Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones

Hannibal 2x05: "Mukōzuke," part two

PREVIOUSLY ON: A FUCKING TABLE SAW: Everything was terrible. Just absolutely terrible.

Will's wangled his way into a one-on-one with Abel Gideon in the therapy cages, though.

"Mr. Graham," Gideon says smoothly, "you always did look like the boy next door. Is it true you ate that poor Hobbs girl?" The boy next cage, incredibly dryly: "You can call me Will, now we're of equal social standing." (Once again, you can track all kind of power plays on this show based on whether people choose to call each other their first or last name.) Gideon, unimpressed: "Is this Frederick's idea of punishment? Group therapy with the man who tried to kill me?" "No," says Will, "I'd like to talk to you... about the Chesapeake Ripper." "Thought I was the Chesapeake Ripper. " "No, you are the pretender to the throne." "What did you offer Frederick to bring me back? I'm the last person he wants to see. I give him a visceral chill in the guts. Whatever's left of them." (Remember that line a couple of episodes from now. I'm just saying.)

"You know who the Chesapeake Ripper is," Will tells him, "you've met him." "So Frederick gets to catch the Ripper after all. What do you get?" Obliquely, Will replies, "I remember that night at Dr. Lecter's," (and it was AMAZING) "the night I brought you there." "The night you tried to kill me." "Yes--how do you think I found you? He sent me to kill you, Abel." "Am I your evidence? Oh, you're in trouble, Mr. Graham," purrs Gideon, remaining aloof: Will is not forgiven. "You were quite happy to try and kill me yourself. You have it 'in you,' as they say." So this is an interesting clue to Gideon's motives: if you screwed him over at some point, he is gonna get you back--each and every one of you. But if you were kind to him... well, you'll see.

@jonathanmtucker: i stood in the back of the room during this scene JUST in case camera's would catch me. i play a good wall, eh?


"He is the devil, Mr. Graham. He is smoke," Gideon tells him. "You'll never 'catch' the Ripper--he won't be caught. If you want him... you will have to kill him."

Will, staring straight ahead: "Fair enough."

And you know, Will has every reason in the world to want Hannibal dead. But he's also being used in a chain of retribution again--Will convinced to go after Gideon who was convinced to go after Alana--except now it's just pointed back in the opposite direction. Everyone's trying to ~influence everyone else without admitting to themselves who's really behind the wheel; the whole mess is like the Talladega 500 of psychic driving.

Meanwhile--ayyyy, it's been a while since we've seen the Best Office Ever! Ew, why Chilton.

@DireRavenstag: Fancy Fleshmeat is hanging out with Annoying Fleshmeat far too often of late.

Hannibal's pouring Chilton an extremely expensive drink--

@neoprod: A fine cognac amongst colleagues. Frapin. 1888. #Hannibal serves only the best - when involves a tit for a tat

--while Chilton ogles the artwork on the walls once again; when you waste good liquor on Frederick Chilton, you are clearly up to no good. "You and I are both proponents of unorthodox treatments of the mind. Strategies others might not choose to understand," says Hannibal. What he's trying to understand "is why you would transfer Abel Gideon back to your hospital for the unworried unwell." "It was not for selfish reasons." Mm. Really. "Ah, selfishness," muses Fancy Cannibal, "the original sin of man, according to Judeo-Christian morality." "We are not talking about morality or ethics here, are we, Dr. Lecter? But rather concealing their absence."

@cleolindajones: "lol ethics, Hannibal"

"Gideon disemboweled you, Frederick." I mean, not to put too fine a point on it. Again. "Brave of you, or perhaps wise, to keep the evidence of your misdeeds under your own roof." "My misdeeds and yours," retorts Chilton. I don't know if it's a threat or reassurance or both when Hannibal says, "Neither of us controls our stories well enough to get anything from exposing the other's misdeeds." (A lesson he perhaps learned from poor Abigail.) "Here's to that," says Chilton. Dumbass.

Let's take a moment to consider how Hannibal sniffing his drink almost always ends badly (or has already ended badly) for someone in the room/on the plate. It's also interesting that they spend this scene standing side by side--not facing the issue head-on. Chilton finally admits, "I brought Gideon back because... I thought he may be useful in Will Graham's therapy. He shot Gideon... yet he has no memory of it." "We know memories, emotions, and even spiritual experiences can be manipulated while under hypnotics," says Hannibal, WHO WOULD KNOW. Actually, they BOTH would, thus forming the Satan-Dumbass Spectrum of Fuckery. HOWEVER: This also turns out to be a classic bit of "I'm telling you exactly what I'm going to do and you don't even know it" foreshadowing; mark it down for later.

