Hannibal: Yakimono (S2E7), or Hugh Fancy and Chilton’s Bad Day

Hannibal - Season 2

 

Athena:

So this episode was the peak of Hannibal’s design. From next week’s preview it seems like Jack and Will are luring him in. I feel as though Jack remains unconvinced of Chilton’s guilt (or at least not wholly convinced of it, despite his immediate anger). But for the time being everything is coming up Hannibal and there are not many people left who can combat this.

I loved Miriam’s character. She’s incredibly intriguing. She mirrors Abigail Hobbs in the sense that she is a victim playing right into Hannibal’s hands. I’m pretty sure she knows it’s him, but is unable to vocalize it for one reason or another. And I am positive Hannibal trained her to be triggered by Chilton so that she would have an irresistible compulsion to kill him.

The episode opened to her being dirty, traumatized, and being processed by the FBI. She’s got incredible eyes for communicating so much repressed emotion and damage. Over the course of the episode we see her get slowly get put back together again, including the edition of a robotic arm. But we know, as does she, that this is merely a bandaid. Will says to Hannibal that she had to kill Chilton to get some agency back to restart her life. I think it was just paying back her debt, so to speak. She said to Will “Neither of us are really free, he’s not done” and she was absolutely correct. And that’s why Will and Jack are going to play Hannibal.

I don’t think Chilton’s necessarily dead. He was shot through the cheek, we very clearly saw that. And (SPOILER) I’m pretty sure he is alive in the novels. So either he’s going to be part of the plan to catch Hannibal, make him think he’s secure, or the tumblr theory that Alana is going to replace Chilton is correct. What are your initial thoughts on Miriam’s role and Chilton as the scapegoat?

Hannibal - Season 2

Heather:

My initial thought to Chilton as the scapegoat was that everyone conveniently forgot that Chilton can’t eat meat. Everyone’s on board with the idea that the Ripper is a cannibal, but that itself is enough to clear Chilton’s name. He’s been unable to eat meat since Gideon tried to kill him. The show has made a point of mentioning Chilton’s inability to eat meat multiple times this season. So it’s really odd that no one mentioned it this episode. I’m really hoping someone mentions it next episode, or it’ll bug me.

I agree that Jack isn’t convinced Chilton is guilty. I think he was initially drawn in by his anger and by the seemingly complete evidence against Chilton. But when Jack was chasing Chilton down, and he saw Chilton kneel down and beg for Jack to kill him, I think Jack realised that Chilton wasn’t guilty. Unfortunately, by then it was too late and he had to bring Chilton in for questioning, just to be thorough.

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I absolutely agree that Miriam has been trained by Hannibal to name Chilton as the killer and then to try to kill him. I wonder if this is Hannibal’s end game? To have Will on the brink of committing murder, and having Chilton die for his part in Gideon’s false claim at being the Ripper. Hannibal seems to have no problem with other people taking credit for his work, so long as he’s the one who set them up. I think Hannibal might still be pissed off that Gideon claimed to be the Ripper, which is why he killed him so horribly and why Hannibal ultimately framed Chilton.

I loved the moment that Chilton asked Will why Hannibal didn’t just kill Will and Will answered that Hannibal wants to be his friend. Clearly Will’s beginning to understand what Hannibal’s goals are.

Back to Miriam, I thought the actress’ portrayal was excellent. It looked like it was such a great effort for Miriam to speak. With every word it was clear Miriam was straining to understand and articulate what happened to her. That burst of emotion after she shoots Chilton was, oddly, the most relaxed I think we’d seen her this whole episode. It was like she finally released all that tension.

The conversation Will and Hannibal have about Miriam taking back her life by shooting Chilton makes me, again, think that Hannibal might actually want Will to catch him. It’s set up so that Miriam and Will sort of parallel each other, in that they were both victims of Hannibal’s and released at the same time. I feel like it’s a challenge. Like, if Hannibal weren’t a psychopath, Hannibal’d be a master chess player looking for a worthy opponent. But instead he’s a cannibal looking for a worthy opponent.

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Athena:

I hope they do address the fact that Chilton can’t eat meat. I could easily see ways they’d (the characters) be willing to explain around it to justify what they think is their victory (just because he can’t eat meat doesn’t mean he can’t kill, or he could have been lying about that, etc.). I don’t think Bryan Fuller would just leave that hanging, considering the excellent control he has over his show (consistent quality) and in executing his vision.

It’s interesting that you bring up Hannibal wanting to be caught. In theory, that doesn’t make sense. Why would the a killer with a perfect set up and near perfect track record want to get caught? But when watching the way he interacts with Will, and the games he plays with the FBI, I think you’re right. At least a part of him wants to get caught. He craves extreme thrills, and what would be more intriguing and challenging then getting arrested and then finding a way to escape? Maybe Hannibal is bored. He took some serious risks in his mind games with Will, and it’s not exactly as though they have paid off for him. Because of Will there have been suspicious eyes cast on him. If he wanted to be totally free he could have avoided that altogether. If Hannibal has some kind of end game, I think we’ll find out very soon (considering the fight scene  with Jack).

