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Hannibal 3x04: "Aperitivo"
dire ravenstag gunmettle, dire ravenstag, dire ravenstag 04
cleolinda
So this was the week that the hammer dropped.

NBC Has Canceled "Hannibal"

I did not take it well.

@cleolinda: Are you fucking kidding me

@cleolinda: I love how I actually looked up from the Primavera recap draft to see this. I'm shocked, and I'm shocked that I'm shocked.

@cleolinda: I was expecting possibly a gentle "we're not renewing" after the season ended.

I mean, no, it was not technically "canceling," it's a long story, but using that as shorthand:

‏@cleolinda: THEY CANCELED IT BEFORE THEY EVEN AIRED THE RED DRAGON EPISODES THOUGH

‏@cleolinda: I mean, I know they WILL air them, but what the hell kind of no-confidence vote is this?

@cleolinda: I love how everyone's messaging me like "are you okay"

@cleolinda: I mean, fuck everybody, I'm still recapping. Even if Amazon/Hulu/Netflix don't pick #Hannibal up for S4, we'll send it out with a bang.


@mattzollerseitz: Bryan Fuller's explanation of series vs season finales makes me think being a showrunner means being at peace with possible sudden death.

@emilynussbaum: Not that I'm so insane I think a TNY rave can save an NBC show, but it woulda been nice to have *one day* in print before the axe fell.

@voxdotcom: 23 moments from last night's episode that show why it's time to #SaveHannibal.

‏@tvoti: *Five years from now* "Hey, Todd, I finally watched Hannibal. You were right! I loved it! Why did they only make--" *strangling noises*


@LeavittAlone: executives are not for eating ....riiiight?

@cleolinda: Executives are a sometimes food.

And then Janice came up with a roast peacock recipe for us.




@cleolinda: We are definitely not cooking anyone at NBC. Definitely not.

@FeedingHannibal: To honor them, not cook them. NBC gave us a home and creative freedom for 3 yrs and deserve all our good wishes.

@cleolinda: Bless their hearts.

(To be fair: my understanding this whole time is that the creative side, particularly Jennifer Salke and Standards & Practices, were incredibly supportive. It's just that... NBC was apparently a house divided on the subject of this show, the financially-minded half was pulling against it, and finally, that's the side that won. My fire bees are reserved for them.)

As of this writing, Hugh Dancy's joined a new show on Hulu, and Mads Mikkelsen landed an unknown part in a Star Wars (!) movie and possibly a Marvel villain, but everyone is holding out hope to the last. Either way, Bryan Fuller already has Big Ideas for a potential fourth season--a reporter who visited the set a few months ago mentioned something about "Argentina." Which raised my eyebrows sky-high because that's where Hannibal and Clarice run away at the end of the third book.

@mattzollerseitz: Bryan Fuller on Hannibal’s ‘Cancellation’ and his vision for season 4.

("so terrifying creatively")

Additionally, TVLine: "Fuller declined to provide too many specifics about the direction of a possible fourth season, except to say, 'It would have explored the Hannibal-Will Graham relationship in a much deeper fashion than the series ever has before.'"

Reader, you will forgive me for blurting out, "What, balls deep?"

@BryanFuller: I'M THINKING OF THE 10 EPISODES WE HAVE LEFT AND WHAT'S YET TO BE SEEN. #HANNIGRAM IS A THING AND IT'S COMING FOR THE #FANNIBALS!

So to speak.

(I drafted all of this before "The Wrath of the Lamb" aired. GOOD GOD.)




And in the middle of this, the show was nominated for a number of Saturn Awards, including, I am assuming, Best Irony; the ceremony was held the night "Aperitivo" aired.

@DeLaurentiisCo: Guess who made it to Saturn?! #HannibalOnSaturn @lorettaramos @RCArmitage @neoprod @SteveLightfoot5

@nickantosca: Ok still at #SaturnAwards but WEST COAST turn on #Hannibal in 12 min for "Aperitivo" written by me and @BryanFuller & @SteveLightfoot5 🔪🔪🔪💉💀

On to the episode itself:

These first four installments have had an unusually--even for this show--dreamlike, atemporal quality; "Secondo" looks like a damp autumn in Lithuania, but Hannibal is cooking a "spring lamb." The next three are super plotty, so in a way, these first four are a time loop unto themselves. The title, "Aperitivo," is the Italian equivalent of the very first episode, "Apéritif." But even though this episode is the fourth "course," I think "before-dinner drink" is the title is for a reason: you could easily watch/rewatch this as the first installment of the season. It picks up, after all, with the fates of everyone left for dead chez Lecter at the end of "Mizumono." I do think "Antipasto" was the right choice for 3x01 to establish style and tone, but given that its story happens concurrently with this one--both "Antipasto" and "Aperitivo" lead directly into "Primavera"--it could have gone either way. And placing this episode fourth means that we experience Will's denial that Abigail is dead in "Primavera," and we don't experience Jack's grief for Bella in "Secondo" because he's set that aside to do what he feels he owes the bearer of the imagination he "broke."

As I mentioned last time, this season seems to have taken on the metaphor of the kaleidoscope: watch the story shift and reform to images that are familiar, yet infinitely different. The passage of time itself has often become the story: "Twenty years ago I met Il Mostro," "We have been each other's prisoner for a very long time," "You cannot preserve entropy. It gradually descends into disorder," Eight Months Later, eight months back. And I love timeline/flashback wonkery. It's not that I actually want stories to be confusing--I just love looking at why various elements would be set in a certain proximity. Rearranging chronology creates new contexts; juxtaposed scenes inform each other. I mean, take "Antipasto"--the show could have shown us all the Gideon-forced-to-eat-himself scenes back in "Futamono," not just the one. Instead, those have been saved for the juxtaposition of "if only that company was Will Graham" with Hannibal apparently musing over that conversation on the train to Palermo, suggesting why he's willing to blow his cover after all this time. Showing how traumatized Bedelia was by killing her patient suggests why she's so freaked out that another man will die in front of her; you'll also remember the throat-fisting every time the Patient is mentioned in previous episodes. The images form and reform.

@cleolindajones: PREVIOUSLY ON #HANNIBAL: EVERYTHING WAS TERRIBLE

Fuck a duck, we're back to "didn't recap 2x06-2x13" again.

Let's get this peril started:

@BryanFuller: EACH ACT OF TONIGHT’S #HANNIBAL FOCUSES ON LECTER'S SURVIVORS - BEGINNING WITH @RaulEEsparza’s RETURN AS DR. CHILTON

@lorettaramos: SO lovely to have @RaulEEsparza back in the #FannibalFamily!

Bryan Fuller: "We will see very clearly how he managed to survive those things, so we don’t just sort of magically have him show up and everything is fine. We see exactly what happened from a bullet’s point of view and how he survived."

He's not kidding, by the way:



(x)


I love that shot of the bullet flying past Alana's hair. What I have not included is the closeup of the bullet going through Chilton's cheek and EXPLODING THE BACK OF HIS SKULL IN A SHOWER OF GORE. We also see the path it takes through his head, missing everything important and exiting through his lower skull, as many viewers noticed the first time around, which was thus a survivable wound. (Here's what the scene looked like in "Yakimono.")