And then Hannibal asks to "interview" Gideon. This is so totally going to end well.


@Battista_j: Chilton, honey. You are in a battle of wits with #Hannibal. It's going to be like swatting a fly with a Buick.

PREVIOUSLY: A feverish Will marched Gideon at gunpoint to Hannibal's house, where Gideon witnessed Hannibal 1) convincing Will that Gideon wasn't even there, and 2) driving Will to a Mild Seizure. Then Hannibal gave Alana's address to Gideon and sent him on his murderous way before Will came to, because Hannibal is just the fucking worst. Will prevailed, raced over to Alana's house, and shot Gideon in the head. There is room, therefore, for Gideon to plausibly deny that he doesn't remember shit about shit. I'm not saying there's a lot of room; I'm just saying.

Back at the Baltimore State Dungeons, "You don't need to stand way over there. I'm a cutter, not a pisser," Gideon announces. Well, his visitor may be concerned that if you put your Off-Brand Generic Hannibal Lecter and the real thing into the same room, the universe implodes. ("Hello, Dr. Gideon," Hannibal hannibals.) Gideon, "curiously": "Our brains devote more space to reading the details of faces than any other object. Dare I say, I've never seen yours before." Under the circumstances, who would dare say they had, though?

"I'm Dr. Hannibal Lecter. I was Will Graham's psychiatrist." "Well, he's not a very good advertisement for your abilities, Dr. Lecter," says Eddie Izzard, who is just a treasure in his two episodes this season. Replies Hannibal, "That remains to be seen." "Oh, I bet you're a devil at the bridge table. [You should see his poker face.] It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance." "The pleasure's mine," says Hannibal. Oh man. He knows Gideon remembers. He totally knows. And Gideon may deny recognizing Hannibal's face, but he admits to knowing the name: "Of course I am aware of you by reputation, and I see why Chilton both reveres you and resents you." (Cut to: an electronically-eavesdropping Chilton fuming at his desk.) "Esteem in psychiatric circles still eludes him, yet it clings to you like soap to a baby's eyes."


And if you can tell me what the hell it means, I'd be much obliged. "He very much wants to be you," continues Gideon. Hannibal: "He should be more careful what he wishes for." (I want you to bold that and highlight it and underline it and set it aside for the future.) "And you should have been more careful with Will Graham," replies Gideon, "that young man has got a bone to pick." "As a therapist, I'm concerned with finding ways of overcoming... resistance. Not building it up." "Well, you built up something, Dr. Lecter."

(Why do these behind-bars dialogues always sound so dirty?)

Outside, there's Freddie just straight-up waiting on the sidewalk, snapping pictures of Hannibal as he leaves the Dungeons.

@Tattle_Crime: Look who I caught leaving the Baltimore State Hospital yesterday!

@DireRavenstag: Deliciously rude, @Tattle_Crime. I approve. For reasons.

"That was rude, Miss Lounds," Hannibal says--almost wearily, because for some reason ( is still useful to him, I guess), she's off the menu and he's just got to keep putting up with it. The glee on her face cracks me up: "Did you really think I was above that sort of thing? Hm... you seem disappointed." "We evolved the ability to communicate disappointment to teach those around us good manners," he replies (disappointment or murder, one or the other). "Well, unfortunately," retorts Freddie, "I did not evolve the ability to feel shame." "You should explore that in therapy." And then a fanfic broke out. So, what does bring Freddie to the Baltimore State Dungeons?

"I am interviewing Will Graham. At his request. Imagine that."

This show has just become a gruesome parfait of snark and sass, and I love it.

Freddie's actually here for her own visit; Matthew hustles her through the hospital, keys swinging, as he delivers the tradition turnkey spiel: "Do not pass anything but soft paper no pens no pencils do not accept anything he gives you do not let him touch you you do not touch him I will be right outside." I will note here that Matthew has a distinct lisp that he's apparently faking, or at least exaggerating, as part of his public persona, because he speaks very differently in subsequent, more private conversations.