Speaking of end game, what’s up with Hugh Fancy? I love the hair, but does he think he’s really going to convince Hannibal? It’s pretty obvious he’s got a motive, and hasn’t just given up on proving Hannibal’s guilt or causing his death. This is where we really going to find out how far Hannibal’s desire for ‘friendship’ goes. Is Hannibal lonely? Is he lonely enough to let Will back in? Is it weird that I’m sad they can’t be friends?

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Everyone’s future is so up in the air right now. Now that Miriam has served her purpose, will Hannibal let her be? What about Alana? I think Hannibal will be reluctant to act, because it would undoubtedly push Will over the edge. But that doesn’t mean she’s safe. Hannibal is nothing if not a risk taker. How long before he grows tired of their affair? Do you remember int he first episode when he flirted with Alana and asked why they hadn’t gotten together before? She responded by reminding him that he was already involved with someone else. What happened to that person?

Heather:

 

I really agree with your assessment that Hannibal is bored and a risk taker. It’s not so much that he actually wants to get caught, but that he enjoys toying with the possibility by toying with Will. I am also very interested in seeing what Hannibal’s end game was. I think he was always planning on releasing Will. I think Hannibal just put Will in the state hospital in order to make Will desperate and see how far Will would go.

From Hannibal’s smile after Will said he wanted to resume therapy, I think Hannibal knows exactly what Will’s up to. I’m beginning to think that Hannibal is trying to bring out the psychopath in Will. Like, this whole elaborate plot is about trying to make Will into someone just as twisted as he is. So when Will says he’s going to resume therapy but obviously has an ulterior motive, Hannibal’s pleased his protégé (so to speak) is back to playing the game.

 

I think the partial fingerprint of Hannibal’s that they found on one of the flower petals is extremely interesting. It’s not good enough to hold up in court, but just good enough to match Hannibal. Then they found highly circumstantial evidence against Chilton and Hannibal set up Chilton’s house with a lot of very direct evidence. But I’m pretty sure that Hannibal’s partial print on the flower was deliberate.

That makes me wonder just how far Hannibal is willing to put himself at risk just to toy with Will. Maybe he is just that lonely. I definitely wish Hannibal and Will could be friends. I love how Fuller’s set it up so that we (the audience) is basically left thinking, “If only Hannibal weren’t a cannibal…”

I doubt Hannibal will let Miriam be. She served her purpose, but I still think Hannibal is interested in her. I mean, there has to be a reason he kept Miriam alive to point the finger at Chilton, rather than any of his other victims.

I had completely forgotten that Alana mentioned Hannibal had been dating someone back in the first episode. I bet whatever happened to her, it was nothing good. I can only imagine what Hannibal does to girlfriends he’s grown tired of. And though I’m not fond of Alana’s character, I don’t want to see anything bad happen to her.

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Athena:

They keep bringing in the romantic element that is a staple in most TV series in unusual ways. I love it. It’s never pure romance and lust in this series. It’s always touched by horror and tragedy. What will come next? Even if they don’t kill Alana off, I do not feel as though things will be okay between her and Will. Nor should they be. They’ve been through too much, and there’s been too much understanding. I don’t think they can ever achieve any kind of normal relationship. And once Alana realizes she’s been sleeping with a serial killer I think she will need to spend a lot of time on her own recovering from that. I can’t even imagine how horrific it would be to learn that your friend, mentor, and lover was responsible for some of the worst homicides you had ever heard of. For that reason alone, to see her struggle with the gravity of what happened, I hope they keep her around.

That’s something I love about this series. With Abigail and Miriam they really tried to show what the victim experience is like. Usually crime and horror shows just conveniently skip over things like PTSD and victim recovery. I’ve got PTSD and I can tell you it’s never something that you can skip past. It’s a long, ongoing struggle. Alana dealing with PTSD would finally force Fuller’s hand and make him finally give us an idea of who Alana is. There’s agency in processing the victim experience and recovering who you are.

I’m worried there could be a dearth of female characters if Hannibal does decide to murder Alana. They can’t just bring on a bunch of new women inorganically. And I doubt Miriam Lass is going to be a long term fixture for multiple reasons. It would be really interesting to see her attempt to reintegrate into the CIA, but I think Jack recognizes she’s not mentally stable enough to have a license to kill. Even before shooting Chilton in the face.

I wonder what the consequences are going to be for her (probably) attempted murder. They can’t just throw her back into another type of prison. She’s too traumatized to be 100% responsible for her actions, and it would be beyond inhumane to lock her in a cell after she just got her freedom. Perhaps she’ll end up in a place like the Baltimore Institute.

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I’d like to say once again that Chilton is really starting to stand out for me. He’s hilarious, in a weird way. I’ve become very attached to his character in these last two episodes. He’s an asshole, but not irredeemable. And he certainly didn’t deserve to wake up in a house full of corpses.

It’s very intriguing that you bring up Hannibal’s intentions for Will. I hadn’t thought about it that way. He’s set Chilton up to be a fake killer, but maybe he is setting up Will to be a real one. Do you think Will has that kind of darkness in him? We’ve seen flashes of manipulation and murderous rage, but those were extraordinary circumstances. Can Hannibal make those urges part of everyday Will Graham too?

