Hannibal Review: “Futamono” (season 2, episode 6)

Hannibal the cannibal”

Dear god, please spare me “friends” like Alana Bloom. I’d prefer a cannibal who frames me for multiple murders than a psychologist who thinks friendship is trying to convince me I’m crazy enough to have murdered people and then when I act that way, she discards me like the condom she used to screw the cannibal who framed me. Poor Will Graham.

The silver lining for Will, of course, is that Jack Crawford is starting to get suspicious about Hannibal Lecter. In Dr. Chilton’s words, yes, Will is delusional but “that doesn’t mean he is not right.” As the bodies pile up and Hannibal’s dinner party approaches, Crawford’s suspicions grow. But Hannibal’s far too crafty to let Crawford’s suspicions or Will’s homicidal intent slow him down. It comes as no real surprise that the big dinner party was a ploy by Hannibal to increase suspicion of his cannibalism only to subvert that suspicion when the meat is tested. Take that Crawford! Psych!

The true surprise of the hour was Crawford’s discovery of Miriam Lass… alive! You’ll remember that Miriam was the FBI trainee a la Clarice Starling sent by Crawford two years earlier to investigate a lead in the Chesapeake Ripper case; in a callback to the novel Red Dragon, she is attacked by Hannibal in his office after seeing the Wound Man sketch, which matched injuries of one of the Ripper’s victims. I’ll confess, with the recent deaths of both Abigail Hobbs and Beverly Katz, it was a relief to discover that Miriam is not dead. Though I’m curious why Hannibal kept her alive and allowed her to be found. What’s that crazy cannibal up to?

Composing music, for one thing. It’s fitting that Hannibal composes for the harpsichord. Unlike the piano, the harpsichord is limited in dynamics — in other words, playing the keys harder or softer does not change the volume of the strings. Hannibal’s murders seem also to be carefully constructed compositions that have only one volume: loud and extravagant grotesqueries. With this latest merging of man and tree, I find myself fully accepting, appreciating, and even enjoying the hyper-reality of his murder set-pieces. This is gothic horror — in a modern day setting, yes — but gothic none-the-less. I can no longer criticize Hannibal’s otherworldly designs because, no matter how unrealistic they may be, they are entirely consistent with the atmosphere of this fictional world.

“Futamono” is a solid, smart, entertaining episode from a creative team that’s set the bar very high. It suffers slightly from following one of the best episodes of the series to date. The actions Will set into motion last week had consequences that are only just beginning to reveal themselves. It makes sense to slow things down a little to allow those consequences to develop.

That said, there’s still plenty going on. At the same time that Hannibal is fabricating evidence of his own innocence, he’s also purposely leaving evidence that exonerates Will. Fishing lures constructed from hairs, bone fragments, and other body parts of Will’s supposed victims are found at a new murder scene. Drs. Gideon and Chilton continue to one-up each other, culminating in Gideon’s back being broken by two hospital guards in retaliation for Gideon’s murder of one of their colleagues last season. (What’s up with this hospital’s hiring practices? Sadistic security guards? Psycho nurses?) Hannibal then abducts Gideon from the hospital, and in a clever callback to the novel Hannibal, the good Dr. Gideon is fed his own leg as his last supper.

What I find most compelling about this episode (and this whole season) is Will’s transformation, his journey from the light to the dark. In a brilliantly scripted bit of double-talk, Will tells Hannibal, “I’m no more guilty of what you’ve accused me of than you are of what I’ve accused you of.” The show is raising some very interesting questions about empathy. If one can feel the feelings and think the thoughts of a killer, then what if anything distinguishes him from the killer? Is good or bad simply defined by one’s actions? If so, it seems the aphorism is false; it’s not the thought that counts after all.

Season 2’s driving question seems to be this: Is Will’s transformation a mutation or a metamorphosis? In other words, is the profiling work he’s done for the FBI distorting his nature from good to bad or simply revealing the moth that was hidden inside the caterpillar from the start?


PussNHikingBoots 4/5/2014 8:12:23 PM

How did Alana manage to screw both Will and Hannibal in the same episode? And not in the good way–at least not for Will. Of course, how could Alana NOT do Hannibal after he displayed his culinary skills for her in that black, silk button-down? And Hannibal, I don’t believe you for one second when you say you are done with Will. Alana is a poor substitute, I’m sure… Alibi sex?? It’s a good thing it wasn’t me sleeping with your creepy, sexy ass! (Wait. What?) I wake up at the drop of a dime. What was with that sex scene, anyway? At least we got to see a little lip locking, but I wanted to see him pound her.

At the beginning of this episode, Will makes some ridiculous comment about Jack Crawford gliding as if he’s trying not to spill something. For the first time in this series, I was truly scared–scared of the show being canceled for moments like this when I’m taken out of my beautiful Hannibal world. Thankfully, it was only a momentary lapse, and the rest of the episode held up.

Curtis, you must be smarter than I, because it did come as a surprise to me that the meat was not people. How did Hannibal do that? Did he know right from the start that he would be checked up on? I guess so… He certainly looked worried when Jack asked for the food. Did anybody happen to catch the “whatever this is” appetizer? It looked like the hand of the living dead guy. By the way, what the hell was that wink that Hannibal gave Chilton when Jack asked for the food-to-go? What are those two up to?

And what was with that sex scene? Sure we got to see a little lip, but I wanted to see her ride him like a pony.

