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'Hannibal' recap: Feeding frenzy

Season 2 | Episode 12 | “Tome-Wan” | Aired May 16, 2014

We’re getting to the end of the season. You know what that means: The crazy is about to hit peak levels. We have one episode left after this. Let’s hope we all survive it with at least some of our mind intact.

If not, it’s been nice knowing you. Let’s get ready to recap.

Will and Hannibal are having a chat. Like ya do. Just to catch up. Hannibal knows Will Graham “put a snare” around his neck by telling Mason Verger that Hannibal wants to kill him. But Hannibal ain’t mad. Because Will’s right. Hannibal wants to kill Mason or have Will kill Mason because, as he tells Will, Mason is discourteous, and he finds discourtesy unspeakably ugly.

See, Mason? That’s what you get for lying down on Hannibal’s couch with your shoes on.

Will asks if Hannibal’s going to eat Mason. Hannibal Lecter is thinking about it. As he says, “Whenever feasible, one should always try to eat the rude.” He also asks if Will’s going to join him at the table, and Will suggests that Mason Verger is a pig and that he deserves to be somebody’s bacon*.

Ooooh, but here’s a twist: Will just suggested that Hannibal kill Mason during their next session. (Book readers likely just went, “Oh, daaaamn.”) In response,  Hannibal gives Will an assignment: Close his eyes and imagine what he would like to happen.

Why do I think we’re about to get a scene of Will killing them both and stringing them up like hogs?

OK, it’s not that. It’s better: Will imagines Hannibal in a straightjacket and hanging from a pulley cable. The action plays in dreamlike slow motion, as he calmly slits Hannibal’s throat and watches as Hannibal is hoisted back up and then into the pen with Mason’s pigs, with his arterial blood spurting and flowing.

The smile on Will’s face when Hannibal asks him what he saw is blissful. Serene.

Yeah, it’s on like Donkey Kong.

We join Mason and Hannibal’s therapy session in progress. Hannibal is slipping a scalpel up his sleeve. Mason suggests they talk about Margot as well as Hannibal’s interference, and then he takes an oh-so-casual seat in Hannibal’s chair and puts his feet on Hannibal’s desk. How RUDE.

There’s conversation going on, but the big news here is the dance: Mason’s swagger, Hannibal’s calm. Mason’s constant movement. Hannibal’s stillness. Mason’s placing of his daddy’s pig-sticking knife at Hannibal’s throat. Hannibal’s nonchalance.

How do you threaten a man who finds you utterly beneath him?

Mason may have be able to scare Margot — to torment Margot. But Hannibal? Cool as a cucumber.

Margot, however, has scars thanks to Mason. The most recent scar runs across her belly in a raw, red, deliberate reminder of what he did to her. Will has scars too, but his scars are emotional — both about what Mason did to Margot and what he “undid” in the process.

Those scars run deeper than we realize, I think, because Will is keeping secrets from Jack Crawford. He’s not keeping it a secret that Hannibal wants Mason dead or that he wants Will to kill Verger. But when Jack asks why, Will chalks it up to rudeness and nothing more. Jack, for his part, is way out on a limb here. In his world, his FBI analyst killed a man and mutilated a body in an attempt to land the bigger fish. People are asking questions, and if this doesn’t play out, Jack Crawford could find himself in some real trouble. But Will, even knowing that, says only that he can manipulate Hannibal into trying to kill Verger, and then Jack will have two witnesses when Hannibal is arrested.

Jack Crawford informs him they’ll have three witnesses: Bedelia Du Maurier has returned (I’m guessing it’s not by choice), and she’s in interrogation. When Will comes in to talk to her, he starts by thanking her for what she said to him in the hospital. She tells him she didn’t say enough, and Will says she has a chance to rectify that. He even has immunity papers handy to make sure she’s safe from prosecution, and he wants to talk about Hannibal Lecter.

No wonder Hannibal dropped by her place in his plastic jumpsuit. Bedelia Du Maurier has a story to tell: The patient who attacked Bedelia died choking on his own tongue. She adds that it wasn’t attached at the time. But here’s the big news: Bedelia is the one who killed him, and she says she believed it to be self-defense at the time. She knows now that it was all due to Hannibal Lecter and his powers of persuasion.

When Will asks her how she would catch Hannibal, she suggests that Hannibal’s own vanity will be his undoing. He’ll be caught up in self-congratulation. Whimsy, even. Will nods and they both share a moment. I’m pretty sure whimsy is coming.

Still, let’s not forget that Will is playing the long con here, so he has to build this carefully. He starts by showing Hannibal that he sees what he’s doing. He sees how masterful Hannibal has been when it comes to building a codependency. Hannibal made Abigail his by persuading her to take a life so she would owe him hers. But here, he’s setting Will up to need only him. Hannibal has taken the things Will cares for away from him — Abigail, the baby, Alana, Jack — all to make Hannibal the main relationship in his life.

Hannibal is right, Will tells him. They are alike. Hannibal is just as alone as he is. They’re alone without each other.

I’m sure Will thinks this is all according to plan but, as Bedelia tells Jack, you never want to assume that Hannibal isn’t in control of what’s happening.

For now, it looks like Hannibal is controlling the kitchen. He’s preparing Kholodets with fish staged in an eternal chase that, as Hannibal notes, makes it provocatively unclear who is pursuing whom.


Hannibal - Season 2

I smell fishy subtext. Even as Jack and Hannibal discuss things — Is Will a killer? Is it all a mind game? — Jack is, like the fish, losing sight of pursuer and prey. Hannibal’s response is quite pithy: Whoever is pursuing whom, he intends to eat them.

