Hannibal Review: Episode 2×08 – “Su-zakana”
It’s getting back to the heart of the story with a great exploration of the Will/Hannibal dynamic. It’s hard to tell what both of them are trying to do, but it’s so interesting to watch them do it! Plus the artful symbolism and parallels are really a great touch.
Jack Crawford isn’t really doing much, and it’s difficult to tell where Hannibal and Alana are going. (Gratuitous sex should really not have a place in this show.) And is anybody going to say what happened to Chilton? Please?
Will is more in control than ever in this weeks Hannibal
Will Graham is still going after Hannibal in this weeks episode, but we have plenty of questions as to why he’s doing it and what he expects to accomplish. Does he really think resuming therapy is going to be helpful? Can he convince Jack Crawford that Hannibal is guilty? Is Alana going to be given any agency at all? And what’s Hannibal got up his sleeve that makes him so calm about it all? There’s so much to answer! Let’s get started.
Will and Peter Parallels
Oh, Bryan Fuller, the king of the double entendre. The case the FBI investigates is a pretty strict parallel for the situation with Will and Hannibal, and it’s hard to distinguish exactly which one they’re talking about.
As Will and Jack Crawford investigate possible suspects, they meet Peter, a disturbed but gentle man who cares for his animals and shows little concern for people. Will quickly identifies with him, understands part of his condition, and determines he’s not the killer. The show presents us with a very sweet and likable character in Peter; I immediately wanted to bring the poor man away from all of the trouble, and give him some tea, a blanket, and a nice puppy or something.
Peter showed concern for a bird that had been trapped in a woman’s chest, and Will took it from the FBI and brought it to him. It’s an attempt to further the investigation, but also an act of compassion on Will’s part. Peter tells Will there’s another person behind the murder. As Will talks to him, it’s clear he holds this mysterious figure the same way he does with Hannibal, as the oppressor forcing others into a bad psychological state. Peter says “He’ll make sure no one will believe [that I’m not the killer],” Will says “I’ll make sure they do.” What a great moment from Will! As focused as he’s been on catching Hannibal, he’s still carrying the empathy that characterizes him, and the hurt from what Hannibal did. He’s quick to help Peter both because he feels for him and because he wants the satisfaction of bringing down a character so similar to Hannibal.
“Do you have a shadow, Peter? Someone only you can see. Someone you considered a friend who made you feel less alone. Until you saw what he really is” – Will Graham
The man turns out to be Peter’s social worker, and his similarities to Hannibal are very clear. He’s incredibly creepy, but charismatic as he is interrogated by Alana. And the commentary behind the one-way mirror is very telling. Will is quick to point out the man’s psychopathic tendencies, while Hannibal retorts that it could just be resentment. It’s exciting to see Will’s true feelings coming out more strongly than they ever have before. He calls the man a predator, saying Peter was manipulated. “This man is in a position of trust,” he remarks, “and he has betrayed that trust.” (We’re pretty sure you’re not talking about this guy anymore, Will.) He says he knows what it’s like to point at a killer and have nobody listen. It’s quite clear at this point why Will is so close to this case, and it’s so interesting to see the different ways he acts towards something he feel strongly about. He’s learned to hold back his emotions, it seems, but he’s certainly not letting anything slide by without accusation. It’s hard for us to determine what exactly is going on in Will’s mind, but it’s pretty clear Hannibal is yet to be forgiven.
When Will and Hannibal investigate Peter again, they find him sewing up a horse with his social worker inside, and Will is saddened. Seeing Peter making the same mistakes he did, and getting himself in trouble makes him emotional than we’ve seen him yet, and it’s devastating. It’s pretty impressive that the poor guy is standing there and trying to encourage Peter, especially considering how significant this is for him. He takes Peter aside, and reveals more to us about his feelings, which we haven’t seen much of. As he speaks towards Peter’s situation, it’s a commentary about his own. He believes Hannibal’s wrongs were “cruelty for cruelty’s sake” and admits not knowing how to feel makes it difficult to kill Hannibal. These few minutes of conversation gave us such an interesting glimpse into Will, and shed some very revealing light on the rest of his actions.
When the social worker emerges from the horse, Will is on the offensive, and quick to identify himself as a friend of Peter’s. He’s a whirlwind of emotions, but he’s keeping it undercover as much as he can, which is some pretty layered acting by Hugh Dancy. All in all, it was exciting to see Will dealing with his feelings and being so outspoken, especially with Hannibal there to hear. It’s excellent writing and acting, and very refreshing to have the most engaging part of the plot actually be the main story.
