If the last episode was actually Will’s design, this one is Hannibal’s. He essentially flexed his sociopathic muscle to subtly create the exact scene he wanted. Alana was not the only pawn in this episode, virtually everyone was expertly played by Hannibal. Perhaps even Will, since Will essentially gave Hannibal the excuse to break away, and it was easy for Hannibal to threaten Will and assert dominance once again.
We get to see a lot more of Hannibal’s personal life and mind in this episode, beyond just the killing. We now know he plays two unusual instruments and composes. It’s easy to see he’s an excellent makeout partner. We also got to see Hannibal’s (not Mads) acting abilities when fooling everyone around him. And when he wasn’t fucking with people to cover his ass (though was he ever all that worried?) he was giving us a glimpse into his seriously dark humour. I loved when he winked at Chilton. And that whole scene where he was carving and serving Gideon’s thigh was kind of hilarious in the most morbid way. Though let’s be real, Gideon absolutely deserved it.
Do you see the seeds of Hannibal’s demise in this episode? We know it’s coming, we’re about halfway through the season, and yet he’s at the top of his game right now. Despite the few people who suspect him.
One of my favourite things about this week’s Hannibal is that there was finally some real discussion about cannibalism. Will and Chilton clarified for Jack what kind of cannibal Hannibal is. Will distinguished that Hobbs ate his victims to honour them, the way he would deer. He defines Hannibal’s victims as little more than meat. I think it’s a bit more complex than that.
Chilton goes to Jack immediately following the conversation he listens in on between Gideon and Will. Wise choice. Even though Jack is defensive, and unwilling to drop his skepticism to fully absorb what Chilton says, he is starting to hear. Chilton has re-examined his experiences with Hannibal and is becoming convinced. He remarks that Hannibal once made a joke about eating his tongue. His forced vegetarianism, as a result of Gideon’s ‘surgery’ last season, has become a blessing in disguise. So to speak. The last thing he says to Jack is “Cannibalism is an act of dominance”.
As we’ve discussed before, Hannibal is interested in experimentation and control. I think he wants a mastery over ‘fate’, over life, that just doesn’t exist. He’s interested in causing chaos and then micromanaging it. This is another version of composition for him, he makes killing an art. Cannibalism is a part of that. It’s not just a disinterest in the value of human lives or a desire to assert dominance over them. I think he’s confronting his own mortality. My theory though is influenced by reading some of the books and knowing a bit more about his back story, his trauma.
Jack is serving as the judge. Another theme in this episode is judgement. Everyone is judging one another and picking sides. Will and Hannibal are both feeling this judgement in different ways. Jack is the one who remains unconvinced, and here’s perspectives and evidence from both sides. Over a glass of what I think is bourbon with Hannibal he says “”There is a pattern taking shape, I just have to convince my eyes to see it.” The judge was blinded in the trial episode, because justice is supposed to be blind but also because he was not seeing. Jack seems to have unofficially taken up the torch in his place. He knows he is not seeing, he just isn’t sure what it is that he is missing.
What is your take on Jack right now? Do you think he genuinely believes Hannibal is being wrongly accused? Or is he just in denial because he’s afraid to see it. He seems to be walking the line between friendship, trust, and his job.
This episode was so good. It may be my favourite, despite the Alana problem. At least the show didn’t sexually objectify her. I was worried when the preview last week showed the two obviously naked and in bed, assuming that was a teaser for a more elaborate sex scene. Turns out, I was wrong to have worried. I was also glad we got a bit more information about Alana and her relationship to Hannibal. I hadn’t realised she’d known Hannibal for longer than anyone else. That and the contextualisation of “funeral sex” makes their sudden romantic interest in each other a little less jarring. All things considered, I thought that aspect of the story was really well done…if only Alana had more characterisation!
Speaking of aspects of this show that are really well done, how about those visuals? I just cannot get over how freaking beautiful this show is, even the macabre bits. Especially the macabre bits. The man with the flowers in his chest, coming out of that blooming tree was such a beautiful image, if you could get over the fact that there was a dead man in it. I also really liked the way that the music notes for the piece Hannibal is composing turned into flowers. The show is really drawing a direct parallel between art and Hannibal’s murders. This whole episode was, as you say, very much about Hannibal taking control of the whole situation.
I thought Hannibal’s conversation with Will was another great use of visuals. We saw stag horns extending out of Will’s head and breaking his cage at the beginning. I assumed this was meant to symbolise Will becoming the stag-man (i.e. a killer) and that this would free him. But then Hannibal comes in and the stag horns disappear. When Will looks up after Hannibal leaves, the cage isn’t broken and there aren’t any stag horns coming out of his head any more. That, to me, really signalled that Hannibal was back in control.
I definitely agree with you that Hannibal’s cannibalism isn’t just about consuming meat, regardless of what the show has Will say about it. Hannibal’s murders are just too poetic to be about consuming meat. He killed that guy and put him on the tree because the guy was responsible for paving over a wildlife preservation area or some kind. He killed the colour-palette guy by sewing him into his own mural. He forced Gideon to eat his own leg. Obviously a lot of that has to do with a fascination in manipulating people to do what he wants. But I also think he’s interested in understanding people. What drives folks to do what they do?
I definitely think Jack is beginning to believe Will’s story, otherwise he wouldn’t have asked Hannibal for an alibi. But I also think that Jack’s kind of right down the middle, unable to know what to think. That’s kind of been a theme with him this season. The fact that the meat he took from Hannibal’s party turned out not to be human probably swayed him a bit into believing Hannibal’s innocence. And yet, the fact that Will was shown to be innocent might make Jack more likely to believe what Will is saying about Hannibal. I’m really interested in seeing what Miriam has to say and how that will influence Jack.
