Hannibal Review: Episode 2×07 – “Yakimono”

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HANNIBAL - NBC

Will is more in control than ever in this weeks Hannibal

This weeks episode gave Will more power than he’s had all season. Now that he’s free, he’s devoting all he has to bring Hannibal to justice. Meanwhile, Hannibal is playing his own set of games, his expert manipulation deeper than we previously thought. Everyone involved must decide whom to trust when the Ripper case gets out of hand, and they need to make these choices soon. Will Alana keep defending Hannibal, or can she find it in herself to trust Will again? Can Miriam access her repressed memories and prove Hannibal’s guilt? Will Jack be able to see past Hannibal’s lies and determine his true identity? Is Chilton brave enough to come forward? What game is Hannibal playing here? So much is going on in this episode, and it looks as if big changes are on the horizon. Let’s take a look!

Hannibal - Season 2

Will’s Freedom

“The Chesapeake Ripper has set you free” – Frederick Chilton

After Hannibal’s planted fishing lures, all charges against Will were dropped. And he’s prepared to take advantage of his newfound freedom right from the get-go. He urges Frederick Chilton to come forward with the evidence he has against Hannibal, telling Chilton that if Hannibal is free, surely he will be Hannibal’s next victim. It was so refreshing for them to show us a Will who is so in control and aware; he knows Hannibal better than ever, and he isn’t afraid to take advantage of that knowledge.

Will is called to investigate the scene where Miriam Lass was discovered, and he tells Jack exactly what’s going on; Hannibal intended for Miriam to be found. It’s all part of his plan, and Will guarantees that some piece of evidence there will lead the FBI away from Hannibal (But we know by now that just because Will knows something doesn’t mean he’ll be listened to). It was so chilling for them to present Will in Hannibal’s shoes, and the scene in Hannibal’s house with the beating heart was beyond disconcerting.
Having already spoken with Chilton and Jack, Will talks with Miriam, telling her, “We’re both part of his design.” He knows how Hannibal works by now, and he’s careful about it. He never references Hannibal during their conversation, but uses his words carefully to lead her to that conclusion.

But Wills determination created a chilling picture-very unlike the desperate, but caring Will we used to see. He surprised us even further by an incredibly rash action: confronting Hannibal at gunpoint. Shouldn’t he have learned by now that trying to kill Hannibal himself will only cause him trouble? However concerning his actions are, the scene itself is wonderful. We see the two characters at the heart of this story interact honestly, with no trappings of murder or trial to detract. Let’s have more like this, Bryan Fuller!

Did Will intend to kill Hannibal? Is he really that ruthless? It’s hard to tell, but he seems to be less and less concerned with appearances. When Chilton, pursued by the FBI, comes to Will asking for help, Will immediately calls the FBI. We might not have expected such behavior from Will before, but now he’s unwilling to budge on anything that could bring more information to light on Hannibal. When Chilton pulls out a gun, Will doesn’t even flinch, but walks away, confident in Chilton’s inability to kill. It’s interesting how little remorse he seems to feel for basically condemning a man, especially for a man with such extreme empathy. We can see why Alana is worried. What’s happening to you, Will?

The final phase we get to see of Will’s plan is a surprising one. He goes to Hannibal again and requests to resume his therapy. Why would he put himself in this position? How will he use this to get Hannibal? What’s his agenda here? This is a very different Will, and he’s even harder to predict this time around.

Hannibal - Season 2

Will has no friends

Will may be in control (we hope), but he isn’t relying on anyone. He walks out of his cells to be greeted by a guilty and apologetic Jack Crawford, but he’s past the point where he shows any signs of trust towards Jack. He knows by know that everyone is susceptible to Hannibal’s mind games, and he’s not making that mistake again. And it turns out he’s right; Jack quickly changes his tune when he finds evidence against Chilton, telling Will the Chesapeake Ripper is playing him. So much for Jack being helpful. His willingness to immediately drop several episodes of evidence seems a little out of character, though. He’s certainly going through a rough time, but he’s switched from totally believing one thing to believing the opposite a few times now. Is a man like that really fit to work with the FBI? Is that even a believable writing decision?

Alana doesn’t even give Will the chance to trust her. She clearly believes in Hannibal’s innocence, and is wary of Will. Will’s trip to pick up his dogs was perhaps the most heartbreaking of the episode. She’s the woman who used to fight so hard for his case, who wanted to save him, and who was the only one who believed in him. It’s so sad to see her manipulated by Hannibal (but seriously, join the club) and to see that Will has only helped to push her away with his murdering tendencies. It’s hard to blame her, but it doesn’t make watching it any more fun. There is a moment Will begins to think she believes him, but he quickly realizes she is worried that he was willing to kill Hannibal. Will is hurt, and, goodness, so are we. If there was any chance of Will trusting her, it’s gone. He doesn’t miss a beat, either. When Alana asks if Hannibal is safe from Will, Will retorts with “From me or for you?” Ouch. Later, when Hannibal’s fingerprint appears on the flower petal from the crime scene, she is quite to defend him and accuse Chilton. When Chilton is brought in, she readily believes in his guilt, and it pains her. It’s so hard to see what she’s going through, and the writers have set it up so we have to watch her go through that pain, all while knowing the truth that will eventually break her. Chilton sees her stubbornness, though. He tells her, “You cannot see it, and you will not see it until it is too late. Don’t say I did not warn you, Dr. Bloom.” Let’s sincerely hope he’s wrong.