@jonathanmtucker: that was my first day of shooting on #Hannibal

"I know the drill," Freddie clarices. It's frosty in the visitation room: "It's good to see you again, Will. Let me rephrase that: it is good to see you in here, WHERE YOU BELONG." ("Thank you for coming," Will says dryly.) So... what prompted this extremely awkward meeting? "I have an admirer," says Will, "and he seems to fit your demographic." "My demographic is murderers and people obsessed with murderers." Like the man said, Freddie: "I'm talking about the man who killed the bailiff and the judge at my trial." Now you've got her attention: "Ah... and you think he's your admirer?" "He killed the bailiff to give me an alibi. He killed the judge because he threw that alibi out." (Well, about that...)

And the whole time, there's Matthew standing outside the glass doors, swinging his keys, and his reflection seems to be in the room with them... looming over Will.

"So is your admirer crazy?" "I don't think anybody as careful as he is could be crazy," says Will with a little laugh. "I think--I think he's different. Maybe a lot of people believe him to be crazy, and the reason for that is, he hasn't let people understand much about him." "But you understand him," says Freddie, and then she realizes why she's there: "Are you trying to catch him or contact him?"

Freddie leans forward, and Will leans in to mirror her: "I would like to establish a line of communication. And your website seems like a good place to do that." "I could open it up for you," Freddie says, quick and shrewd--"ads, editorial, online chat rooms, monitoring incoming mail, I could be discreet." "In exchange for?" "Exclusive rights to your story."

@DireRavenstag: Say yes, Will. You could really use those ad kickbacks. Gotta keep yourself in imaginary fly fishing gear.

Will deliberates a moment, then sits back in his chair. "It's all yours, Freddie."

And now, to send "an invitation":

Sadly, other killers have drawn inspiration from Graham. As he stood trial for his life, one such killer even constructed an ode to Graham's grisly techniques. Graham believed this man wanted to help, even though his motives for that are unclear. He killed people in his name, and he'd like to ask him why.

u jelly, Hannibal?


Yeah, the one where (RED DRAGON SPOILER I GUESS) Hannibal sends "avid fan" Francis Dolarhyde to kill Will and his family. So... someone is about to have a real bad day, y'all. As far as the Admirer himself goes, I don't know if there's some kind of Dolarhyde-related "acolyte" back story, as previously theorized, or if it's just supposed to be a massive cosmic coincidence that Matthew Brown has a facial scar and an explicitly similar shooting style. Honestly, Massive Cosmic Coincidence has started to feel like a legitimate way of the world on this show, so I'm willing to go with it.

Later, Will's just chilling in his cage in the empty hall with Matthew lurking against the wall (I guess this is Chilton's idea of recess). "Would you like a book, Mr. Graham?" "I have my imagination." Well, he ain't got a view, that's for sure. But now we get down to it: "I read your Tattle Crime interview," says Matthew. "You're a very articulate man. I agree with a lot of what you said. You're right. People don't understand much about me." Aaaand there it is. "Or about you. But at least we understand each other. There's something we don't have? Or maybe we just evolved not to need." (I am officially adding "evolve" to the drinking game.) "You were hiding in the FBI. That's talent. If you hadn't gotten sick, they never would've found you."

Notice that Will never corrects Matthew's assumption that he really is guilty. Also, he's mirroring again--you can see for a moment in this gif set that he's kind of giving Matthew the glad eye.

On the other hand, there's a lot more caution and deliberation on Will's face when Matthew can't see it. "You found a great place to hide," he says, sort of wryly alarmed, as Matthew paces around his cage. (You know, that cage has never really seemed like it protects anyone from Will--it's always felt like a diver's cage to keep the sharks out rather than keep Will in).

"Spend time in a mental hospital, you pick up the drill. You could pass as an orderly, get a job doing it when you get out. They may never know you were in." Once again, Hannibal: Where Everyone in Every Job Wants to Kill You. But Chilton listens to everything, right? Well, except for how Matthew's the one who wired the microphone system, and can just as easily unwire it whenever he wants (such as right now). So it's time for Will to get right the hell down to brass tacks: "You killed the bailiff during my trial." "I thought it would exonerate you. I had read your file often enough--easy to recreate your work. Though the bailiff was a bitch to get on that stag's head." What about the judge, though? "The judge was... somebody else."

