in. Loudly crunching bones, both their eyes close, then open as they share Will’s “rite of passage.” Hannibal wants to live vicariously through his protege’s kill. “Did your heart race?” Lecter explains how Will is being changed through his metamorphic behaviour and closely observes Will as Graham answers his questions. The first of a few slightly askew glances passes over Hannibal’s face, belying his usual calm exterior. This is the moment Will may look back to when he realizes his plan didn’t work as well as he thought. Hannibal feeds Will transformative psychobabble — “Blood and breath are only elements undergoing change to fuel your radiance” — Will dutifully spits them back out at the next crime scene.
Jimmy and Zeller have their hands full with the fake Freddie Lounds corpse so grandly rolled aflame right to her marked parking spot. As speculated last week, Fuller mirrored Lounds’ book death scene, though Freddie herself is alive and well. Hannibal is invited to the lab show so he can be fully convinced, but Lecter’s sharp eye catches every last detail, including that the body was cut open (psoas muscle taken as “odd” trophy), not split by fire. Will regurgitates Freddie’s status as fuel, and Hannibal notes her killer is “the one to be noticed now.” The room is oddly tense as the boys all listen in on Will’s not-vision of what happened, and perhaps the FBI gang is a little too closely guarded.
Alana struggles to put together the puzzling pieces and people that surround her, unable to understand who’s lying or telling the truth. After her early morning visit wakes Will from another nightmare, he plays along to her fears. During their emotional conversation (Will’s jealousy can’t help peeking through) Graham makes what may turn out to be his fatal (to the plan) mistake; handing Alana a 9mm for whoever she’s afraid of, Will tells her to buy rounds, go to a range and practice. They meet up again at Freddie’s funeral; Will’s second, though not as affecting, mistake. Alana tries to work through the reason he’d be there, which leads her (clever girl) right back to Jack.
We’re treated to another threesome-ish show, though this one’s much less sensual than last week’s bed-hopping dreams. This time it’s Margot between the boys, informing both father Will and therapist Hannibal her pregnancy plan quickly worked. Margot’s not opposed to Will being her child’s male influence; better than her brother, whose history around children is quickly (and cleanly) exposited. In a silly, unbelievable scene, Mason extracts tears from a foster child and enjoys their salty accompaniment to his martini olives. The siblings take turns at Lecter therapy, though it’s clear from the glance he gives Mason’s discarded jacket whose manners Hannibal prefers. We know how Hannibal deals with the rude…Mason’s reign of cruelty has just been (unknowingly) limited. For whom Hannibal is setting his own trap remains opaque; he does intentionally allude to Margot’s pregnancy, and at the same time, seems fascinated by the idea Will’s approaching fatherhood. In a later session with Will, Hannibal notes how quickly “we form attachments to something that doesn’t yet exist.” Noting Abigail reminded him of his sister Mischa, Hannibal reminisces and expresses sadness over both girls’ deaths. “Would you protect this child the way you couldn’t Abigail?” Having put Will’s child in danger himself, is Hannibal waiting to observe Will’s actions after what Lecter set up Mason to do? Hannibal is playing everyone against each other, willing as god to give up his newborn Will. Lecter doesn’t believe in any deity, but he enjoys playing one: “Occasionally I drop a teacup to the floor just to see it shatter; I’m disappointed when it doesn’t pick itself up and come back together. Someday, perhaps.”
Shiva is both benefactor and destroyer, it’s how Hannibal sees himself (and so should an evolved Will). The short trip to the latest crime scene featuring a deified (Shiva-ized) corpse takes a back seat to perpetrator analysis; Alana correctly asserts a killer is being guided and opens her eyes the courtship we’ve all been watching. Did Lecter go a little too far even for us this time, pushing Mason’s buttons to go after poor Margot in a most terrible way? It was heartbreaking to watch the attack we knew would play out; kudos to the writers for breaking our hearts right alongside Margot’s. Fuller played out his gorgeous Cronenberg homage (Dead Ringers), and Mason collected his sister’s tears.
Dead Ringers (Jeremy Irons):
Homage (Michael Pitt):
“Every creative act has its destructive consequences…God is beyond measure and wanton malice. And matchless in his irony.” Is Hannibal too, and perhaps omniscient? Or is he merely all-smelling, immediately detecting the gunpowder scent when he kisses Alana’s hand? (It is at that moment my own faith in him felt true. As I’ve suspected, Hannibal is far too intelligent for Will’s plan to completely sneak by.) After Will sees Margot in the hospital — Hannibal’s aftermath — he is angry…and so is Hannibal. It was a most interesting moment to follow reaction as it played across Hannibal’s face; was this true or played out anger as he observed Will’s emotional relay? It is Lecter’s plan that Will go after Mason, but things don’t go as Hannibal might have expected (or do they?). “Dr. Lecter’s the one you should be feeding to the pigs.” Hannibal’s increasing suspicions may have warranted confirmation Will wouldn’t kill Mason; did setting up Mason and Margot evolve into a test? We now know for certain now that Hannibal is mistrustful, but of whom (aside from Alana)? The next two weeks will tell. Dr. Bloom’s “The most terrifying thing in the world can be a lucid moment;” foreshadows an upcoming scene in Lecter’s kitchen, when Jack’s eyes lock with Hannibal’s and their shared world of pretenses comes crashing down.
“Will…he will always be in the room,” Hannibal says to Alana, right before he realizes she’s been firing a gun. I believe Hannibal is already suspicious of Will, and the next episode, he goes to *Preview Spoilers whited out, swipe to see: Mason’s barn to see if Will actually kills Mason or not. Obviously, since we’ve already seen the Crawford/Lecter fight that happens in the final episode, we know Will is going to save Hannibal (I’m expecting Mason to get thrown down into the pig pit). End Preview Spoilers.
As I mentioned in the Book Readers’ Discussion, *Book Spoiler whited out: Freddie’s “death” by flaming wheelchair differs from book Freddy, who had his lips bitten off and was killed by Francis Dolarhyde aka Tooth Fairy. End Book Spoiler.
There was a whole lot of god this hour, from the Shiva corpse to Hannibal’s speeches about holding the euphoric power of life and death, to sacrificing children (and the willingness to sacrifice them); from Mason playing god over Margot to Will’s own temptation to play god with those around him.
Speaking of god, this exchange almost made me spit:
Will: “I prayed I would se Abigail again.
Hannibal: “Your prayer did not go entirely unanswered. You saw part of her.”
I loved the scene with Will and Mason at the barn, both of them perilously near the edge of that piggy pit, and us truly not knowing if Mason would fall in. Great tension.
Am I the only one who was less enamored with Michael Pitt’s performance this week? I’m certain he’s given direction to be as over the top as he likes, but it’s all a little too cartoonish for me. Funny, as surreal as this show can be, it’s the comic book villain thing throwing me.
Katherine Isabelle, on the other hand, is wordlessly brilliant. Her face conveys a thousand emotions.
This week’s title Kō No Mono refers to seasonal pickled vegetables. Yes, this is quite a pickle Will’s gotten himself into, isn’t it?