"Each of us," Chilton voiceovers right as the bullet pierces his cheek, "whose life intersected Hannibal Lecter lost something. A limb here, a lung there. A few feet of intestines." (*GORE SHOWER*) "The dead..." (Chilton pauses to let someone choke; he's clearly put out that his pompous little prepared speech has been interrupted) "...the dead at least have the luxury of being done with what they lost. But you and I, we still itch."

And who is Chilton addressing?




@BryanFuller: PLEASE GIVE JOE ANDERSON A WARM #FannibalFamily WELCOME TO #HANNIBAL AS OUR NEW MASON VERGER

@lorettaramos: BTS Joe Anderson slate [eyes, a little mask]

@lorettaramos: Things always taste better through a fancy straw. [side view of mask]

I'm going to have to footnote Mason Verger's background for both length and content; suffice it to say that he's semi-faceless, semi-paralyzed, and entirely awful.



Muffled behind his mask: "That little itch must be telling you something." "Would you like to discuss what that little itch is telling you?" Please let's not discuss either of these guys itching, do you mind? Then Mason deflates Chilton's pomposity: "Are you wearing makeup? How long does it take you to put your face on in the morning?"

"Now that I've got the routine down, no time at all," Chilton says coolly.

"Tell you what: you show me yours, and I'll show you mine."

@aMoTPodcast: Things I never needed to hear: Mason Verger saying "you show me yours, I'll show you mine"

@Tattle_Crime: The strangest striptease ever.... @drfredchilton and @masonrverger

(*hworf*)

So, with Mason watching intently, Chilton shows us exactly how badly Miriam's gunshot messed up his face, first taking out a contact to reveal a milky eye.






@cleolindajones: NO NOT THE EYE SQUICK

@cleolindajones: I love how half my mentions are like "OH NO YOUR EYE SQUICK." Bless.

Mason removes the neckplate of his mask; Chilton wipes off the makeup hiding the bullet hole scar; Mason takes off his faceplate, revealing a reconstructed turtle face (trust me, this is SO MUCH easier to look at than the Gary Oldman version); Chilton takes out a dental plate... and his cheek slides halfway down his face.

@BryanFuller: CHILTON’S GOT NO STRINGS EXCEPT ON HIS FACE TO HELP VFX OF HIS FACIAL DROOP @RaulEEsparza

@lorettaramos: #Hannibal BTS How to get that desired droopy look.

@lorettaramos: BTS director Marc Jobst with Joe Anderson [full makeup]

"There," says Mason. "Now we can talk face-to-face."

Note: These two characters never meet in the book. In fact, since Hannibal takes place after the escape in Silence of the Lambs, Chilton is, in fact, missing and presumed eaten. Speaking of narrative doom, we see now that Chilton is standing on top of the eel tank set into the floor (and, for comparison, a wider shot of a similar floor tank in "Tome-wan"):






"I understand you have offered quite a substantial reward for any kind of relevant information on Hannibal Lecter, not just the usual apprehension and conviction," says Chilton, the drooping half of his face in (a symbolic?) darkness, as he introduces the primary Hannibal book/movie plot. "Yes, a million dollars. One million. We advertised worldwide. High price for a fancy pig," says Mason. (A nice irony: you'll remember that Will said back in the day that the Chesapeake Ripper kills in "sounders" and thinks of other mere mortals as "pigs.") "Hannibal would be a prize pig if I had him in my hospital," observes Chilton, "but you do not intend to see him institutionalized, do you?" Mason insists that he won't admit to any nefarious plans that would force Chilton to "to break the bonds of doctor-patient confidentiality," but Chilton has his number: "You do not want a therapist. You want a profiler."

Mason tries to deflect: "I want to understand Hannibal Lecter to better understand myself." "You survived," says Chilton. "That is chief amongst what you need to understand." "Survived him?" retorts Mason. "That implies fortune or skill on my part that somehow allowed me to live. This is exactly how he intended me to live."

(There's a great little scene in the movie where Mason has a captive but utterly nonchalant Hannibal wheeled in, and says, "I guess now you wish you would've fed the rest of me to the dogs." Almost pensively, Hannibal replies, "No, Mason... I much prefer you the way you are.")

"I know somewhere Dr. Lecter is going to and fro in the earth and walking up and down in it," bitters Mason, "and very likely having a good, fun time." And as Todd VanDerWerff points out, "Mason, who's recently rededicated himself to Christianity (or so he says; after all, he's still trying to find and kill Hannibal), uses this turn of phrase to describe Hannibal's current whereabouts. It's all too appropriate. This is what Satan tells God he's been up to in the biblical book of Job."

(saaaataaaan)

"How do you relieve the agony of waiting for Dr. Lecter's capture?" asks Chilton. "What do you fantasize about?" (CHILTON NO) "I wonder what would happen if Hannibal Lecter was in your hands." Mason, however, is on his guard: "I worry we're heading into territory not secured by your fee. I think I need to look elsewhere for somebody to tend to my emotional well-being. Good-bye, Dr. Chilton."

And Raúl Esparza exits with a marvelously wry "Happy hunting."


After the opening credits, here we fucking go again:

You were supposed to leave.

We couldn't leave without you.


Here we are back in the hellish pocket dimension that is "Mizumono"! Aaaand here's Hannibal gutting Will from the POV of the wound. No, I'm not kidding.

@cleolindajones: ARE WE SERIOUSLY DOING THIS

@idoherty451: WHY DO WE KEEP DOING THIS FROM EVERY ANGLE POSSIBLE. JEEZ.

@aMoTPodcast: Man, how many times are they gonna make us watch the Hugstab of Cannibal Betrayal?

It's a longer hugstab than usual, even, as if this is what remains in Will's memory: no words; just hug.

@manatee73: @aMoTPodcast @cleolindajones A lot.

@cleolindajones: @manatee73 @aMoTPodcast I feel very cut up over it :(

@lorettaramos: Something to consider during #hannibalrewatch: 20 great TV eps too painful to watch twice

YES, WE ARE ALL AGREED ON THIS. WHY HAVE WE WATCHED THIS SCENE THREE TIMES NOW.

@lorettaramos: Must we relive the horror again? Yes, yes, we must. With reliving comes understanding.

We must, because the gutting in "Mizumono" has become, I think, the fulcrum of the show. In terms of symmetry, the exact middle of season two is 2x07, "Yakimono," when Will stops openly opposing Hannibal and tries to "seduce" him, but ends up accidentally seducing himself to the dark side, you might say. And then season two ends with this wound that rips open the show's collective psyche--Hannibal has done horrible things to Will over the course of those two seasons, obviously, but nothing quite this apocalyptic, with literal oceans of blood and half the cast left for dead. The entire series either leads up to that moment or results from it; considering that the gutting itself is Will and Hannibal's original meeting in Red Dragon, maybe it's particularly appropriate that everything comes to hinge on this.

(The way the "Red Dinner," as it's been called, functions reminds me a little of David Lynch movies like Lost Highway or Mulholland Drive where something happens in the middle, some unnameable thing that alters the very nature of reality, and the narrative then twists at that point like a mobius strip--everything goes back to one moment that unbalances time and space. Here, it's not so much a narrative twist as a narrative wound--a scar the story can't stop touching.)

And here's what really gets me: if my health keeps improving (knock on wood) and I'm able to keep recapping all the way through the way I'd like to, I'll be doubling back after 3x13, "The Wrath of the Lamb," and finishing season two as well. Which means that, the way things are going now, it may be that the very last episode I ever recap, the final grace note, would be... "Mizumono."