So we were right, Friend Hannibal created that particular "poem." Right now, however, it's Friend Matthew's time to shine; he lets an uneasy Will walk freely around the hall for a moment. (There's a weird little moment where he's watching Will with his hand to his mouth, almost proud? When I was discussing it with Lily Rose, she said, "Yeah, he's almost starstruck. Sort of a vulgar mirror of Hannibal and how he feels about Will.") When it's time for the handcuffs again, Will asks him--carefully staring ahead, quietly strategizing--"Why are you trying to help me?" (Well, he wants to knoooow you.) "Have you seen the way that smaller birds will mob a hawk on a wire?" says Matthew. "You and me, we are hawks, Mr. Graham." "Hawks are solitary," says Will, back turned. Matthew replies, "And that's their weakness. Imagine if the hawks started working together."

And that is how the Gayhawks ship got its name.

(Of course, you say "hawk," and all I think of is this.)

But Matthew doesn't ask why Will was seeking out his Avid Fan until they get back to his cell. "I need a favor," says Will. Matthew is "always happy to do a favor for a friend. Just... say the words." Will hesitates before verbally pulling the trigger:

"I want you to kill Hannibal Lecter."

Allow me to refer you to a comment on the "Hassun" recap:

kisarazumama: "The first time I encountered the word 'hassun' it was in the phrase 'hassun no nobegane' in which its meaning is 'eight sun' (one sun = about an inch). The phrase refers to an esoteric (bordering on paranormal) sword technique in which the master swordsman, by means of deep meditation and losing himself in his practice, can cause the impact of his sword to extend further than the length of the blade - that is, he extends his will through and past the point of the sword to cut things too far away for him to physically strike (making the sword 'eight inches longer' as it were). This struck me as a perfect metaphor for causing someone else to do what you want or need done - to extend your influence into a space in which you yourself are not. I hope to heck this turns out to be relevant, cos it's just so neat."

Oh my God, this fucking shoooooooooow.

This is also the moment we discover that Gideon has been put in the cell next to Will's. *PIANO CHORD*

@neoprod Follow THE BECOMING #Will'sTransformation #RIPBEV

So, alone now, Will starts to have a semi-wendigo transformation--in a mythological sense, he's been possessed or infected by Hannibal from having (frequently!) eaten his cooking, which he only just realized for the first time in the previous episode. He's also been infected in real-world moral terms--ironically, though, not through Hannibal's murder therapy, but through Will's own need for justice. In putting Will in such a tight corner that no one believes him, Hannibal's reduced Will's options to "suffer silently while Hannibal rampages gleefully" and "decide that the ends justify the means"--he's used Will's own morality to corrupt him. And I think that's why Will is so tormented right now, and that he is still a good person, because it does torment him.

(I would make a terrible Will Graham, House of Bark aside, because I'd be like, "Kill the motherfucker, use a dull spoon, and bring me back pictures.")

@cleolindajones: I have come to realize that I am a bloodthirsty vengeance harpy.

All that said, the emerging antlers aren't on Will's head--they come out of his back, at first like thorns, then fully extending like monstrous wings.

Man, I don't even want to tell you what people originally thought was going on in that second shot when it was in promo clips.

@aMoTPodcast: Yeah, no, that's cool, that wasn't a totally loaded hallucination at all, Will

@MrAaronAbrams: I'm just guessing but I think that dream means you're horny.

@BryanFuller: OR A PRICK

@MrAaronAbrams: Those two things are not exclusive. I've heard.


@NBCHannibal: #WILLDIGO!?!??!?!?!


"Will...? Hi." So that's interrupted by a visit from Alana. UH, HI. "What's on your mind, Dr. Bloom?" Will says coolly--with a touch of Gideon's formality? "You," she says. "You gave an interview to Freddie Lounds. You despise Freddie Lounds. It just seemed, uh..." "What, suspicious?" Little bit? "And slightly worrying." "You don't have to worry about me." "I know you feel powerless about what happened to Beverly," Alana says sympathetically, "and you want to do something about it." "Would that be so bad?" "Depends on what you're thinking about doing. But there's no solution to grief, Will--it just is." "Beverly died because of me. Because she listened to me," Will says very quietly, and I am lying on the floor under my desk again. "I'm not gonna let that happen again."

That said, I totally get why Will blames himself, but--honestly, he's giving himself a little too much "credit" here. He told Beverly to Stay. Away. From Hannibal Lecter, which would presumably include Chez Lecter, and he explicitly warned her that Hannibal was "baiting a hook" for her. Beverly does have agency, you know? Like I argued last week recap, I think you can make a case that she had her own emotional drive to pursue that trail, to reconcile this gigantic break in her reality, and that it was separate from a desire to help Will and/or Jack. I get why Will would be completely, utterly done with having to sit around helpless in that cell and thus decide to lash out--hassun no nobegane--but I feel like we need to get straight that Will didn't get her killed. Nor did Beverly get herself killed. Beverly died pretty much solely because of Hannibal Lecter.

