[This is a review of Hannibal season 2, episode 6. There will be SPOILERS.]
Futamono is the term used for a Japanese dish traditionally served in a pot that is covered with a lid to keep food warm. It’s no surprise, then, that in an episode of Hannibal where Jack Crawford finally comes around to see Will’s side of things – that Hannibal Lecter, for all his glorious cuisine, his impeccable sense of style, and supposed compassion, is about as likely a suspect at they come – would also go to incredible lengths to keep a lid on things, to prevent Jack from uncovering his secret, and to convince others of his innocence, now that he’s no longer above suspicion.
Of course, the term futamono also has a far more direct connotation, considering Jack Crawford literally lifted a lid to discover Miriam Lass is still among the living.
Because ‘Futamono’ ends with the discovery of Miriam in yet another (albeit brighter) cliffhanger, the primary focus of the episode is the thinly veiled game of cat and mouse that is played between Jack and Hannibal. It is a new dynamic that builds off the growing antagonism between Will and Lecter, but it also creates a ripple effect that dramatically alters two key relationships by bringing forth the apparent end of Dr. Bloom’s romantic inclination toward Will, and her sudden passion for all things Hannibal.
Sudden seems like an apt word to use in relation to this episode. Even though Bloom’s reasoning for jumping from Will’s sinking ship to Hannibal’s seemingly unsinkable vessel is sound enough (attempted murder isn’t the most endearing of gestures), the intensity with which she finds herself under the spell of Dr. Lecter is nonetheless quite curious. Maybe Alana Bloom simply is as Dr. Chilton described her: “catnip for killers,” or perhaps she now sees Hannibal like Will once was: an enigmatic presence who also happens to be a tragic victim – an aspect which would be in keeping with her character.
Then again, the possibility exists that there is something entirely different behind Bloom’s shifting allegiance. It’s a question that raises the level of suspicion on Hannibal even further, but it does so from the perspective of the audience, the group that is normally in on every devilish action perpetrated by Dr. Lecter.
The generation of uncertainty on the title character works in tandem with a narrative that has the head of the FBI behavioral sciences unit suddenly questioning a trusted colleague at the behest of a man who has admittedly had trouble distinguishing the boundaries of reality. And yet, despite this problematic roadblock, Jack follows up on Will’s suspicions, winds up colluding with Dr. Chilton and eventually turns a suspicious eye toward, as Chilton so self-amusedly refers to him: “Hannibal the cannibal.”
That kind of mistrust is a long time coming, considering the warning signs hanging about Hannibal, such as the way people keep turning up dead around him; the way he glides about silently, like a wraith; or the fact that underneath the exquisitely tailored veneer of humanity hides the biological equivalent of cold surgical steel. All these things seem like unmistakable red flags, but it’s important to remember: this is Hannibal – the strange corner of the network television universe where rules and common sense are ostensibly thrown out the window in favor of casting light on all things disturbingly gorgeous.
And ‘Futamono’ wastes nothing in regard to making the disconcerting look pleasing to the eye. While the elegantly intertwined city councilman/tree tableau is one of Hannibal’s finest, it is the painstaking effort Dr. Lecter puts into making Dr. Abel Gideon’s final meal memorable that lingers most. But with the Chesapeake Ripper ostensibly clearing Will’s name, the question is: Who’s next on the menu?
Hannibal continues next Friday with ‘Yakimono’ @10pm on NBC. Check out a preview below: