tv review – NBC’s Hannibal, episode 2.4

‘Takiawase’, Hannibal‘s latest offering, was named after a Japanese kaiseki dish: vegetables served with fish, meat or tofu, each simmered separately. And while each ingredient gets treated with loving care individually, everything comes together on the plate, making for a tasty sensation. While I certainly don’t see Hannibal Lecter as a tofu man, takiawase could definitely be seen as a metaphor for the show’s episodes I’ve praised before for all their moving parts that work wonderfully together and even support and elevate each other. ‘Takiawase’ was no exception, it may in fact be the pinnacle of Hannibal‘s signature juggling act.

A sweet and sad scene marked the start of ‘Takiawase’, a scene in which Will taught Abigail to fly fish in his mind palace. Will told her to name the bait after someone she’s cherished because, as the superstition goes, if that someone cherished her back, she would catch the fish. The fish Will’s after is named Hannibal, his bait Abigail as he told her, conveying once more that Will is not just going after Hannibal to clear his own name, but also to avenge his surrogate daughter he cared for very much. It was a touching reminder, Hugh Dancy’s Will angry, sad and happy at the same time in this moment he constructed in the bone arena of his skull. It seems there are forts for the things he loves, and Abigail he has kept there. Once Beverly came to visit him, Will left his palace. She told him he was indeed right: the man at the center of the mural from ‘Sakizuki’ was the killer and Will’s reply was that this James Gray was put there by Hannibal. This set Beverly on a path to look more closely at the evidence and at Lecter himself, which in the end led her to the beast’s lair where she found something very disturbing. We weren’t shown what she saw, instead we were shown who was standing behind her, Hannibal, looking like he slipped off his very well-tailored person suit. We were offered a glimpse at the predator, cold, calculating and dangerous. Despite the fact Beverly fired her weapon a few times, the trajectory of her last bullet didn’t bode well: we know she’s an expert markswoman but the last slug traveled from the basement through the dining room floor. Is this the end for miss Katz?

Beverly was at Lecter’s because he was in the hospital with Jack and Bella Crawford. Last week’s ‘Hassun’ mentioned Bella’s health, and now Gina Torres’ character returned in sessions with Hannibal and scenes with her husband. Jack, much like last season, tried to comfort her and reassure her by saying he will be there for her and that he will remember her as the beautiful and happy woman she once was, not the one she might become approaching her death. Bella’s fears didn’t diminish though: she’s been through this with her mother and she doesn’t want to become a helpless shell of her former self. She confessed to Hannibal that she contemplated suicide and he gave her the last push she needed to go through with it: painting the picture of death as a cure, a noble solution to her problem. In the end she took a morphine overdose and chose Lecter’s office chair as the place where she would die, because she didn’t want Jack to find her and she felt safe and understood with Hannibal, the man who had comforted her and applauded her decision. This led to one of the show’s most cruel and heartwrenching moments: Lecter took a coin he received from her, flipped it and because of mere chance saved her life. When she came to in the hospital bed she mustered the strength to slap Hannibal across the face for it. Gina Torres’ acting as Bella was once again a beautiful fine line between strength and weakness, and her scenes with Laurence Fishburne’s Jack and Mads Mikkelsen’s Lecter really hit home because of it. Hannibal’s cruel, curious and manipulative nature came through once again, even more devilish because of who was on the receiving end of his machinations.

One wonders if Hannibal’s hubris will become his downfall. Bella and Will have seen the true face of evil, two people Jack Crawford cares for and, in the end, trusts. Even Frederick Chilton is on to his colleague now: Will saw to it that Chilton started treating him and that he would keep Lecter away. Chilton’s methods brought back some more of Will’s memories and those changed everything: Hannibal had used psychic driving on Will all along, inducing his seizures and losses of time. The adversarial chemistry between Hugh Dancy and Raúl Esparza sizzled in the scenes Will and Chilton had together, it will be interesting to see to what exactly will come out of it, especially once Will starts bonding with Eddie Izzard’s Abel Gideon, something ‘Takiawase’ hinted at.

As you can tell by the length of this review/recap a lot happened this week, and I haven’t even mentioned Amanda Plummer’s scary and caring psychopath Katherine Pimms, an acupuncturist with a fondness for bees and merciful reasoning behind lobotomizing her patients. It was another horrific scenario the writers had dreamed up, but Plummer’s turn was strangely moving and human despite the eccentricities of her character. To conclude: all these plot strands worked in tandem, kept the plot moving and fed into each other beautifully, like the ingredients of a well-designed course meal. The acting was as outstanding as it always is, the writing top-notch and the pace assured.

‘Takiawase’ was a gutwrencher of an episode. It easily maintained the level of the bar Hannibal‘s set oh so high for itself. 9/10

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3 thoughts on “tv review – NBC’s Hannibal, episode 2.4

  1. Great review! This was an amazing episode, and Bella and Hannibal’s scenes together were just sublime. The coin toss was certainly cruel, but I think their scenes also hinted at just how much he likes and respects her. They seem to have a different dynamic than Hannibal has with other people, but of course, he loves to wield the power and will always be a serial killer at heart–he reduces life and death to a coin toss here.
    “One wonders if Hannibal’s hubris will become his downfall.” Exactly.

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