DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER IF YOU ARE NOT CAUGHT UP OR ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH GORE.
DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER IF YOU ARE NOT CAUGHT UP OR ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH GORE.
Due to life being life this last week or so, you’re getting a tasty two for one deal.
So in this episode we’re seeing how far Will is willing to take this game of cat and mouse with Hannibal. It’s actually at the point for me now where I’m not sure if it’s just a way to catch Hannibal anymore. Will seems to genuinely be touching the darkness in himself. And Jack certainly doesn’t seem to be in on the game. He ate Hannibal’s omelette. Obviously that’s a people omelette. I doubt Will is going to go so far as to eat meat at Hannibal’s any time soon.
But before jumping to the big reveal at the end, I want to talk about the theme of human nature vs. some kind of illusory ‘animal’ nature, and the return to theme of questioning identity, which hasn’t been as prominent in recent episodes as it was here.
There was something truly horrific about the detachment of these killings, something unsettling about the belief that it was okay for this man to tear his victims apart because of some kind of species dysphoria. I had never heard of species dysphoria before, and I feel like it’s probably unlikely people who experience it go around killing people with a cave bear skull. But it was a great concept for this episode. The obvious symbolism was a desire for a bloody transformation, or the inevitability of it, and the human cost. What did you think of the murder parts of this episode?
On the other hand, I guess maybe I should have seen the species dysmorphia coming? Will after all sees himself changing into the stag multiple times, including in this episode. And he envisions Hannibal as that creepy stag/human hybrid. The last episode featured bodies emerging from horses. And we had the return of Peter, who feels a closer bond to animals than humans. Hannibal wants Will to get in touch with some sort of animalistic side, he’s clearly a believer in that whole idea that human beings are naturally violent savage animals and our humanity is just a trained facade (something I definitely do not agree with, but this idea is more pervasive in society than I like). This is the gradual and literal build up of that idea.
So this week I want to begin by looking at what this episode excluded. Su-zakana returned the series back to it’s main plotline, the give and take between Will and Hannibal. Yakimono was like a sledgehammer in terms of major and shocking developments. But then this week leaves us hanging. I’m not opposed to this at all, I think it’s important to take time to build up other aspects of the story and not overload the episodes with action. But do you think there was more significance to the choice to leave out Miriam’s and Chilton’s fates than that?
I suspect part of it has to do with hooking Hannibal. I think we’re only going to know as much as he is. The lives of those two characters have major implications for his future and the show. Like it or not, Hannibal is both one of the protagonists and the antagonists
Surprise! I looked up the meaning of su-zakana! Apparently it’s a small dish, usually palette cleanser. So I think this episode was just that, a palette cleanser. It was very much about re-establishing Jack, Hannibal and Will’s relationships with each other. And I think it was very important to do that before continuing on with the big, overarching plot. Enough had happened that these men’s relationships have been affected, and it was good that the show stopped for a moment to show that to us.
I also think that after that initial fishing scene with Jack and Will, we’re going to be stuck in the dark about their plans. I like how now it’s Hannibal who’s possibly getting played after the previous two episodes which have been all about Hannibal’s plan. At the end of the episode, where Will was about to shoot that other psychopath, I couldn’t help wonder if he was just playing Hannibal, there. Was Will really going to shoot that guy? Or was he just pretending to see how Hannibal reacted? I mean, Hannibal did give quite a bit away at the end of that episode. We realise he’s trying to make Will into a killer, but specifically to try to kill him.
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.
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.
Why Bryan Fuller, why?!
So I usually like to attempt to go through the episode chronologically, but I want to begin by talking about my uncomfortable levels of attractive to the two swimming killers this episode. Can we discuss this? Like ew, but also ooo. I’m confused!
This gif is all I need.
Trigger Warning: This episode dealt with suicide, so we will also be discussing suicide thematically.
So the theme of this episode is suicide. But it’s not an easy or straightforward motif. The show is asking the audience to consider what the cost of the characters’ actions are, and if making choices that lead to their own deaths is a form of suicide. Whether through recklessness or a death wish. And in the end, are the two really so different if the result is the same?
This episode in some ways was a lot more straightforward than most. We knew it would be all about the trial. But I still think they managed to keep it interesting. It was my least favourite episode of the season because I had clear expectations, but it was by no means a weak one.
I really like the utilization of dream sequences/hallucinations for Will. I’m glad that carried over from the last season. It’s still not clear what exactly is his imagination and what is the effect of previous or even current illness. What did it mean when he electrocuted himself? Why did it reverse so it could be done once again? I think it has something to do with the fact that if his plan fails him he could end up being his own executioner. Especially with his accusations of Hannibal. What do you think?
That opening juxtaposition of Will and Hannibal getting dressed was total fan service. I wish we had seen them a little less clothing for a little longer. Thankfully all the Fannibals on tumblr seized the opportunity to meme that shit up.
Speaking of fan service, in some ways that was what the trial was to Hannibal. Having his accomplishments paraded out for everyone to be appalled by, indirectly being called “the smartest person in the room” (he couldn’t even conceal his pleasure). What were your thoughts on the trial?
This poster makes me all kinds of uncomfortable.
The second episode was not to be outdone by the premiere, so it started off with a different kind of bang. OHMYGOD. That opening scene! I don’t know if I’ve ever cared about an unnamed character more on television than in that moment. HE WAS SO CLOSE TO SURVIVING!!!! The injustice! The cruelty! The repulsive ripping of flesh! It was perfect. It seems like we can always rely on Hannibal to wonderfully gruesome.
Shit gets fucking real really fast this season
So it seems as though one of the themes again this season is duality. But whereas last season it was duality within the self, now it seems to be between others. In their relationships with each other, which are becoming increasingly blurry. Also with the way they examine things. Each of them are seeing two sides of Will, and trying to navigate what that means, and what the reality is.