Back to the future, which is also the past: as in "Primavera," Will wakes up startled and hazy in the hospital; a doctor comes in, gets Will a drink of water, and tells him that someone wants to see him:




@cleolindajones: that's not Abigail

@lorettaramos: PSYCH! @RaulEEsparza is the new @KaceyKadoodles

Will mutters, "Hello, Frederick." "You were expecting someone else?" A long pause: "I was hoping for someone else."

@thetuxedos: "don't worry, will. i too can be your surrogate daughter." -frederick chilton probably

"He knew exactly how to cut you," says Chilton, echoing "Abigail's" words to Will--this is where they came from. "They said it was surgical. He wanted you to live." "He left us to die," says Will.

"But we didn't," says a bloodied Abighost.

A dramatic sigh from ~Frederick: "Couple of suckers we've been. He set us up and knocked us down. What bothers me the most is, I think it was easy for him. Shooting monkeys in a barrel," says Chilton, managing to conflate "shooting fish in a barrel" and "barrel full of monkeys," which almost takes talent. "You had encephalitis. I do not know what my excuse was."

"Compulsive imitation," says Will, whose snark also survived the bloodbath.

"How dull." LOL CHILTON. But he doesn't deny it: "Maybe. I am learning all sorts of new things about myself these days. I'm learning new things about you, too." Ugh, is there a button Will can push to have Chilton ejected from his room, possibly into the sun? He can barely even talk, rasping: "Imitation allows us to better understand the behavior of others." "I have great empathy for you, Will," Chilton says solemnly; it reminds me of that time Franklyn kept trying to be Hannibal. "Both of us eviscerated and accused... I have literally felt your pain." Will, unimpressed: "We have matching scars."

"You need a friend... Friend," says Chilton, sitting down.

@idoherty451: omg Chilton wants to be his friend and all I can think about is Tumblr and "what about Chilton?" this is amazing

@cleolindajones: Yeah, no wonder Will retreated into delusion

"You will leave this hospital under a cloud of suspicion." "Not a cloud, a fog," says Will, thoroughly aware of how fucked his life is. Chilton: "I can help you get Hannibal Lecter out of your head." "And into your hospital." Well, it is traditional. "There's opportunity here," says Chilton, "for both of us." (I would like to point out here that the last time someone got greedy for "opportunity," he got his head sawed open.) "We can catch the man who framed and maimed us," Chilton adds, a more vengeful tone now.

"There's no opportunity here, Frederick," says Will. "Not for you."

After a long, wounded pause, Chilton replies, "The optimist believes we live in the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist... fears this is true." He leans in: "This is your best possible world, Will. Not getting a better one."

So apparently Will's mind, struggling to cope, seizes on the phrase all possible worlds, and recasts this conversation, responds to it, in the one he has with "Abigail" about the multiverse: It's hard to grasp what would've happened, what could've happened, and in some other world did happen. Everything that can happen, happens. It has to end well and... it has to end badly. It has to end every way it can. Which leads him to the conclusion, in Abigail's voice, that their ending hasn't come yet: He wants us to find him. And further more, if everything that can happen, happens, then you can never really do the wrong thing. You're just doing what you're supposed to.

As Will lies in bed, the background fades to black. The next scene is a (conscious?) reverie in which Will recasts the "last supper" with the rack of lamb, the one where Hannibal tried to get him to confess his duplicity, as a dinner where they kill Jack together. (Janice writes of her chagrin: "Really, Writer’s Room. Just a pick-up of the Sacrificial Lamb dinner scene from last year? Really?")

@lorettaramos: Did you ever notice how everything seems to be trying to escape #Hannibal’s table? @FeedingHannibal

By Will's metaphysical logic, then, there is a universe in which this really did happen--in which Will brutally betrayed Jack because the multiverse required that it happen somewhere. So it wasn't really wrong... was it?

(There is some epic, tragic music going on, by the way.)





At the table, Will splits into twin Wills, literally divided by his loyalties--the one on the left looking towards Jack, and the one on the right staring straight ahead at Hannibal. Who, as a signal, turns to stare right back at him.





And that's when Will, having graduated to Second Worst at Helping, seizes Jack to hold him down. I can't even handle the pitifully shocked look on Jack's face:






In a visual repeated for all the characters this episode, Will's conflicted face is half shadow, half light. Even the grapes are dark on one side of the platter and light on the other. AND YOU KNOW WHICH SIDE HANNIBAL AND HIS KNIFE ARE ON:





You'd think from that picture that Hannibal's about to plunge the knife into Jack's heart while Will holds Jack down, but no--he cuts Jack's throat so hard and so fast that Jack's head practically spins, and the two of them hold Jack down while he bleeds out, eyes wide in shock and horror.

(Interestingly, Jack and Will, ostensibly on the side of the law, are both wearing dark jackets; Hannibal's wearing a light one. I don't know if that's specific color symbolism so much as "Hannibal is definitely on a different side than the one Will started on, and also, only Fancy Cannibal wears light-colored suits.")


@BryanFuller: BTS - #FannibalFamily DINNER BEFORE THE BLOOD FLOWS

@BryanFuller: BTS - #FannibalFamily DINNERS AT #HANNIBAL’s CAN BE A BLOODY MESS

@lorettaramos: BTS: Are you having a laugh?

@lorettaramos: Poor Jack, never a moment’s rest.


So, with this running through Will's head, it's a bit awkward when Jack shows up all these months later. With the tragic music--almost romantically tragic--still going, Will is trying to weld something in need of enweldment (blue sparks flying: would this be considered fire, symbolically?), pushing away thoughts of Hannibal (a brief slip into the long/narrow Flashback Aspect Ratio) while he works on a boat motor. In brief, wordless flashes, Hannibal drops a gutted Will to the floor; him leaning over Will is, I think, from moment Hannibal tells Will to "make it all go away, wade into the stream." And Hannibal's eyes, intentionally or not from that angle, appear to be BLACK EMPTY VOIDS.



[x]


We've seen Will work on motors recreationally before, but this time, he has an actual boat on the premises. Also,

@cleolindajones: DOGES

frolic in the snow as Jack strides up to Will's workbarn. "I had hoped you would come look for me," Jack says pleasantly, leaning in the doorway, "but I understand why you didn't." Oh, wow, so Will and Jack haven't even had any contact since the bloodbath? He's here now "to, uh... make sure that you don't contradict the official narrative. We're officers of the FBI, wounded in the course of heroic duty."

"That's not true for either of us," says Will, back turned, still working.

"Well, we were supposed to go together. That's... that's on me," says Jack (oh my God, is this his equivalent of "We couldn't leave without you"?). "My foul, my bad." "Not all of our choices are consciously calculated," says Will. Jack, sighing: "No... but our decisions are. You remember when you decided to call Hannibal?"

