Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones

Hannibal 2x01: "Kaiseki," part two

PREVIOUSLY ON: PART ONE OF THE PREMIERE: Everything was terrible and nobody had any boundaries; the episode began with an already-infamous mutual ass-kicking; Hannibal Lecter is the New Will Graham, and the Old Will Graham wants him to step on all the Legos and die. Also: sushi.

(It's people.)

Meanwhile, as you may recall, Alana has adopted All the Dogs until Whenever,

@cleolindajones: WINSTON!!! #Hannibal #frolicking

and today, she is here to frolic the shit out of your meadows. She's herding All the Dogs around a field in a super cute leather jacket, hair tossing in the wind as she laughs, the dogs leaping and frisking. Bless your boots, Alana Bloom. Of course the dogs are the first thing Will asks about when she comes to visit. They're doing well, except that "Winston keeps running away. But the others are adjusting."

@winston_graham: wow talking about me behind my back

@cleolindajones: WINSTON KEEPS RUNNING AWAY :( :( :(

@Tattle_Crime: No @winston_graham don't run away honey! <3!

@winston_graham: i can go wherever i want. you don't control me

"Where does Winston go?"


("Where is Daddy Graham?" Just go. Leave me here to die.)


"Well, he's not gonna find me there." "Not today," says Alana. "But maybe someday, he might. With the right defense." Unfortunately, Will has no lawyers to present said defense, mostly because he keeps firing them. "They're the FBI's lawyers." Yeaaaah, and if they're anything like Prurnell, they want him to shut up and take the blame ASAP. Alana promises to find him a lawyer worth a disinterested damn, but he protests, "What defense do you think I have?" "Automatism," she says. "Allows a defendant to argue they shouldn't be held criminally liable for their actions due to unconsciousness. Your mind was on fire. You had no control of what you were doing, much less remember doing it."

"What if I could remember? What if I could remember how this was done to me?" "What if you could remember how you did it?" "You believe Hannibal," Will says dismally. (Super interesting to no one but me: I think this is the first time in 14 episodes that he's ever used Hannibal's first name.) To be fair, she's more like, "I believe the Will Graham standing in front of me now is incapable of that violence." Oh, God bless, Alana--so right and so wrong, all at the same time. "I believe you lost your mind, and for periods of time, you weren't the Will Graham I know."

And guess who's listening in from his office, as is his future wont?

@cleolindajones: Oh get the entire fuck out, Chilton

"I hear Hannibal's voice... in the well of my mind," says Will (there's a good bit of Silence of the Lambs-esque imagery in this episode). "I hear him saying words that he's never said to me, it isn't my imagination, it's--it's something else." Okay, now I'm wondering if Hannibal was actually talking all kinds of stuff into his head, as it were, during the Abigail blackout. "Have you ever helped a patient recover memories?"

So now they're sitting at a table in a dim visitation room with a blue neon metronome, kind of like Will's golden mind metronome upside down. "Close your eyes," Alana says softly. "Feel the happiness in your limbs. Imagine yourself in a safe... and relaxing place." Oh, by the way, Alana is now a dark flowy slightly seductive angel-demon leaning over the table. "Safe to relax... completely. No matter how deeply you go... my voice will go with you."


@manatee73: BTS, Caroline actually was made up completely in black for that sequence #lotsofwetonesafter

And Will imagines Dark Alana leaning in to kiss him, but also envelop him.


It's an eerie, lovely image, but also a pretty complex one. It calls back to the "his madness is like an oil spill" conversation--but also the black-painted shadow gallery of copycat murders that Hannibal tried to convince Will he'd committed without remembering. Will wants to go back to that place in his head, but this time with someone far more trustworthy, as frightening as the prospect might be.

But the "memories" (interspersed with flashes of the crows from "Apéritif") are symbolic--Will finds himself sitting at Hannibal's dining room table, which is piled with fruit and flowers and oozing living rotting food, like something out of a baroque Dutch still life. I can't even begin to figure out the flower symbolism involved, but there is definitely a roast pig. Presiding at the foot of the table: the Wendigo.



