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'Hannibal' recap: Pigs and acts of God

Season 2 | Episode 10 | “Naka-choko” | Aired May 2, 2014

Before I start, I have to admit that the name of this episode has put the “Ooga chaka” from Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” in my head. I don’t like being alone in my earworms. You’re welcome.

OK, on to the death and mind games!

I don’t know how to explain the opening sequence. To quote Inigo Montoya, “No, there is too much. Let me sum up.” Remember how Hannibal ended up with a dead protégé on his dining room table last week, and he and the viewers both were wondering how the heck that happened? Well, we got our answer … sort of.

We see Will going back into his house, turning off the light and watching the door with a shotgun in hand. The slo-mo starts. Dogs start barking and something comes crashing through the window. (I have no idea if Bryan Fuller meant to invoke the end of Manhunter when Will comes through the glass, but that’s what it reminded me of.) We’re expecting the intruder to be Randall Tier in his wolf-bear rig, but it’s not. It’s The Stagman, and the fight is on. As Will gets into it, he lands punch after punch, and the antlered man changes to a more recognizable and bloodied Hannibal. More punches, more blood, and Will grabs those antlers and twists until there’s a snap. When he looks down again, the body on the floor is Randall Tier.

Back in the present, Will and Hannibal gaze across the table at one another, and Hannibal agrees that he and Will are, indeed, “even Steven.” But his interest isn’t about why. He wants to know how. Did Will kill him with his hands? Did he ever. Will’s knuckles are a mess, Hannibal takes a wounded hand in his own, and we get a great dose of that homoerotic subtext that makes this season so interesting.

Hannibal is so pleased with Will — you can just see it. Even as he’s getting the details, what you see is his enjoyment of Will’s descent into darkness. I want to tell myself I’m seeing Will be deliberate about the looks, words and more meaningful silences, but I truly have no idea. Will may really be transforming into something else, or he’s doing a very good dance on the edge of the hook in an effort to catch the one that got away.

As for what happens right before the credits. I don’t … I can’t, y’all.

Jack Crawford just found Randall Tier’s head and legs on the skeleton Randall was working on in the last episode, and I’m never going to feel safe in a museum again. Damn you, Bryan Fuller!

Oh my God, it gets better! The crime scene is now in full FBI-treatment mode, and both Hannibal and Will are briefing Jack. Dude, seriously? Will killed the guy and one of the two of them staged it, and they’re discussing the “killer” with this bizarre blend of innuendo. (OK, I’m serious, watch this episode. Even just for this scene. This is so nuts, it’s awesome!) On the surface, it’s so professional, but the entendre is strong with these two.

And then it just gets crazier. Will goes into forensic flashback mode and there he is, in the killer’s shoes looking at Randall’s head, when Randall’s eyes move and we hear his voice. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? (I’m sorry, but my brain’s exploding over here — I’m watching as I type.) Will, who’s in the mind of the killer/is the killer/staged this/didn’t/who even knows, is discussing this with Randall’s head on a skeleton covered in blood with human legs. Randall accuses him of showing off. Will says he was showing Randall off. Randall, in death, is now transformed into what he was meant to be. Randall says this is a becoming, for both of them, but Will has a different answer:

This is my design.

On the plus side, Will and Hannibal give Crawford the truth. This killer knew Randall. Understood him. Envied him. This is a fledgling killer and he’s never killed before. Not like this. On this, Hannibal and Will agree.

Y’know who we haven’t seen in a while? Freddie Lounds. Which is corrected in this episode, as Will goes to see her. You may recall, Will promised Freddie exclusive right to his story, but that’s not what she wants to talk about. While Freddie Lounds may be a pariah among her peers, she has some keen investigative sense, and she smells something fishy with the whole idea of Frederick Chilton as the Chesapeake Ripper. Freddie makes it clear that the story isn’t finished yet. Not for her.

Hannibal, meanwhile, is continuing his quest to have Margot kill her brother, but there’s a hitch. The Verger patriarch left instructions in his will that, in the event that there’s no legitimate male heir, the Verger fortune goes to a church. Margot may hate her brother, but she’s not to keen on the idea of losing that kind of money.

We get an idea of just what sort of money we’re talking when we see Margot returning from a horseback ride. We also get an idea of just how … wrong of a person Mason Verger (Michael Pitt) is as he emerges from the barn shadows holding a piglet named Pavlov.


Mason does love his pigs. He’s having lot of them being delivered as we speak. He’s built a pen for them and everything.

Just a quick note for those of you who have seen the movie Hannibal: This happy little family moment will likely be familiar, but I warn you: Fuller has taken the story and flipped it on its head a bit, which is probably going to flip you out and delight you the same way it did me.

We learn that Mason has had these pigs specially raised and trained by a man named Carlo, who has the distinction of having killed a man by feeding him to pigs 20 years ago in Tuscany. (How do you find a guy like that, anyway? Craigslist?) Yep. Mason Verger has had these pigs trained — or as he says, “educated” — on the finer points of attacking and eating a live human being, and he’s going to give Margot a little demonstration of how he does that.

