Episode nine of this season, “Shiizakana,” feels a bit more condensed than previous episodes. We don’t see many secondary characters like Alana Bloom, and it’s very focused on its “killer of the week.” This is both good and bad. The narrow focus gives us time to further examine our main characters Will (Hugh Dancy) and Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen), and the simplified storytelling feels like a bit of a break from some of the more shocking things we’ve seen this season. On the other hand, it all feels a bit too simple and underdeveloped. Randall (Mark O’Brien), our murderer for this episode, feels largely underutilized, as does his method of killing. The episode begins by showing us that for all that things have changed this season, they’ve also stayed relatively the same. Will still dreams of killing Hannibal, and Hannibal still cooks for Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne). We’re drawing ever closer to the season finale, where presumably Hannibal is finally revealed to all to be the cannibal killer we know he is, so it would be good to see a bit more progression in that regard. Instead, through multiple scenes of therapy, it’s still mostly Will and Hannibal bearing their metaphorical teeth at each other. While in therapy, Will reveals that he views not killing the social worker from last episode as a “missed opportunity.” He envisions himself going through with the murder so that he can feel what he felt after killing Hobbs last season as well as almost having Hannibal killed this season: “A quiet sense of power.” As has been the case before, Hannibal took that from him in his manipulations. After therapy, Will meets Margot (Katharine Isabelle) on her way to her therapy appointment. They further discuss her brother and she wonders what Hannibal has done to Will in his treatments. She’s becoming suspicious of Doctor Lecter as well. Meanwhile, the audience witnesses an animal attack that takes the life of a trucker. At the investigations, the investigators note the unusualness of the attack. Nothing is eaten, and all parts are left intact. Due to the animal-like nature of the mauling, Will pays a visit to Peter (Jeremy Davies), who has a certain expertise with animals. Peter tells him it’s some sort of bear or wolf. But the attacker isn’t an animal at all…well, it has parts of animals, but it’s operated by a human. We see Randall working on his creation. It’s a suit that’s part animal skull and part machine. It’s sharp and pneumatic-powered and sure looks interesting – too bad we never really get a good look at it. Like its owner, the suit is a bit underdeveloped. Randall uses the suit to kill a couple, leading to a “this is my design” scene when the investigators come around the morning after. Through imagining himself ordering the feathered stag to kill the couple, Will realizes that it’s, “Not an animal. It’s a man who wants to be an animal.” The bite marks match up to a cave bear: an extinct animal. Hannibal stops by and tells Jack about a former patient who fits the profile of their cave bear killer. Randall has “species dysphoria.” Hannibal describes him as, “An animal born in the body of a man.” Of course, telling Jack this is all part of Hannibal’s plan. His next stop is to see Randall himself and warn of Jack’s coming. He encourages Randall to continue his killings and gives him special instructions for when the FBI finds him. Which happens right after, as Jack and Will come to question him. He tells them some lines we already know, like saying that when he was younger he felt that “the skin he was wearing didn’t fit,” but insists he’s cured now. And then that’s all we really see of Randall as a character. He makes an appearance later in the episode, but he doesn’t speak. It’s unfortunate, as he’s an interesting enough character who, like Will, has suffered manipulations at the hands of Hannibal. It would have been good to see more of him, as well as the suit he spent so much time on. Back in therapy, after another conversation with Margot, Will asks Hannibal what “his patients would say if they compared notes.” They talk of killing, where Hannibal’s obvious god complex is more or less admitted aloud. Hannibal seems a bit shaken when Will tells him that his therapist came to visit him before the trial, telling Will that she believes him. More teeth baring, more obvious statements. Finally this leads to the conclusion of this episode which is criminally short. Hannibal and Randall stand in the woods near Will’s house. Randall is decked out in his suit, and Hannibal tells him, “the beast is your higher self.” It’s clear he’s setting up Randall to kill Will. In Will’s house, the dogs are highly upset and barking like mad. One dog, Buster, escapes from the house and runs into the woods. Will grabs a gun and goes after him. He collects the dog and hurries home to prepare for the beast that’s coming. Randall crashes through a large window and that’s it. That’s all we get of what was surely an epic fight. The next scene is Will bringing Randall’s body to Hannibal’s house without the suit, telling him that they are now “even Steven.” It’s disappointing and an abrupt end to the episode. “Shiizakana” is by no means a bad episode. Like all Hannibal episodes it retains that morbid sophistication that has garnered the show its dedicated fanbase. It has many interesting ideas and a fascinating murder, but it doesn’t fully deliver on that intrigue. Between the underutilized suit and missed opportunity for an epic fight scene, this episode feels a bit lacking. It’s clearly a filler episode to take up space until the season finale. Yes, it did wrap up some revenge feelings on Hannibal’s part after Will’s attempt to have him killed, but it doesn’t do much more than that. While “Shiizakana” still has style, it would have been nice to see an episode build more to the finale. With only a few episodes left, hopefully the rest will do just that. Hannibal 2.09 “Shiizakana”3.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.