Janice Poon calls it the Hallucidinner: "Dining on nightmares. Will. Wendigo. Wonderful. [...] Glycerine is applied to meat to make it look juicy...water is sprayed on leaves and flowers for a dewy look...Fabreez is spritzed on the octopus to keep it smelling like a rose - after all, it has a 'bit' in this scene."

Coulda been worse. Coulda been the snake crawling over the pomegranates. THIS SHOW, Y'ALL.

And then Will looks down at his plate--and there's Abigail's severed ear. Which is obviously not what really happened--Will being convinced to eat at Hannibal's table--but it's what I said I wanted to imagine, so I was pleased. Unlike Will, who jerks awake in a fit of DO NOT WANT: "This--this isn't working!" "What did you see? Will, what did you see?" She takes his hands, but he's not telling. You cannot force a feast; it must present itself.

Chilton, however, is more than happy to feast chez Lecter. But first of all, can we stop for a moment and talk about the Boucher painting that he's staring at? Because, I promise you, it is the most graphic sexual image that has ever appeared on network television, and it just blithely slipped past the censors until this episode. (It appeared most clearly in "Fromage," IIRC.) Production designer Patti Podesta talked about it in an interview last year: "It leapt to mind when I first imagined the perverse nature of Lecter. I found that it is in the public domain and its whereabouts unknown, so a little narrative developed: Hannibal secretly owns the painting and stares at it during supper." (It's also a reference to a rather crudely described collection of Leda-themed artwork in the book Hannibal.) So, you know. That's just been hanging there the whole time. Everybody Hannibal's had to dinner got swanned. Including Abigail. Today, the swan's head has tastefully vanished and drapery has been photoshopped onto Leda's nethers, which only makes it that much funnier to me that they didn't notice it for an entire season.

Dinner tonight, meanwhile, is "ash-baked celery root smoldering in a coffin of salt," writes Janice Poon: "It’s a dish made famous at Brett Graham’s Michelin-starred restaurant, The Ledbury. His celery root is baked in a shell of browned salt dough but I decide to go with a shell of pure white salt rubbed with ashed celery leaves. I want it to look like a baby Wendigo hatching from an icy snowball from hell." And it totally, totally does. "Salted and ash-baked celeriac with foraged sel fou," Fancy Cannibal announces. There is also watermelon carpaccio with spiced feta cheese, and a salt-baked snapper recipe to try at home. I'd have to check and see if Hannibal has a vegetable garden out back before I can tell you if celery is people. (And why did he stop and stare at Chilton so darkly? Dude, you're the one who put the swan-sex painting up there.) "Frederick, you have tested me. It's rare that I cook a meatless meal."

"I lost a kidney," Chilton says petulantly. "I have to watch my protein intake." I gotta tell you, I fucking hate Chilton and the only reason I don't want him to keel over dead right now is because I want him to get et later, but I love Raúl Esparza playing him.

"You didn't lose it, Frederick. It was taken from you. I remain impressed with your recovery," says Hannibal, reminding Chilton of the time that Gideon ungifted Chilton's basket. (I'm gonna laugh my ass off if this is why a piece of music titled "Sweet Remembrance" is playing.) "One can grow to love beets," Chilton replies heroically. There may be a reason why the camera lingers on the cane he conveniently leans against the table: "Alana Bloom was visiting with your former patient today." "Will was never my patient," says Hannibal, which I guess is why he felt entitled to commit malpractice all over the place. "The irony," says Chilton, "is that he is my patient, but he refuses to speak to me. Makes me feel like I'm fumbling with his head like a freshman pulling at a panty girdle," which is a line from a book written many, many years ago and thus doesn't make a whole lot of sense in 2014, but it caused a lot of us to start shrieking with glee. Hannibal replies that Will's "a challenge for any psychiatrist" (which makes it particularly unfortunate that he's being wasted on such a dumbass). Chilton sighs: "He is so lucid, so perceptive. He's trained in criminal psychology, and he is a mass murderer. He's a prize patient. Or should be." How was Dr. Bloom's visit, by the way? "He asked her to hypnotize him so he could recover his memories," says Chilton. "Was he successful?" Hannibal asks, "casually" averting his eyes. "Only in playing Dr. Bloom. It's sad to see a brilliant psychiatrist fall for such hoary old chestnuts." Mm. Yes. "She wants to believe him," says Hannibal, adding, "I do too."