Heather:

Something I really love about this series is how it gives character development more weight than plot, even though the plot is so huge. The conspiracy and the murders are sensational plot devices which drive the story forward. But all of the drama comes from how all these characters react to the conspiracy and murders, and how they interact with each other. I think that’s part of why the show portrays PTSD more fully; Fuller actually cares about depicting characters as people.

I’m also worried about the dwindling number of female characters, especially if Alana is murdered. Plus, as you say, seeing her deal with the realisation that Hannibal is a psychopath could finally give us some good characterisation for her. It’d be tragic and horrifying, but this is is a horror show. I agree that Miriam probably isn’t going to become a permanent fixture in the show. I definitely think she’ll be around for a bit longer, but not permanently.

I’m also worried about the lack of characters of colour, to be honest. There was Jack, Bella and Beverly and now Beverly’s dead. And I’m pretty sure Bella’s not going to last much longer. Chilton is played by a Cuban-American actor (Raúl Esparza), but his character’s ethnicity is ambiguous. The cast is looking awfully white.

Speaking of Chilton, he’s possibly my favourite character right now. I’ll be 100% honest and say that finding out Esparza is bisexual, went to NYU and has a strained relationship with his mother totally biased me in his favour. But also, as a character, Chilton is (as you said) kind of hilarious to watch. His reaction to being set up by Hannibal is so great. On the one hand it’s a bit over the top and panicky. On the other hand, if I were set up by Hannibal as the Ripper I’d panic too. I also like how Chilton and Will went from hating each other to becoming tenuous allies. At first I thought Chilton’s selfishness and lack of empathy was meant to be an indicator that he’s actually a worse human being than he lets on. But now I think Chilton’s just one of the few characters who is exactly what he seems. And that’s kind of a refreshing character on this show.

I don’t think Will really has the ability to become a real killer. Not really. I think he’s only reacting to the hopelessness of his situation with Hannibal and that’s where his dark urges will stay. I think he might scare himself a bit, though. We’ve seen Will manifest the stag-man horns when he tried to have Hannibal killed. But he didn’t have them when he put a gun in Hannibal’s face. I think he’s pulled himself back from the edge, though it’s possible Hannibal will push him toward it again.

Athena:

I agree, I don’t think Will can ever become exactly want Hannibal wants him to be. But I’ve heard (key word there) that Will goes to some dark places as things progress for him in the novel (I believe he’s only in Red Dragon, but I could be wrong). I like that he’s a bit morally grey. I hope he stays there. And in the hunt for Hannibal, I wouldn’t be surprised if he loses touch with aspects of his humanity. It’ll be interesting to see how he recovers them.

So I looked up ‘yakimono’ and according the vast wisdom of Wikipedia it refers to grilled and pan-fried dishes. So who exactly was ‘grilled’ or ‘fried’ in this episode? What does that mean?

I’m no chef (unless ordering in pizza counts as a culinary skill) so I don’t know the difference between the two really. In North America at least when I think of grilled I think BBQ and a lighter, cleaner meal. When I think fried McDonald’s comes to mind. Is Chilton grilled and Miriam fried? Chilton was Hannibal’s main course in a metaphorical way, and the process of getting him to where Hannibal wants him to be was relatively clean. Relatively. Miriam’s mind is totally fried, and took years of effort to reprogram. If you don’t call that messy, I don’t know what counts.

(Also that totally puts me more on the Chilton train too.)

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Heather:

Interesting. When you mentioned “pan-fried,” I thought of the saying, “Out of the pan and into the fire.” That’s kind of what happened to both Miriam and Will. They both are out of the pan; Will’s out of the state hospital and Miriam isn’t locked up with Hannibal any more. But they’re also both right in the fire. Will’s struggling with his own morality and trying to get revenge on Hannibal without going full on dark-side. Miriam was triggered to shoot Chilton.

But I also really like your interpretation of Chilton as grilled and Miriam as fried. Frying requires that something be cooked in oil (or butter), whereas grilling is cooking directly on a dry heat source. So, yeah, Miriam’s mind is totally fried and it is really messy. And Chilton’s set-up was explicit and direct. This wasn’t the little bits of evidence like what was found at Will’s house. Hannibal killed people in Chilton’s house and spread the blood all over Chilton. It doesn’t get any more direct than that.

I really need to remember to look up the names of episodes. They always add a layer or two to the story.

Athena:

Did you want to add anything else? This was a great episode, but interpretation wise it was relatively straight forward. I’m really looking forward to seeing where the next episode goes with these changes in the power dynamics.

Heather:

I don’t really have anything else to say about it, really. I’m really interested to see the next episode too. It seems like Jack is really on Will’s side now, so that should make things really interesting. Maybe Jack will help keep Will from going too far? Or maybe Jack’s prodding will unknowingly help push Will into embracing his darker nature. Can’t wait to see it.

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Over at The A.V. Club they’re doing weekly features with Bryan Fuller. I’d recommend checking it out for more insight.

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