Synopsis: Hannibal and Will have sex, we meet Mason Verger and his murder pigs, Freddie Lounds sticks her nose in where it doesn’t belong, Will does a super creepy impression of Hannibal, and the entire fandom loses their shit.
The latest episode of Hannibal really reminded me why it is such a fantastic show.
I frequent social media and happen to be pretty well integrated into the Hannibal fandom and it is fascinating to me to see the range of reactions to the newest episode (and just about every episode). There are a lot of people who are upset about certain interpretations of canon, or where the storyline is going. There are other fans who don’t like how certain characters have been portrayed this season. In other words, opinions are like butts because everyone has got one and they are all different.
The thing I have to remind myself is this: this is a messed up show about a cannibal serial killer and the people whose paths intersect with his.
It isn’t a show about murder husbands. It isn’t a show that is geared toward fighting the social justice war. It isn’t even a show that is focused on correctly interpreting the books. No, it is a show that kicks ass, takes names, and makes the viewers question the moral ambiguity of it all as they try to understand who exactly the bad guy really is. The thing I love about Hannibal every week is the fact that there are no clear ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ there are just a lot of people meandering in-between the two.
That’s also what I appreciate about Thomas Harris’ novels, because he does the same thing. No one is distinctly good insomuch that their integrity cannot falter. It is what has always made me appreciate the Hannibal Lecter stories and the movies in which they were portrayed. Thomas Harris wrote complex, believable characters and I believe Bryan Fuller has carried that tradition onto the show. It was exemplified in this week’s episode.
The episode began right where the last one left off: with Will presenting his kill to Hannibal. Will’s descent into darkness has been taken to the next level as he and Hannibal deal with the aftermath together. In a painfully intimate scene, Hannibal pushes for the details of the murder and Will offers them up and even goes as far as to say he’d never felt more alive. Never mind the fact that he was thinking about killing Hannibal the entire time he was beating the crap out of Randall. There may have also been eerily intimate hand washing.
When Will arrives at the crime scene the entire thing seems more symbolic than anything. The focus of this episode was definitely not on the ‘tableau of the week’ because it was only dealt with in this one scene where Jack, Will, and Hannibal dissect the killer. Since the killer happens to be Will, there really is no mystery. Therefore the scene is just an example of the dangerous game the good doctor and our favorite FBI profiler are playing. Right under Jack’s nose they’re bonding and publicly displaying their newfound bond.
Now, I loved the scene with Randall whispering to Will. Bryan Fuller tweeted that Randall had become Will Graham’s Frank the bunny of Donnie Darko fame. In a way, it is a beautiful parallel to make because Frank the bunny in Donnie Darko was the one who was supposed to guide Donnie and lead him where he was supposed to go. In the same way, Randall has become that same cornerstone and can propel Will where he needs to go with Hannibal in order to ultimately catch him. As I mentioned in last week’s recap, I’m still 100% sure that everything Will is doing is an elaborate ruse or trick in order to catch Hannibal once and for all. After all, we know Hannibal ends up in prison and I have a hard time seeing Will’s new developments as anything except a vehicle through which to get to this ultimate outcome.
— Bryan Fuller (@BryanFuller) May 3, 2014
Now let’s enter Freddie Lounds, the next in the series of people who have figured out that something isn’t quite right about Hannibal. It is painful because while I was cheering for Freddie because she’s willing to ask the questions, I was also wincing because it has yet to end well for people who get in the way of the Chesapeake Ripper. Will ended up in jail and is now dangerously courting Hannibal. Beverly Katz ended up sliced up like a crime scene while Hannibal ate her kidney in a pie shaped like Will’s muzzle. Chilton ended up being accused of Hannibal’s crimes, locked up, then got shot in the face by Miriam Lass who was also someone who caught onto Hannibal and suffered for it. Now Freddie is poking her nose where it shouldn’t be and unfortunately I don’t think it is going to end well for her. Her scene with Will sets her up as the latest person to pit themselves rather directly against Hannibal.
Finally, after a long wait and a lot of teasing, we get to see Mason Verger in all of his glory. The scene where we also get to meet his infamous man-eating pigs is preceded by a short, almost introductory therapy session with Margot and Hannibal. She gets a chance to have Hannibal the devil whisper in her ear and affirm her in her desire to kill her brother right before the viewers get to watch the siblings interact.
I squealed (sorry, pig pun) with delight when Pavlov the piglet was introduced because I’m a psychology nerd and it is a perfect name for a pig that will probably eventually be conditioned to eat people. It also points out that what Mason is proposing when it comes to training pigs to eat living human beings actually has some basis in the realm of psychology. Pavlov established classical conditioning which is exactly what Mason uses to teach his pigs to kill. Later, I believe there is a connection back to this concept when Will claims that he’d given up the idea of good and evil and instead subscribes to the idea of behaviorism and behaviorism is, essentially, various types of conditioning.
THEN WE GET TO THE FUN PART.
Bryan Fuller promised viewers that there would be a four minute long sex scene in episode ten that involved five people. He failed to mention one of those people would be the wendigo, but y’know, we like to keep it fucking weird on this show.
