[Review] - Hannibal, Season 2 Episode 9, "Shiizakana"

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television
All this season, I've wanted to make a point of how well the production team on Hannibal has made use of one of the snowiest, coldest, longest winters in the Toronto region. This show loves contrast, and the snow has provided plenty of opportunities for it. Lots of blacks, lots of reds, and lots of moonlit night shoots. And this episode was no exception.

But just when I was developing a whole thing in my head about how this past Hell of a winter has been looking very lovely on screen, the show went and made us of the dinosaur exhibit space at the Royal Ontario Museum, one of my favourite dinosaur exhibits. So, this is me, sending love to the person responsible for scouting and bookings spaces for them to film. Because you hit it out of the park with this one.

Hit the jump for the brief review, which contains spoilers that definitely don't have a better nature.


The Lecter novels, and Red Dragon in particular, are heavy on the idea of transformation. The series has enjoyed returning the that theme as well, especially this season. Will's fight with becoming the beast we recognizes in Hannibal. This episode stripped the concept of the last shreds of subtly, and introduced a killer, much like the future Mr. Dolarhyde, who attempted to make physical his transformation. In this case, building himself an Iron Monger suit out of fossils, and going cave bear on folks in the outlying areas. Will's pains have all been internal, and he's basically tearing himself apart. Then we meet this character, who has come to terms with his transformation, who is at peace so long as he has the outlet for his instincts.

We also got a chance to see the longer term effects of having Hannibal Lecter in your head. The bear-man was a child patient of Hannibal's, and like all this patients with less than normal instincts, Hannibal poked him in the gentlest way to lead him down this path. In the present, we've seen him do the same with Will, and seems to have succeeded in setting him on a self destructive path. And we're seeing the genesis of such a relationship with Margo. It excellent to be able to see all the stages of Hannibal's manipulations, and to spot the moments when Will might be able to pull himself free of Hannibal's influence. I had assumed that Will has more aware, more in control, and was playing Hannibal as much as Hannibal was playing him. I'm less certain now, especially considering the ending, when the monsters confronted each other, with no disguise between them.

Will continues to be pulled in all directions. Without Alana's influence, the only people Will has to take confront in is the company of other monsters. Jeremy Davies made a welcome return appearance, providing Will with a steady rock of morality. He also sat down for tea with Margo Verger, who is developing into a very nice and complex character. Unfortunately, she's about as passe about murder as you can get. Then you have Hannibal, who is as close to a cheerleader as serial murderers have. Will really isn't being given other options, and Jack continues to drag him into the field to help solve his cases, despite the fact that Will isn't employed by the FBI anymore, and the last time Jack forced Will into digging into the underbelly of the human psyche, it effectively drove Will insane. the point is, Will doesn't have the best peer group.


This episode was less case-of-the-week, in that it played far more into the ongoing power struggle happening between Will and Hannibal. And it was a solid one-off case, augmented by fantastic visuals and sharp direction. The unseen way the cavebear roamed the episode, staulking, but never being revealed, even at the end when it committed home invasion, was fantastic, and another in the long line of examples of this show pulling off gourmet quality at discount prices.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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