‘Hannibal’: It’s All Part of His Design

Published 4 months ago by

Hugh Dancy as Will and Laurence Fishburne as Jack in Hannibal Season 2 Episode 7 Hannibal: Its All Part of His Design

[This is a review of Hannibal season 2, episode 7. There will be SPOILERS.]

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For an episode that essentially attempts to find new stasis points for Will Graham and, certainly, the recently recovered (uncovered?) Miriam Lass, ‘Yakimono’ is nevertheless quite adept at establishing the ways in which Hannibal has managed to alter who these characters are without resorting to blowing up the dramatic structure surrounding them. Will is free from the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, and Miriam is free (extremely traumatized, but free) after years spent in the clutches of the Chesapeake Ripper. The only problem is: that’s exactly how the Ripper wants things.

Demonstrating the frighteningly precise manner in which Dr. Lecter plays the game of cat and mouse is certainly one of the many appealing aspects of ‘Yakimono,’ as the episode successfully propels the main plot forward while closing out the embedded story of Will’s incarceration and the lingering disappearance of Miriam Lass. In essence, Lass was always something of a dangling plotline during the first season, a way to draw Jack Crawford’s character in a more rounded fashion.

She was his greatest failure up to that point; an actual human being who was lost – and presumed dead – at least partially as a result of Jack’s desire to catch the Ripper. As Jack tells her, “I was reckless with your life. I saw what I needed in you and I used you.” While that line makes a great allusion to a future agent of Jack’s who will become well acquainted with Dr. Lecter, it also sadly demonstrates the perpetual status of Miriam Lass: that of a game piece to be used by powerful men to achieve their goals.

While Crawford appears to have seen the error of his ways, Hannibal’s use for Miriam is revealed to go far beyond simply goading Jack. By ensuring his “friend” Will is released back into the wild, reunited with his pack of dogs, and that Miriam and her scrambled brain are around to recall the false memories he implanted her with, Hannibal doesn’t just shift the focus of the Chesapeake Ripper investigation away from him; he practically delivers Dr. Chilton to the BAU gift-wrapped in one of his slightly ill-fitting, Hannibal-esque suits, drenched in the blood of two FBI agents.

Raul Esparza in Hannibal Season 2 Episode 7 Hannibal: Its All Part of His Design

In making Chilton his patsy, Hannibal draws interesting parallels between the characters throughout the episode that more clearly establishes how they may be perceived by others, while also hinting at deeper aspects in each that help to keep the narrative going.

On one hand, there is Will and Miriam coming to the understanding that while they may be out of their respective cells, freedom is not necessarily theirs to claim. Meanwhile, Chilton becomes suspect number one because, as he realizes too late, he and Hannibal share similarities that go far beyond their choice in attire. So, once the BAU sees the gory scene at his house – complete with a few choice steaks, courtesy of the late Dr. Gideon’s limbs – all the pieces fall right into place. Having Miriam shoot and apparently kill Dr. Chilton just seems like icing on the cake.

There’s a wonderfully distressing superficiality to the equilibrium that’s achieved in this engrossing and incredibly active episode. In addition to ‘Yakimono’ upping the stakes, in terms of the setting the table for the upcoming Will versus Hannibal storyline, the episode also raises the bar when it comes to the design elements that make the show as beautifully exaggerated a product as the gruesome tableaus that punctuate so many of the series’ chapters.

This time around, Hannibal seemingly accentuates the chaotic score to emphasize the horror of Chilton’s discovery in his home, which then rises to a magnificently absurd and frenzied crescendo during his brief flight from Jack.

It’s exaggerated to the extreme to be sure, but it’s all just another example of how Hannibal continues to use terrifically inflated elements to accentuate its own tremendous, delirious design.

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Hannibal continues next Friday with ‘Su-zakana’ @10pm on NBC. Check out a preview below:

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  1. I’m hoping that how things ended with Chilton in this episode was a massive misdirect, else they certainly have blown up the dramatic structure surrounding him. While I am aware that they will never be able to come close to approaching any narrative pertaining to Silence of the Lambs, Chilton’s existence is certainly essential when it comes to Hannibal, as a character, considering that Hannibal would eventually come under the thumb of Chilton’s less than savory practices.

    I will say that while I was initially unimpressed with this show, it has become much better now that the killer of the week structure has become a backdrop in season 2 rather than forefront of each episode’s narrative. Let us hope that Will being released does not have them falling back into the hole they started in. The show fairs much better when it avoids being sidetracked.