That said, this art kills me.

"Will, what have you done?"

"Just what I had to do."

On her way out, a deeply concerned Alana notices Gideon on a surveillance monitor, right before she runs into Chilton. You know what I like about Show Chilton? He's unctuous, but he's not sleazy, somehow; he seems to have more delusions of grandeur than gross, petty power trips like Movie Chilton. Obviously he flirts at Alana a lot, but he's too doofy to really be threatening, particularly when he smarms, "What is it about you, Dr. Bloom? The most sinister neurochemistry in the field cannot help percolating in your presence. The interesting ones all fall at your feet. Will Graham, Abel Gideon, they're chatty as can be. You are like catnip for killers."

@aMoTPodcast: Anybody wanna join my new Electro Snugglecore band Catnip4Killers?

@LadyRegalli: Our first song will be titled "Field Kabuki".

@aMoTPodcast: For some reason "FeastNUrBelly" is striking me as a killer name for a club mix

@cleolindajones: KICK HIM IN THE BALLS!

Alana, coolly: "I see Abel Gideon has returned to the roost." "I believe you and I are his only surviving psychiatrists. Pulled the tongues out of all the rest," Chilton observes airily. Alana then pulls an Empath Killer Voice and deadpans, "Pulled more than that out of you."


More seriously, "Have you noticed anything different about Will since Gideon arrived?" she asks. Chilton, loftily: "Gideon is here as part of Will's therapy, helping him reclaim his past." I love how we don't give one single fuck as to whether this is good for Gideon or not. I feel like Chilton would fit in really well at Shutter Island.

Meanwhile, Alana immediately realizes that this is where things took a turn for the worse and asks to see Gideon; he meets with her in one of the therapy cages for a courteous private audience. "Dr. Bloom... you are like a flower blossoming amongst the weeds." (I will note here that Alana is in my favorite coat and dress of hers; the dress in particular is a deep blue-green watery pattern.) "I'm glad to see you alive, Dr. Gideon," says Alana, but after Gideon snarks that Will was a poor shot, she adds, "Good enough shot to get a bullet in you before you put a blade in me." Ow. "And for that," Gideon says graciously, "I am sincerely grateful."

But she's been wondering about that night: "How do you know where I live?" "I think a little birdie wanted me to kill you. Or a little birdie wanted Mr. Graham to have reason to kill me--either way," says Gideon, "you and I are equally expendable."

Well, there's a line that ripples into the future rather uncomfortably.

"You were trying to find the Ripper that night. Did you?" "I found Will Graham." "WILL ISN'T THE CHESAPEAKE RIPPER." "Not yet. All the things that make us who we are... what has to happen to make those things change? So much has happened to Mr. Graham... he is a changed man." "Maybe he's looking for redemption," Alana persists, but no, says Gideon: "Revenge... now, that is a trinket he could value." "He thinks... he knows who killed Beverly Katz?" "For the courtesy you have always shown me," Gideon hannibals, "I am going to give you a gift. I'm going to give you a chance to save Will from himself. He is in a biblical place right now but that rage will pass and when it does, Will Graham will either be a murderer or he will not. Up to you." Alana tries to point out that the thoroughly incarcerated Will is "really in no position to be killing anyone," but it depends on your definition, really: "Not... with his own hands. But if he only had a little birdie who could whisper murder into a sympathetic ear..."

"Who does he want to kill, doctor?"


So Jack and Alana turn The Best Office Ever upside down trying to figure out where Impending Murder Recipient Hannibal would be this time of night--"There's nothing in his calendar. What is it you think Will's done?" asks Jack--but then an FBI trace locates Hannibal's phone. Back in the Dungeons, Will imagines guilty murder blood dripping from the sink in his cell, and here is the level of detail we have all come to appreciate from Empath & Cannibal: FILM ADAPTATION SINK CONTINUITY.

@cleolindajones: Where's that tumblr post about things that have faces? Pareidolia?

(The Concerned Sink might have been my favorite thing this episode.)

We don't see, by the way, how Matthew figures out where Hannibal will be that night--no shoe-leather scenes of Matthew peering around corners and lurking in dark cars to track him across the city ("HOLY SHIT, THE BALTIMORE YMCA IS AMAZING"). We're operating on dream logic here. Hannibal Lecter swims tonight at the Marble Death Spa. It is known.

