‘Hannibal’: Free-Range Rude

Published 11 months ago by

Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy in Hannibal Season 2 Episode 12 Hannibal: Free Range Rude

[This is a review of Hannibal season 2, episode 12. There will be SPOILERS.]


‘Tome-wan’ may well be the most gruesome hour of Hannibal yet. The penultimate episode of season 2 delivers on one of the two promises the narrative has been building toward with the disfigurement and crippling of Mason Verger. As with most other ghastly events depicted on the show, watching Mason slice off his own face and feed bits of himself to Will’s dogs in a drug-addled stupor becomes a rather pointed metaphor for the notion of revealing one’s true self, or disclosing the identity that has been deliberately obscured or completely hidden from the rest of the world.

In a sense, Mason’s transformation from unbearable, psychotic prat to ghoulish monstrosity is really the only place his repugnant personality and nature could conceivably go. Mason was already a monster; his humanity was literally only skin deep. Hannibal’s influence, then, allowed the ugliness to also be represented on the surface – or lack thereof, rather.

Interestingly, as many of the events focus on Mason, Fuller and director Michael Rymer move ‘Tome-wan’ to reflect the character by pushing away from the usual Hannibal offerings of the beautifully macabre into something far harsher and even more uninviting, something that suggests the industrial rather than the more organic return to nature some of Dr. Lecter’s tableaux have featured.

Distorting the figurative language in that scene gave ‘Tome-wan’ a sense of urgency that altered the tension in both episodic narrative, as well as the season’s in interesting and unnerving ways. Upon inhaling the compound Hannibal cooked up, Mason’s view of the world became very sharp and jagged; his focus suddenly narrowed, while imagined sparks flew in the background.

It was as though Hannibal’s efforts to make Mason’s outward features reflect the inside were matched by enhancing the way his patient’s mind interpreted the world around him. As usual, the always-superb mixture of shot composition, editing, and sound design worked to give that transition a greater sense of implication, once more using the show’s tremendous aesthetic as a powerful storytelling device.

Michael Pitt in Hannibal Season 2 Episode 12 Hannibal: Free Range Rude

With Verger now ostensibly taken care of, that frees Hannibal up to end the season by focusing on Will and Jack’s increasingly precarious fishing expedition to reel in Dr. Lecter. Jack remarks that the “limb” he’s ventured out on is close to breaking, and although hooking Lecter was primarily Will’s idea, the fact that he’s withholding information is more than a little disconcerting.

The episode zeroes in on that notion by having Will and Hannibal discuss the story of Achilles and Patroclus, remarking on the fate of both after Patroclus dons the armor of his friend. The allusion to Will and Hannibal is quite clear, but so too is the notion of concealing one’s identity by taking on the representation of another. What isn’t clear, then, is the purpose Will has for concealing the truth.

On one hand, it all seems like a part of Will’s cunning plan to ensure Hannibal is finally caught, but a new wrinkle is brought into the game when the BAU manage to track down and question Dr. Du Maurier about her relationship with Hannibal. Du Maurier expresses her concerns that Jack and Will have been so focused in their single-minded pursuit of Hannibal, neither have noticed he’s crept up behind them.

“Don’t fool yourself into thinking he’s not in control of what’s happening,” Bedelia warns, suggesting the progress Jack and Will have made against their target may have been all part of his design.


Hannibal will conclude season 2 with ‘Mizumono’ @10pm on NBC. Check out a preview below:

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  1. HOLY CRAP!!! That was disturbing.

    If you’re familiar with the canon you knew it was coming but IMO it was even more disturbing that I imagined it could have been.

    One of the many reasons Hannibal receives so much praise is because of the outstanding direction and this episode was another example of its brilliance.
    The scene of Hannibal and Will talking while shrouded in darkness and shadows was absolutely outstanding and I was beyond thrilled with the return of Gillian Anderson.
    As much as I wish she was featured more I’ve come to appreciate her even more because we only see her every once in a while.

    I’m now both excited for the finale but bummed that it’s almost over.

  2. As always Kevin Yeoman, you wrote a review of a series, that I not only love for its story but also for its use of so many things (from the color palate and sound, to the imagery and dialogue) in a metaphorical and philosophical way, that is just so beautiful to read. I have read every written review (on other sites I mean) regarding Hannibal, but none come even close to your “articulate-perfection”.
    As a reader and a writer, I admire your work, and feel that from time to time someone has to complement you on it so as to not let you forget that there still are people out here (on the Web) who enjoy artistic penmanship.

    Thank you.

    • Completely agree on this. Thank you Kevin Yeoman!

  3. Holy friggin’ frackin’ crap! Give Michael Pitt an Emmy already.

  4. Probably the most disturbing episode so far. Despite the fact that Mason would be the one person that could be said to deserve what happened to him, it was still hard to watch it happen. I’m glad they got to this plot point before the season ended and didn’t drag it out longer, though. I wished Dr. Du Maurier would’ve elaborated a little more on her murder story, not because I feel things need to be more on the nose or whatever, but because I was always curious when she would hint at it and the details could have proved interesting, especially in Fuller’s hands.

  5. Something actually kind of bugged me, and it has nothing to do with the episode itself: Scott Thompson and Aaron Abrams didn’t recieve credit; I know they were not in this one, but neither was Caroline Dhavernas, and she was credited in the main title.

    Back on the subject of the episode:

    “You need to write me a prescription for this, doctor.”

    That line made me laugh.

    • Thompson and Abrams are regular guest, Dhavernas is a series regular, she’s always credited in the opening sequence.

  6. I think I have never cringed (good thing) so much while watching TV (can’t really think of a movie either). Great episode, great review.

  7. You mentioned a lot about Will withholding information. I watched the episode and did not see what information are you referring to about Will withholding from Jack?

    Mind to explain?

  8. Lmao, I love Mason in this show! Michale Pitt feels more like the book version than the way Gary Oldman was, though I loved him in the Hannibal movie.
    There were so many moments that made me laugh! “What are you feeding my dogs?” “ME!!”
    I loved when Mason was stabbing Hannibal’s chair and then “Oh, Send me the bill!” I hope we see more of him instead of waiting for them to do the Hannibal story line!