"I wasn't decided when I called him," says Will, still not looking back. "I just called him." (Bryan Fuller: "I think his motivation is two things: one is to save Jack Crawford's life [...] and then the other plan is that he genuinely wants Hannibal to get away, and I don't think that the audience should be fully aware what that [plan] is because Will is so confused--he's not necessarily a binary thinker, he's just completely clouded with so many options.") "I deliberated... while the phone rang," says Will. (Jack is just giving him one long, continuous side-eye.) "I decided... when I heard his voice." Jack: "You told him we knew." Yes, and it was clearly a cosmic replay of Hannibal calling Garrett Jacob Hobbs ("They know") and kickstarting this whole business in the very first episode, and it was magnificently awful. It'll be even better/worse when we find out several episodes from now who else was in the room with Hannibal at the time. "I told him to leave," says Will, getting quieter and quieter, "because I wanted him to run."

"Why?"

"Because..." Oh God, he's having such a hard time saying it, this poor man, somebody hand him a dog: "Because he... ... ...he was my friend."




"And because I wanted to run away with him."

@cleolindajones: BECAUSE I LOVE HIM, DAD

@hipdeep_inpie: THAT'S PRETTY MUCH AN ACCURATE QUOTE

And this gets the Side-Eye of Side-Eyes that it deserves:






And now, back to "Mizumono": a replay of Alana's plunge out of the window, but this time, with 100% more x-ray skeleton.



(x)


@aMoTPodcast: Ohhhhhhh, that lumbar shot did not look promising. Not at all

I didn't handle that well, either:

@cleolindajones: SHE CAN SURVIVE THIS

@cleolindajones: IT'S GONNA BE FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE #FINE #TOTALLYFINE




It was around this time during the original broadcast that I realized Alana had been left for dead on the doorstep...just like Abigail's mom.


@cleolindajones:: GODDAMMIT I SAID SHE'S FINE

@cleolindajones: *lying on the floor*

But Alana does survive! And she has an Arwen-esque glow-pallor in the hospital, which is... promising?




But also a shit-ton of bruises on her legs and torso. As you might, after being shoved out a window by a brainwashed teenage girl, then left for dead by a sobby cannibal who didn't even spare you a look as he practically stepped over your broken, bleeding body. NO, I'M NEVER LETTING THAT GO.

@BryanFuller: THE CONCEPT ILLUSTRATION FOR ALANA BLOOM’S RECOVERY ROOM

@cleolindajones: Man, she has really good health insurance

Now, using a wheel-shaped apparatus to hold broken hips in place with its spokes might be a real-world treatment, but I can't find anything about one, so I have to think that this was designed especially. My first association with wheel symbolism is St. Catherine--the Catherine wheel or breaking wheel, a (really horrific) form of medieval execution. Here are three useful points from Wikipedia:

1) "The condemned were lashed to the wheel and their limbs were beaten with a club or iron cudgel, with the gaps in the wheel allowing the limbs to give way and break. Alternatively, the condemned were spreadeagled and broken on a saltire, a cross consisting of two wooden beams nailed in an 'X' shape, after which the victim's mangled body might be displayed on the wheel." This whole process could last "hours and even days," by the way (see, for example, the execution of prolific sixteenth-century serial killer Peter Niers), and there are people on record who hung on for three or four days before finally dying.

2) "The Dutch expression ik ben geradbraakt, literally 'I have been broken on the wheel,' is used to describe physical exhaustion and pain, like the German expression sich gerädert fühlen, 'to feel wheeled,' and the Danish expression radbrækket refer almost exclusively to physical exhaustion and great discomfort."

3) "In English, the quotation 'Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?' from Alexander Pope's 'Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot' is occasionally seen, referring to putting great effort into achieving something minor or unimportant."

(Obviously I'm including that third point because of the coincidental butterfly.)

(Have you heard my new band, Coincidental Butterfly?)

The breaking wheel and wheels in general are associated with St. Catherine of Alexandria, who was martyred and executed--by beheading, because the wheel "shattered at her touch." She broke the wheel, rather than the wheel breaking her. So Alana, the one survivor was "broken" rather than stabbed or cut--and for doing NOTHING WRONG, YOU JACKASSES--seems like an appropriate subject for a touch of martyr symbolism. In fact, lest you think I'm imagining this entirely, (SPOILER) Jack rather energetically introduces Hannibal's face to a breaking wheel in the Capponi torture exhibit in the very next episode. I CAN'T WAIT.

And now, Alana's latest torment:





has this woman not suffered enough

"What I said before I will say again," Chilton smarms, creeping around her room (I think it was around this point that I noticed how infrequently Chilton's dialogue uses contractions), "which is something you cannot say: that I did not warn you." "Cannot see what you will not see," Alana says, her voice weak and gravelly, quoting what Chilton said to her right before he got shot. UGH CHILTON: "Until it shoves you out a window."

This may be the best time to point out that the white hydrangea in Chilton's bouquets symbolizes someone who is cold, heartless, and boastful.

@Tattle_Crime: FYI Tattlers - our amazing @FeedingHannibal is ALSO a skilled flower arranger.

Yeah, Janice knows what's up. "I've always enjoyed the word defenestration," Alana says with supreme detachment, because she can't actually reach up and throttle him. "Now I get to use it in casual conversation." "How many bones did you break?" "You say that like I broke them." "You got yourself to the window, Dr. Bloom, if not through it." The only reason I'm not capslocking my face off right now is that we'll see Chilton get his comeuppance--way more than comeuppance--at the end of the season.

And now, Alana gives us an interesting non sequitur: "They told me a lot of marrow got into my blood... and that I should expect to find myself thinking differently."

You know, I thought that marrow in your blood was supposed to kill you, because I'd only heard of it happening in A Separate Peace. Turns out that it could--by causing a fat embolism--but not necessarily. Then I discovered that the idea of "thinking differently" due to marrow appears in The Witches of Eastwick: "[Felicia] starts saying bizarre, paranoid things and the doctors explain it away by saying that it's because the bone marrow has entered the bloodstream and gone to the brain" (bless you, Straight Dope forums). Given this show's love of movie homages, I think it might be a reference to that. At the same time... later events imply that Alana is intentionally performing a sharper, harder persona so that everyone will take her subsequent actions at face value. Of course she wants revenge! She's disillusioned and embittered and ruthless! I mean, I think she does contain those aspects to an extent, but it's not as total a personality change as she wants everyone to believe; under the cover of that vengefulness, she has (note from the future) a different agenda than she claims.

(Caroline Dhavernas: "[Alana] was really the heart of the show before--not as in the middle of the show--but as in the softer, caring part of the show. Now she’s there fighting with the boys and being manipulative and doing her thing.... It’s much more interesting to play for me.")

(Bryan Fuller: "It was exciting for me to have listened to some of the reactions to Alana’s story in the second season, and there was a significant amount of feedback in terms of frustrations that she had been relegated to the girlfriend role, triangulated between Will and Hannibal, and she wasn’t necessarily following her own story. I was determined at the beginning of this season to make Alana as interesting a character as any of the characters in this season, and her change is perhaps the greatest from the first two seasons.")

"Hallelujah," purrs Chilton.





"I do not mean to kick you when you are down," he smirks, "I'm just reminding you how you got down." "And who I'm down with." Yeah, that hit home: "We could all use a little group therapy while we're down here." Alana, smiling: "There's only one 'we' you're really interested in, Frederick. And that 'we' isn't really interested in you."

Hannibal, Hannibal, Hannibal!






@aMoTPodcast: Is this whole episode going to be Chilton trying and failing to assemble the Sinister Six?