"You do realize you're his favorite topic of conversation," smarms Chilton. "Hannibal Hannibal Hannibal," and half of Twitter (including me) yelled out MARCIA MARCIA MARCIA! at this point. Hannibal himself just has this pleased tiny gleam. "Not with me, of course, but with everyone else who will listen. He tells everyone that you are a monster."

(#Legend has it if you say Hannibal three times into your refrigerator he appears behind you and shoves you inside)

"Well, in that case, you are dining with a psychopathic murderer, Frederick," replies Hannibal, and they cheerfully clink glasses. OHHHHH YOUUUUU.

Meanwhile, Ryan Field is playing one Roland Umber, who is currently on the subway being weirded out by a dude (from Creepy Dude's POV; we don't see who he is) touching his hand and murmuring, "You have nice skin." Soooo that's a thing that's happening. And right after this, the show does a really interesting variation on Catherine Martin's kidnapping in Silence of the Lambs. I wonder if part of the reason Roland thinks it's a good idea to go out and check on his car (the alarm has mysteriously gone off) in the middle of the night, in his sock feet, because he is a guy, and guys aren't used to thinking about their safety literally every single waking moment. Like, as a female-identifying person, if I saw my car trunk open in the middle of the night and a large sheet of plastic mysteriously trailing out, I wouldn't even get down my front steps; I would be hiding in my closet, calling the police. So Roland is walking into a terrible horror-victim trap here--the Creepy Subway Guy is bearing down on him as he stares at the plastic sheet--but he's walking into it with a completely different societal mindset from Catherine, who got trapped by the expectation that women should always be polite and helpful.

@cleolindajones: Just don't ever get near vans, or trucks, or cars. Things with wheels. Things that move. Walk everywhere. Never leave the house.

@tbq_: and now the weather

@cleolindajones: Absolutely. RT @CMarie55: @cleolindajones Does the whole shoving into a trunk and skin thing seem like a Buffalo Bill homage to you?

@cleolindajones: It is cracking me up that this episode is so openly a riff on Silence of the Lambs, because you kind of HAVE TO at this point.

And that was before I listened to the Nerdist Writers Panel podcast with Bryan Fuller and found out that this season is specifically meant to be an echo/inversion of SOTL. More terrifyingly, the third season will be Hannibal (book)-echoing, then they'll do actual Red Dragon material in season four, actual SOTL--or an off-brand version--in season five, actual Hannibal in season six, and Whatever the Hell You Can Imagine Happening After Hannibal in season seven. That's the seven-season plan they've mentioned before.

But right now, something very different ends up happening once Roland's been kidnapped: we see someone (a white man with floppy hair) cooking heroin (wait, heroin?) in a spoon and injecting it into Roland, sewing his skin, and spraying him down with (presumably) resin. While he lies there twitching.

And our scene transition is Brian tapping at the hard resin coating on one of the bodies. This is gonna end so well, you guys. "Dental and medical records placed the six [bodies]," he tells Jack, Beverly, and Jimmy in the BAU lab, while we get a nice view of the stepped-on corpse. "All adults, both men and women, different ages, different ethnicities, all from different states--nothing in common except they all disappeared from their homes with their vehicles." "And," adds Jimmy, "they all had large amounts of heroin in their systems." (I'm still perplexed by this. A relatively cheap, easy-to-score painkiller/immobilizer if you can't actually raid a hospital supply cabinet, I guess? This is such a weird detail that it's got to be part of how they find the guy.) And it's way more than enough to be the cause of death... eventually, I guess. "What's this strange skin discoloration on these bodies?" asks Jack. Beverly: "We found traces of BHT, which is a color preservative." "He wants them to look alive," concludes Jack. Brian: "Shot them up with a little China White, injected them with preservatives, then filled the bodies with silicone so they don't emaciate, then he seals them with, like, a hard resin shell." Oh, and these puncture wounds? "Those are like eyelets." WHAT AHHHHH NOOOOOO "Something was threaded through. They were strung up, mounted, presented," Brian finishes. WE'RE TOTALLY GOING TO SEE THIS AND I DON'T LIKE THIS. "So how's he choosing them?" asks Jack. "We got nothing," says Beverly. "Appears to be random" (desperately random?) "but if this is the discard pile, I'm curious to know how many were keepers."