Shit, known? They started teasing the Pool Scene back in February 2014. It had a hashtag and everything. Pictures of swim trunks hanging alluringly on a rack, gifs slowly bringing us closer to the pool itself, a promise of ten whole minutes of good-looking men in some damp state of undress--

@DireRavenstag: All this kerfluffle about swim trunks. Screw that. Skinny dippin' in Will's mind river is where it's at.

@aMoTPodcast: Haaaaaay Tumblr.... #poolscene #gifsetsareforever

And then Hannibal was promptly upstaged by swimfan Matthew Brown and his heaving murder abs. Also his tranquilizer dart gun. Oops.



@LaraJeanC: It is wrong to love this #twomurderersinapool

Well, if it's wrong, Tumblr doesn't want to be right.



There is then a somewhat mask-looking dissolve from the Concerned Sink to Will's thousand-yard-stare--


--to blood streaming down the gorgeous marble floor of the Death Spa.

@cleolindajones: BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD RECAPPER!!!

Because now, Matthew's got Hannibal half-hanged, rocking back and forth on a precariously tippy bucket, crucified with like a mop handle and duct tape or something, wrists cut and bleeding. That... that escalated quickly.

(I won't post pictures of this, either. But I reaaaaaally want to.)


@neoprod: Da Vinci inspired tableaux #KickTheBucket [The Vitruvian Man] [set picture]

With a blue-toned dash of El Greco, maybe? It's grotesque and beautiful and, if you are a bloodthirsty vengeance harpy, INCREDIBLY SATISFYING. Let's take a moment to unpack what's going on here:

Hannibal Lecter is:

1) Jesus and/or God. Someday I'll put together Hannibal Lecter's Thoughts on God, but in sum, they seem to amount to "God is the Great Serial Killer and I have made myself likewise a god in His image." If you'll excuse me, I need to go hide from holy lightning strikes now. (See also: "Amuse-Bouche," "Sakizuke," "Hassun," and, in future, "Kō No Mono.") Also, I'm sure Hannibal thinks of himself as a total martyr right now.

@aMoTPodcast: @cleolindajones "It is our literary responsibility to, at one point, have a redonkulously metaphorical scene take place in a marble tomb"

@cleolindajones: @aMoTPodcast "Look, we need a reason for a hurt/comfort fic to break out in next episode. No lunch till you think of one."

@cleolindajones: @aMoTPodcast "... you're done already?"

2) Judas. (Matthew now says to Hannibal, "Judas had the decency to hang himself in shame at his betrayal, but... I thought you needed help.") Which is particularly interesting given the Judas/avarice/betrayal/hanging motif going on in the book/movie Hannibal, which (as I understand) we'll be seeing in season three. As such, it's interesting that we have this hella symbolic cruci-hanging that combines how Hannibal sees himself with how Will and Matthew see him.

3) Satan and/or a "fallen angel," as previously discussed, because apparently Hannibal Lecter contains multitudes.

4) at last, a murder tableau himself; the artist has become the artwork, not unlike the Muralist.

5) experiencing a kind of violence he usually inflicts on other people, particularly women--strangling both Miriam and Beverly unconscious, which is theoretically a more "merciful" kind of violence than, say, the "rabbit" he chased down in the woods or that time he beat Tobias into a fine paste. Or, for that matter, that wild free-for-all at the beginning of the season. Speaking of Jack, Hannibal's eventually going to get a second serving of strangulation from him. At the same time, Hannibal's not only being strangled right now, and it's not merciful; he's also being bled out (which he also did to Beverly), and he's being humiliated the way he often humiliates his Ripper victims.

6) a sexualized victim (see social media's heavy breathing, above), unlike Beverly--or any other victim on the show that I can think of. Here's a really long scene of sustained torture--but it's the man who usually has all the control and power: the murder wizard, cannibal Satan, the villain.

@MrAaronAbrams: Oh hey remember when you were turned on by a serial killer in his undies bleeding on a crucifix have a great rest of your evening.

And then there were "TECHNICALLY, THAT WAS A SWIMSUIT" replies and I died.

