Throughout this season, the imagery of the antler man along with Will himself growing antlers has been an ongoing theme. I’ve touched on this before, and last night’s episode of “Hannibal” has confirmed that what I have been saying is true. To capture the beast, Will is becoming the beast. At least, that is a part of the story in “Shiizakana.”
As always, there are SPOILERS below. Don’t continue reading if that’s an issue for you!
The main force that drives this episode is the relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham. That dynamic is shifting, and what transpires on screen between the two is simply magnetic. This episode shines a light on their relationship and how much of an influence Hannibal has on Graham. I can’t help but go back to the ice fishing scene where Will Graham tells Jack Crawford he’s a good fisherman. Is this whole thing a setup to get Lecter to bite? I’m thinking so, but it’s still early.
And speaking of Jack, it’s hard to say if he is still suspicious of Hannibal. Will has a fever dream that features a stag attached to a pulley which slowly squeezes the life out of a tied up Hannibal Lecter until there’s nothing but a cartoonish splatter of blood (Hannibal Rising, anyone?). So many points to the show just for that! But what immediately follows is a scene where Crawford is once again eating food that Lecter cooked. The meal features what Hannibal calls a Sacromonte omelette and there’s a pretty good chance there are people in that egg dish.
One of the more interesting tidbits that last night’s “Hannibal” focuses on is the possibility that Dr. Lecter himself has been nourishing the “talents” of his more serial killer-ish patients. He goads Margot to kill her brother and visits an older patient, Randall, to show his approval of this dude’s recent endeavors. But more on that in a minute. If Hannibal Lecter does indeed push his violence-prone patients to the brink of murder – to show them the “light” if you will – then that has to be what he’s doing with Will now. Will even sees it and asks the rather on-the-mark question:
How many have there been?
A lot, probably. And given that Jack is still eating Hannibal Lecter’s food, it looks like Will doesn’t have a lot of people really truly on his side. Hannibal’s old therapist Bedelia was briefly mentioned in this episode but she’s gone. Beverly Katz was left in pieces, but at least Graham has found a new friend in kooky animal lover Peter Bernardone (Jeremy Davies). And maybe this is also why he didn’t flinch much when Margot Verger appeared at his doorstep asking for whiskey. The scene between the two, comparing notes on their own psychosis and experience with Dr. Lecter, is an interesting one. Mind you, if I were Will Graham, it’d be hard to not take that meeting into the bedroom but that may just be because of my crush on Katharine Isabelle. The dry nature in which Margo Verger communicates the craziness in her life is really amusing. Earlier in the episode, Lecter blatantly supported her attempt at murdering her brother. Her response still makes me giggle.
You’ve very supportive of me killing me brother. And I appreciate that support. I really do.
This leads me to this week’s killer. I spoke of Randall briefly above, and the episode begins with a kill much more akin to a program like “True Blood” or “Supernatural” with a beast attacking and then ripping apart an unassuming trucker on the top of his rig. That beast is actually this mild mannered kid named Randall who was one of Lecter’s old patients. Randall has one basic goal and that is to pretty much become an animal. Of course Randall works at a museum and creates skeletal structures for different deceased beasts. In turn, he uses this skill to create his own skeletal suit in which he wears and then uses to rip his victims apart. Again, that motif of becoming the beast appears.
It was only a matter of time before Hannibal Lecter pointed this beast to Will Graham’s door. Where it originally feels like Lecter’s attempt at getting back at Will for his own attempted and failed kill, the episode ends with a little twist. The beast…err…Randall ultimately fails at destroying Graham and Dr. Lecter finds both the body of Randall and a very calm Will Graham in his office.
I’d say this makes us even. I sent someone to kill you. You sent someone to kill me. Even Steven.
Lecter’s nod and slight smile gives me the impression that this was the entire plan all along. Now, which one is the hunter and which one is the beast? You tell me, because the lines have definitely begun to blur!
What did you guys think of this week’s episode? Dish out your thoughts in the comments below.
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