[TV] Hannibal – Shiizakana (S2E9)


Quick Recap:

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Will fantasizes about killing Hannibal, using a moose to slowly decapitate him. Jack has dinner with Hannibal and Jack is cordial and talks about Will, but Hannibal will not discuss Will with the FBI anymore, since he is Will’s therapist now. A truck driver in the middle of nowhere is killed seemingly by some kind of human-sized animal. Will relives the incident from the previous episode and his attempted murder of the social care worker but Hannibal tells him regret is natural but Will doesn’t regret almost shooting him, but rather not shooting him. Will meets Margot Verger outside Hannibal’s office. Margot realizes that Hannibal is an unconventional therapist as he subtly edges her towards murdering her brother.

The FBI investigates the ‘animal’ attack but soon come to think that the animal was directed by a human. He visits Peter from the last episode and he mentions that some wounds appear to be from wolves and some from bears.  It is revealed that the killer is creating a mechanized suit cobbled together from animal parts to kill his victims. The next victims are a couple sitting by a fireplace and their murder leads Will to conclude that the killer is a man who wants to be an animal. The FBI team discovers that the bite marks belong to a cave bear – a vegetarian species that has been extinct for 28000 years. Furthermore, the skull of the cave bear is not capable of generating enough bite force to cause the kind of damage that the killer has been causing – leading them to suspect that the skull has been enhanced by the killer.

It turns out Hannibal once ‘treated’ a patient who fit the profile and after revealing this information to Jack, he goes over and pays the killer, Randall, a visit. He compliments him on his work but informs him the authorities are after him and that he should do exactly what Hannibal says. Jack and Will drop by the museum the next day and ask Randall about the murders, but he gives away nothing. Later, Margot visits Will at his home, asking about Hannibal. She talks about her attempt on her brother’s life and Will reveals his own attempt on Hannibal’s. Will asks Hannibal about his track record with past patients. Will reveals that Dr. Du Maurier visited him in prison and Hannibal seems caught off-guard by this revelation.

At night, one of Will’s dogs run out into the open, barking loudly. Will grabs a shotgun and follows. He finds Buster injured in the snow but as he returns to his house, he realizes he is being followed –Randall is here to kill him. The scene changes to Hannibal returning home to find Will in his dining room and a dead Randall on the table. Will suggests that this makes them even and Hannibal nods.

Commentary:

So, we will in due time talk about that ending and what it means for the fate of our characters but before that I’m going to have to go on a little bit of a rant. These last two episodes have felt extremely lacklustre to me – the last episode felt like a reset button and suddenly drained all the tension and momentum that the show had been building up from the first episode and this episode somewhat exacerbates the problem – we seem to have returned to the killer of the week format and I absolutely hate it. While I do acknowledge that this week’s killer was important in terms of Will and Hannibal’s relationship and their respective end-games, I do not appreciate having to sit through what felt like a mind-numbing thirty minutes of what felt like a very simplistic plot. The ending does go some way in redeeming the episode though I do feel it could have done the same without forcing me to endure another murder mystery involving characters I couldn’t care less about.

Still, there are a fair few things that need to be discussed and the lack of excitement in the first 80% of this episode does not change that. First though, before I forget, we should talk a little about symbolism. Symbolism has always been important in this show what with Will’s water affinity and Hannibal’s association with fire and the whole thing with the antlered monster. In any case, I can’t be entirely sure of Will’s motivation as a character at this point, but even he can’t fake his dreams and the episode’s opening, with his executing Hannibal, and the presence of the antlered moose in the scene gives me the impression that Will might be lying to himself a little. By that I mean, that he promised Jack that he would bring Hannibal in and Hannibal’s own game, as seen with what he did to Randall, is to corrupt Will and I think Will knows this but despite that I think Hannibal is doing a lot better than Will. The darkness is beginning to creep into Will and the ending just confirms it.

So, about the ending then, I think we can assume that Will isn’t going to go to Jack saying that he killed another man and delivered the corpse to Hannibal though I think there is more than enough evidence here to suggest that Will’s murder of Randall was self-defence. It just bugs me that someone like Randall gets while that obnoxious social care worker from the previous episode just walks away unharmed. One of the things I liked most about the ending was the way that it put Hannibal and Will on a somewhat even footing – combined with Will putting Hannibal off his game a little earlier with his reveal of Du Maurier’s visit, it means that the playing field is much more even that their relationship is no longer predator and prey. Or rather, it is predator and prey, but it just isn’t clear which one of them is which.

Lastly, I still don’t know what’s up with Margot Verger. At some point, I’m going to assume that she’s going to kill her brother and I can’t really say that that would be a shame but at the same time, I’m having a hard time making myself care. It’s not so much that she’s a badly written character or anything but rather it’s just that she’s still a little too new to the show for me to decide whether she’s a bad fit for the story or not.

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