Two scenes bleed into one for this particular sequence. Margot ends up at Will’s house and they end up in bed together. She isn’t clear about why she wants to have sex with him, especially considering the fact she admitted to being a lesbian in a previous episode, but the general consensus is that she wants the chance to have an heir and Will is her best shot. They made a connection. He’s a safe person as established by their previous meeting and discussion about Hannibal. There is a general understanding between them that they both have their own end games in mind and they are willing to go to pretty crazy lengths to get there.
The other scene is between Alana and Hannibal, which is nothing particularly new. They are playing the dumbest, most obscure instrument on this planet, and having a romantic-ish moment. I say ‘ish’ because I find what Alana tells Hannibal to be utterly fascinated and disturbingly underplayed. She tells him, in essence, that he needs to be careful about what he is creating and mindful of what he is doing. My guess is she’s referring to his relationship with Will and the fact he is once again Will’s therapist. It makes sense that she’d want Hannibal to be careful, because Will tried to kill him once and if he keeps playing this dangerous game then he might try to kill him again. However, the words really have a double meaning to Hannibal because they could also be a warning to be careful about the beast he’s trying to nurture within Will. Alana doesn’t know that of course, but her words are still interesting and purposely scripted, I think, to have that double meaning.
Then Hannibal, Will, and Alana ended up in some weird metaphorical threesome. It was great.
Then we jump into Hannibal meeting Mason Verger. We get the first reference to the fact Hannibal had a sister, but not much more. The contempt Hannibal has for Mason is somewhat obvious when they are discussing Margot, but he still manages to show a healthy dose of curiosity which seems to get him into Mason’s good graces. Obviously we know how this whole thing will end for Mason, but it is fascinating to get to see it play out from the beginning, from their very first meeting.
From here on out it is pretty much all about Freddie Lounds and what I mentioned toward the beginning of this article: she stuck her nose where it didn’t belong, drew the right conclusions, and was too obvious about it. Alana, Will, and Hannibal are having a strange dinner together and Alana brings up the fact she recently spoke with Freddie. She informs the boys of Freddie’s suspicions, that they’re working together, and pretty much signs the wayward reporter’s death warrant. It pains me that Alana had to be the one who sealed Freddie’s face (at least for the moment) but I suppose there isn’t really any other way to get the plotline moving forward.
So while Freddie is out poking around Will Graham’s property, Hannibal is chilling out in his murder suit in her hotel room waiting for her to return. Either way she’s in a very bad situation, and when she finds body parts in an old barn along with the remains of man-bear-pig, the audience knows she’s in for a rough time. Of course Will shows up right when she discovers the frozen meat and, strangely enough, tries to reach out to her to explain. Again, I truly believe Will in that moment was going to bring her into the fold and explain to her what it was he was doing and why he had to do it.
Unfortunately Freddie is too strong and too courageous and she fights her way out of that situation like the badass she. Go Freddie, go. But Will catches up with her when she can’t seem to get her car to start, smashes in the window, drags her away and she disappears. We get a lovely scene with Will and Hannibal sitting in front of Jack Crawford’s desk like two kids called into the principal’s office (with Alana standing by) and both claim to have no idea where she could be or who could have snatched her. They are a team, and the situation is bound to further cement the relationship Will is building with Hannibal.
Side note: Major props to Hugh Dancy’s creeper level in Will’s scene with Freddie because he had me freaking out a little bit. He plays scary murderer a bit too well.
The episode ends with…a meal. We spend a lot of time around the dinner table when it comes to Hannibal and this episode is no different, except for the fact Will is the one providing the meat. It disturbs me how pleased Hannibal looks when he thinks Will has brought him human, specifically the meat of Freddie Lounds, but obviously I’m not surprised. Hannibal thinks he is getting exactly what he’s been wanting: someone who truly understands him and a friend to share in all of his misdeeds. So they make dinner together in a painfully domestic scene.
However, I don’t think Freddie Lounds is dead. If there is one thing Game of Thrones has taught me, it is not to believe someone is dead until you see their corpse (and are sure they aren’t a white walker because that happens sometimes). Even with the flaming wheel chair in the promo for next week’s episode, which is straight out of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon and marks the end of Freddy Lounds after his run-in with the Tooth Fairy, I’m still confident that our Freddie is not dead. Why? Because Chilton isn’t dead, either. So until her death is confirmed, I refuse to believe it. I also refuse to believe that Will would take his ruse to the next level and kill off someone who was essentially innocent. Randall is an easy enough murder to explain away, but Freddie? Not so much and I certainly don’t think Jack Crawford would sanction that (like I believe he’s sanctioning most of what Will has been doing).
All in all, after tonight’s episode I think:
- Freddie Lounds is still alive.
- Will didn’t feed Freddie Lounds to Hannibal (or any human really, but if it was human meat he brought then I imagine it would have been from man-bear-pig).
- Will is still fully in control and is playing Hannibal hardcore.
- Next week we’re in for a wild ride, but I think that every week.
- Also this is the greatest picture in existence:
The one thing missing from this episode? Aaron Abrams face:
— DeLaurentiis Co (@DeLaurentiisCo) May 3, 2014