Hannibal: Takiawase Review

NBC's Hannibal is deliciously troubling, with a side of awesomeness this week.

Seriously, Hannibal probably should air a bit earlier. Last week after watching the episode and spending a few hours writing the review, it was nearly impossible to sleep with the images of the debrained judge swimming in my subconscious. Damn you, Bryan Fuller!

This week’s episode is again penned by Fuller (with Steve Lightfoot) so I guess it’s off to the medicine cabinet for some Ambien once again!

Such a screwed up show starts so tranquilly, with a pleasant dream of Will fishing with the woman he is accused of killing, Abigail Hobbs. The dream is contrasted by the sudden fade to Will’s cell and a visit from Beverly Katz, who brings him pictures of the tableau killer and reveals that Will was correct, that the killer was sewn into his own installation piece. So before the first commercial break, we are once again treated to the sight of about a hundred naked corpses sewn into the shape of an eye, because that image never gets old.

Even in prison Will cannot help but play detective. Will is certain that it was Hannibal who sewed the killer into the eye. Will uses Beverly as his eyes and ears outside the cell which probably will not end well for her. She is capable and she is cunning but she will be no match for Hannibal if she follows Will’s request on trying to prove Lecter is the real killer. Will has no choice in using Katz the same way Jack Crawford used him, but it doesn’t make it right.

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From here, we cut to an odd little sequence of a bee flying into a hive, joining his buzzing brethren, and flying out of the gaping mouth of a corpse turned into a giant man hive. Better make that two Ambien, as the show continues to top its own wonderful depravity.

Another piece on Hannibal’s board enters the season, as Bella Crawford is seeing Hannibal for therapy. A powerful moment takes place between the killer and the dying wife of Jack Crawford. Bella wants to kill herself to end her pain, as she confesses her need to die to a man who needs to kill. This opens a bit of character insight to Hannibal who confesses to Bella that death has freed him to enjoy life and art. The powerful dual views of death show there is more to this show than atrocity.

From Lecter’s office, we flash to Jack investigating the bee scene. Here we get a lesson on bee ejaculation which is always a welcome respite.  I guess this is the B plot?

Sorry.

After the bee porn lesson, Lecter and Katz prepare to autopsy the tableau killer. As Katz lectures Hannibal on the case, he recognizes that she must have been talking to Will. Oh, that can’t be good. This is followed by some delicious situational irony as Hannibal teaches Katz how to enter a killer’s brain and predict his thoughts.

Meanwhile, the giant raging asshat Dr. Chilton uses truth serum to interview Will which plays havoc with Will’s already fractured mind. Fuller awesomely plays with time here as Will flashes between the current interview and the times Hannibal used drugs to control Will. Will masterfully uses Chilton to get the drugs that would allow him to find the hidden damages left by Hannibal. This is some complex stuff that tells a story in a non-linear order. Thank you Mr. Fuller for having respect enough for your viewer to get this experimental.

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Bella and Jack’s story is one of the most realistic portrayals of cancer on mainstream television. How the non-sick person wants to hold on to hope but the sick person needs an end to her pain is brutally honest. It’s actually much harder to watch than any of the dramatic atrocities this show has committed. It’s real, it’s heartbreaking, and frank. The scenes between Bella and Jack are Emmy level performances and show that Hannibal has more going on than violence and shock.

And then we flash to the bee corpse contorted on an autopsy table. Holy crapsocks, that’s freaky. This leads into a conversation on the religious symbolism of bees. Hey, the show teaches too.

So it seems the bee killer is none other than Pulp Fiction’s Honey Bunny herself, Amanda Plummer who uses acupuncture to paralyze her sick victims and then lobotomizes them as they helplessly watch. Three Ambien it is! Hey wait a minute, Honey Bunny? Bee killer? Honey? Oh, well played Fuller.

A little girl finds the lobotomized man, with his eyes ripped out and covered in bee stings. And he’s still alive. We see him next just sitting on an exam table, blinded, mindless, and alive. This is some grade a serious mind f-ing horror. This newest atrocity clues Katz into the fact that the tableau killer’s stitches were hiding other stitches. It seems Katz’s association to Will has opened her imagination to some truths regarding Hannibal and the maneuverings of a killer.

OK, trying to write this, image of mindless, eyeless zombie man stuck in my head. I’ll try to keep going, but you got to understand the level of skeevats happening here.

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As Beverly tells Will her suspicions, this is the moment that Will understands Hannibal’s greatest secret. His appetite. This is a pivotal moment to the mythology of Hannibal’s story, the first time he is recognized as the famous Cannibal fans first met in Red Dragon and learned to fear in Silence of the Lambs.

Back to Honey Bunny who is visited by Crawford. It’s interesting to see Crawford, the man who will brings down Hannibal confront another freakish killer. The angel of death acupuncturist confesses her crime to Crawford, that she did it to quiet her victims’ minds so they can die in piece, away from the pain of their debilitation. All this, of course, serves as a reminder to Jack of Bella’s own impending doom and her desire for a dignified death.

With all this horrific death imagery bounding about, the show climaxes with a woman who has taken control of death and used it to decide her own fate. Bella has taken every last drop of her morphine and went to Hannibal’s office to die, peacefully and on her own terms. Suddenly, every last bit of theatrics is drained from the program as the show becomes very beautiful and very human very fast (don’t worry, it won’t last). Bella wants to spare Jack the sight of her death. She wants Jack to hold the image of her alive and not as just another corpse that he sees during the course of his day. She seemingly dies in front of the angel of death himself, who now must carry Bella’s last words to Jack, the man, as we know; he will soon be locked in a death duel with.

Hannibal flips a coin gifted to him by Bella. The cold stare that Hannibal gives Bella’s corpse is chilling to the extreme, and things get truly horrific and unexpected as Hannibal revives Bella with adrenalin. One has to wonder what Hannibal would have done if the coin landed the other way. Would he have allowed her to die, or would she have been dinner? Hannibal is a character whose mind is impossible to penetrate. Fans are just along for the ride. Did Hannibal save Bella out of some sort of Hippocratic duty, or is this just another layer to his machinations? Or is he incapable of allowing death to be a mercy?

Bella wakes up in a hospital, in pain, and slaps Lecter for not letting her die. No mercy from Lecter as Jack now has no choice to trust the Doctor, and it is even more clear why Jack’s future fight with Hannibal will be so personally savage.

After all this, things don’t end with a pleasant sorbet. As Beverly Katz follows Will’s requests and breaks into Hannibal’s home and finds that Will was right in every conceivable way. The last thing we see is Hannibal appearing behind Katz and Katz firing her service weapon. 

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Body Parts Eaten: Yo, there was a walking lobotomized corpse with no eyes and covered in bee stings. You want cannibalism too, you sicko?

A total, multi-layered triumph from Fuller and company. Between Hannibal and this week’s The Walking Dead, the Golden Age of television horror continues.

 

Rating:

5 out of 5