Hannibal - Season 2

Hannibal’ Plan: Master of Manipulation (Alana, Miriam, evidence)

Where the last episode left off, it seemed to us that Hannibal was getting careless. Not only did he let Miriam live, but left behind evidence leading the FBI to her. When she said she would recognize his voice, it seemed as if his fate was sealed. But, of course, it was part of the plan. She didn’t recognize him at all, the result of Hannibal’s trademark “unorthodox therapy.” It’s so frustrating to see how close they are to nabbing Hannibal! They carefully crafted the scene where Miriam and Jack visits Hannibal to show us this, which makes it worse. As she moves through his office, it flashes back to the visit where she discovered his identity and was abducted. She says the same words, looks through the same stack of drawings. It’s a scene that serves to display not only how well Hannibal has covered his tracks, but how artistic the show as a whole is. Hannibal is so confident in Miriam’s repressed memories that he uses the same light as before to induce hypnosis (How Jack was comfortable with this, I don’t know). He’s careful, and she does get her memories back, but not with him in them. So close!

Miriam: “He got inside my head”

His manipulation with Alana paid off too; she’s thoroughly on his side. It’s a bit surprising that at this point in the story the only women who aren’t dead are completely unhelpful. Definitely a flaw in the storytelling, but we can hope there’s a plan. Even when there are factors out of Hannibal’s direct control, he deals with them with the smooth handling that is so characteristic of him. As Will is holding a gun to Hannibal’s head, he quickly comes up with reasons why Will should let him go, and is so careful in his presentation that Will leaves. And the ray of hope we saw when they discovered a partial print on the body was short-lived. The same investigation lead to the discovery of chemicals in Miriams blood that Chilton was known to use, planted there by Hannibal.

We’ve been totally blindsided; turns out his plan the whole time was to place the blame on Chilton. And he’s going all out. He kills the FBI agents that come to investigate Chilton, planting them in Chilton’s kitchen. One was stabbed in the same way that Miriam remembered-a clever, if brutal touch. This murders provided a gruesome reminder of how ruthless Hannibal truly is. Yes, he’s a great liar and manipulator, but he’s far more dangerous than that.

And though Chilton wasn’t likeable by any stretch in the first season, these last few episodes have made him just likable enough for us to be shocked at his predicament. He was so close to helping catch Hannibal, too; he offered evidence against Hannibal to the FBI.  All the worse when Hannibal plants the bodies. Chilton’s discovery of a legless Abel Gideon in his guest room is terrifying (for us and him!) and the suspense builds. Hannibal renders Chilton unconscious, and he wakes up covered in blood, holding a gun and a knife. It was so hard to watch as he followed the trail of blood to the kitchen to discover the bodies. Not only was it painful seeing how small the chance of catching Hannibal was, but watching Chilton realize his predicament was very distressing. Chilton’s following scenes were the best of the whole episode. He goes to Will for help (interesting choice), and he’s far gone by now. He’s so desperate and afraid, and it makes for a wonderful, albeit sad scene. Raúl Esperza deserves a standing ovation.

Unfortunately, Hannibal’s efforts were more than enough to land Chilton in the FBI’s custody.  Alana’s interrogation is yet another wonderful scene. It was so distracting to see Caroline Dhavernas’ and Esperza’s performances, that the twist really did come out of nowhere. Miriam sits in shock and horror behind the one-way mirror, and before we can blink, she pulls out a gun and shoots Chilton through the glass. Hannibal’s design is nearly complete.

Hannibal - Season 2

Final Verdict

So impressed with the work of writer Bryan Fuller and director Michael Rymer. It’ll be so exciting for us to see what the rest of the season is like now that we have all of these startling game changers. It’s so disappointing to see what happens to Chilton in light of the help he could have provided. This seems to be a theme: Beverly, Gideon, Alana, Chilton, even Bella and Jack. As soon as they pose a threat to Hannibal, the threat is taken care of. Chilling.

Though Hannibal is an expert manipulator, it would be better to see a more realistic set of characterizations for Jack and Alana. There is a point past which some of the choices they’re making are too far out of character to make sense. But Chilton’s arc made up for that minor disappointment. Hannibal pulling the strings, reminding us both of his power and his ruthlessness. And Chilton was so well done, from both a writing and an acting standpoint. Bravo.

It’s hard to tell what this might be leading up to, but it will definitely be interesting to see what plan Will has in mind. Now him and Hannibal are trying their best to be pulling the strings of the FBI. Will could lead the FBI right to Hannibal’s door, or Hannibal’s therapy (and his control over Alana) might prove to be more than Will can handle. There’s so much potential going forward, now that the writers are taking advantage of the groundwork they’ve been laying. The power could switch at any moment, and we look forward to seeing it when it does!

Comments, Questions

•    So cute to see Will reunited with his dogs! (Some fans will notice the fan-named “Applesauce” mentioned in the episode. Who knew Alana would get one of her own?)
•    Why is Jack even working this case anymore?
•    Alana, is only one to get close to Hannibal without repercussions and it’s terrifying
•    How can the FBI think a man who can’t digest meat is a cannibal?
•    How far can this “unorthodox” therapy really take Hannibal?
•    Why is Will suddenly willing to pull a gun on Hannibal?
•    Hannibal is a huge jerk, and it’s only getting worse
•    Awesome chase scene with Jack and Chilton
•    We a glimpse of Brian Zeller’s anger at the ripper…maybe killing Beverly wasn’t such a good idea…
•    What has Freddy Lounds been up to?
•    What’s Hannibal going to do to Alana now? Please tell me she’ll be okay…
•    Does being shot in the face actually guarantee that Chilton is dead?