While everyone else on Hannibal spins around in confusion and disbelief (or delusion), Will Graham has become the stoic. “You changed me,” he tells Hannibal later, and the transformation is clear. No longer a trembling and confused pawn himself, Will has emerged through the looking glass completely sure of himself, the facts, and his mission. Though those around him continue to doubt, he betrays a confidence in his singularity of will that is so rewarding to watch. Now that he’s free, he’s able to more effectively move against his foe. But Hannibal has many other things in store, none of which phase Will, but they do complicate his efforts. Hit the jump for why “he works in the shadows. Deny him of that.”
Miriam, the biggest living evidence Hannibal planted to lead the search for the Ripper away from him, worked exactly as she was meant to. As Will said after investigating Hannibal’s torture shack, “this is all my design.” Hannibal meant for everything to be found, so it could point to the one he set up to take the fall. He disposed of Gideon, erased Miriam’s mind, framed Chilton, and broke down Will’s credibility while building up his own. It has truly been a master stroke. Just as soon as the idea of the Ripper returned, Hannibal made sure it was put to bed. Miriam was the perfect person to convince “Guru” Jack of Chilton’s guilt, and then to act on it by disposing of him herself.
“Yakimono” had a number of great twists, mostly regarding Chilton, who had been playing both sides and hedging his bets, though he had long belonged to the walking dead. Hannibal had a scapegoat for his scapegoat — Chilton was always in place to take the fall so that Will could be freed (or, he was there in case things got too close to Hannibal). Such theatrics, such an elaborate game. It seems Will is the only person competent enough to take him on, though. And he’s willing to bide his time.
“Yakimono” also finally ended the Ripper case (at least for now). As wonderful as it has been to have everything connect to the central story this year, with one glaring exception (bzzz …), Hannibal needed to get out of the spotlight for a little while, and have things go back to his tête-à-têtes with Will. Though Jack and Will will be scheming to bait him, he has escaped larger suspicions for now (including, most crucially, Alana).
The episode was filled with so much great imagery (per usual), from Miriam’s one arm and, later, her oversized hand, to the elaborately staged murder scenes at Chilton’s home (“you only threw up an ear!”) Will’s vision of the creation of the tree man, with the flowers-as-organs so lovingly placed, was exceptional, as were Miriam’s recovered memories being spliced into her current reality. “It’s all theater!” Jack proclaims regarding the Ripper’s tactics, and Will agrees. With Hannibal, it’s the same. Opera even. It’s grandiose, and occasionally absurd, but its artistry cannot be overstated.
Things with Chilton unravelled quickly, but it was time, and the setup as been there for awhile. It also marks an important turning point in the season, where Will and Hannibal are now meeting on equal terms (or at least, honest ones). Will resuming therapy seems dangerous, but then again, Hannibal would have you believe that Dr. Lecter is the only psychiatrist in town (Hannibal‘s world is so empty — Alana doing the interviews? The forensics team doing the booking? Everyone must wear many hats … ).
“Yakimono” was a slow episode, but one that played off of the series’ great reflexive nature, always referring back to itself and the world it’s created, using the layers it has set up to greater reward those who stick with it. This is its design.
Episode Rating: A-
Musings and Miscellanea:
— Even though it was obvious that Hannibal had played some sort of mind game with Miriam that it would not be his face or voice that triggered her, it did surprise me that it was Chilton’s that he somehow planted.
— Poor Miriam. Such a soldier. So brainwashed.
— Hannibal says their friendship is over, but surely he had to appreciate how dolled up Will got for him, hair coiffed and all!
— “Catch a fish once, but if it gets away, it’s much harder to catch a second time” – Will.
— Hannibal recovered from his attempted crucifixion pretty quickly.
— D’aww, Will’s dog pack was so pleased he returned!
— What happened to the strong and independent women on this show? DuMaurier took off, Beverly was drained/frozen/put on slides, and now Alana is just blindly supporting Hannibal. Can’t we get one dissenter? Miriam is nothing but Hannibal’s pawn.
— Chilton showing up at Will’s was such a great moment, as was Will being so calm about him, his gun, and everything related to what Hannibal had done.
— R.I.P. Chilton and his great sports coats.
— Alana: “Is he safe?” Will: “From me or for you?”
— “The Chesapeake Ripper has set you free. Mazel tov” – Chilton.