A bonus 7th point: Hannibal is really struggling to speak with the noose around his neck, which reminds me of a story David Fincher tells on the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo DVD commentary. SPOILER, I GUESS, but the Daniel Craig character is being tortured (in a fully-appointed murder dungeon that might have impressed Hannibal, actually) by being hanged and suffocated. Except that you basically have to actually do this kind of thing to an actor, says Fincher; there's not really a way to convincingly fake it. You put in safety measures, sure. For example, Daniel Craig was given some kind of panic button to press if he was near passing out--except that no one noticed when he did, and eventually the crew was like OH SHIT. What I'm saying is, I hope Mads Mikkelsen got, like, hazard pay and a few cases of beer for this.

"Did you know that the phrase 'to kick the bucket' came from exactly this situation?" says Matthew, who is gonna fit in just fine on this show. Also, I will give Matthew half credit for this: he's standing around doing the Talking Villain thing because he wants Hannibal to choose how he dies: a slow bleed-out or a quick hanging ("You could kick [the bucket] out right now yourself and it'd all be over"). I mean, he should have just put a cap in him back at the pool, but it's not like he's procrastinating. He only gets half credit, though, because the first rule of killing Hannibal Lecter is never, ever give him time to talk.

On recognizing Matthew as one of the Baltimore State Dungeon nurses, "You're setting a new standard of care," gasps Hannibal, sassy to the bitter end. "Will Graham is not what you think. He's not a murderer." "He is now," retorts Matthew, "by proxy."

(Oh, man, I dig Matthew's jacket so much.)

"He asked you to do this?" And Hannibal looks genuinely surprised. I'm sure on some level he's proud that bb mongoose got his murder on, but he honestly looks really hurt.

Yeah, it's all fun and games until Murder Friend murders you, huh?

"What are friends for?" says Matthew, just really rubbing the salt in. "Now I'm going to ask you a few yes or no questions while you still have enough blood coursing through your brain to answer them. Did you kill that judge?" And Hannibal doesn't even have to audibly incriminate himself; he can just... dilate his pupils to answer yes? Look, if anyone's got minute bodily control, it's Hannibal, so sure, okay. "Are you the Chesapeake Ripper?" Remember how Hannibal was the reflection of "God" in the Muralist's eye?

Yeah... tables are a bit turned now. The answer? Yes.

"How many times have you watched someone cling on to a life that's not really worth living?" asks Matthew. "Wondering why they bother." "I know why," Hannibal chokes out. "Life is precious." What was it he said that time? "I've always found the idea of death comforting. The thought that my life could end at any moment frees me to fully appreciate the beauty and art and horror of everything this world has to offer"? ENJOY.

And Matthew doesn't just consider Hannibal to be a rival for Will's murder affections; he also thinks of him as a professional rival as well: "The Chesapeake Ripper," muses Matthew, mocking his crucifixion pose. "I wonder what they're gonna call me. You know, the Iroquois used to eat their enemies to take their strength." (Eat the body, eat the mind?) "Maybe your murders will become my murders. I'll be the Chesapeake Ripper now."

Okay, Fancy Cannibal, I enjoy your long-awaited comeuppance, but full points for that one.

(I have come to realize that I root for Shit Happening. Like, if Hannibal had somehow managed to kick Matthew in the head and take the guy down himself, I would have cheered just as loudly, even though two seconds previous I was shouting "SUFFER! SUFFERRRRRRR!!!!" I... I may need to see my therapist more often.)

Finally, FINALLY, Jack and Alana have arrived at the Death Spa, and Jack demands that Matthew surrender--

@cleolindajones: Alana just flailing along behind Jack GET THE WOMAN A GUN FOR GOD'S SAKE

@CatsEyeWatching: With the serial killer to civilian ratio on #Hannibal every sane person should have a concealed carry permit (and a bazooka)

@Athenasbanquet: At this point I assume that every resident of VA/MD is actually a serial killer. Turtles all the way down.

Hannibal then yelps out a much-mocked series of sounds that seem to translate to "HE'S GOT A GUN, JACK," and I'd like to see you do any better with a rope around your throat, quite honestly. So Jack immediately shoots Matthew, but as he falls, Matthew manages to stretch out a leg and kick the bucket out from under Hannibal, leaving Jack to frantically try to support Hannibal's weight and yell for Alana to call an ambulance. It's not the best day Hannibal Lecter's ever had, is what I'm saying.

Okay. So. Here's the thing. There are two moments, one after the other, that shape Alana's entire character arc for the next eight episodes. I feel like one of them works, and one of them doesn't.

