Hannibal: Shiizakana (2×09)
Synopsis: Will kills a guy, a dog get hurts, man-bear-pig exists, somewhere Al Gore is crying, and we still don’t know what happened to Chilton.
We’re in it deep, kids. After tonight’s episode, titled Shiizakana, it is all downhill toward the season finale. I can’t believe episode nine is over and there are only four episodes of Hannibal left! I don’t know what I’m going to do without this show destroying my well being every week.
This week’s episode further solidified the fact that this show was truly reset mid-season. Whereas we began the season with Will in prison and Hannibal pulling the strings, Will is now the one who is seducing Hannibal and boy does the guy have some serious flare. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he’d gone off the deep end, but considering Hannibal tries not to stray too horribly far from canon, I think it is all a beautiful build to what is going to be an explosive finale.
Shiizakana starts with a relatively intense dream sequence that made Hannigram shippers rejoice and everyone else say, ‘damn, shit just got real.’ Will tied Hannibal up to a tree, which Bryan Fuller stated was inspired by a scene in Hannibal Rising, and they had a discussion about love and potential.
Hannibal: Why not appeal to my better nature?
Will: I wasn’t aware you had one
Hannibal: No one can be fully aware of another human being unless we love them. By that love we see potential in our beloved. Through that love, we allow our beloved to see their potential. Expressing that love, our beloved’s potential comes true.
In this opening scene I think the viewer gets a chance to see what the tone of the rest of the season will be. Hannibal believes that he has acted in Will’s best interest the entire time. There is a kinship he sees between the two and insists that he has brought out Will’s true potential. He’s created a beautiful, beloved monster and Will has nothing to be ashamed of. This scene is so important to a point I’m going to make now and continue to make later: Will understands Hannibal’s intentions and is using them against him in order to catch him.
Now, it is easy to get caught up in the cinematography of the dream sequence, or it is easy to get caught up in the dialogue. It looks like a scene between Hannibal and Will but it isn’t. It is between Will and Will’s perception of Hannibal. Please remember that this is a dream sequence, therefore Hannibal is not actually present and that man’s thoughts are not what are being expressed, at least not first hand. Rather, the Hannibal in Will’s dream is the Hannibal that Will understands.
In this scene the audience is brought up to speed on what Will has been playing up all season: Hannibal wants Will to become a monster, his monster, and Will knows exactly what Hannibal wants and will use it to get close to him and ultimately catch him. Seriously, I don’t even need the rest of the episode. I could write a novel about the importance and significance of this single scene, but I will continue on.
The murderer of the week was essentially Man-Bear-Pig. He continues to play into the over-the-top killers that Bryan Fuller and his writing team keep introducing into the show. The guy likes to kill people via mauling using a cave bear skeleton thing he built. He kills just to kill. Also, he happened to be a former patient of Lecter’s which sets him up as a parallel to Will.
It’s a metaphor. Okay, I’m sorry.
But really, the killer’s point in this episode seemed to be to accent Will’s own perceived descent into darkness. He’s someone that Lecter counseled. He’s a monster that Lecter nurtured. He’s what Will Graham should be, but isn’t. Even with this, though, he is somehow less than Will. He also, unfortunately for him, becomes Will Graham’s test. In last week’s episode Will had the chance to kill a man and almost took it, but was prevented from doing it by Lecter because the good doctor claimed that Will should be killing people for himself, not on the behalf of another. This week, Lecter decides to put Will to the test and sends Man-Bear-Pig after him who is killed for his trouble.
Will has passed the test which is evident in the way he presents his kill to Lecter like a child presenting a finger painting to a proud parent. He’s now shown he’s serious about his change of heart and Lecter eats it up. Probably literally.
At this point in the series it really does look like ‘murder husbands’ has come to life and Will and Hannibal are going to live happily ever after together killing people. I think, however, that this is a huge misdirect. Of course, I’m also naturally suspicious because Bryan Fuller and the team are playing this story arch hard and that cues me in that nothing is quite what it seems. If there is one thing this show does extremely well, it is redirecting people away from what is really happening. A lot of shows become predictable over time, but weekly, Hannibal continues to launch its viewers into long meta-discussions where theories abound and no one really feels secure in their opinion.
Even though I feel strongly about my conclusions, I’m still nervous that somehow I’ve got it wrong.
Ultimately, though, I believe Will is getting close to Hannibal in order to catch him. In order to catch the devil you have to get close to him and make him believe he’s corrupted you. That’s precisely what Will is doing as we trend toward the season finale. The only way to catch Hannibal is going to be to bait him, as evidence by Will and Jack’s discussion while ice fishing at the start of last week’s episode. I believe in that discussion, Jack gave a silent ‘get out of jail free’ card to Will, releasing him to do what needs to be done in order to bait Hannibal, draw him in, and catch him in the act.
I also think the eventual betrayal is what gets Will stabbed in the belly with a knife. My prediction? Instead of Will realizing Hannibal is the Chesapeake Ripper and getting stabbed for it, there is going to be some sort of scene where Hannibal realizes Will has been playing him the entire time and is going to stab him.
I might end up being completely wrong, but with how fond Bryan Fuller is of taking scenes from canon and twisting them around in order to mix them up, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he shifts the dynamic of that scene.
In this episode the viewers also got a chance to see Margot and Will in a room together, discussing their favorite psychiatrist. Obviously Margot and Will’s interactions are going to build to something, but I have no clue what that would be exactly. I’ve seen people throwing about theories that Will is going to kill Mason Verger, or Will is going to be the one to make Mason mutilate himself, but I just don’t think Will is going to go out of his way to get tangled up with the Vergers. Even if the Vergers are seeking him out in order to get tangled up with him.
I’ll be curious to see how the relationship between Margot and Will develops and what trouble the two get into, but their scene was lovely. I appreciate the Margot pictured in this telling of the tale because she’s a strong, no-nonsense woman who understands her brother is psychotic and doesn’t plan to let him rule her life.
Other things I loved about this episode:
- Zeller’s excitement over a guy getting mauled by a bear
- Price and Zeller coming to the conclusion that extinct animals can’t be killing people.
- Price and Zeller.
- Cosplay to the extreme in the form of the killer of the week.
- BEDELIA DEWHATEVER MENTION
- Will’s newfound control over the stag
- Margot’s line, “Wrong parts and wrong proclivity for parts.”
- Hannibal’s Putin hat.
Things I did not love about this episode:
- THE DOG GOT HURT
- No mention of Chilton yet. I hope he gets some badass return. Or at least a mention. Anyone? Please? Chilton. My baby.
- Will using the phrase ‘even Steven’ like are you even kidding me you’re a grown ass man Will Graham
- DID I MENTION THE DOG GOT HURT BRYAN FULLER HOW COULD YOU
So that’s really it for the episode. Next week looks even more intense and appears to pick up exactly where tonight’s episode left off: with Will presenting his kill and he and Hannibal exploring the aftermath of it all. Tune in next week for another jaw dropping, people-eating, dark!Will episode of Hannibal.