May 12 2014

Hannibal Review: “Ko No Mono”

Published by at 10:00 am under Uncategorized

mason

Well, to start off, that was one of the strongest cold opens we’ve seen on the show so far. It scores the hat trick of classic Hannibal: a dream sequence, a meal, and a crime scene, and it hits them in mutha-flippin style.

Between Will’s symbolic birth from the stag, the rare delicacy of birds swallowed whole, and Freddie Lounds’ burning corpse speeding in via wheelchair, “Ko No Mono” could have ended with the main titles and I’d feel like I got my money’s worth.

Fortunately, and obviously, it didn’t end there. Season 2’s been slow-burning more than it hasn’t, but things are really starting to pay off. It almost seemed like an episode of a different, more plot-driven show than Hannibal typically is. Thank whoever you need to thank that the show got renewed, because it seems like we’re in for some crazy stuff as we hit the end of the season.

Hannibal - Season 2

One thing I’ll say about this week: It was really nice to see Alana return to form. She’s been largely sidelined this year as the middle of a tug-of-war between Will and Hannibal, but her role this week showed her sense of agency coming back to life. In particular, her confrontations with Will and Jack mark two of her better scenes in a long while.

Elsewhere, the episode is pockmarked with the twin themes of fatherhood and birth. There’s the stag birth cold open, Will fathering a child with Margot Verger, and Mason Verger rattling on and on about his old man… before engineering the death of Will’s potential son. Given how much time Hannibal’s had to work on Will’s brain, Mason should consider himself lucky to be alive as the credits rolled.

Doesn’t make him any less of a sick bastard. Massive love to Fuller, or whoever it was who came up with that Dead Ringers allusion (for those who don’t know, I’m talking about the red scrubs). Aside from a shoutout to David Cronenberg’s absolute most underrated movie, the nod to Dead Ringers ratchets the ick factor of that sequence up to about fifteen if you’ve seen the movie. If you haven’t, find a copy and watch it ASAP.

Anyway… poor Margot. It obviously makes total sense why she’d try and circumvent her brother, and sadly even more sense why she can’t ever succeed. Mason’s just one of those guys, it seems, who gets what he wants. Presumably this will be put to the test in the coming episodes, now that Will’s pitted him against Hannibal Lecter himself.

Hannibal - Season 2

That Mason Verger is a messed up dude. I suppose this is what happens when your boyhood education involves learning how to test the depth of pig fat with a knife, but Mason’s a pretty beastly dude even by messed-up-dude standards. Like, he’s literally drinking the tears of children (I know you saw the episode, but I just had to say that out loud.)

And now Will’s teamed up with him, which just shows you how much the usual messed-up-dude standards are getting thrown out the window these days.

This was a wild episode across the board, and we’ll get to some of the big reveals in a second, but briefly: the Will/Hannibal exchange regarding Abigail Hobbs was… a bit unexpected, actually. It’s not out of nowhere or anything, but Abigail references have been in short supply since the first handful of episodes from this season. Furthermore, Will’s reactions to the conversation were genuinely moving; he’s been a calculating guy but that sorrow read as one of his less calibrated moments of late.

will

Of course, the revealing emotional callbacks had to take a backseat to the major bombs dropped in the final minutes of the episode. There’s the aforementioned Will/Mason teamup, but the headline story has gotta be Freddie Lounds. I don’t know that I ever totally bought her death, but at the same time I honestly thought they might go there. Fortunately (I guess?), she pulled a Jim Gordon; faking her death with the help of Jack Crawford.

I wonder if this new narrative honesty will necessitate a reduction in the use of the disruptive “dream logic” imagery. It was really revving up for a while there — even in this episode, Hannibal and Will appear to be talking to themselves in that therapy session. Now that the cards are being laid on the table, will the show maintain its elliptical approach to storytelling? I suspect it will. As Alana says, “I’m questioning everything. It’s all blurry and subjective.”

All this stuff marks a bold step forward for a show that likes to take its time setting up the pieces. I can’t wait to see what Fuller & Co. have in store for us over the next two hours. We may know the deal with Freddie Lounds today, but that’s not the half of what we didn’t know yesterday. Hannibal will likely remain vague and evasive to the death. Or at least until the finale.





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7 responses so far

  • inviktus1983 .

    As much as I love this show, I’m not too comfortable with the liberties it takes with the history of the Hannibal franchise.
    ****potential spoilers?****

    In red dragon, Freddie Lounds is killed by the titular red dragon character (I forgot his name) in exactly the same fashion, but this event takes place AFTER Will Graham has caught Hannibal. I get that they want to include iconic imagery from previous Hannibal outings, but it feels a bit too forced in this instance. It just doesn’t sit right with me. Adding the reveal that Freddie is actually alive, are we to assume the red dragon character kills Freddie in this fashion with awareness
    of this elaborate ruse to catch Hannibal, whom he admired and wrote to? I don’t understand what’s going on here.

    But that pales in comparison to the liberties they take with Will’s character. Killing the robo beast guy? It just doesn’t seem like something Will would do, even as part of some elaborate scheme to catch Hannibal, which is what every episode since Will’s release is about. Yes Hannibal has been “working” on Will’s mind, but lets not forget Will is aware of the monster in his midst, surely he would not be quite so open to manipulation as he was before he knew what he knows now?