No wonder Margot hates him.

Mason explains that the training includes taking a human-looking dummy (think Buster on Mythbusters), dressing it up like a person (Margot notes that they’ve used her suit; Mason quips that he’ll buy her a new one), spritzing the simulacrum with human smells and playing screams every time they’re fed.

Those screams? They’re female in Bryan Fuller’s version. I’m guessing for a very specific reason.

It freaks Margot the frak out.

Oh yeah. Mason makes it very clear, as the dummy (which totally coincidentally looks like Margot) is hoisted over the pen and then lowered, that family is what matters. That Margot is all he has and that he is all Margot has.

I know I normally say “Damn you, Bryan Fuller” once in a post, but man, I want to say it again. I really do. ‘Cause this is a new level of messed up. But I won’t, ’cause I’m all about structure.

Luckily, about the time our brains are about to pop, the show changes the rhythm.

Four people, two conversations, two very different relationships.

Hannibal is teaching Alanna Bloom how to play the theremin as they sit entwined, wrapped in sheets.

Will opens his door to find Margot, who has brought a bottle of whiskey and her feline prowl.

It’s an interesting dichotomy to watch Hannibal woo Alanna and know it’s all an act, then see Margot and Will move awkwardly but more authentically toward each other in some kind of primal need. Hannibal is playing Alanna just like a beautiful instrument as Margot asks Will what happened to the window. She asks if he’s scarred and offers to show him hers if he shows her his.

The juxtaposition continues as Hannibal uses Alanna, and Will reminds Margot that he knows she has a preference for women — in essence, telling her she doesn’t have to do this. But there’s a need there, from both of them. Both conversations end as bodies take over.

I wish I could say things faded out there. I really do. Not because I’m a prude. Far from it. But I would have liked to have just enjoyed the idea that Will Graham got to have an intimate moment and a little human connection.

What happened instead, while definitely sexy, was much more disturbing if you’re hoping Will Graham isn’t slipping into madness.

As the lovemaking continues, Hannibal and Alanna and Margot and Will becomes Will imagining Margot as Alanna, and then a threesome when Alanna breaks a kiss with Hannibal to turn and kiss Will. The Stagman watches, then makes love to Alanna until we see Alanna in bed between Will and Hannibal, and then Will alone as Margot dresses and goes.

Will definitely has some issues.

It’s a good thing Freddie Lounds is still paying attention to catching the Chesapeake Ripper.

Freddie drops by to see Alanna as she’s leaving class, and she’s got a few questions. If she has no other job in this episode, it’s to be the voice of the viewer, the one who’s got a pretty good idea that Hannibal is the Ripper and that Will Graham has gone to the dark side. I’m not sure what good talking to Alanna will do, but it’s nice to feel a little sanity. No matter who it’s from.

Sanity break over. Hannibal has come to see Mason at his invitation. There’s a quick discussion over the pigs, then Mason gets right down to it: Margot is pathological and her word isn’t to be trusted. Hannibal manages, in very few words, to both assure Mason that he knows exactly how true what Margot says is, and pretty much assert dominance in a way that surprises Mason and ends with him offering one of those pigs to Hannibal.

Hannibal, ever gracious, takes that pig and serves it up to his dinner guests, Will and Alanna. The conversation is definitely scintillating. Alanna tells them about Freddie’s hypothesis and, as we go on, the talk turns to the intricacies of Will and Hannibal’s relationship. Their lack of boundaries or the negotiability of them. I think Alanna is feeling a little like a third wheel.

I wonder how she’d feel if she knew that that little conversation resulted in Hannibal sitting calmly in Freddie’s motel room in his plastic jumpsuit.

Freddie’s not at the motel, though. She’s dropped by to see Will and, upon seeing he’s not at home, decides to do a little investigating. I’d like to say she doesn’t find anything, but I’d be lying. She finds all kinds of things in Will’s barn. Plastic sheeting. A skeleton hanging from the rafters. A freezer and a frozen jaw.

Oh, and Will.

Talk about petrified. Freddie’s no dummy. She pulls a gun from her purse, taking aim as Will says he can explain. He takes that one extra step; Freddie shoots and misses. Will even gets ahold of her, but she gets free and runs for the car, dialing the phone as she goes. Sadly, the car doesn’t help, and her screams are caught by Jack Crawford’s voicemail.

Which he then is seen playing for Hannibal and Will. Oh, great. Even Alanna seems a bit bothered by the idea that Freddie’s cell last pinged about six miles from Will’s house.

But hey. Never mind all that! It’s dinnertime at Hannibal’s, and Will has brought the meat.

What kind, Hannibal and we wonder. Will tells us “she was a slim and delicate pig.” Dinner is served, and when Hannibal remarks that the meat is not pork, Will Graham smile quietly and says, “It’s long pig.”

The transformation seems to be moving along.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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