[Review] - Hannibal, Season 2 Episode 11, "Kō No Mono"

Courtesy of the Dino de Laurentiis Company
Well, let's get to the good news out of the way straight off: Hannibal has been picked up for a third season on NBC. Which is only surprisingly in that NBC continues to be in Hannibal business. The show is fiercely smart, artistic, has a clear vision of what it wants to be and is largely immune to outside influence. Otherwise known as the opposite of everything on NBC's schedule. But good on the network, as this show remains the beacon of the network, the bright shining light in the bleakness of mediocrity. So bully for Bryan Fuller and the fine folks he's assembled for this series. May his long plan continue to play itself out. He's gotten three of eight, and that's more than a third of the way there.

In the mean time, we have to finish up this season, and boy howdy are the walls closing in. The Vergers are moving at full tilt, and Will's hand he's holding against Hannibal is being revealed one card at a time. We know that confrontation lay ahead, and now he have a better idea of how much game Will is playing. Which doesn't subtract from the sheer amount of horror dispensed in this episode.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers which are, at their base, a people business.

This episode's defining attribute, I found, was expression. This was a reactive episode. Characters revealed themselves though their facial muscles as they discovered the things that will play out in their nightmares. Like the one that opened the episode, with the Wendigo observing the birth of the Willdigo from the corpse of the
stag that has haunted Will since he pulled the trigger on Hobbs. The stag has seemed to represent a lot of different issues for Will over the series, but it seems like it represented himself all along. Rather than being his mind's conception of evil, or of the shadowy foe that he hunted, which later defined itself into the Wendigo, and finally into Hannibal, the stag was his own darkness. The inconceivable, lumbering, rutting darkness that trots out of a person's mind after they take a life (even justly) and slowly takes that person over. Despite the fact that Will has been playing a game of Hannibal since his release, scenes like this suggest that his turn to the dark isn't not entirely for show. To catch the killer he knows, he's been forced to become the killer he fears. Once Hannibal is in custody, it'll be a long road back to normal for Will, if that is even possible. The antlers are well grown, the best that might be possible for him now is a slight trimming.

But the expressions. Everyone forgot their poker faces at home this week. The champ was Hannibal himself, usually so careful with his emotions, but who could not contain his loathing of Mason Verger as the pig obsessed psychopath stretched himself out on the doctor's sofa. Mason gave as good as he got though, when he discovered that Margot had went and got herself knocked up, during last week's menage a esprit. The secondary theme of this week's episode was desperation, and the characters acting out of it. Margot needed to establish a stable Verger line before she could dispatch Mason. Mason, conversely, needed to ensure that such a line had nothing to do with Margot. Had Margot been wise, she would have left as soon as the test came back positive. Remaining, exposing herself to Mason, left her vulnerable, and Mason (when not collecting and ingesting the tears of the innocent, a far more evil action than eating the people themselves) exploited that vulnerability. And because he knows no bounds, that exploration took the form of an invasive abortion and tubal ligation, ensuring that the Verger line bottlenecks with he alone.

The other major actor, in both expression and desperation, was Alana. Finally. She gave into the seduction easily enough, but like everyone else on this show, the more time spent with Hannibal Lecter, the more likely it is that his mask will be seen through. Alana, motivated by Freddie's death (use of the flaming wheelchair was a nice touch, though I worry about the show drawing so much from the novels so early in it's life), seeks a definitive answer concerning Will, and only ends up posing more questions about Hannibal. She turns to Will, who offers riddles, she turns to Hannibal who offers lies, and she turns to Jack who finally offers revelation. Who knows what and to what end is yet to be revealed, but it is clear that Will's game against Hannibal has had an ally in Jack all along. The ease in which Jack suspected Chilton was just that: ease. A part to play in order for the defenses to lower and allow Will to slip in unsuspected. As they discussed some weeks ago on the ice lake, the line is strung, the bait is cast, and they wait for the fish. I am still resolved that Chilton lay in hiding, to be sprung next season as definitive proof of Hannibal's guilt. But in the mean time, Freddie is very much alive, and thus very much a blind spot for our culinary killer.

As for Hannibal himself, adding to an off-hand remark about his sister last week, this week they began to peel the layers back from Hannibal's past, setting up next season's intended stories concerning his formative years (and holding out a hope for David Bowie to play the uncle). Hannibal's origins derive from the worst of the source material, but even in a pile of shit there are occasionally oysters (which, if that isn't an idiom, it is now). A lost sister, whose death continues to haunt him, and drive his actions. His eternal search for someone to not just replace her, but to fill the void where she once was (which resulted in a haunting and touching remembrance of poor Abigail). They even managed to squeeze in a reference to Hannibal's obsession with temporally reversed teacups. As the killer reveals himself to Will, his past becomes as clear as words written on a page. And as we draw nearer to established events, opportunity for Fuller and his writers to expand the world grows shorter.

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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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