Hopefully you heard the news that NBC has renewed its excellent series Hannibal for a third season, which is grand news since this show seems to get better each week. Tonight’s episode, “Ko No Mono,” was no exception. Rather than string us along any further, the powers that be have answered a few of the show’s mysteries quite definitively in this latest hour. And while the murderous love triangle of Will, Hannibal, and Alana (plus a few stags thrown in for good measure) remains a compelling storyline this season, the Verger siblings are vying for the title of most messed up relationship. That’s saying something. Hit the jump for my Hannibal recap, bones and all.
In no uncertain terms, Will’s transformation into a cold-blooded killer under the guiding wing of Hannibal was marched out front and center for all to see in this episode’s opening moments. And for the first time in the show’s entire run, the production team presented a meal that didn’t make me salivate. For those of you who missed this sadistic little dish, the tiny Ortolan Bunting is captured, force-fed a diet of millet, grapes and figs until it balloons up to a few times its size, whereupon it is drowned in Armagnac (brandy), roasted, and then eaten (nearly) whole – from what I’ve read, the head and beak remain uneaten. Neato! As in every case of Hannibal’s many and varied dishes, the symbolism behind the meal is every bit as important as the meal itself and its presentation. This time around, it served to reinforce Will’s coming of age as a cold and calculating killer under the tutelage of the veteran Hannibal, reinforcing the image of the rebirth of Will from the stag under the watchful eye of the wendigo.
Outside of dream sequences and controversial entrees, this episode also went all in on the evidence of Freddie Lounds’ untimely death. The flaming corpse in a wheelchair landing squarely in Freddie’s parking spot, the matching dental records, the funeral and ensuing finger-pointing when Will shows up because “his therapist suggested it,” … it all came on a bit too strong, if I’m being honest. When a show tries that hard to make you face in one direction, all too often the reality is the opposite of their supposed intention. We’ll get back to this red herring in a moment because…
Yay! Will’s going to be a dad! Right? While Will and Hannibal were busy chomping on songbirds in celebration of each other’s accomplishments, Margot Verger had a side plan of her own. It seems that her one-night stand with Mr. Will Graham has resulted in the next generations of Vergers, a plan Margot settled on when she discovered a loophole in her father’s will that would put the estate in her control if she produced an heir. Pretty solid plan, right? Well it would have been, except tricksy Hannibal let slip (intentionally) to Mason that this was her plan all along. Cue Michael Pitt walking the line between Gary Oldman’s performance of the same character in the movie version of Hannibal and that of Heath Ledger’s Joker, or really any sociopath in movie and television history. Wherever he’s getting his inspiration, I love it, because he is one sick individual. While I’m sure the fans of the book series have their own opinions about him, I like the chaotic and unpredictable way Mason acts on Hannibal, from telling a child the government is forcing him to move away from his kitty just so he can make a Child’s Tears Martini, to visiting/stabbing the show pigs with his father, to his arrangement of what might go down as the most misogynistic moment in this show’s history if not all of television. (“Happy Mother’s Day!” from Hannibal!) Mason’s a standout monster on a show populated by monsters, so his performance and the writing for his character are quite the achievements.
So by now, we’re to believe that Will’s been born again, and that Hannibal is the demi-god presiding over the transformation … but is that really the case? Viewers have lamented Alana’s dimwitted behavior over the last few episodes because she seems to be convincing herself of the monster within Will while deluding herself that no such beast exists within Hannibal. Well, in this episode, she finally got her head on straight (which means Hannibal will probably twist if off before too long) and took both Will and Jack Crawford to task for their behavior. Jack’s been playing the cool cucumber, often times looking like a bewildered hound dog, and at others, a shrewd wolf among members of his pack. Let’s not forget that he hunts killers for a living, even if he must employ killers to do so. Sure, he’s made mistakes along the way, but even if this scenario ends up being his last, he’s played the cards close to the vest along the way.
Let’s get it out in the open like the show itself does by episode’s end. Freddie Lounds is very much alive, Will is a killer but not the type Hannibal thinks him to be, and Jack is in on the whole thing. Will has neither forgiven Hannibal nor given in to his own primal instincts to become what Hannibal has always wanted him to be. Rather, he has used Hannibal’s own hungry desire to create killers in his image in order to draw the monster out and expose it. Just how that all works out in the end is anyone’s guess, especially with a wild card like Mason Verger still in play. One thing is for sure: the body count will rise over the season’s final two episodes.
Musings & Miscellanea:
Lots of Easter eggs for fans of the books and other works out there. (If you’re not following Bryan Fuller on Twitter during these episodes, I highly suggest you rectify that now.) Not only did we get the rolling, flaming wheelchair scene, and the mysterious (or not so mysterious) Carlos, we also got a Dead Ringers nod for those David Cronenberg fans out there.
There was some beautiful imagery on display, which is par for the course, but the scene of the smashed teacup reforming was one of the few that doesn’t rely on the grotesque. (Even though the Shiva statue was pretty damn cool, too.)
What this all had to do with “seasonal pickled vegetables,” I have no idea…
Will: “I haven’t been gorged, drowned, plucked and roasted. Not yet.”
Will: “Bones and all?” Hannibal: “Bones and all.”
Brian Zeller: “Little bit of kerosene and foom! Incendiary journalism.”
Will: “She won’t rise from the ashes, but her killer will.” Hannibal: “He is the one to be noticed now.” Jack: ::side-eye::
Mason: “Have a chocolate!”
Hannibal: “A boy’s illusions are no basis for a man’s life, Mason.”
Mason: “Meat is, at its base, a people business.” Oh, indeed.
Hannibal: “Will, should the universe contract, should time reverse and the teacup come together, a place could be made for Abigail in your world.”
Will: “I prayed I would see Abigail again.” Hannibal: “Well, your prayer didn’t go entirely unanswered. You saw a part of her.”
Hannibal: “Your education was an odd one.”
Mason: “If we were truly considerate of a pig’s happiness, we wouldn’t eat them.”
Hannibal: “Are you questioning my therapy?” Alana: “I’m questioning everything.” Finally!
Mason: “They’re going to find something wrong with your lady parts, Margo. Or so the record will state. The doctor will advise me that it’s best to take everything. The only person you’ll be celebrating Mother’s Day with … is me.”
Mason: “You must be the baby daddy. Excuse me if I don’t offer you a cigar.”
Will: “Dr. Lecter’s the one you want to be feeding to your pigs.”
Watch the promo for the next episode of Hannibal, “Tomewan” and remember kids, “dessert” is spelled with two “S” like “Strawberry Shortcake”: