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.”
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.