I’ll bet he does.

Speaking of eating people, Mason has come to see Will, and his pig trainer, Carlo, has just walked into Hannibal’s office. Mason invites Will to take a ride, while Hannibal gets a more hands-on invitation. He manages to put up a fight and mortally wounds one of the men, but ends up Tasered.

Oh, now this is interesting: Remember Will’s little fantasy of Hannibal being hung by a straightjacket in Mason’s barn? That just happened.

Carlo is one pissed-off Sardinian. Apparently, the man Hannibal killed during the fight was his brother, and Carlo’s a family guy. Hannibal won’t be killed quickly, however. (Where’s the fun in that?) Mason puts the kibosh on Carlo’s deadly fury, because Hannibal is food for the piggies.

Oh, wait. Mason brings Will along, and he just put his papa’s pig-sticking knife in Will Graham’s hand. All Will has to do is make his dream a reality.

Now, I admit, I’ve watched too much TV, and I know a show called Hannibal can’t go on without a guy called “Hannibal,” but I’m really wondering what Will’s going to do. Partially because I know what happens in the book, but also because I want to know if he’s going to hurt Hannibal a little. He kind of deserves it, don’t you think?

Alas, we’re denied. Instead of cutting Hannibal’s throat, Will turns him around and cuts him free of the straightjacket before getting hit on the head by Carlo and passing out.

When he comes to, we see blood smears everywhere, but it’s not his blood. No bodies, either. Just blood. Where are the bodies and who’s dead? Well, as he pushes the button on the pulley system, one body is revealed. Well, half of one. His legs have been eaten. Look on the bright side, Carlo. You get to see your brother.

What about Mason? Book lovers likely know what’s coming, but Mason earned this, so I’ll give you the details: We see a face with tear stains down the side. Yes, I was wondering if we’d see a cotton pad, but no such luck. It’s the cocktail garnish of choice, you know. But that’s something Mason would do, and Mason isn’t the one in charge here.

Nope, Mason is all kinds of out of it and, from the looks of whatever powder Hannibal just connected to a breather mask, Mason’s gonna be even more out of it in a minute.

I’m thinking Bryan Fuller may have done one or two psychotropic drugs in his lifetime or has a really good imagination, because this scene is getting reaaaalllly trippy. Hannibal’s head just turned into a pig. Mason is so baked, he’s drooling, and Hannibal suggests Mason think back to his days growing up; the ones spent with Papa in the slaughterhouses. He wants Mason to show him how Papa checked the depth of fat on the pigs. On himself.

Book-reader me is going OMGOMGOMGOMG. Wait, so is show-watching me. I think we all are.

Wait, now I’m confused. Will Graham is walking home. I thought the point here was for him to catch Hannibal in the act. Why has he walked home? And why is Winston the only dog outside?

Oh God. We just went off-book. Well, on-book, but off. OK, correct action, but not the place we wanted and I … I … DAMN YOU, BRYAN FULLER.

Mason Verger is inside Will Graham’s house sitting in a chair, chatting merrily away as he plays with and feeds Will’s dogs. Let me clarify: Mason Verger is covered in blood, and the dogs are eating meat from his fingers and licking his face and the blood, and the dogs are covered in blood, and (book readers, yeah, it’s what you think) I want to look away but can’t.

Will asks Mason what he’s feeding the dogs.

Oh, nothing, really. Just pieces of his face that he’s cutting off as he talks.

Oh, hi, Hannibal. When did you get here?

Hannibal, season 2, episode 12: Hannibal, Mason, Will (NBC)Sorry. My brain is breaking here because Hannibal and Will are having a discussion about murder or mercy and what Will understands, and Mason is CARVING HIS FACE in the background. I’m praying it doesn’t get worse, but Mason just said he’s hungry, and Hannibal, calm as you please, suggests Mason eat his own nose.

Which he totally does.

I want my mommy.

Hannibal suggests Will kill Mason. Will tells Hannibal that Mason is his patient. Mason is his responsibility. It’s really up to him. Now, me, I recall Will talking about how he was going to arrest Hannibal once he tried to kill Mason and then Jack would have two witnesses. Remember that?

Apparently, Will forgot because a) he’s not arresting Hannibal, and b) Hannibal just snapped Mason’s neck, so there goes one of the witnesses.

Whoops, my bad. Apparently, Hannibal didn’t snap to kill. The witness thing seems to be out, however, because Jack Crawford comes to see Mason, and Mason blames his now-paralyzed body and eaten face on his prized pigs. Jack asks about Hannibal. Nope. Hannibal didn’t do this. Jack asks if Mason ever met Will Graham. Nope again. Also, he’s very tired. He needs his rest.

The thing Mason cares about now, we see as Jack leaves, is Margot. It’s time to talk about what Margot wants, and Margot smiles as she tells Mason she only wants one thing: She wants to take care of him, just as he took care of her.

As for Will and Hannibal? Will suggests it’s time for Hannibal to show Jack Crawford who he really is. Give Jack the truth he so desperately wants. Let him see the Chesapeake Ripper.

We seem to have ended the 12-week countdown. We have, like the fish in aspic, gone full circle. But who’s chasing whom? EW’s Jeff Jensen puts it pretty well in this review, tweeted by Bryan Fuller:

See you next week.

*I want a T-shirt that says, “You deserve to be somebody’s bacon.”

Hannibal airs Fridays at 10/9 C on NBC.



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