Okay, so let’s talk about the “wounded man” sketch. That thing was visible underneath the drawing of the building on Hannibal’s desk the day that Jack Crawford first came to visit him. Any good FBI agent surely would’ve noticed it. Detective Goren certainly would’ve noticed it. I noticed it, FFS. How could Jack have missed it?

Futomono is a “lidded dish; typically a soup.” Miriam Lass did have a lid on her and treeman was standing in water for 80 hours. That would certainly make a soup. Yum.

Is it just me, or is Chilton such a goddamn ass that he makes Gideon look downright amicable? I am actually sorry to see Gideon go. He played his last supper to a tea. He will be missed.

I enjoyed the visual of antlers growing out of Will’s head that more and more came to resemble the branches of the treeman. “Hello, Dr. Lecter.” In similar fashion to Will’s transformation doubletalk, I have been particularly interested in Hannibal’s repeatedly referring to himself through other people. I.e. “Terrible thing to have your identity taken from you.” And just about everything he says to Will and Will back to him. “I feel like I’m watching our friendship on a split screen.” Poor little lonely psychopath still really wants a friend. It will be interesting to see how Will does transform–I’m guessing he will become the Death’s Head Hawk-moth.

So what about some future sex scenes? Bryan Fuller, you have Mads – use him!

PussNHikingBoots 4/7/2014 7:44:22 AM

Around 5 am I think I figured out why Hannibal winked at Chilton during the dinner party. Here’s my theory:

As we know, Chilton is a slimey douchebag and eavesdrops on every single word Will says to anybody, so he heard Will telling Jack about Hannibal eating the people and that he will probably be having a dinner party for which he will be cooking and eating some people and watching his guests eat the people. Chilton believes Will about Hannibal being the Chesapeake Ripper, and he sure as shit doesn’t want Jack catching the Ripper before he does. So he probably called up his psychopathic bud and tipped him off.

Now, Hannibal is sad because he can’t eat the people and he has to prepare animals instead. At least he gets to sleep with Alana, which is almost, but not quite as good as eating people, and definitely not as good as anything to do with Will.

isgrimner 4/7/2014 8:21:32 AM

Miriam Lass being found was really the most shocking part of the episode. Who would have thought Lector would keep prisoners?   Maybe he respected her a bit because she was the first one to get on his trail and that is part of the reason he kept her.

I didn’t really care about Alana hooking up with Hannible because I’ve read Red Dragon, and never expected her to end up with Will, even though I know some things will be changed between the books and the show.

From Will’s point of view, he knows Hannibal is a serial killer and he isn’t in a real position to stop him through normal legal channels. He knows Hannibal killed Beverly Katz due to her getting too close to catching Hannibal as his proxy.   He has this “tool” in the psychopathic orderly to attempt to stop Hannibal. How many lives would he save if the orderly had been succesful?   Under those reasons I don’t feel Grahm is a “killer” in the same sense and not as close to the dark.

Can’t wait to see what happens now that Will is going to be out of captivity.

moviefan71 4/7/2014 9:23:31 AM

I’m with isgrimner.

Will isn’t a killer at all, he’s trying to save lives using the only option left to him. He knows every week that goes by, a couple more inocent (maybe) people are going to die. In my mind, and his own i think, he’s a hero! He’s the only one doing anything to stop the killing (granted, the rest are ignorant and/or oblivious, but all the more reason Will has to resort to such extreme measures to save lives).

CurtisLovesMovies 4/8/2014 9:20:58 AM

Isgrimner and moviefan71, I totally hear what you guys are saying. And I kind of feel that way too. My counter-argument would be that Will’s visions of himself transforming into the stag indicated that he believes, on a subconscious level at least, that he’s becoming the same as Hannibal. The stag has come to represent the “evil” (for lack of a better word) that Hannibal represents to Will. For Will to associate himself with this stag seems to suggest he (Will) is not a “good guy” in his own mind, no matter how righteous we may think his actions are.

PussNHikingBoots, I’m not so sure Chilton tipped Hannibal off. To do so, he’d basically be telling Hannibal he thinks/knows he’s a killer, which would be a pretty dangerous thing to tell a cannibal serial killer.

And the way I read the reference to the Wound Man sketch in the pilot is that it was an Easter Egg for the fans, not a clue for Jack to see or not see. Could be wrong, but my guess is the idea to use it in the episode with Miriam was a choice that was made later after the pilot was already complete. Otherwise, you’re right, it would be pretty dumb of both Crawford and Hannibal.

CalamityJohnson 4/8/2014 11:14:25 AM

…or could the antlers mean that Will was using his unique talent of empathic understanding to guesstimate what Hannibal would do next – come by for a visit. Sure appeared like he divined Dr. Lecter would be there before actually seeing him.

CalamityJohnson 4/8/2014 11:15:07 AM

oh wait, i forgot to plug my usual comment: Best show on television right now not named GoT.

PussNHikingBoots 4/8/2014 2:27:16 PM

Will = stag. I think it was kind of a combo: I’m turning into evil Hannibal and Hey! Look who’s here for a visit.

I still think Chilton did the tipping. Surely even a douchebag can come up with something to say that won’t alarm the cannibal.

Having just seen the “brain scene” from the movie Hannibal recently, I enjoyed the Gideon’s leg scene way more. Izzy played it just perfect!

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