When I was on the Dragon Con panel (the first one, Saturday)--I never actually wrote the whole experience up, so I'll have to tangent through it now. Y'all, that room was standing room only, with a theoretical maximum of 220 people, and people came to play. Like, there was no "what was your favorite episode, what food would you like to be cooked into," we skipped straight past the fluff questions into "here is Controversial Element of Season 2, WHAT DID YOU GUYS THINK OF THAT." And we basically discussed ALL OF THEM. ALL THE CONTROVERSIES. And one of the most heated questions was, "What do you guys think about the way Alana's relationship with Hannibal was written?" And my own answer ended up being this:

I completely understand Alana's arc in this season. As she explains multiple times, she has known and trusted Hannibal, her professional mentor and close friend, for several years. I went into this at some length a while back, even. I don't think she gives up her agency at all, or becomes less of a person, for giving her sympathies to Hannibal. For months, Will has been lobbing these wild, hallucinatory accusations left and right, even as the physical evidence has always exonerated Hannibal, because he is Satan. Meanwhile, Alana has never, ever seen Hannibal do anything violent. (I mean, she didn't see him bash her head into a wall...) But now, she has seen Hannibal near death, bleeding out, hanged and crucified, at Will's behest.

And that's Moment #1. It's an eye-opener--just not the one Will had wanted her to have. Now, her sympathies are completely with Hannibal. Her agency after this moment goes into actively believing, comforting and defending Hannibal, not avoiding the issue. That is her choice, and honestly, given that we see things that she does not--given what she is shown--I can't see why she would choose any differently. She did the right thing, with no way to know that the right thing was wrong.

Moment #2 is when Jack yells at her to call an ambulance. Alana turns and flees.

I think that this is the moment that puts the entire rest of her arc in a bad light. And it's such a tiny, tiny thing to change, but if Alana had been written to just pull out her phone right there and stand her ground, or if we had seen her run towards Hannibal and Jack, I think the entire rest of her story would have gone down easier. I mean, realistically, there's probably pretty bad reception in the Death Spa, I get it. But there is no "realistically" in Hannibal. In a show where dream-logic rules and the emotions are the plot, the psychology of this moment has an outsized impact. We see Alana turn tail and run, heels clattering as she goes--giving in to fear and avoidance--and I think this unintentionally, disproportionately colors everything else she does the rest of the season. And that's what I ended up saying at the panel. I think I saw people nodding, but who knows.

On the other hand, I also pointed out that the rest of the season thus becomes Alana's horror story as well as Will's, as her sympathy, loyalty, and basic human decency are used against her. Even considering valid criticisms of her storyline, which you can definitely make, we're not supposed to feel good about what's happening to her. At which point I think the room collectively shuddered.

Speaking of Will's horror story, this is also the episode where he screws himself over entirely, because everyone on the outside has the same reaction: whatever slack they might have been willing to cut Will before, it's all gone now. As far as everyone else can tell, the guy pleading temporary insanity has gotten treatment, he can no longer claim it's all Hannibal gaslighting him, and yet he's "still" violent. Whereas on the inside, this is actually Will's fall from the moral high ground, and the worst thing is that, because no one believes he was innocent to begin with, no one understands how far he fell.

Meanwhile, there's going to come a day when Jack is going to be choking Hannibal out himself, and he's probably going to wish that he'd just let Matthew finish the job.

("Hannibal had a mild hanging.")

@MrAaronAbrams: Everyone send sweet tweets filled well-deserved accolades at @HettiennePark today. And maybe also some cookies if you know her address. #FF

@HettiennePark: Thanks home slice...uh...I guess that'd be me. Thanks Aaron!! Watching u and @ScottThompson_ & Fish made me well up. xoxoxox

@HettiennePark: #HANNIBAL #RIPBevKatz #iloveucast&crew #ThankUBryanFuller #FANNIBALS4EVA #ZPK #ObladiOblada

@HettiennePark: #RIPBev #HANNIBAL

Next time: A Very Cannibal Christmas; PEOPLE SAY THE THING; bom chicka wow wow.

@DireRavenstag: Next week, a dinner party! I wonder if I will be invited? I'll have to shine my horns just in case.

"Next week: Osso buco was a fore-taste. Can thigh be far behind?"

Tags: hannibal, om nom nom, recaps, tv

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  • Hannibal 3x02: "Primavera" part two

    PREVIOUSLY ON: EMPATH AND CANNIBAL: Let's revisit about ten minutes of "Mizumono," because I hadn't had occasion to lie down under my desk for a…

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    So I guess you heard the news. No, the other news. You know, let's not say " canceled." Let's say, rather, that NBC has set the show free.…

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