@aMoTPodcast: Yes, in my scenario #Hannibal is Spider-man

"Will Graham could use a breakthrough," he insists. Alana: "Being broken was his breakthrough?" "Being broken was yours."

@cleolindajones: STFU, Chilton

@cleolindajones: I'm so mad that she can't just reach out and backhand him

"Will has not had his breakthrough yet. He is saving that for Dr. Lecter," continues Chilton. Alana, considering this, but dryly: "It would be the best thing for his therapy, really." (Was it going nowhere?) Chilton leans down close: "It's only a matter of time before they are back in each other's orbit."

@cleolindajones: I swear I thought he was going to say "in each other's arms"

"Shame not to have the good seats," he says "persuasively," "if only to support poor Will." "That would require some manipulation," says Alana. "Some English on the ball, as it were," agrees Chilton. (Significant phrasing? I'm not sure.) And Alana turns away from him, mulling this over.

So: the general pattern of "Aperitivo" seems to be 1) a "Mizumono" flashback, 2) a hospital recovery scene, 3) a conversation with Chilton, and 4) a post-recovery scene where each character confronts A) some lingering trauma from that night and B) a fellow survivor. It's not set in stone, but the framework holds. Alana's PTSD moment is in Hannibal's empty, shut-up house--all the furnishings still in place, winter sunshine streaming in, as she wheels herself down the hall to the last place she saw him; she moves from light glowing through her hair into both literal and figurative darkness.




(x)


@cleolindajones: If Chilton shows up here I'm going to throw something

Fio argues that what Alana hears now is actually Will talking aloud to "Abigail," but she places her own significance on it; either way, we are definitely hearing Hannibal in voiceover:

You were so afraid of me. The last time I saw you... before that last time I saw you...

Yeah, the last time Hannibal saw her was when she was lying on his front step in a pile of shattered glass and he walked straight past to go feel sad about Will in the rain. The time before that, he said, "I was hoping you and I wouldn't have to say goodbye. Nothing seen nor said. [...] In your defense, I worked very hard to blind you. You can stay blind. You can hide from this. Walk away, I'll make no plans to call on you. But if you stay, I will kill you. Be blind, Alana. Don't be brave."

And then she went for "brave" and tried to shoot him, and we all know how that turned out.

(If Will is also saying it, he's referring to his meltdown in the hunting cabin.)

Here's what she sees now:




Here's what she saw then:




And then it turns out the house isn't empty at all: Will is camped out in the dark kitchen, just... sitting there on the floor next to the fridge. (A nice bit of continuity: he's sitting right under the paneling that splintered when Jack threw Hannibal into it.)

"What are you doing here?" he asks, creepily calm. Alana: "I guess I'm looking for you." "Mm. That's a good guess." "What are you doing here?"

@aMoTPodcast: "What are you doing here?" Frescoing a mother-floopin memory palace, baby

We had just found out that Twitter ratings throw out tweets with curse words, can you tell?

"Visiting old friends," he says. One side of Alana's face is in total darkness, the other half-moon pale: "You're not tempted to forget?" "No, I don't want to forget. I'm building rooms in my memory palace for all my friends." Oh my God, bring this man a dog. "Friendship with Hannibal is blackmail elevated to the level of love," says Alana; Will replies, "A mutually-unspoken pact to ignore the worst in one another in order to continue enjoying the best."




1) So this is an ironic reversal from "You see the best in him. I... don't."

2) WILLIAM, LOVE YOURSELF

"After everything he's done, can you still ignore the worst in him?"

"I came here to be alone, Alana," says Will. "If you wouldn't mind..."

Exit backwards into the darkness, with side-eye. And right when you're like, "GOD, WILL," you see who's sitting next to him there on the floor:




Maybe I'm just imagining it, but Hannibal's stainless-steel fridge right there looks a lot like the mortuary drawers at the lab.

@BryanFuller: #FannibalFamily REUNION WITH WILL, ALANA AND ABIGAIL THE DEFENESTRATOR

Yeah, I guess it would kind of hurt Abighost's feelings to have her victim hanging out with them.

(I don't really blame her.)

(SATAN.)

@lorettaramos: BTS Ghosts of @KaceyKadoodles past.

@KaceyKadoodles: it was so difficult to sit like that in those pants, but i had a sweet bloody face thing, so that's cool. 👖👍


If you look closely, Alana has started wearing red lipstick as of that scene--in previous seasons, Alana almost always had a very natural, unadorned look. (To the point where her smoky eyeshadow at Hannibal's party in "Futamono" almost jumps out like a statement of intent.) Now her look has completely changed from her usual kicky skirts and knee boots; she'll be wearing sharp pantsuits for the rest of the season. In the past she's worn bold red, so the red coat now isn't so different--the painstakingly curled hair and sharp red lips are the real statement of change. Makeup can often be a mask or a revelation--but what are you choosing to reveal, what connotation of yourself?

And she wears this look to the Verger farm--where she sees Margot riding through the woods.








Short version: Margot, a lesbian in both incarnations, is cisgender and fairly femme on the show, rather than a more masculine (genderqueer?) bodybuilder. I've talked to people who felt that Margot was a crude stereotype in the book, and others who thought she was sympathetically portrayed; I'm honestly not sure either way. The crux of it is, if you're only familiar with the show, Margot's arrival last season felt like the show was adding a degree of queerness; if you're familiar with the book, it felt like the show was taking several degrees away. I love Margot on the show, but I'm also mentally compartmentalizing her away from that problem; Show Margot having what will become an openly stated relationship with a woman redresses that--a little. The most necessary information right now, though: what both versions of Margot have in common is that she is no longer able to bear children, which means she can't fulfill the male-heir-only clause in their father's will; she's therefore dependent on her brother, who is slightly less heinous in the show. Slightly.

@aMoTPodcast: I can't be the only one getting the vibe that Margot is totally checking Alana out right now

Oh, you're not.

@BryanFuller: SOMEONE HAS PINGED MARGOT’S GAYDAR #FannibalFamily #HANNIBAL PINGPINGPINGPING

Margot's LGBTQdar, technically. I didn't finish listening to the S2 DVD commentaries (there were several, and very enjoyable), so I missed this exchange in "Naka-choko," during the controversial "wait but Margot said she doesn't have proclivities for those parts" sex scene:

CAROLINE DHAVERNAS: Are we going to see Margot have lesbian sex eventually?

BRYAN FULLER: I hope so!

CAROLINE DHAVERNAS: Please all the fans that are unhappy with that scene! I mean... I'm up for it if you want...
Thus, please direct all flowers and fruit baskets to the Goddess Caroline, because Canon Bisexual Alana Bloom was her idea. Later, she clarified, "Bryan's take on it was that she had always probably been bisexual, but we had just not heard about it," so the bit about "thinking differently" is apparently not meant to imply that marrow in the blood changed Alana's sexuality. Also, knowing that Margot will get to have a sincere same-sex relationship will make eventually recapping "Naka-choko" a little easier for me--particularly since the future Verger-Blooms fill me with joy and delight.

In the barn, Margot feels her lady radar go off and turns to find Alana, now walking with a cane, in the doorway. We get closeups of Margot's horse's eye and the head of the cane--each representing, at this point, how the two women get around? Symbolic of their agency? Alana introduces herself; Margot realizes she's "the new psychiatrist." (Which means, by the way, that Alana's stolen the idea that Chilton was too big a dumbass to pull off himself: insinuate herself into the Verger household as a therapist.) "I went one exit too far on the expressway, came back along the service road," says Alana. "I'm not sure if this is my entrance...?"

"This can be your entrance," purrs Margot, looking Alana up and down.

@cleolindajones: oh can it?

"It isn't easy to find the first time you come."




oh girl


"I'm Margot Verger."

@DrNeverland: @NBCHannibal Margot just went "yeehaw."

@NBCHannibal: @DrNeverland omg

Most of this conversation is adapted directly from either narrative or dialogue in the book: they shake hands, and Alana says, "A witchy beauty about this place." "Yes, isn't there? You should see it in the spring. The riot of lilacs in the wind smells nothing at all like the stockyards and slaughterhouses one usually associates with the Verger name," Margot says dryly.

@BryanFuller: AN UNPARALLELED UNDERSTANDING OF PIGGISHNESS [Verger company logo]

Oh my God, I just realized that Margot's hair is in pigtails.

"Can you please let your brother know I'm here?"





"He knows," says Margot, as they walk through the mansion, offering to answer any questions if talking to Mason "bothers you or you can't take it." Margot actually doesn't exist in the movie at all--and yet, Joe Anderson drawls out her name exactly the way we expected: "MARRRGO! YOU CAN LEAVE US NOW!" And so she leaves Alana with this ominous advice: "If my brother offers you chocolate? Politely refuse."

And then they give each other lingering parting glances.



(*chinhands*)




I don't know how much of the mansion exterior set is real, but it's gorgeous. Before Alana can get any further than "Good afternoon, Mr. Verger," though, Mason starts evangelizing: "You know, I thank God for what happened. It was my salvation. Have you accepted Jesus, Dr. Bloom? Do you have faith?" "I was raised in a religious atmosphere, Mr. Verger," says Alana, "but whatever that left me with, it's not religion." (All of this is adapted directly from the book; in Clarice's case, that religion was Lutheran.) "Left me with more," drawls Mason. "You see, I'm free, Dr. Bloom. I'm right with the Risen Jesus and it's all okay now." (Book Mason insists that because he has "immunity from Jesus"--and the District Attorney--for his previous crimes, everything is totes cool now.) "And nobody beats the Riz," he adds with a wink (weirdest pickup line ever).

@manatee73: #JoeAnderson ate the scenery and two microphones in this scene.

"He will rise me up and smite mine enemies and I shall hear the lamentations of their women. That was once you, I'm told," Mason slimes; now it's his turn to look her up and down. "Dr. Lecter got deeper inside you than he did any of us--" And then he spontaneously starts choking, which I choose to perceive as evidence of my psychic powers.

@cleolindajones: CHOKE AND DIE

@NBCHannibal: *blows whistle* OUT OF BOUNDS, VERGER, YOU GET A TIMEOUT FOR THAT ONE

@beamish_girl: @cleolindajones I love that Mason's face is the only thing so far that's *less* horrible than we were expecting.

With Clarice, he does go on and on about his "forgiven" horribleness, but makes the personal comments behind her back. ("Does [Lecter] want to fuck her or kill her, or eat her, or what?") That's the role Alana's taking in this storyline, by the way, but a bit in reverse--Clarice is sent to the Verger farm after Mason offers a lead on Fugitive Cannibal to the FBI. Alana, not being in law enforcement, has to seek Mason out and offer herself as an investigator, but the general drift is the same: they are both women with enough knowledge of Hannibal's tastes to find him, and the drive to see him captured.

@aMoTPodcast: Is that "lamentations of their women" bit from the book or is Mason blending his biblical-style proclamations with Conan?

cleolindajones: Conan. Amazingly.

@aMoTPodcast: MASON WHAT IS BEST IN LIFE? *sputtering spit gargling noises*

Actually, I was wrong; this happens word for word in the book. (As far as I can tell, "the lamentations of their women" is Barbarian rather than Biblical, though.) Mason is still choking, by the way. Alana and her spectacular coat are not giving a good goddamn.




@aMoTPodcast: Gotta admit, that coat is dynamite

"Do you want me to get the nurse?" she asks, at some point, eventually, when she feels like it.

"No, no--I'm--I'm fine now... it's all okay now," he says rakishly. I can't tell if he's flirting with Alana because he wants to get with her specifically, or just as a power play. Either way, she patiently asks him if he's shared Any Relevant Information On Hannibal Lecter the way he was supposed to. Mason admits, "Not exactly. I want you to understand, Dr. Bloom, that this is not a revenge thing."

@aMoTPodcast: "This is not a revenge thing. By which I mean this is absolutely 100% without a doubt a revenge thing."

"I have forgiven Dr. Lecter as Our Savior forgave the Roman soldiers," he adds magnanimously (excuse you, Hannibal is the Jesus on this show). But Alana replies, "Forgiveness isn't all it's cracked up to be, Mr. Verger. I don't need religion to appreciate the idea of Old Testament revenge." And she gives him a slow, unnervingly sweet smile that reminds me a little of that line about War in Good Omens: "And as she held her sword, she smiled like a knife."




@lorettaramos: Old Testament Revenge. I think s*%$ is about to get real.

(It also reminds me of that scene in "Mukozuke" where Gideon told her that the vengeful Will was "in a biblical place right now." Ostensibly, Alana's here to get revenge on Hannibal as well.)

Back last summer when they gave us the five movie inspirations that they already had planned, episode 4's was going to be Kill Bill. At the time I couldn't figure out how--we had been promised a Lady Murasaki who would "kick all sorts of ass" at that point, so maybe... an O-Ren Ishii homage? Except... what? How?

Todd VanDerWerff: "Alana is apparently Beatrix Kiddo now? At least, that's what the Kill Bill-style music cue over this shot would have you believe."

Ah. There it is.

So that was the fun ("fun") stuff. Meet me on the second post with a stiff drink of choice, because it's about to get sad as fuck.


CONTINUE: PART TWO.

  • 1

FOOTNOTE: Mason Verger background

Back when Margot first appeared in 2x08, I screencapped the worst Mason Verger passages from the Hannibal ebook, because if you had to hear about it, at least you could hear about it from someone willing to trigger-warn for it:

@NerosLyre: I thought I remembered so I read your post. I thought I was safe. I was wrong. I was so wrong.

@cleolinda: I wanted to put trigger warnings for the trigger warnings. It’s so vile.

‏@beamish_girl: “This post has triggers for…actually, everybody should probably just leave now.”

@cleolinda: [DATA EXPUNGED]

‏@NerosLyre: This is how I know our brains are resilient and want to protect us because I remembered almost none of this.

@beamish_girl: Data corrupted. System at risk. Data not saved. Terminating memory processes.

‏@NerosLyre: [“The Girl from Ipanema” plays] We will be back shortly with kitten videos and a candy bar OH NO

As I explain up top in the recap proper, the Vergers are a filthy-rich meat-packing family; Mason was originally sent to Hannibal as part of his "punishment" for molesting children. He was pretty obviously engineered to somehow be Worse Than Hannibal Lecter so that Hannibal could be the hero of that book. You can click through to the Tumblr post for brief summaries of the (very graphic) excerpts, but short version: Mason makes children cry so he can flavor his martinis with their tears (seen on the show); he uses chocolate in his child abuse, hence the almost nonsensically cryptic references to "chocolate" on the show; and he sexually and physically abuses his sister Margot (the sexual abuse was not portrayed, but confirmed by Katharine Isabelle in a Post Mortem interview).

