Will (Hugh Dancy) appears to have turned into a full-on protégé to mentor Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) but is everything really as it appears to be?
Let’s bitch it out.
Your regular reviewer cinephilactic is out gallivanting on another adventure, so you’re stuck with me this week. Unfortunately it’s not all praise, although ‘Nako Choko’ does invoke some interesting questions regarding potential directions the show might take should it be renewed for a third season.
Let’s get the bad out of the way first: I don’t know if it was because I knew I would be filling in this week and I was more attentively viewing, but I felt that the innuendos and metaphors seemed to be on overkill this week. Certainly, speaking in sensual riddles isn’t something new to the show, but amidst all this talk about breeding, boundaries and acidic meat, my eyes were practically rolling out of my sockets by episode’s end. I’m generally a fan of subtlety, so let’s keep the cryptic speak to one plot line per episode shall we?
As pronounced as all of the obvious double entendres were, they at least served a very clear purpose. We’re forced to ask the central question: Has Will gone too far in his attempt to trap Hannibal, or is this all an elaborate illusion to entrap our favourite cannibal? Are the forces of good and evil still clearly demarcated? Dialogue that neglects to be straightforward allows this mystery to play out as for all intents and purposes, it looks as though Will has indeed turned into a Hannibal knockoff. At the end of the day, it’s highly unlikely that Will has gone so deeply into the dark side, but the show does well at making the audience question whether or not this is Will’s long con, or if indeed he’s succumbed to his darker urges. Good scriptwriting, excellent direction and superb acting turns something that would easily be hackneyed and clichéd on a lesser show into a character study that is ambiguous, uncomfortable and most importantly, intriguing in this case.
We hear Will ardently confess to Hannibal about how he’s ‘never felt as alive’ as he did when killing Randall Tier (Mark O’Brien), with his BARE HANDS, but we only ever see the killing in dream-like flashback, so it’s hard to know for sure. We see the meticulously gruesome tableaux of Tier’s body in the museum, and get a brilliant ‘my design’ sequence that Randall identifies as Will’s becoming, but we don’t know if Jack (Laurence Fishburne) knew about the murder pre-staging. And probably the most revealing of all, we get all the markings that Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) is murdered at Will’s hands (crowbar through the window and everything!), but never actually see a killing take place.
The ending sequence of Will and Hannibal dining over meat that’s “bitter about being dead” seems to point to Will becoming a full-on cannibal, but the show knows it’s too clever for such a simplistic explanation. From everything we’ve seen thus far, Hannibal has groomed us not to underestimate the intelligence of both our hero and anti-hero, and perhaps that’s why we’re denied any real answers (instead just buckets of ambiguity and word games).
It’s likely that Will has stepped slightly over those boundaries when it comes to catching Hannibal – he probably did enjoy killing Randall, even though he did so in self-defense. Blurring the hardline distinctions between good and evil is far more interesting than keeping our characters in archetypal boxes, and we can even throw Jack into that mix although his screen time is minimal during the episode. How much is Jack willing to overlook in his pursuit of Hannibal? What are the implications on Jack’s conscience in allowing Will do all the proverbial dirty work? Even if we get Hannibal behind bars, that doesn’t mean that the rest of our characters are going to simply ease back into their lives. Just think of what will happen to poor Alana (Caroline Dhavernas) when she finds out who she’s been bedding. This sets up interesting directions should the show push into a (rightful) third season – showing us that there’s much more to explore even if Hannibal gets captured at the close of this one.
- We’re finally introduced to Mason Verger (Michael Pitt) and he’s just as eccentrically creepy as we all hoped he’d be. Although not much is done with him this week aside from giving us a first-hand glimpse into his sadism, Pitt brings a different kind of energy to the show that feel refreshing and, as the title of this week’s episode connotes, cleansing.
- I don’t know quite how to feel about the ‘ambitious’ sex scene. It surprises me how un-erotically it plays out despite the number of ‘o-faces‘ and side-boobs we see, but I couldn’t help but appreciate the cinematic artistry that’s exhibited with the construction of a very fluid and believable ‘five-way’ scenario.
- “You can slice the ginger.” – Clearly Hannibal missed his calling as a standup comedian. But seriously – whoever wrote that gem is deserving of an Emmy.
- Before Freddie is discovered in Will’s barn, we see an image of Hannibal sitting in his plastic kill suit, presumably waiting for some one. Perhaps I was meant to remember the room he was waiting in, but I couldn’t quite place it and was left wondering who the intended victim was. Any thoughts?
What did you think viewers? Do you think it’s obvious whether or not Will has become a mini-Hannibal? Or is his long-con succeeding? Do you think Hannibal can see right through Will’s act, or he duped? Is Jack in on it? Do you think Freddie is really dead? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments below.
Hannibal airs Fridays at 10pm EST on NBC