Hannibal S02E09 Review "Shiizakana"

This week on Hannibal we see more evidence of Dr Lecter's unique therapeutic techniques, his patients get to compare notes, and we get to see one of his past patients take letting out the "beast within" to a whole new level. I've become fairly certain that the show runners have developed a fixation on strangling Mads Mikkelsen, but given that that aligns with my interests nicely I'll forgive them.

The opening scene was another surreal visit into Will Graham's head, with him torturing Hannibal in a dream. It was visually intriguing, though between the dream and Randal's kills it sort of felt like they got Tarantino's blood guy to come in and work this week. What I got from the whole sequence was that the stag, which in the previous season represented the monster that Hannibal was, stalking Will, corralling him from the edges of his periphery, has now become the metaphor for Will's own darkness. He is becoming the Wendigo like Hannibal, he has tasted blood and fear and human flesh and he is drawing power from it. I am just unclear on how much of this is a true struggle in Will's mind, and how much of it is him becoming the perfect lure to ensnare Hannibal.

He is certainly changing in many subtle ways to become more seductive and enticing to Hannibal, like he discussed with Jack over their ice fishing hole last week. He is dressing better, and looking after his appearance in a way that Hannibal, connoisseur of all fine things is sure to appreciate. He is being direct about his darkness and fostering an openness between them, lulling Hannibal into feeling secure with him. Soon he will surely make his fatal mistake, but will it come too late for Will to save himself from becoming the beast?

Our killer of the week,Randal (an ex patient of Hannibal's), is someone who suffers from "species dysphoria". He fancies himself a predator in a very literal sense and has constructed himself a beast suit to live his fantasies out and become his true self. A lot of the patients that Hannibal takes an interest in have this common theme of metamorphisis, which reminds me of Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs. He loves taking someone he sees as having untapped potential for those cruel and vile acts he finds the most beauty in and cultivating them. In a way they are all mirrors of himself, but Randal also represents the possible last phase of Will's transformation.

Meeting Margot and Randal also gave Will cause to think of the possible extent of Hannibal's manipulations and interference. How many others has he mentored in the same way? What sins are to be discovered in his patient files? How do all of these budding psychopaths fall straight into Lecter's lap?

When Will strolled in and basically lay his kill at Hannibal's feet I couldn't help but be worried for him. Is he really losing the battle to his inner beast? How much of him will be left when all the dust settles. I do have a suspicion, though, that Jack is aware that Will killed Randal and brought him to Hannibal like an offering. At least I hope that's all it is.

Some Thoughts:

  • Margot is starting to ask some impertinent questions. She is probably going to end up as a steak soon.
  • I was so excited when Bedelia was in the recap in the beginning, I thought she was going to come back this week. I'm sure she will resurface by the end of the season. She along with patients like Margot will almost certainly be instrumental in bringing Hannibal down
  • I find it interesting that up until now (excluding Will Graham) only women have managed to see past Hannibal's person suit. First Miriam Lass, Abigail Hobbs, Bedelia, then Beverly Katz and now Margot.
  • I have no idea how Jack Crawford still manages to eat at Hannibal's dinner table with his suspicions. It confirms my theory that Hannibal's cooking is just that good.
  • I'm glad they brought Peter, the horse groomer, back as a consultant this week. I find him and the mirror he holds up to Will intriguing. I feel like he serves as a reminder of the innocence that Will use to possess, all of his best qualities and vulnerabilities magnified.
  • I was cussing and cursing and threatening Bryan Fuller with bodily harm when Buster ran out into the night straight towards Randal's beast. I'm so glad that didn't kill him. I can watch a thousand human corpses transformed but one dead dog and I'm not sure I could deal.
  • I'm not sure what it is, but the show felt very different this week than it was in the past. The tone and pacing has been a little inconsistent compared to last season, which had a much more linear progression and build up, but I'm waiting until we reach the conclusion of the season and I can see the picture as a whole to really delve into that.

Quote of the night:
Hannibal on the nature of God: "Typhoids and Swans, they come from the same place."