  2. It might just be me but I found it to be kind of ridiculous that the FBI just accepted the massacre in Chilton’s home as real despite the fact that they know the Chesapeake Ripper is super careful and never leaves evidence he doesn’t want to.

    • Yeah, even though I love the show, I agree with you. Also, why did they just accept that it was Chilton even though Jack knows he can’t digest animal protein? So what… he’s cannibalizing his victims? How does that follow?

      • Good Point

    • I too agree, but the thing that does bother me with the cat and mouse game now is that even a mad genius like Hannable can’t do all that withoutscrewing up and leaving some evidence that’d be useful now days. Even someone like him would miss some very small things that could be tells. I mean it’s great that he inserts minute clues like some plant that is only in one place that suddenly leads Jack to investigate (Did it strike anyone else as odd that he goes there alone….I mean he knows the killer kills men as easily as women), but I just can’t accept that even his genius could pick up every little thing and leave nothing.

    • is it legaly possible for fbi agent or cop to say i am not arresting the guy those evidences are pointing to because well… i have a hunch!

      • I figure in real life they would have taken him in but I think they would also have questioned the scene that was “gift wrapped” and they would also assume that it was a frame job considering the Ripper has framed Will before. Tundrabeast you just reminded me I’ve been wondering where Hannibal finds the time for these intricate murders, I mean he planted a human tree in the middle of a parking lot I imagine that would take some time.

        • +1 but I try not to think about the reality of it as its so wonderful to watch ;)

    • I agree with Chance. I wonder how many of the Hannibal audience have seen SOTL. Going by season one, the writer tends to treat the tv audience like children. He’s trying to fit an horrific storyline into one that is acceptable to a network tv audience, and the tv censors that go with that package. The original characters from the book that all this is based on, have all been sanitized. The ratings for the series continue to be very high, so the tv network is loving It, hence a second season.

      • My first introduction many years befor Lambs was in the book “Red Dragon”. That was a very eerie story with many deep psychological maneuvers with the three primary characters. I remember getting a chill when Will figured what the killer was doing to these families and how he was seeing them. The made for TV movie didn’t come close to giving the book justice. If you liked Lambs you should read Red Dragon. Although Hannibal isn’t in the story a lot….He really does do major damage….all from his cell, by mentoring the killer.

        • Part of where I was going with that initial statement was that this review states the show manages to alter the characters without blowing up the dramatic structure surrounding them but that this conflicts with the actions taken here.

          We know that Fuller plans on tackling the Red Dragon storyline within the show if the show makes it to that point (though there seems to be some discrepancy on whether his plan was Season 3 or 5, with him stating a year ago that it would be S4). Chilton was introduced and is present in Red Dragon thus, if this particular episode is not a misdirect, both Chilton and a crucial component to the Red Dragon narrative thread has certainly been severed (or, as is said, blown up).

  3. The first terrible episode of the series. All of the plot twists and character actions were entirely unreal and did not add up. I liked nothing about it.

  4. FBI can’t afford a bulletproof 2 way mirror now? I hope Chilton’s supposedly death is just a bait to lure out Hannibal like the promo for the next episode suggest from Will and Jack’s conversation.

    This episode felt like a season finale itself so kudos to the writers.

  5. Where is Michael Pitt?!

    • The character that he- Mason Verger, will be playing will play an important part during the later part of Hannibal’s life. Other than that, he’s just on his way to get disfigured after a “therapy session” with Lecter.

  6. The past two episodes have propelled the story forward in leaps and bounds, but in that rush it feels a bit disjointed. Chilton quickly went from sleaze to comedic sidekick and the number of recurring characters to be eliminated in short order (Beverly Katz, Matthew Brown, Abel Gideon and — apparently — Dr. Chilton) has been staggering, even for this show. Chilton’s death, unless he pulls a Gideon, seals the fate of the Clarice-like Miriam Lass. Does this mean we’ll soon hear that they received the rights to use the Clarice Starling character?

    Also, Will’s imagining of Hannibal harvesting a man out of a tree — in his living room — was a leap. The queasy color schemes and the lack of a “meal of the week” made me wonder what we’re really being fed.

  7. Pfft, it’s just a gunshot to the face. He’ll walk it off.

  8. I just want to add that I was about to the point of stopping tuning in had they continued with Will in the asylum much longer. I swear the series became like watching paint dry for a few episodes. The show is called Hannabal, but in reality without watching Will getting into the minds of those he’s tracking the show really grinds very slow. Yes Hannabal himself is very interesting, but without Will in the same arena he doesn’t actually have an apponent. So the question then is……Was the reason Hannable actually made it possible for Will to get released was so he could actually play this came of cat and mouse with someone he deems as a worthy apponent? If so….Then why did he set him up in the first place? Did he worry that Will would get too close? Was his plan to discredit Will’s theories about Hannabal enough so he could get him back out and continue playing the game without Will having the full weight of the FBI behind him any more? Speaking of that….Where does he stand with the FBI now?