The passages describing what Hannibal "convinced" Mason to do to his face are included as well. The autoerotic asphyxiation (entirely Mason's idea) was written out of the show but kept in the movie; the nose was rather memorably included on the show. (Here's an extremely graphic visual comparison. The nose: I still can't believe this aired on network TV.) You will note my failed hope that Will's dogs would not be used for this plot point.

Edited at 2015-08-31 02:31 pm (UTC)
(Frozen) (Thread)

FOOTNOTE: Mason's physical appearance and pet eel

On the show, Faceless Mason either wears a mask


(x)
Top, Michael Pitt in 2x12;
bottom, Joe Anderson in 3x04


or has a fairly palatable (... that is a bad choice of words) facial reconstruction. In the book, he doesn't have a mask--or much face at all:

[Clarice's] first thought was separate from the feelings in her chest and stomach; it was the observation that his speech anomalies resulted from his total lack of lips. Her second thought was the recognition that he was not blind. His single blue eye was looking at her through a sort of monocle with a tube attached that kept the eye damp, as it lacked a lid. For the rest, surgeons years ago had done what they could with expanded skin grafts over bone.

Mason Verger, noseless and lipless, with no soft tissue on his face, was all teeth, like a creature of the deep, deep ocean. [...] Mason Verger’s hair is handsome and, oddly, the hardest thing to look at. Black flecked with gray, it is plaited in a ponytail long enough to reach the floor if it is brought back over his pillow. Today his plaited hair is in a big coil on his chest above the turtle-shell respirator. Human hair beneath the bluejohn ruin, the plaits shining like lapping scales.

So in the book, Mason is kind of the human embodiment of his own pet eel, an equally vicious creature:

The big eel, now accustomed to the light, rose from the rocks in his aquarium and began the tireless circle, a rippling ribbon of brown beautifully patterned with irregular cream spots.

Starling was ever aware of it, moving in the corner of her vision.

"It’s a Muraena Kidako," Mason said. "There’s an even bigger one in captivity in Tokyo. This one is second biggest. Its common name is the Brutal Moray, would you like to see why?"

"No," Starling said, and turned a page in her notes.

This conversation is adapted for Jack's brief visit to question Mason at the end of 2x12, right after the defacening; the eel doesn't appear in the movie at all, IIRC, and so Mason's final fate is very different.

Edited at 2015-08-31 02:31 pm (UTC)
(Frozen) (Thread)

FOOTNOTE: Show Mason #1: Michael Pitt

Michael Pitt brought us an unexpectedly springy, whimsical, pineapple-haired Mason--at times almost manic, leading to one of my most favoritest scenes in the entire series--and I will never forgive him for making me really enjoy his screen time last year. NEVER, DO YOU HEAR ME. And yet, we also fucking hated his Mason by the time the show needed us to, so: A+ work there.




I'm not entirely sure why Michael Pitt couldn't return for season three, but my understanding is that he was not fired per se, and everyone was happy with his performance.

Edited at 2015-08-29 05:26 pm (UTC)
(Frozen) (Thread)

FOOTNOTE: Show Mason #2: Joe Anderson

@BryanFuller: PLEASE GIVE JOE ANDERSON A WARM #FannibalFamily WELCOME TO #HANNIBAL AS OUR NEW MASON VERGER

If you have to recast a character on this show, "Mason Verger" is the one and "after he loses his face" is the time, so the switch to Joe Anderson is less distracting than it could have been. His performance is very different, however--interestingly, he seems to be taking his continuity cues from Gary Oldman rather than his show predecessor. Does it work, psychologically speaking? For me it does, but not for everyone, from comments I've seen; it's not unreasonable, IMO, that a post-defacening Mason would have a more vengeful personality, his sadism brought to the fore. A deeper voice and a heavier drawl, though? Is it plausible as the character putting on a performance? Hard to tell. We only have a brief scene of "faceless" Michael Pitt behind a mask at the end of 2x12, his final appearance on the show, to hear how he might have played this season. I'm inclined to give everyone the benefit of the doubt on this one, considering that they couldn't help that Michael Pitt didn't return. Also, Joe Anderson does an excellent Oldmanesque "CORDELLLLLLL!"

That said, his makeup is much more bearable than Gary Oldman's, both to look at and to wear, I'm sure.


Mostly the makeup looks like a turtle to me, if that makes it any easier to handle.

Edited at 2015-08-31 02:36 pm (UTC)
(Frozen) (Thread)

Movie Mason: Gary Oldman

I've seen the movie several times and I still can't handle the Gary Oldman makeup. (So of course, it's what the movie opens with, ditching the coy reveal most movies would have drawn out.) If you just need to see it, here's screencaps from the beginning and the scene where Clarice (Julianne Moore) interviews him. It's incredibly difficult to look at, and it had to be hell to wear. Wikipedia: "Make-up artist Greg Cannom said: 'It's really disgusting... I've been showing people pictures [of Oldman as Verger], and they all just say "Oh my God," and walk away, which makes me very happy.'" FLAWLESS VICTORY, DUDE.

Side note: It is entertaining, however, that it's something of a reunion for him and Anthony Hopkins, considering that they were in Bram Stoker's Dracula together nearly ten years before. It seems from the behind-the-scenes features that everyone had fun--as much as you could have with whatever the hell they did to his eye, anyway; Oldman goes full ham, as a Mason Verger probably should.

Edited at 2015-08-29 07:31 pm (UTC)
(Frozen) (Thread)

Footnote: Margot Verger background

Margot doesn't appear in the movie, so Katharine Isabelle is her first portrayal. And yet, Show Margot is an almost entirely different character.

A broad-shouldered person with short blond hair swung down from the saddle, handed the reins to a valet without looking at him. “Walk him back,” the rider said in a deep scratchy voice. “I’m Margot Verger.” At close inspection she was a woman, holding out her hand, arm extended straight from the shoulder. Clearly Margot Verger was a bodybuilder. Beneath her corded neck, her massive shoulders and arms stretched the mesh of her tennis shirt. Her eyes had a dry glitter and looked irritated, as though she suffered from a shortage of tears. [Implication: Because Mason has taken them for his martinis.] She wore twill riding breeches and boots with no spurs.

[Margot and Clarice talk cars pretty companionably; Margot defends Clarice later in absentia when Krendler starts getting crude.]

The twill riding breeches whistled on Margot Verger’s big thighs as she climbed the stairs. Her cornsilk hair had receded enough to make Starling wonder if she took steroids and had to tape her clitoris down.
(Steroids later confirmed: "I shriveled my ovaries with all the stuff I took.")

I'm not sure if you would consider Margot transgender or not; I got the impression that (I'm hoping I use the right terminology here, please correct me if not) she is AFAB (assigned female at birth) and continues to identify as a woman, albeit a somewhat masculine-presenting one. "Genderqueer" might be a more applicable word. Katharine Isabelle's Margot is, on the other hand, a cisgender, more presentationally femme Margot. Bryan Fuller (who is himself openly gay) on the change in characterization:

In the novel, she’s a very masculine character, who has had years of steroid abuse and is a lesbian, and it was unclear to me in the novel whether she was either transgender or a lesbian as a result of those horrible abuses and that horrible childhood and [Beat.] That’s not how transgenderism or homosexuality works. So I didn’t want to contribute to that misconception of what it is to be transgender or a gay woman.

