So it looks like Vincenzo Natali is Hannibal’s go-to director when we’re going to have creepy, disturbing sexual situations. And when his hallucinatory visual work is paired with Brian Reitzell’s discordant ambient soundscapes even the most erotic of images takes on a nightmarish pallor. Is this the episode that does for Theremins what Ghost did for pottery wheels? And yet, oddly enough, something as potentially disturbing as Will (Hugh Dancy) arriving at Hannibal’s (Mads Mikkelsen) home with a dead body in tow is transformed into a scene of almost electric homoeroticism as the good doctor cleans and tends his potential protégé’s wounds. Because, make no mistake, what is taking place as we move into these final episodes of Season Two is a mutual seduction. Both lead characters are attempting to seduce the other into an intimacy that neither has ever shared before – with different end goals, of course, despite what some viewers are starting to think. At least, I hope so. Dancy’s performance is so startlingly honest that it’s easy to forget his earlier conversation with Jack (Laurence Fishburne) about hooking Hannibal and reeling him in. He’s clearly giving in to some of the temptations and emotions he’s been trying to suppress, and he’s no doubt walking a fine line between what is morally defensible and what isn’t; but we have to remember, he killed Randall Tier (Mark O’Brien) in self-defense. And sitting down to a questionable meal with Hannibal is something he’s already done. He wasn’t aware of it at the time, but that line was crossed long ago. One more dalliance with cannibalism is kind of like taking one for the team. The mutilation of Tier’s body is really where things get morally murky. While it wasn’t shown, we have to assume that it was a team effort between both doctor and patient, especially given their interactions at the crime scene. As for Jack, what he knows, suspects, or dreads, is very close to the surface in Fishburne’s performance. He’s not being played; he’s playing his role in Will’s long con. And we have to assume that Will is now willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good. And a large part of what Will perceives as the greater good is making sure that Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) is safe. If in achieving that, he has to go to prison for mutilating the corpse of a psychopath, then he will. As long as Hannibal is hooked then there’s no reason for him to threaten Bloom with harm. Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) is another story entirely. The single shot of Hannibal in his plastic kill-suit waiting quietly in Freddie’s apartment was haunting. He is done with Freddie. The question here is whether or not Will thinks she is expendable. He definitely wants Hannibal to think he thinks so, and thus his “long pig” dinner at the show’s conclusion, but I’m fairly certain that she’s alright and that was a few slices of Tier from his freezer (I’m going to ignore that image in this week’s teaser of a body in a flaming wheelchair – which is, for those not in the know, Freddie’s ultimate fate in Red Dragon). Because we all know Hannibal’s impeccable palate would know the difference between human and pig flesh. Speaking of pigs and piggishness, this week introduces a character that many fans have been awaiting with bated breath (both because of the implications of the character in the established chronology of Hannibal Lecter and for the actor portraying him): Michael Pitt as Mason Verger. Possible Spoiler Alert: All we really know about Mason from the novel (and film) Hannibal, is that he was the only surviving victim of Hannibal, who was high on drugs (supplied by Hannibal) when the good doctor convinced him to cut off parts of his own face and feed them to dogs before appealing to his auto-erotic asphyxiation impulses and talking him into hanging himself, breaking his neck. Needless to say, Mason swore revenge. Whether Bryan Fuller’s take on Hannibal’s story follows those established beats, we’ll have to wait and see, but Pitt’s interpretation of the character is unique, to say the least. His first appearance, with his expensive longcoat, unruly hair, and a baby pig in his arms, establishes him as a bizarre character at first sight (as if assaulting his sister and adding her tears to his martini hadn’t already accomplished this). The only male heir to the Verger Meat Packing dynasty, Mason is given free rein to behave as he pleases, which means his sexual abuse of his sister Margot (Katharine Isabelle) is forgiven, and her future is entirely reliant on staying in his good graces (despite trying to kill him already). The fact that he’s training pigs to eat human beings by feeding them meat in a dummy while recordings of screams play (to desensitize them to the noises of actual murder) makes manifest that he’s a monster with plans and intention. Fuller and company are virtually goading viewers into rooting for Hannibal to dispose of him as quickly and as horribly as possible. Just not too quickly, I hope, since Pitt’s interactions with Isabelle are entrancing, with her tired hostility and rabid snark. I want to see more, but with just three more episodes this season and Hannibal already offering Mason his counseling, I don’t think we’ll have long to savor their performances. Margot’s lack of agency with her family inspires an interesting addition to the Hannibal/Will mythos, as she visits Will again this week, ostensibly to continue sharing psychiatric war stories. In reality, she’s there to seduce him — despite her own proclivities for a different team — and hopefully produce a male child who can challenge Mason’s inheritance. This inheritance issue plays out in the Hannibal novel and film in an ultimately rather icky way. This is a much “cleaner” way for Margot to achieve her goal, and provides director Natali the opportunity to craft the disturbing sex scene discussed above. I can’t really think of another crime show where the sex scenes are more unnerving than the murder scenes, so Fuller is doing something right. Hannibal 2.10 “Naka-Choko”4.5Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.