While last week’s season premiere was heavily concerned with reminding us of just how much hot water Will Graham’s sitting in, this week’s episode, “Sakizuke”, gives us much more to chew on. Although Will is still very much in the spotlight, this episode offers us more insight into Hannibal’s mind, and Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier gets to be a badass.
Don’t be like me and watch this right before you try to go to bed. Consider this your requisite violence, gore, cannibalism, horror trigger warning. This ain’t for the weak-stomached, folks.
We pick up right where we left off, following the mysterious case of the skin pigment serial killer. Roland Umber, the victim from last week, awakens in a corn silo, super-glued and sewn together. He (literally) tears himself away from the mass of bodies in a sequence that channels any one of the SAW movies. Seriously, I watched this through my fingers. He begins to run, but who should appear but our serial killer… and the chase is on! Roland reaches a cliff overlooking the river, jumps, and hits a rock, killing him instantly. Too bad, I was really rooting for the guy.
Hannibal is called in to continue his consult on the case and gives some mildly helpful, but largely uninspired, insight. He spends more of his time admiring the serial killer’s work and keeping his thoughts to himself (something Will later points out to Beverly the scientist). Hannibal uses his super-human sense of smell to secretly identify that the body spent time in a corn field. He dons his special clear plastic murder oversuit and goes to pay the murderer a visit.
This sequence is fantastic. We start with Hannibal admiring a professional colleague (“Hello! I love your work!”), cut away, and come back to Hannibal looming over the nude body of the serial killer, placed in Umber’s vacant position in the center of the “eye”. Hannibal places the (still conscious) body down with great tenderness, while musing philosophically about humanity’s quest to peer into the eyes of God. Is this simple emotional manipulation? Possibly, because we know Hannibal is certainly the master of that.
But so far this season we’ve seen Hannibal slipping up, bringing down his guard and flaunting his hubris. He’s taunting everyone around him, through faint smiles to Will or veiled threats to his therapist (“You don’t know what I’m capable of”). On some level, serial killers want to be caught. They either make a mistake, or crave recognition for their work. Hannibal seems to fall in the second category. Because he’s finally allowing his true self to leak out, I think there’s some level of self-reflection in his speech to the pigment serial killer. Hannibal believes he’s participating in some kind of divine experience when he commits murder.
Meanwhile, Will Graham is stewing in his cell. He gets all kinds of visitors. Beverly wants his insight on the case. Jack wants to remember who Will “used to be”, but walks away more hardened than ever. Alana is the only person actively trying to help him by taking care of his dogs and offering to set him up with a good lawyer, but is convinced his defense will have to be something to do with his inability to remember that he did it. Hannibal stops by to give Will a dose of gaslighting and taunt him with that shadow of a smirk. Finally, we get a surprise visitor: Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, Hannibal’s therapist.
Dr. Du Maurier is by far the most badass character of the episode. Up until now she’s served as a mirror for Hannibal; they constantly reflect each other’s movements and mannerisms. She has some still-unknown traumatic history with him, and doesn’t trust him. Because Hannibal’s been letting his hubris get the better of him (and Bedelia is very good at her job), she’s picked up on the fact that there is something dangerously evil about him. So what does she do? She walks straight into Hannibal’s office, the heart of his lair, and ends their relationship. Bedelia flat out tells him that she’s intuited something dangerous “based on what I glimpsed through the stitching of the person suit that you wear.” She could have just left town without a word—at the end of the episode when Hannibal breaks into her house to (presumably) kill her, she’s already gone. But Bedelia has the guts to look the monster in the face, after seeing him for who he really is, and take back the power—even though her knees are shaking. I just hope this isn’t the last we see of her.
Before Dr. Du Maurier skips town, she stops by to meet Will. She immediately sees Will for who he really is, a traumatized and manipulated innocent man. She then steps over the white line in front of his cell. This is an incredibly symbolic gesture. Throughout the episode, people treat the lines surrounding Will in different ways. Beverly crosses the safety line only when she absolutely has to in order to get what she wants; she has a cold professional relationship with him. Alana and Jack never cross the line; they keep their emotional distance and their own conclusions about Will remain unchallenged. Hannibal crosses the line (after a great exchange about “pissing contests”), though it’s only to satisfy his own desires to reach out to Will and attempt to manipulate him. But when Dr. Du Maurier crosses the line, it’s to tell Will the most important words he needs to hear: “I believe you.” She’s hauled away by irate guards, symbolic of all the external forces forcing her to leave Will, even though she’s his best hope for a defense. Will is left visibly shaken.
So where does that leave us? Everyone has their own idea of who Will should be, and the one person who can help him almost gets eaten. Yes, Will, I guess you will have to save your own life.
The food (and drink) is people moments: one, but he definitely made enough for four. I wonder if Hannibal does leftovers?
Swiggity Stag sightings: I couldn’t tell, too many fingers over my eyes
“This is my design”: one
“This is not my design”: one