Hannibal: “Futamono”

Photo courtesy of NBC.

Photo courtesy of NBC.

Ye beware! There be spoilers, here!

Hannibal just got explicit. No, I don’t mean the graphic violence. I mean the ideas. There are some great, witty quotes to illustrate the themes of the show, particularly manipulation. The conceit of Season 2 is a reverse relationship from the canon; Hannibal is free, and Will Graham consults from an asylum. Only when Will can become like Hannibal, can he defeat him. But, at what cost? There are a lot of pawns that get killed in a game of chess.

Will displays his profiling skills to the fullest in “Futamono.” As always, Will begins his psychological profile with the question, “What need does [the killer] serve?” Then, the show dares to tell us why: “Because he wanted to see what would happen.”

We know that Hannibal the Psychopath (private self) fancies himself a God. He eats people to dominate them, he kills or spares to exercise his power, and he loves to meddle. Hannibal often shares his kills with unwitting law enforcement officials over for dinner. Who knew that God was so into irony? However, in this episode, Hannibal the Man (public self) is human and feeble. Supposedly, he’s damaged from the assassination attempt. He’s ready to cut ties with Will and the FBI. Mads Mikkelsen sells the trauma, but us crafty viewers know that he’s up no good. Only when Hannibal appears his weakest, is he the most dangerous.

In fact, Hannibal the Psychopath has a dandy time. He racks up the body count, and revives the Chesapeake Ripper myth. The episode focuses specifically on the ‘Tree Man,’ a victim Hannibal fused with a tree. I tried to understand the existential implications of the crime. Hannibal is far too appreciative of Nature over Man to equate the two. Or perhaps I’m wrong. We’re indistinguishable to him, so why are men more important than a flower?

I did understand the twisted romantic imagery. While cutting up a (presumably) human heart, Hannibal seduces Alana Bloom, Will’s former love interest. Hannibal could kill her to hurt Will, or just as easily ‘own’ her heart through a little romance. That’s right, Hannibal gets a sex scene. It makes a lot of sense. Hannibal the show has crafted a unique vision of Hannibal; Mikkelsen just oozes sex appeal. Hannibal is a genius, well-dressed, spoken, fit, etc. You know he’s dynamite in the sack. I wonder if he feels genuine sexual pleasure, but the power trip of seduction must be like crack.

Molly Eichel of the AV Club pointed out that this episode was one of the first to show Hannibal in action as a psycho, rather than implying it. He serves Gideon his own leg. That’s terrifying and badass! I would like to that add if we factor in Will’s limited screen time, it reminds us the show is called Hannibal not Will Graham. Given that fact, I’m starting to wonder if anyone other than Hannibal is guaranteed not to die.

Of course, sometimes the dead can come back to life. The final shot is of Miriam, Jack Crawford’s former protégé. She was presumed killed by the Chesapeake Ripper, though her occasional message haunts the FBI agent. What’s worse is that Hannibal seems to have led Jack to Miriam on purpose. I doubt Hannibal would incriminate himself so what else does he have in store?  I’ll have to tune in next week.

Grade: A

Notes:

Will growing antlers = fall from grace?

“Cannibalism is about dominance.”

A reference to that old census taker…

Gideon willingly eating his leg!

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