HANNIBAL Recap: “Naka-Choko”

     May 2, 2014


Well, that escalated quickly.  After a season of teasing Will and Hannibal’s dance, if you will, between Will succumbing to his nature and Hannibal revealing his, “Naka-Choko” appeared to go full-in on Will training up in Hannibal’s school for talented taxidermists.  There are no more ambiguities.  Will protests that, “You can’t reduce me to a set of influences,” but Freddie seemed to know the truth the best: “If you can’t beat Hannibal Lecter, join him.”  Hit the jump to join in the fun.

hannibal-season-2-posterWill admitted to Hannibal that killing Randall made him feel alive, but for Hannibal, it wasn’t enough for Will to just have killed him.  He needed to “honor” him somehow.  In creating that horrible man/cavebear (ManBearPig!) skeleton at the museum, Will memorialized Randall the way Randall saw himself, and also honored his own transformation into a killer.  Like Hannibal, he worked the case as if this one were not, literally, his design, even offering pathological insights into his own behavior as the killer.

This season spent a lot of time cultivating Will’s war against Hannibal, and his conviction that Hannibal should be stopped (this hasn’t stopped, despite his casting his lot in with Hannibal’s — in his dreams and during unguarded moments, he still fantasizes about killing him).  It makes it then all the more unlikely that he actually killed Freddie.  Is this part of his design?  To get close to Hannibal in order to bring him down?  Or did he actually sacrifice Freddie for his cause?

“Naka-Choko” was a nightmarish episode, particularly in regards to the hypnotic sex scenes among Will, Alana and Hannibal (with poor Margot as an after-thought).  The music wasn’t romantic or erotic, it was dull and unnerving.  It also showed that instead of setting himself up as an antagonist of Hannibal’s, Will is now becoming a kind of competitor.  The artistry in Randall’s cavebear corpse, Freddie’s (probable) demise, and his consumption of her all shows that he can play Hannibal Junior exceptionally well.  But to what end?

“It is the prospect of death that leads us to greatness,” Hannibal tells Will.  But when will it stop leading women on the show to murder-shacks and their deaths?  Freddie was an irritating but useful figure in the Hannibal world, but like everyone else without sense on the series, she blabs her suspicions directly to the person she has them about, and roams around shacks in the middle of nowhere that house corpse parts.  You’ve written your ending, Freddie.

hannibal-naka-choko-michael-pittAs Alana has disappeared behind a veil of sex and theremin vibes, it’s now up to Margot to hold the torch for any female sense on the show.  She’s not a killer (yet), and liked many doomed females before her, she has allied herself with Will while doubting Hannibal.  But between Will, Hannibal and her brother Mason (Michael Pitt, in a terribly great introduction), the girl just can’t win.

“Naka-Choko” was as over-the-top as Hannibal can get, from Mason’s pig maze of human death, to the imagined three-way, to Will’s full transformation into Hannibal’s shadow creature.  It was, in fact, utterly bizarre (and pretty ridiculous), but so much so that we really have no choice but to be open I think, to see what next week brings.  It’s a paradox.

Episode Rating: Sliced ginger.

Musings and Miscellanea:

— So after almost two seasons of Will imagining the stag, and that stag becoming human in form, it finally turned into Hannibal himself in this episode, and Will seemed to not even care.  He kills him in his dream, but embraces him in real life?

— Did Will really kill Freddie?

— Nice visual sequence with the blood in the water, and later, Hannibal’s face in the cup.  Will’s face turning into Hannibal’s though … not so much.

— “Most of what we know, most of what we believe is motivated by death” – Hannibal.

hannibal-naka-choko-mads-mikkelsen-hugh-dancy— “Hollywood is a fine place for the obnoxious and wealthy.” – Freddie.  I thought it was interesting that she brought up the death of Abigail Hobbs as the one thing she could not give up on, as far as her investigations go.  Again, Will seemed unmoved by this (when he used to be so tied to Abigail).

— Have we ever seen Will’s shed before?

— “Someone with no boundaries is a psychopath. Or a journalist” – Will.

— Well, Mason is a huge freak, and it’s great.  His scenes with Margot (“that’s one of my suits …”) and with Hannibal were perfectly weird.

— Great writing, and part of Hannibal’s twisted world, when Margot and Will traded scar stories (that were thanks to a brother and a good friend.  Life’s tough!)

— The episode loosely dealt with the theme of legacy, but from the promos it looks like that might be explored more next week.

— “They eat what they love. It’s a paradox” – Hannibal.  Mmmm.  Long pig.  Ginger.