Hannibal: “Naka-Choko” Review

hannibal-season-2-release-date1Another week, another massive escalation of fuckery from Will Graham and friends. Come with me and you’ll see a world filled with unsettling parallelism, terrible life choices, and weird imagery.

In other words, you’re watching Hannibal. Standard trigger warnings apply.

This week’s episode opened with the brutal reminder that yes, Will totally murdered that guy and brought his corpse to Hannibal like a cat bringing its human a dead animal as a gift. It turns out that 1) Will imagined that he was murdering Hannibal when he did it, and 2) Hannibal totally knows that that’s what happened. He gently cleans Will’s wounds and encourages him to continue down his burgeoning serial killer path by gruesomely displaying Randall’s body.

randall dead skeleton naka-chokoWill obliges by wrapping what’s left of Randall around the cave bear skeleton at the museum. We cut immediately to Jack seeing it as part of the crime scene, and that leads us into the strangest “this is my design” sequence ever, because unlike any other serial killer that Will has empathized with in order to catch, this murder is actually and literally Will’s design. He and Hannibal offer a bunch of vague half-truths about the possible culprit, and then it’s time for Verger shenanigans.

We see another of Margot’s therapy sessions—she tells Hannibal that even if she does kill her brother Mason, she still won’t get her inheritance, as her father had willed it to a church in the absence of a male heir—and then we finally get to meet the man, the myth, the legend, Mason Verger himself. Mason is yet another oddball motherfucker; in the scene where we meet him, he is training pigs to eat live people. Odd. Ball. Motherfucker.

If that wasn't weird enough, he dresses the corpses up as his sister before he feeds them to the pigs.

If that wasn’t weird enough, he dresses the corpses up as his sister before he feeds them to the pigs.

Moving swiftly along, Alana and Hannibal are, once again, doing the do. Margot shows up at Will’s house, ostensibly with a replacement bottle of whiskey (she did help drink all of his last week). There is clearly tension and the two of them end up also doing the do, even though, as Will protests, she told him last week that she was totally a lesbian. This combo sex scene between the two pairs is possibly the trippiest thing ever, especially because Will’s hallucination game is going strong throughout—he imagines Margot is Alana, that the wendigo!Hannibal is watching him, and that he is in bed with Hannibal and Alana.

After this weird weird incredibly weird scene, Hannibal goes to visit Mason. He suggests that Mason also sign on for Hannibal therapy, but Mason is noncommittal. He does, however, offer Hannibal one of his murderpigs, slaughtered for eating purposes, as a gift. Creep. (Hannibal, of course, accepts it.)

Then, in an alarmingly point-for-point parallel to Bev’s death a few episodes ago, Freddie goes to Will’s house, breaks into his barn, discovers Randall’s remains in said barn, is discovered discovering those remains by Will, and is then murdered by Will because, well, what else was he going to do? He had Randall’s vacuum-sealed jawbone in his freezer—it didn’t exactly make him look innocent.

Now, I make a point of always being concerned for Will Graham. But this episode steps it up to an entirely new level, because after he fucking murders Freddie, he brings a cut of her corpsemeat to Hannibal to cook. They have a whole delicate conversation about what sort of meat it is and how Hannibal can tell that whatever it came from—pork, according to Will—was frightened when it was killed (fear causes the meat to taste more acidic). When Hannibal presses him, Will admits that the cut is “long pig”.

"Long pig?" "He means human flesh, Dean."  "Well there's my word of the day."

“Long pig?”
“He means human flesh, Dean.”
“Well, there’s my word of the day.”

Will says that he has moved to a point where he is beyond concepts of good and evil. Hannibal asks him where God fits into this, and we fade to black.

The one thing I’m particularly annoyed with in this episode is Will and Margot hooking up. Yes, they have similar life experiences; yes, they understand each other in a way no one else can, but Margot is canonically a lesbian. Will even points this out to her, but they still totally do it. In his post-episode AV Club interview, Fuller clarified that he was very against making Margot heterosexual, but that it was far too tempting to get Will and Margot in bed together. In the book, Margot is barren and goes to great and unpleasant lengths to have a child, so, according to Fuller, this scene, for Margot, was about the possibility of getting pregnant. However, I’m still uncomfortable that Margot didn’t have any rejoinder for Will that reasserted her lesbian-ness when he questioned her. It is sort of upsetting that Bryan Fuller (who has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ representation in the past) would present Margot in a het relationship before we get her in any sort of on-screen queer one.

Freddie-Lounds-2Of course I am also upset with other things. I’m upset that Freddie Lounds is dead, but less so than I was about Bev—being marginally familiar with the source canon, I knew that (the originally male) Freddy Lounds dies in Red Dragon, so while I was pleased that she was genderbent for this show, I knew that Freddie was gonna bite it sooner or later. I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon.

I’m certainly upset that Will seems to be going down the path that Clarice Starling takes in the Hannibal novel, i.e. choosing of her own free will to engage in cannibalism with Hannibal and being bffs (or in Clarice’s case, lovers—a tack I’m unsure whether the show will take with Will and Hannibal, regardless of how close they become) with him; however, I’m also intrigued by this from a storytelling perspective. In the novel, Hannibal and Clarice’s relationship is the end of their story together; they go off and live happily ever after as weird cannibalistic lovers together. We already know that can’t happen with Will and Hannibal because we know that Jack eventually confronts Hannibal thanks to the season premiere. What will happen to Will if and when all the shit he’s gotten up to now that he’s “above morality” (imagine me making really sarcastic finger quotes) comes to light? Even if he’s doing it as a way to gather incontrovertible evidence that Hannibal is the Ripper, even if Jack is in on this whole ugly plot, Will’s put himself in a place where, if Hannibal is implicated, he will also get in huge trouble. Also, if the Fuller et al team ever gets the rights to use Clarice in this series, where will they take her story? If this is all an elaborate setup on Will’s part that ends in Hannibal’s capture, it seems unlikely that Hannibal will ever trust someone in this manner again.

There are only three episodes left in this season, and at this point I feel like I’d be setting myself up for disappointment if I didn’t expect exponentially increasing levels of fuckery as the story progresses. Honestly that’s all I can predict—this show keeps me on my toes like no other, and even having watched the preview, I have no fucking clue where the story is going to go. Till next week, fannibals!

Episode Tally:

Glasses of wine I drank while watching: 1
Glasses of wine I drank while reviewing: 1.5
Glasses of wine Hannibal drank during the episode: 1
Glasses of wine I wish I had drunk: all the glasses. Burn this madness from my brain.

3 thoughts on “Hannibal: “Naka-Choko” Review

  1. When I watched the episode, I flashed back to Will and Jack icefishing. Maybe this is all part of Will’s design and Freddie isn’t dead, just in hiding.

    • That’s sort of what I’m hoping, that there will be an Ocean’s Eleven-esque twist and a big gotcha reveal in a few episodes. I just can’t get past the dinner at the end. Even if that wasn’t Freddie they were eating, Hannibal is a connosieur of peoplesteaks – I think he’d be able to tell whether they were eating person or not.

  2. Pingback: Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: Unitive Mysticism and Digestive Deification in Hannibal | Lady Geek Girl and Friends

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