    I’d be interested to hear some thoughts on this by other fans of the source materials.

    • Ugo Strange

      Francis Dolarhyde is the name you’re looking for. And I don’t think The Red Dragon will kill Freddie Lounds in the same fashion, and technically she doesn’t really have to die when they get to The Red Dragon story, only a reporter has to die and that could easily be Lounds’ intern or something.

      I’m with you with Will, BUT considering Robo-Beast man was planning on killing him first, Will kill him is justified, no? However, Will only killed Tier, he didn’t put him on display. But Randall Tier is evidence that Hannibal is the Ripper (remember Will’s freezer?) So, I can vibe with that since Tier is the ONLY kill he’s committed for the sake of this elaborate con game he’s playing with Lecter. But Will is in COMPLETE control, this was made evident when Lounds was revealed to be alive.

      The liberties being taken are interesting choices and call back but ALL the essentials are there and that’s what matters, but I can totally understand why that’d bug you. CANNOT WAIT to see what they do with “Red Dragon”.

      • inviktus1983 .

        Call me a stickler, but since it’s already established canon that Francis (thank you) kills the Freddie Lounds character, I think it’s fair to say that technically, he does have to kill her.. He killed the Freddie character in anger at the faux article published which was designed to belittle and insult the red dragon. However, the real point is the manner in which it is done. I’m curious to know now if they’re going to play it off as though Francis displays his kill in the flaming wheelchair as a sort of reference to how they caught Hannibal. No mention of that is made in the previous material that I know of, and it would, to me at least, feel sort of forced. I don’t understand their rationale here, the only explanation is that they wanted to shoehorn that iconography into the show somehow, but why not just leave it for the eventual red dragon plotline? I can’t make sense of it.

        Yeah I suppose it was self defence to kill robo-bear, since he was attacking Will. I must have missed the part where it’s made evident Will didn’t display him in that way. I thought the show was saying he did, as part of his “becoming” or whatever. I recall them talking about how it was this killers first kill, how robo-bears after death transformation mirrors the killers own becoming etc. Sometimes I find this show hard to translate..

        • Ugo Strange

          I get where you’re coming from and I don’t judge you for it. What I’m saying is, is that this is a new canon. All the essentials are present: For example, Freddie Lounds doesn’t have to be a man, Freddie Lounds just has to be a sleeze bag journalist, and she is (a rather hot one, but that’s beside the point). What I’m saying is Bryan is giving us a story we know that’s different enough for us to not get bored with it.

          You think the iconography is shoehorned, hey, I’m a little miffed they blew the Flaming Freddie Lounds Wheelchair Derby too, trust me, but at the end of the day I can let that go because all the essentials are here and accounted for. By essentials, I mean Hannibal being a cannibal, Will Graham being an empath, Jack Crawford being Will’s supervisor. The iconography is there for you get the since of familiarity that you know the story. After all, Bryan isn’t trying to rip-off scenes from the movies, he’s delivering them in a new way that’s both familiar and alien. At least to me. But if you can’t vibe with it, I ain’t mad at ya. =D

          As for Robo-Bear (Randall Tier), they didn’t say it out loud but after “Freddie Lounds” was displayed, it was hinted at that Will does the killing, Hannibal does the displaying. Will killed Tier, Hannibal displayed, Will “kills” Lounds, Hannibal displayed. Hannibal is Will’s “coach” so to speak. Hope that clears it up.

          • inviktus1983 .

            I wouldn’t expect you to be mad at me for a difference of opinion in a gentlemanly conversation :P

            Moving along, I’m never a huge fan of “reimaginings” that change events in an established story. I think there is plenty of room to flex artistic muscle without having to “re-write history” so to speak. But that’s me.

            So who (or what) is it that Will and Hannibal eat, and who was in that wheelchair? Surely if Hannibal did the displaying there, he’d have known beforehand who it was he was displaying? It raises a lot of questions for me.

          • Ugo Strange

            Your not being a huge fans of reimaginings raises the question as to why you’d watch the first in the first place. I’m okay with reimaginings if all the essential pieces are there for it to still be what it is.

            As for your second question, Will and Hannibal were eating regular meat, it wasn’t Freddie Lounds, we don’t know who it was in the wheelchair, more than likely a body taken from somewhere (possibly an FBI body farm). Hannibal wouldn’t know who he was displaying (with Tier, yes) but with “Lounds” or rather a corpse burnt to a crisp, no.

          • inviktus1983 .

            I watch because I’m interested in the events preceding that which I’ve already seen.
            As I said, there is plenty of room for flexing artistic muscle while staying true to form, so to speak. Changing chronology upsets the apple cart, no need for it. In this case copy pasting that which has gone before and changing how it came about, isn’t artistic license, that is being unoriginal or lazy. I can’t see the necessity or thinking there.

            Relax though! sit back down in your chair, I do love this show, I just know its not without its flaws, as with anything. I get what you’re saying about “the essentials being there” but isn’t that a given? Else we’d be watching something else entirely. “Hannibal is a cannibal” Sort of a no brainer.

            Hannibal of all people, the connoisseur of long pig that he is, with his finely honed senses, would know if he were not eating long pig.

            Again, I love the show, but I do see how it makes a few stretches.

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