Hannibal still all for murder
Hannibal continues presenting himself as an innocent man. In conversation he’s all about the pleasantries, towards Will, Jack, his patients, everyone. Even during Will’s therapy, where both parties know the facts, he doesn’t acknowledge them, carefully crafting phrases to cast doubt in Will’s mind.
But it seems that shifting the blame onto Chilton has allowed Hannibal to grow bolder and bolder, and it’s pretty scary. His new patient, Margot, was sent to him for murdering her brother, and Hannibal is quite happy to encourage her to try again. He’s pretty blatant, too, encouraging her to be clever and not get caught and not-too-subtely volunteers to do the job. Whether it’s narcissistic, fun, or part of a greater plan remains to be seen.
“If you really want to kill your brother, wait until you can get away with it.” –Hannibal Lecter
Pushing patients towards death of some sort seems to be a trend with Hannibal. We all remember his murder of Frederick and encouraging Bella to commit suicide. He’s exceptionally smug when Will admits he enjoying killing those he thinks deserve it. Not a surprise, as much of Will’s therapy has been with the intent to push him over the edge. Chilling, but fascinating.
Knowing this, it was a surprise for us to see Hannibal stopping Will from killing Peter’s oppressor. Isn’t he supposed to find joy in other’s murder? But it really does fit. As much as he doesn’t want Will to catch him, he loves the game he’s playing with Will, and isn’t willing to end it over something so inconsequential. He sees that he’s crafted Will into a killer, but is so fascinated with his own lack of control over what Will does next. In other words, he’s curious. It’s near-inexplicable moments like these that make Hannibal such a complex and interesting villain.
Will gets bolder and bolder
Hannibal is right find Will unpredictable. Will’s changing, even his appearance reflects that. Rather than the tousled hair and the fisherman fashion he used to sport, he now appears less personable and more put together with classy clothes and nicer hair. (It’s suspiciously closer to Hannibal’s appearance that we might be comfortable with, but it’s a very interesting choice.)
Will’s mannerisms reflect something similar. He’s tenacious, devoted to brining Hannibal down, and willing to work with Jack Crawford to make it happen. He’s given up on being open, masking his own feelings and motivations just as Hannibal does.
“You may have to pretend, but I don’t.” – Will
He’s has boldness too, but it’s expressed much differently than Hannibal’s. He’s skipping all of the pleasantries, and communicates his misgivings about Hannibal with perfect clarity, even when it’s not entirely appropriate, such as over dinner with Jack. It comes across in his therapy sessions too. He’s sharper than ever, stating his opinions, fighting back, accusing Hannibal, and turning his questions back on him. He’s not taking much of Hannibal’s lies. He tells Hannibal he still wants to kill him, and even gives the details. The whole therapy scene is so well done. If you put it on mute, it would be impossible to tell who was the psychiatrist and who was the patient. (Even with the sound on, it walks a pretty fine line where the holder of power is concerned.) Will skips thinly veiled references while talking about Peter’s situation and cuts right to the chase in his conversation with Jack at the FBI-even with Hannibal literally standing right next to him. It’s weird but fascinating. He’s becoming scarily empowered.
The Final Verdict
Writer Bryan Fuller and director Vincenzo Natali gave this episode just as much symbolism and artistry as we’ve come to expect from this show. From the animal symbolism to the rebirth to the parallel stories of manipulated victims, it’s an intellectually stimulating treat. Their treatment of female characters is much improved from the last episode. Not only do we meet the fascinating Margot, but Alana remains her intelligent self. She is right on the mark in calling out Hannibal, and doesn’t miss interrogating the social worker, using tactics that Will recognizes as clever. You have to wonder what Hannibal was trying to accomplish by his comments about Will trying to save her…please keep her safe, writers! Though we’re scared what death and trauma may be to come, at we got some great insight into more of the Will and Hannibal dynamic-it seems as if there are some great revelations on the horizon.
- Hannibal and Alana together make me want to gag
- Holy muffins, the bird in the heart was terrifying
- Oh, Brian, you’re such a great character! Don’t feel guilty about Beverly!
- This guy drinking tears in a martini glass was really weird
- Starlings and lambs and Margot. Book canon cometh.
- Yeah, Alana, you push that guy on his feelings!
- Margot is really dangerous, but fascinating. Let’s see more.
- So, what does Jack actually believe? Get your stuff together!
- Social worker guy is creepy as heck, why does he have to smile when he says everything?
- Somebody please help Peter. He just wanted to hang out with his animals and not have to murder anyone
- You shmuck, how can you pretend to be worried about Peter when you are literally holding the murder weapon covered in blood.
- I cannot believe that guy was alive
- HOLY CRAP THERE WAS A LIVE MAN IN THE HORSE
- I am never going near a horse again. Or birds. Actually, let’s stay away from anything that could kill me or contains blood.