The troubled look on her face is a telling segue to visiting Will, but poor Will has no idea: "It's good to see you." "Don't know how I feel about seeing you," she says, sitting down in the visitation room. "I'll let you know when I do." Jack doesn't know she's there, "but he shouldn't be surprised." "I'm surprised," says Will, and I can't even handle the look on his face. "I'm... compartmentalizing," she says... reaching down into her bag. "There are a lot of people missing."

Bryan Fuller at the AV Club: "That little heartbreaking moment where he realizes that she’s just there to use him to help solve a case, and you see the loneliness for the first time and the disappointment, and [Hugh Dancy's acting is] so effective." Because yeah, it's so awful--Hugh Dancy has this thing he does, this soul-killing Don't Let Them See You Break Down smile he also used in "Trou Normand." "You have the file with you? Pictures?" AHHHHHHH IT'S THE MOVIES IN EMOTIONAL REVERSE. Instead of gleefully bargaining for terrible things, Will is reluctantly accepting them because he can't turn down a chance to save lives. And now, Beverly is his Clarice (his Cleverly?), openly asking him for help as a friend.

@manatee73: BTS Hugh always keeps a hand cuff key on his person when we shoot these scenes.

"The first six bodies were found in the same place--dumped in a river, caught in a beaver dam. He targets them, follows them home, abducts them, and preserves them," Beverly explains, and basically all the original series fans are rolling on the floor with glee when Will replies, "You want to know how he's choosing them, don't you?" "I thought you would have some ideas," says Beverly, spreading out DMV pictures of various missing people. "Tell me what you see."

And Will begins arranging them, his wrist chains rattling against the table. "It's a color palette," he says finally.

(... Roland UMBER. *facepalm*)

Now, I don't know if the parallels are continuing into the next scene--Jonathan Tucker ("Matthew Brown") (... not sure if intended to be color-spectrum name...?) gets enough screentime wheeling meals down the hall that I'm wondering if he's going to be Will's Barney. Speaking of which, you know what "kaiseki" apparently can also mean? Dinner tray. Yeah. Here's Will's feast: as he's chewing his mystery meat, he suddenly remembers choking while Hannibal stands over him. In a plastic murder suit. Jamming a tube down Will's throat. And cramming Abigail's severed ear into it.

click for gifs
(noooo don't click for gifs)
(they are the worst)


@manatee73: BTS Mads is jamming that stuff down Hugh's throat on camera.

(Regarding the interior shots of Will's "throat":)



It's so, so disturbing, too, on every conceivable level--it's not just the nightmarish, grayscale Eraserhead cinematography; it's not just Will struggling half-conscious with this tube, or the terrible way that his eyes roll, or the slo-mo interior shots of "his" throat; it's not just that the severed ear of a girl these two men treated like a daughter is going down that tube. It's that Hannibal is also calmly standing there, caressing all over Will's face with his creepy gloved hands while he tries to get Will to swallow the ear. Like he's petting him. It's just--exponentially horrible, like a FRACTAL of HORRIBLE, AHHHHHHHH.

(Hugh Dancy on his Reddit AMA: "First time I met Bryan he pitched about 4 season's worth of TV. Including cell time. But the thing that got me was that I'd vomit up someone's ear (the ear-candidate actually changed). When I got tired during the 1st season I'd cling onto that dream." Bless. Also, my understanding is that they were originally going to kill off Bedelia and switched to Abigail, so she must have been the Ear Candidate. So it blows my mind that the beautifully circular plot structure that begins and ends in the Hobbs kitchen must not have been their original plan.)

@DAVID_A_SLADE: The Ear is in my office!