Miriam is definitely going to be a game changer but, like you, I’m not too sure what direction that’s going to take. What has Hannibal done to Miriam this whole time? Was that maybe what Beverly saw before Hannibal found her? Miriam alive but being tortured somehow?
When Jack was opening up those silos, I was totally expecting him to find Gideon in one of them. I had thought for sure that Hannibal had finally killed him and left him for Jack to discover. Now I think Gideon is still probably alive. I wonder if Hannibal is going to keep chopping off parts of him and feeding them to Gideon. Gideon’s a pretty horrible person, but I don’t know that anyone would deserve that.
I found his role this episode to be really interesting. He obviously taunted those security guards into beating him so that he could end up in the hospital. But he also seemed really surprised to see Hannibal at his hospital bed. So I’m not too sure what he was hoping to accomplish with that.
Will and Hannibal are both characters who are manipulating the characters around them for their own ends. Gideon strikes me as the character who has knowledge, but doesn’t know how to use it. He knows who Hannibal really is. He knows more about Will than any other character (except Hannibal). Yet he keeps using his knowledge in ways that don’t actually help him. He told Alana enough so that she and Jack could save Hannibal, but that really hasn’t done Gideon any good. He’s revealed who Hannibal is, but only in a way that put himself in danger. He took back what he said to Chilton and Will because he wants to hurt Chilton, but that didn’t really work out either.
It’s like Gideon just can’t quite figure out how to properly play the game.
Good point. If we haven’t seen Gideon’s body, he’s probably not dead. That’s a general horror rule. This does make me wonder about Abigail, since we never saw her dead either. It would be super interesting if she was still alive, but somehow I doubt it, since the actor is currently working on another series. I am dying to know what exactly it is that Beverly saw.
Speaking of Will manipulating people, are the ends justifying the means? To catch a serial killer as horrific and successful as Hannibal I want to say yes. But he’s racking up a human body count. It’s good that Matthew was caught and killed, as you said before two birds one stone. But what about Beverly? And Alana? Her life is definitely in danger. I think he’s so fixated on catching Hannibal that he’s perhaps not doing this as cleanly or methodically as he should be. I also think that he is partially responsible for what happened to Gideon. In the scene where they were talking, we saw the walls slowly close in and a rat scurry between them. Gideon’s the rat, Hannibal and Will are cats. His urging pushed Chilton in the right direction, and Gideon towards death. Do you think that’s what he intended? Take care of one horrible killer and lure another one out? It’s really hard to say. Either way, Will is walking a fine line here between successfully solving his problems and creating more. Plot wise it’s excellent and intriguing, but I worry about characters I like dying. Par for the course in horror I guess. And kudos to Hannibal for being willing to sacrifice great characters this way.
You know who really stole the show for me? Chilton. He was great this episode. I’m starting to see reasons to like him. He was hilarious in his awkward attempts to be in control and inconspicuous. Also he coined Hannibal’s nickname! Hannibal the Cannibal. It’s good that they’re making him more likable because I can tell you that he’ll be around for a while. Hannibal is 100% on to him, but I don’t think he considers Chilton to be a threat. To be honest, he isn’t. I don’t think there’s much he can do to affect the battle between Will and Hannibal. What did you think of Chilton’s role in this episode?
I don’t know if I think the ends justify Will’s means. I really liked that moment that Hannibal confronted Will with the fact that what Will was doing might end up getting folks killed. But then, I suppose we really can’t blame anyone for what Hannibal does except Hannibal. I mean, Will did try to warn Beverly away from taking on Hannibal on her own.
I don’t really think anyone else is going to die, if only because there aren’t a lot of people left who aren’t primary characters. I mean, they couldn’t really kill off Alana, could they? Isn’t she in the books?
As for Chilton, this was the first time I enjoyed watching his character. Obviously, I don’t have to like a character to enjoy watching them, but Chilton had always been so horrible that I didn’t even care about him. He started to have more of a character than just screwed-up-selfish-psychiatrist. We still see that he’s all about self preservation, but in this episode it manifested in some hilarious ways. I thought the whole scene with Chilton at Hannibal’s dinner party was so funny. His expression when Hannibal winked at him was perfect.
I also don’t think Chilton is much of a threat. He’s way too self-centred to ever really play Hannibal and Will’s game. I thought it was interesting how in this episode, Chilton finally starts doing the ‘right thing,’ and it turns out he’s playing right into Hannibal’s hands.
I don’t actually know if Alana is in the books or the film to be honest! I don’t want to look it up. I’d like to be surprised. I think it would be more interesting to keep her alive, watch her deal with the remorse of sleeping with the cannibal, and see how it affects her and Will.
In that sense Chilton and Gideon are two peas in an oblivious pod. It’s interesting how this season is creating parallels between villain and victim. It goes with the themes of distrust and unclear identities. I have a feeling this is going to continue to have significance later. Who are they going to put together next?
With victims and villains paired up so far we’ve got Will and Hannibal, and Chilton and Gideon. Personally, I consider Freddie Lounds villainous enough to warrant a victim-pair. Wouldn’t it be interesting if they paralleled her with Jack Crawford in some way? In a sense they already are, I suppose. Aside from Beverly, both Jack and Freddie are the ones searching most actively for the truth.
Cutting it short this week because we are busy bees. But I’ve got some treats for you.