Hannibal Review: “Yakimono” (season 2, episode 7)

“It’s theater”

It was inevitable. A subpar episode. Instead of taking a step forward with the story, it felt like the show took a step sideways — a relatively interesting and entertaining step, but a misstep nonetheless. The biggest problem with “Yakimono” is that very little changed for the main characters and much of what did happen felt like we’d seen it before.

Will continues to accuse Hannibal despite evidence to the contrary, and no one but Chilton believes him. Alana Bloom again tells Will he was wrong to try to murder Hannibal. Not heeding her advice, Will sets out to murder Hannibal a second time but is unsuccessful once again. Hannibal frames another person for his own crimes. Crawford again bites and pursues Hannibal’s latest red herring. And by the end, Hannibal is no more in danger of being caught by Crawford or killed by Will (or vindicated by Alana) than he was at the end of last episode.

So what did happen that was new or different? Well, Will gets released from the hospital and pets his dogs. Miriam cleans herself up and gets a new arm. Crawford realizes that he gives up on his colleagues too soon. And Hannibal murders some more people.

Most of the entertainment of the episode — the sidestep I referred to earlier — concerns the framing of Dr. Chilton. As to the question posed last week (Why did Hannibal allow Crawford to find Miriam Lass alive?), the answer seems to be: To point the finger at poor Frederick. Not content with a mere finger, Hannibal, a master of the theatrical, then stages a second act in which he murders Gideon and two FBI agents in Chilton’s home, leaving the weaselly psychiatrist to wake up there… covered in blood, gun in one hand, knife in the other. After a brief cat-and-mouse with Crawford, Chilton is “recognized” by Miriam as the Ripper and she shoots him.

And here’s where things get really interesting for avid fan of this series: With the apparent killing of Dr. Chilton, Hannibal has gone “off book,” literally. Not that this is the first time the television series has strayed from the source material. I mean, given that Will’s entire pre-capture relationship with Hannibal Lecter in the books consisted of a single conversation, the whole premise of the show is a deviation. But, presuming a bullet to Chilton’s face does in fact mean death in this fictional world, this is the first time a character significant to the plot of the books has been killed off early, and it means that those of us who thought we knew where this story was going DON’T.

So what else did the episode get right? I liked how Crawford’s guilt over the discovery that Miriam was alive acted as a mirror for him to see how he’d given up on Will, too. I loved the “red” on white kitchen décor when Chilton wakes to find the dead FBI agents. It was interesting to see how uncomfortable Will was to be out in the world again. Hugh Dancy skillfully turned up the volume on his facial ticks and eye contact avoidance. And speaking of great acting, Mads Mikkelsen was amazing in that final scene. When Will tells Hannibal, “I’d like to resume my therapy,” I don’t think we’ve seen Hannibal happier. Which goes to Mikkelsen’s credit because the change in his facial expression was almost imperceptible, yet conveyed so much.

And maybe it’s because the plotting was less interesting this episode, but I appreciated the score a lot more. It’s so deftly crafted to NOT call attention to itself that it’s easy to overlook the subtle brilliance of Brian Reitzell’s compositions when the story takes front stage. (One note for those who enjoy the music as much as I do: When you watch the episodes on NBC.com, the music over the end credits plays uninterrupted, unlike the television broadcast that overlays a preview of next week’s episode.)

The low point of “Yakimono” was Chilton’s bumbling attempt to escape Crawford through the snow. The whole tone of that sequence felt off, like I was suddenly watching a different show. But as “bad” as it was, the worst episode of Hannibal is still better than most other shows on television. Because what’s great about Hannibal is that even when things go wrong — the story goes awry, some of the acting is melodramatic, and the CGI is a bit goofy — there’s still so much to appreciate.

When Will tells Crawford “It’s theater,” he’s talking to us, too. Because like the titular character’s crimes, the show itself is theater. It’s both beautiful and horrifying — sometimes confounding — especially when the crime is a subpar episode and not murder.


PussNHikingBoots 4/15/2014 9:00:23 AM

I am so far down the Hannigram hole that for me, this was one of my favorite episodes. Here’s my version of what happened:

Will gets out of prison and has the biggest smile we’ve seen on him yet while petting his doggies and the supercute Applesauce. But he also discovers what a bitch Alana has become. Now we are all confused because we’re not sure if Hannibal stole Alana from Will or if Alana stole Hannibal from Will. (A threesome here would really clear things up, guys.)

Will tries to kill Hannibal, but realizes that he’s about to kill the only person who still truly loves him, and damn that man is hot, so he can’t do it and leaves.

We finally like Chilton and feel sorry that we called him a douchebag.

Will puts on his best pretty and shows up at Hannibal’s doorstep for a proper date. Hannibal is so happy that yes, Hannibal, we really can see your boner from space.

I’m going to go take a cold shower now and be back later for a (slightly) more realistic version…

kinetoscope 4/15/2014 9:13:17 AM

I was not sure how this show would do as a series. This might be my favorite show. It’s hard to determine such a thing, but It is one of the few shows that I will watch live.

isgrimner 4/15/2014 9:32:32 AM

Probably the show I look forward to the most each week, and one of the few that don’t sit on my DVR for a couple days until I find time to watch.

Chilton is a douche, but does not deserve to be framed as a serial killer and then killed himself.

I look forward to the point when Hannibal is eventually proven to be a serial killer, and how that affects Alana. That probably will be a season three event (hopefully it makes it!!!) as I’ve read the creators want to do Red Dragon as a potential season four.   Of course I could also see the show making Alana one of Hannibal’s victims too.