So, there you have it. That's how Hannibal wizarded Abigail's ear down Will's throat, and her ear is what Will now imagines spitting out onto his tray. Maybe if they'd served spaghetti, he would have figured this out sooner.

Over at the Nobark Home (None of the Dogs, All of the Sobs), Jack is bonding with runaway Winston: "I suppose you blame me too, huh?" And that's how Alana finds them--sitting together on Will's stripped, empty bed. "You need to take better care of this dog," says Jack. YEAH WELL MAYBE YOU SHOULDA TAKEN BETTER CARE OF YOUR EMPATH. "I got All the Dogs chipped," says Alana, "but at least they're not running away to anywhere I can't find 'em." And then she points out that, really, Jack and Winston have both come back here looking for Will.

"Listen," says Jack, "I understand why you felt you had to file that report. You questioned my judgment when it needed to be questioned." (Alana: "Yes, it did.") "And it will help in Will's defense if it's in the record." "Declaring Hannibal's guilt is more important to Will than establishing his own defense," she replies, not quite grasping that HANNIBAL DID IT is his defense. "Hannibal's not guilty," says Jack, shaking his head, and ohhhhh God, I can't wait to find out why his mind's been changed by the time he walks into that kitchen twelve weeks from now. "Neither is Will," Alana says staunchly, "but he's clinging to the hope Hannibal did this so he doesn't have to face what he did." "Convince me he didn't know what he was doing. I would really like to be convinced, Alana." "A psychopath wouldn't be so scared of the truth, Jack. Will's terrified, but that's not stopping him from trying to find it." "Somebody's gotta find the truth, eh, Winston?" he says. And Winston just pants and smiles and beams at the two of them because at least someone is petting him now while HIS DADDY IS IN JAIL. "If Will doesn't remember what he did," says Alana, "he'll never accept the truth."

So that's why Jack decides to go visit Will... who's just standing around in his cell, mentally zoned out in the Fishing Palace. "Where were you just now?" asks Jack, once Will returns to the present. "Gone fishin'," he says with a weird little smile. As Ian points out on A Matter of Taste, think back to the human lures they found in his house and the "Do you fish or do you hunt?" business. If you actually think Will killed these people, this is basically the creepiest thing he could possibly say right now. "What are you doing here?"

"I needed to remind myself of who you once were," says Jack. "You know, that man whose classroom I walked into months ago." Remind me, was that before or after Alana told you not to ruin Will's life? "I remember that man," says Will, opening his arms: "Memories are all I have. Imagine how nice it is to stumble on a new one. [Significant look.] I was almost certain Hannibal Lecter did this to me. [No, seriously, aren't you going to ask?] And it's a funny thing, doubt. I had nothing to prove to myself or anyone else that Hannibal was responsible-- not even a memory." "You have something now? You've recovered a memory?" Ohhhhhh, yeahhhhh, and it's a dooz-- "That's meaningless." FUCKING HELL, JACK, DON'T YOU EVEN WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT IS? "NOT TO ME," says Will, going right up to the bars. "He did it so well. There--there wasn't an orgy of evidence." Well, the season is still young? "There was just enough to convince you."

To Jack's credit, "We investigated your claims about Dr. Lecter, Will! Thoroughly! We went over every fiber of every stitch of clothing. We took his DNA! We took his fingerprints. We found. Nothing." Did you happen, perchance, to take his PATRICK BATEMAN MURDER SUIT into evidence? "You let the fox into the henhouse," says Will; Jack counters, "You stood over Cassie Boyle's body in that field and you described yourself to me." "No, I described Hannibal Lecter." And it's cracking me up that they keep using the full name here because we're at a point in the story where it doesn't mean anything to people yet, so they have no idea that it sounds like they're arguing over whether Killer McEvilteeth did it.

"I can't hear this anymore," says Jack--literally, he cannot take into his brain the words that Will is saying right now, such as "I am not the intelligent psychopath you are looking for" and "You may not believe me now. You will." Apparently no one can hear him. "Goodbye, Will."