It was important for her to have a strength to her and the idea of the reason she’s going into therapy not being because she was this victim of horrible abuse. Which she is, in a different way. She grew up with a sadist, who was incredibly cruel and will be even more cruel in the future, but I like the idea that she’s in therapy because she tried to kill him, as opposed to because she was so victimized, that she had taken an active role in her victimization and had enough, tried to turn it around, and it didn’t go well for her.
I can't find the source for this again, but apparently there was some pressure to make Margot a straight love interest for Will; I don't know if making her more femme was a compromise made in order to keep some degree of queerness. As written on the show, she describes both her sexuality and the reason she can't inherit as having "the wrong parts" (has female genitals) "and the wrong proclivity for parts" (is not attracted to male genitals), which is why it was particularly controversial that they then had her seduce Will to get pregnant. (I'm not saying I'm happy about the show's choices; I'm here at this point just to tell you what happened. Shit, this is difficult.) Show Mason immediately forces a hysterectomy on Margot to prevent her from potentially murdering him and inheriting the male-only Verger fortune--which honestly did not surprise me, because I figured that their season two subplot was meant as a replacement for the steroid-related infertility: a new back story of why Margot can't bear children.

Edited at 2015-08-31 03:49 pm (UTC)
(Frozen) (Thread)

From the book (warning: implied child abuse):

Mason Verger's majordomo, Cordell, was a large man with exaggerated features who might have been handsome with more animation in his face. He was thirty-seven years old and he could never work in the health industry in Switzerland again, or have any employment there that put him in close contact with children.

Mason paid him a large salary to be in charge of his wing, with responsibility for his care and feeding. He had found Cordell to be absolutely reliable and capable of anything. Cordell had witnessed acts of cruelty on video as Mason interviewed little children that would have moved anyone else to rage or tears.

Today Cordell was a little concerned about the only matter holy to him, money.
On the show, however, Cordell has explicitly been given a very different motivation: "Pain is a good thing."

Cordell in the movie, as played by Zeljko Ivanek, seems to have been conflated with a meeker, more "oafish" Dr. Doemling character ("Seen under the lights of Mason’s seating area, the psychologist was a dry person, extremely clean but flaking, with a dry comb-over on his spotted scalp and a Phi Beta Kappa key on his watch chain"). Movie Cordell seems more like a cowed professional in over his head, and eventually sees the wisdom of Hannibal's suggestion, "Why don't you push him in? You can always say it was me."

Edited at 2015-08-28 08:04 pm (UTC)
(Frozen) (Thread)

FOOTNOTE: "Transubstantiation"

In the book, Mason gets the idea to capture and eat Hannibal at Christmas--although it takes many, many years to bring this plan to fruition:

It was Christmas in the year of Dr. Lecter’s escape. Subject to the quality of feelings that commonly attend Christmas, Mason was wishing bitterly that he had arranged for Dr. Lecter to be murdered in the asylum; Mason knew that somewhere Dr. Lecter was going to and fro in the earth and walking up and down in it, and very likely having a good time.
As he lies paralyzed on his respirator, the words of a carol that he can hear children singing seem to taunt him: O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!

The Christmas stars outside his window maintained their stifling silence. The stars said nothing to him when he looked up to them with his pleading, goggled eye, gestured to them with the fingers he could move. Mason did not think that he could breathe. If he were suffocating in space, he thought, the last thing he would see would be the beautiful silent airless stars. He was suffocating now, he thought, his respirator could not keep up, he had to wait for breath the lines of his vital signs Christmas-greenon the scopes and spiking, little evergreens in the black forest night of the scopes. Spike of his heartbeat, systolic spike, diastolic spike.

The nurse frightened, about to push the alarm button, about to reach for the adrenaline.

Mockery of the lines, how still we see thee lie, Mason.

An Epiphany then at Christmas. Before the nurse could ring, or reach for medication, the first coarse bristles of Mason’s revenge brushed his pale and seeking, ghost crab of a hand, and began to calm him.

At Christmas communions around the earth, the devout believe that, through the miracle of transubstantiation, they eat the actual body and blood of Christ. Mason began the preparations for an even more impressive ceremony with no transubstantiation necessary. He began his arrangements for Dr. Hannibal Lecter to be eaten alive.


Edited at 2015-08-28 08:15 pm (UTC)
(Frozen) (Thread)

FOOTNOTE: PREVIOUSLY ON

Episodes before "Mizumono"

Chilton: Hannibal let Jack find Miriam Lass, who was alive after all, then framed Chilton for the Chesapeake Ripper and Copycat crimes, then Miriam's brainwashing kicked in and she grabbed Jack's gun and shot Chilton in the face in 2x07, "Yakimono."

Mason Verger: Was the worst person on the planet, tormenting his adult sister and young children to flavor his martinis with their tears, attempting to feed Hannibal to man-eating pigs, and stabbing one of the therapy chairs; Hannibal drugged him up in 2x12, "Tome-wan," and convinced him to slice his own face off, feed it to Will's dogs, and then eat his own nose. That was a thing that happened on network TV.


2x13, "Mizumono"

Hannibal invited Jack to dinner, planning on killing him; Jack accepted, planning on arresting him. Will was supposed to show up and either help kill Jack or help arrest Hannibal; he was genuinely not sure whose side he would take. Then Will called Hannibal, apparently hoping Hannibal would run and the whole showdown would be avoided, for Jack's sake as well as Hannibal's. It was... not.

Will: We covered that in "Primavera," but, super-short version: Will arrived at the house last, saw that shit had gone down, then saw Abigail Who Was Supposed to Be Dead, then Hannibal gutted Will and killed Abigail at him, because Hannibal had found out about Will's divided loyalties and his feelings were really hurt.

Alana: Warned Will that the FBI was coming to stop Jack and Will from going rogue; she went over to the house with her gun, but it turned out Hannibal had stolen the bullets, so shit went down and Alana, who did NOTHING WRONG, YOU ASSHOLES, ended up being PUSHED OUT A TWO-STORY WINDOW BY ABIGAIL WHO WASN'T DEAD, WHAT THE FUCK.

Jack: Got to the house first, where shit immediately went down, and actually did a pretty good job of thoroughly kicking Hannibal's ass until Hannibal played dead and stabbed him in the jugular with a shard of glass. (This is covered in the flash-forward beginning of the "Kaiseki" recap.) Jack managed to barricade himself into the pantry while Hannibal tried to break the door down; last we saw, he was bleeding out while trying to call his cancer-stricken wife.

The Ravenstag: Was also symbolically bleeding out on the kitchen floor while Will lay there also bleeding and trying/failing to hold Abigail's blood in, like could this get any sadder (shhh, don't tempt fate). We saw this again in "Primavera," and he will return in the next episode.

Everything: Was terrible.



WHAT ABOUT THE DOGS?

@DeLaurentiisCo: The dogs are good. We get a glimpse of them in 304.

@cleolinda: @DeLaurentiisCo I had kind of started wondering if Jimmy the animal lover was taking care of them. (Zeller frolics reluctantly.)
(Frozen) (Thread)

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