CurtisLovesMovies 4/15/2014 9:39:49 AM

PussNHikingBoots, you crack me up! I think I may turn over the reviewing duties to you. On second thought, no. It would quickly devolve into fanfic erotica, I think.

Kinetoscope, I know what you mean. Fridays can’t get here fast enough!

Isgrimner, I’m right there with you about Alana. I don’t want her dead, because I want her to live many long years in her wrongness about both Hannibal and Will.

PussNHikingBoots 4/15/2014 10:01:38 AM

CurtisLovesMovies, you are a wise man – devolve it would.

CalamityJohnson 4/15/2014 10:18:49 AM

really have to learn to copy my posts before clicking the “add” button on this site as about 1/3rd disappear into oblivion never to be seen again… and yeah, despite how much passion or brilliance I may think that ne’er-to-be-seen post was, my frustration and ball-kicked gut leaves me motivation-less to attempt again. Once again foiled by mania. Thanks.

Great episode. Great show.

CurtisLovesMovies 4/15/2014 11:56:56 AM

CalamityJohnson, if you do get inspired to try again, I’d love to hear your thoughts. And I know what you mean, I too have learned the hard way to copy my posts (the lengthy ones, at least) on all sites before clicking submit.

isgrimner 4/16/2014 12:05:23 PM

Saw this blurb about the series and thought it would be up PussNHikingBoots’ alley.

“Well, Sam, it depends on how you define “juicy.” Let’s allow Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller to take a crack at, um, quenching your thirst. “In Episode 10, we have a six-and-a-half minute seduction/sex scene involving five different characters that is as kinky and subversive and suggestive as any sex scene that you have seen on network television,” he teases. “I would put it as a contender to challenge cable sex scenes — not in terms of the nipple and crack of nakedness — but more in the psychology and sensuality of sex amongst the mad.” But wait, are all five of those people in the same room together? “It depends on how you define room,” replies Fuller, with a chuckle. Well, alrighty then!”

PussNHikingBoots 4/17/2014 3:19:54 PM

isgrimmer: YES!!!!!! I am foaming at the mouth for Episode 10!!!

PussNHikingBoots 4/17/2014 3:30:06 PM

Well, that was a long shower…

First, I want to point out a few things pointed out by other people because this show has so many layers to it there is no way anybody can see it all–how does Bryan do it? Curtis, thanks for pointing out the pointing the finger thing. Hannibal has a wicked sense of humor. Somebody else mentioned that Jack sent Miriam to do something “sketchy.” Somebody saw religious imagery when Hannibal turned the other cheek in the kitchen when Will held the gun to his face. And that people keep meeting in kitchens. And somebody saw that when Will got all dolled up (for his date with Hannibal) that the little curl of hair on his forehead was meant to resemble a fish hook. Now, THAT is genius.

First Hannibal is crucified and now he’s turning the other cheek. He does love to believe he is God. During that scene with Will holding the gun to Hannibal’s face, was I the only one who was screaming at Hannibal, “Shut the refrigerator door!”? I’m telling you–this man would have shut the door, gun or no gun.

I am not 100% yet convinced that Chilton (or Abigail or Nurse Brown for that matter) are really dead, having seen what Fuller did with Miriam. Chilton did win me over this episode. Fav. line: “You just threw up an ear!” And now Will has betrayed Chilton in the same way he was betrayed. He is turning, turning, to the dark side…

Any sense of realism has gone out the window and I don’t even care. The real FBI would never have allowed Alana to interview Hannibal, knowing she is doing him. Apparently, Hannibal has many superpowers, and I am willing to swallow that whole just to keep watching.

Yes, Mads has some mad acting skills. Throughout the entire series, he has displayed a wide range of emotions with just the slightest curl of a lip or squint of an eye or tilt of his head. He is mesmerizing.

Which leads me right to Hannigram (because it always goes there). I know that Will’s character is heterosexual, but Hannibal is so alluring that he can take something straight and bend it however he wants. And Hannibal? Straight, gay, bi – how banal, these concepts. He uses people in whatever means pleases him and I don’t think he particularly cares about gender.

I CANNOT WAIT to find out how their date goes tomorrow night! (Will Hannibal get lucky?) I do expect more sex from Alanabal- good enough for now, just give us more skin, please. I also predict that Hannibal will be screwing Alana at just the right time for Will to walk in on them because Hannibal’s a manipulative bastard and wants Will to be jealous.

And Applesauce is sooooooo cute.

blankczech 4/18/2014 9:58:38 AM

I don’t watch this show but seeing all these long passionate posts makes me want to (same with the thread for Green Lantern another show I haven’t seen). For me this is Mania at it’s best…reviewing things and then letting the fans discuss it. I like that so much more than the recycled trailers and press releases for things that are going to happen years from now. Wish Mania had the manpower to do more of this. I can only watch so many of these series (I watch sports too…lots of play-off games this time of year and I just began catching up on Orphan Black which friends recommended) but I’m going to try to squeeze Hannibal into my schedule.

isgrimner 4/18/2014 10:22:57 AM

If you’re a member of Amazon Prime the first season is available for free.   Orphan black is also available on Prime for free.   I have it added to my watch list because I too have also had it recommended to me but haven’t found time to watch it yet.

domino2008 4/18/2014 7:36:05 PM

I didnt watch this show till the second season an was so impressed , I bought the 1st season for $12 . I also dont watch the old network channels ( ABC/ CBS / NBC )   I rather watch FX or AMC for shows I like , but this show is quite different, an strange . My vote is still out on the Actor who plays Will , He just dont seem to have the acting chops for this type of show , but Mads Mikkelsen is good at acting without saying a word . Each week another weird way to find a corpse . Im very suprised that NBC has took a step forward . look forward to tonites show .

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