    • It’s hannibal lol dayumm.

      • I guess I never paid that close of attention…I figured it was spelled the same as the other

        • But the other famous Hannibal is also spelled Hannibal.

          • Lol I was gonna say but I thought I rude……………:)

          • I guess you’r right…I never paid that much attention to it…On the other hand…An “A” or an “I”….the phonics would be the same for the most part. Just as in the end of my last name…My side of the family spells Hennessy while others spell it Hennessey……Sounds exactly the same…No big deal

    • I was wondering the same thing. I thought Hannibal’s fascination with Will would end when he beat him, since Hannibal was always a step ahead and Will never really had a chance of outwitting him. Actually, the only moment I can think of when Will managed to surprise Hannibal was when he arranged to have him killed (and almost succeeded.) Did this impress Hannibal? “Oh wow, didn’t see that coming, this guy is still interesting.” Or maybe it just pissed him off, and he saw to it that Will got released because he thought rotting away in an asylum was a WAY to gentle destiny for Will.

  9. I love this show….but…..that Miriam could steal Crawford’s gun, shoot through the glass and hit Chilton dead on….come on….2 years in a hole and she’s a crack marksman? This was the weakest plot device so far and WELL below the great writing normally delivered….Will sitting across from Hannibal and asking to continue his therapy was awesome……

    • That was probably 6 to 8 feet…..Even I who hasn’t shot a gun in many years could hit a target that close….But to be able to grab his gun like that was pretty much over the top….I mean by the time someone turns to see the gun then reach in to take it…..You’d have to practically be asleep at the wheel to not be able to grab her arm before she could lift it out.

      • Don’t holsters have a clip on them to prevent this sort of thing? If so then Miriam undid the clip, switched off the safety (which I assume was on), and shot Chilton in one very quick motion.

        • That new arm must have been bionic….that explains the super speed to make that grab

          • LOOOL

  10. Does none of the (probably like 90%) commenter’s here even read the Brian Fuller post episode interviews on the AV Club? Most if not all the nitpicking are logical when he explains them.

    He even explained after this episode that he intended for Hannibal to have a steam tunnel system in/out of his basement but was restrain production wise to do it. He has been saying for a while that you pretty much can’t jump to conclusions that there are plot holes or problems but there are actually many things that were intended but they simply could no make/produce so he/they left many things open for the viewers imagination to interpret.

    • I’ve always said that one shouldn’t have to go outside a narrative to get anything going on within that narrative. If one has to rely on ancillary bits of information outside the show then someone in the writing room is not doing an adequate job with writing.

      • Totally agree with you, Chance. However, I do believe that this show does not aim at convincing reality. Like the flowering tree guy Hannibal “plants”: he probably was in well with water, next to Miriam’s, to nurture the tree (remember the two FBI examiners say the roots were growing through and around his legs?). He also planted poisonous flowers inside the organs he stuffed back in his chest cavity. And then transported the whole thing (with the tree and organs in full bloom) to the parking lot. He must have been “growing” his piece of art for at least 3 years and, of course, one person by himself would need a small crane to move the damn thing around. And the parking lot being conveniently deserted (for at least a night and a day), not one soul passing by to see a guy with a crane (as we have seen Hannibal is not actually Kryptonian) planting a tree in the middle of it? That’s why I agree with Kevin that’s not sloppiness: the show has many unreal, dreamlike elements because it’s much more concerned with exploring the characters than with the actuality of the situation as a police drama. That’s also why I didn’t mind the “killer of the week” thing: it was there to develop Will’s and Hannibal’s (and some other characters’) personalities and relationship for us.

        • I get the dream-like abstracts, and I tend to get them without having to resort to constant post-secondary validations by the show-runner in case someone doesn’t get it. Our media infused reality here in the real world has become a crutch for storytellers who can construct disjointed narratives and simply explain it all after the fact.

          The fact that they feel the need to do so weekly, after and for every episode, says much.

  11. I read his interviews on The AV Club; very insightful and informative.

    Chilton getting whacked was an unexpected move, and while I understand the reasoning behind it, I’m a little bit unhappy with it. I’m hoping that he turns out to be still alive, like they did with Gideon.

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