And then there was “Futamono.” Hannibal‘s sixth episode this season served up everything the show has to offer. Even Will’s dog pack made an appearance. In many ways (mostly narrative), it was too scattered of an episode. But per usual, its visuals saved it, and connected it even when there was no connection to be made. Hannibal has been without surprises for a long time; as I mentioned last week, the show will always lack some degree of suspense because its eventualities are known. But “Futamono’s” best quality was that of surprise. There were a number of twists that made it as fascinating gnarled as a tree growing through a man. Hit the jump for why you’re wearing your concentration like a brimming cup.
There were so many elements to “Futamono,” but the most lasting one is Hannibal’s grand scheme. “Futamono” played with the idea of sight throughout the episode, from direct comments and wordplay about eyes and seeing, to a more overall motif about truth and lies. Can you believe what you see? Or can you trust what you don’t? Jack thought he could catch Hannibal out with a dinner party that served his victims, but Hannibal knew of his suspicions and, for once, served animals instead of humans. Did he get this from Chilton? The Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane is a lonely place it seems, and Chilton’s job as director is so cush that he can afford to spend all his time eavesdropping on Will. Yet, Will knows he is. Who’s playing whom?
Hannibal tells Will he’s more powerful than ever before, and it’s true that he is. But alliances keep shifting in Hannibal’s mortal chess match. Alana sheds her attachment to Will and moves it over to Hannibal, seeing him as a mentor and friend, not as an alleged killer. Meanwhile, Jack becomes increasingly convinced of Hannibal’s guilt, yet the evidence is not yet giving him what he needs to see from it (until that final shot). Nothing Hannibal does is accidental, and the lab techs thinking that they pulled one over on the Ripper by finding a tiny shard of wood that led them to his torture shack is ultimately all part of the game. Hannibal’s self-satisfied Keyboard Cat expression at the end seemed to suggest so, anyway.
Sight is important to Hannibal. Will’s visions permeate every episode, but Will is no longer to seeing things the way Hannibal wants him to (and, of course, he can also “see” through killers’ eyes). Jack and Alana are forced to see another side of Hannibal that they are resistant to, just like the Ripper case caused them to see Will in a different light. The show’s extremely visual nature (this seems like an obvious statement, but I mean to highlight its attention to every detail we see — costumes, set design, animations, art direction) also continues its obsession with sight. Even Gideon mentions taking the nurse’s eyes, and it’s Alana’s eyes that are “opened” to Hannibal in a new way (a new sexual way!)
The machinations behind Hannibal’s master plan are not yet clear, but “Futamono” added so much to the plot. The biggest reveal (more so than Hannibal’s wink to Chilton and Gideon being fed himself for dinner) was the reappearance of Miriam Lasser, who was on Hannibal’s trail as the Ripper, and whose arm was once offered up to show Jack that she had been killed and dismembered for her trouble. Yet, there she is in a hole in the torture shack (with one arm or two?), planted there for Jack to find. To what end? What will she reveal next week? It’s an exciting prospect.
For all of its showmanship and scattered nature, “Futamomo’s” greatest achievement was keeping us on our toes. What started out as seeming like a subpar episode narratively became one full of twists and curves that are setting up the back-half of the season beautifully. “Futamono” was a strange episode, but it was not a boring one. It flooded Hannibal’s mythology, and provided an engrossing hour of television. Typical of the show, “Futamono’s” stylizations cannot be criticized. Like Hannibal’s dinner parties, perhaps it’s best to just enjoy the pretty, and not ask too many questions about the meat. For now.
Musings and Miscellanea:
— Hannibal composes on the harpsichord, of course. As part of his metabolization process. Of course.
— So many gorgeous shots … from the slow-mo of Gideon being beaten by the guards to following the moon out of Hannibal’s bedroom … the flowers on the sheet music and the flowering animation that lead us to the Tree Man. The blood in the coffee! So much.
— Is Alana just a super heavy sleeper, or did Hannibal drug her? And why did he wipe her wine glass?
— Chilton’s reaction to the claw dish was hilarious. I’m glad they’re doing more with him, but I’m still not certain what part he’s playing in this process.
— Being fed yourself for your last supper … oh my.
— “You’re awake. I’m thinking about funerals. And how much they make us want sex” – Alana, the romantic.
— “Varicose vines” – lab lackey who is not Scott Thompson (until he does something worthwhile or memorable I refuse to learn his name).
— “He does fit the profile. Medicine and psychology offer power over man, and cannibalism is an act of dominance” – Chilton.
— Will was great in this episode, from his treatise on the joy of contempt to him trolling Gideon about Hannibal coming for him.
— When Will starts to imagine antlers, that’s a warning sign from his Hanni-radar that Hannibal is near.
— Hannibal: “Hey, Will! Got a date for the prom?” Will: “Nope. I’m goin’ STAG!” – @DrClawMD