‘Hannibal’ Gets a Quiet Sense of Power

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Laurence Fishburne and Hugh Dancy in Hannibal Season 2 Episode 9 Hannibal Gets a Quiet Sense of Power

[This is a review of Hannibal season 2, episode 9. There will be SPOILERS.]

The evolution of Will Graham continues under the tenuous tutelage of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, as the two begin to take a closer look at the monster growing inside him, as well as their own antagonistic relationship. It’s a familiar dynamic: the sight of Will engaged in psychoanalytic conversation with killer from whom Hannibal derives its title.

But it’s a dynamic that’s been reinvigorated by the events of the recent past, and by the slight tweaks and shifts in Will’s personality, as well as his outlook on things. In effect, these last few episodes have essentially flipped the season from where it began, turning it into a twisted reflection of season 1, but with the prospect of an outcome quite unlike Hannibal and Will’s first go-round.

‘Shiizakana’ begins with a semi-lucid dream in which Will, in a two-toned jacket, exerts control over not only Hannibal, but also the black stag representing the darkness within him. In the dream, Hannibal is given time to make the “admission” Will is looking for, before the stag is commanded to engage a rope and pulley system to dispatch the good doctor and see his end come in a geyser of blood.

Will’s command of the situation, the enfeebled state of Lecter, and the acknowledgement and use of the stag all point to his current state of mind – which is to say: he’s more than a little motivated to engage the monster inside him if that means beating Lecter at his own game.

But the episode is only half-concerned with the idea of direct conflict, and the confrontation that does occur certainly doesn’t come from Will’s side of things; it’s more of an unsubtle rejoinder from Hannibal for the time he was crucified and nearly hanged by an orderly at Will’s request.

Mark OBrien in Hannibal Season 2 Episode 9 Hannibal Gets a Quiet Sense of Power

Mostly, ‘Shiizakana’ is concerned with the concept of metamorphosis, particularly as it pertains to what Hannibal would describe as Will’s ability to adapt, evolve, and become. Into what would seem to be a killer; the kind he imagines and innately understands while investigating murders with Jack Crawford and BAU.

That leads the episode to Randall Tier (Mark O’Brien), another former patient of Dr. Lecter’s who wants to become the animal he believes himself to be. In order to achieve this metamorphosis, Tier uses a mechanical suit that enables him to attack, eviscerate, and dismember his victims in a fashion that so closely resembles a bear mauling, it first leaves the investigators perplexed.

Initially, the idea of a man in a mechanical bear suit chomping off the limbs of hapless souls felt like it would be too much – even for Bryan Fuller’s unique, exaggerated view of the world. But the episode, directed by Michael Rymer, mostly (and mercifully) favors atmosphere over any explicit depiction of a man in a suit, especially in the final moments when Will is being hunted outside his house, and Tier is only visible by the snow being kicked up around him.

In that sense, the exaggerated presence of Mechanical Bear-Man actually helps to better serve the theme of the episode, underlining the extreme nature of metamorphosis when Hannibal Lecter’s skilled hands guide it.

Tier is dispatched off-screen and returned to Hannibal, with Will telling him, “I’d say this makes us even Steven.” With that, ‘Shiizakana’ proves to be less about Randall Tier’s engineering prowess and psychosis, and more about how proficient Dr. Lecter is in unleashing the beast tucked away in his pet projects like Will and, more recently, Margot Verger (Katherine Isabelle).

Last week, Will made it clear he’s intent on fishing for Hannibal, and this may be his way of baiting the hook. If that is the case, the question still remains: If Will plunges any deeper to catch his prey, who will be there to reel him in before it’s too late?


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

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  1. Just realized that Margot is Mason’s sister. Mason Verger was the former patient of Hannibal’s in the movie “Hannibal”. Things just got more interesting.

  2. Mason will fully appear in the next episode, can’t wait.

  3. FYI Tier is german for animal 😉

  4. Great show but I got the feeling it is going to be canceled.

    • Luckily for fans of Hannibal even though ratings are low we don’t have to worry to much about cancellation.
      The deal NBC worked out to produce the show is minuet compared to what other networks pay so as long as advertising dollars are coming in and it keeps getting rave reviews it will stay on.
      Also, there’s been talk since season 1 that if NBC were to cancel the show Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and certain cable networks would be willing to pick it up.

  5. I doubt it.

  6. Will might be turning into a killer but he’s still save a dog and that’s sweet.

  7. Cannot wait to see Michael Pitt next week!!

  8. I feel it’s losing it’s vibe, and I don’t like it. It’s trying to outsmart itself now, and that is one thing I don’t like.

    I hope for a better season in season 3! :)

  9. I knew Mason Verger was coming at some point this season but I didn’t know when so when I read other people saying it’s next week I’m even more excited than I normally am.
    If you’ve read the book or even seen the movie Hannibal the talk about him these past few episodes is a great tease. You know a monster is coming.

    Every once in a while before you even see a frame of film you just know someone will be perfect for a role and that’s how I feel about Michael Pitt player Verger.
    I already love the changers Fuller has made with Margot. I haven’t read the book since it’s release but from what I do remember this version of Margot is NOTHING like she was in the book.

    • The core of the character is pretty much the same that she hated her brother enough that she wanted to kill him. But yeah, aside from that she’s pretty different.

  10. This season has been exciting. I love the mind games between Will and Hannibal. Yes there can be some improvements here and there but overall it’s been very enjoyable. So since the season started it makes me think sometime during this season we might see Hannibal caught or somehow revealed. Has there been any word of this series might overlap Red Dragon?

    • @ JaredDac

      Judging by the very first scene of this season Hannibal will be found out and caught by the end of this season.
      So if I had to guess we will start seeing elements of Red Dragon next year.
      Also, if I understand everything correctly the only book the show doesn’t have the rights to is Silence of the Lambs. So they can’y use any characters featured exclusively in that book.

      • Oh okay, that makes sense. I figured the rights to SOTL was going to be an issue but didn’t know if it was an issue with Red Dragon. It will be interesting if they do go that route of Red Dragon and introduce a new interruption or recreate some scenes.

  11. “Therapy only works when we have a genuine desire to know ourselves as we are. Not as we would like to be.” — Hannibal Lecter

    Freakin’ genius and also incredibly terrifying when uttered by a monster who revels in creating monsters for his own twisted amusement. Puppets on a string.

    The scene between Will and Lecter, with Lecter tied to a tree, was straight out of ‘Hannibal Rising’ save the horse traded out for the stag and Herr Dortlich traded out for Lecter. Riveting scene.

  12. This show is still great, but I hope this Will and Hannibal back in therapy thing doesn’t stretch out too much longer. It gives us some good scenes and all, but even if Will does have a reason (“reeling him in”), the idea that Will would be able to tolerate being in the same room as Hannibal knowing what he knows… it’s all starts to feel like something the writers decided to have happen, rather than something organic for Will’s character. It’s a little TOO unbelievable and surreal which is kinda saying a lot for this show.