@cleolindajones: The struggle of one man to convince everyone he knows that they're in a show called "Hannibal"

Meanwhile, Hannibal sits in his sad dark office, next to his sad silent clock pointing to half-past friend, across from Will's sad empty chair, tapping his fingers. The Ballad of the Sad Cannibal meebles softly in the background. In the dark. Woe.

Here's the thing: I joked that "well, Will doesn't really care [about Hannibal]," but I don't actually think that's true. At the same time... I don't think he cares nearly as much, or at all in the same way that Hannibal does. He's always been "Will" to Hannibal, whereas "Dr. Lecter" is only "Hannibal" now that Will hates him. When Will mouthed off to Freddie, he was hauled into the Crawffice--and Jack berated Hannibal like Will was his kid. Will needed stability, and so he viewed Hannibal--despite only a slight age difference--as a father/authority figure. "Who is your doctor?" asked Gideon, and Hannibal is who Will took him to. He flailed off in the middle of the night to talk about girls with Dad; he lost time and instinctively headed to The Best Office Ever for safety. So I don't think it's so much that Will cares about Hannibal as that he trusted him; he needed guidance and support, but I don't know that he ever really gave anything back. He often seemed uncomfortable when offered food or drink socially; he didn't want to stay and support Hannibal at the dinner party the way Alana did; Hannibal's beatific gleam of relief that Will survived Tobias was met with a curious look and a guilty sigh. I think Will essentially viewed himself as a patient, who by definition is not expected to give anything back. But Hannibal very explicitly wants Will to be his friend. And I don't think Will was ever terribly interested in that, in the same way you might not want your parents to be your friends, either. Particularly when you're younger--you want them to take care of you. And I say this as someone whose mother is pretty much her best friend--there is a definite power shift when you're treated as an equal. So I think Will feels so incredibly betrayed because he trusted Hannibal to take care of him, not because he was particularly invested in Hannibal for his own sake. And I really think we were shown Franklyn for a reason: "Tobias is your best friend, but you're not his." They're actually mirrored Hannibal and Franklyn really, really explicitly--like the super uncomfortable session where he wants to be Hannibal's friend transitioning straight into Hannibal trying to be Bedelia's friend. Will viewed this man as "Dr. Lecter," and now that "the scales have fallen" from his eyes, he's standing up and using his first name like an equal. And if Will plays it smartly enough, Hannibal will misread that as a new hope for friendship, not a challenge.

Remember this interview that I quoted at the end of "Savoureux"? Hannibal will always want to be close to Will. He sees a great potential in Will as this pure human being, and he's seduced by Will's purity. He's attracted to it, and he's also very eager to conquer it in some way. [...] It's sort of like somebody who is falling in love for the first time and had never felt that was actually a possibility for them. [...] Maybe his ultimate downfall is his attraction and affection for Will Graham.

So I'm getting the feeling that we're going into a storyline where Will is going to manipulate Hannibal (Bedelia WARNED HIM!) just long enough to do whatever he has to do to get out of jail, then turn on him. We're not starting with "the bad breakup" (well, a little bit); we're leading up to it. Theoretically, there will be a point in the Red Dragon story arc (spoilers here for the original, I guess?) where Hannibal is willing to tell another killer, "Save yourself. Kill them all." So I think that's how he's going to get from this point to that emotional state--betrayal by someone who didn't love Hannibal as he much as he loved them, whatever "love" means to him.

Ah, but we're not done yet. Roland, meanwhile, wakes up in the bottom of a dark, distant silo to find his hand sewn to his cheek and his knees resined together. Also, he is naked, and he is lying in the center of an arrangement of dozens of preserved dead people, and EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE.

Now, I've seen people describe this image various ways--"a shrimp platter," the iris of an eye, a color wheel, a palette. But here's how Janice Poon describes it as written in the script: "Except, there’s that grisly bit with the human quilt that I have to skim past. Just like when I was a couturiere – sewing’s ok but please don’t ask for an alteration. Seam ripping is the absolute worst." So--once again, invoking imagery from the Silence of the Lambs, and I'm getting weirded out about where we might be going with this, in the best way possible.


(Continue: 2x02 "Sakizuke")

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Tags: hannibal, om nom nom, recaps, tv

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