In the seventh episode of the second season of Hannibal, my tombstone shall read, “DID NOT KNOW WHAT HANNIBAL WOULD DO TO HIM.” Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Hannibal.
Trigger Warning: For gaslighting/manipulation.
- How many times did I basically stop breathing while watching “Yakimono”? A million? A BILLION? THIS IS FUCKED UP ON SO MANY LEVELS AND MY HEART IS STILL RACING AFTER THE EXPERIENCE.
- Mutual of Omaha, I am done.
- As I said in the review for “Futamono,” this show is rapidly reaching the terrifying climax we saw in the season premiere, except now it’s gone down a path I wouldn’t have anticipated in a million years. The suspense and shock of what happens to Dr. Chilton is almost entirely built upon the way it contradicts existing canon, and goddamn, it’s brilliant.
- I suppose I’m fascinated by my own perception of who is “safe” on a show like this. It’s not like Fuller hasn’t demonstrated a willingness to completely toy with canon for his own sake, so I shouldn’t be shocked by developments like this. But without going into any sort of detail about Red Dragon or The Silence of the Lambs, Dr. Chilton is… vital? Necessary? Integral? At the same time, though, this season has given us stories and themes that explore the very things that those two books covered already, putting Dr. Chilton in an interesting position for the narrative of this show. Meaning… goddamn it. IS DR. CHILTON DEAD? SHOULD I TAKE WILL’S LINE ABOUT “TRADING A LIFE” AT FACE VALUE?
- I’M STILL HURTING.
- Jack’s discovery of Miriam brings out yet a whole new round of guilt, but this time, he can’t ignore that his guilt is two-fold. He is torn apart by Miriam thanking him for never giving up on her, but that’s exactly what he did. He assumed she was dead, and he stopped looking for her. So when Jack comes to retrieve Will from the asylum, it’s not lost on him that he’s getting Will back in his life, too. He betrayed both of those people after pushing them too far.
- There’s a deliberate parallel in Will and Chilton, too, vocalized in the beginning of this episode as Will warns Chilton to tell Crawford everything he knows about Hannibal Lecter. (Actually, now that I think of it, isn’t that also a parallel to Beverly Katz?) Both Will and Chilton end up being victims of Hannibal’s devious ability to frame others for crimes they committed. And you can see the fear on Chilton’s face throughout “Yakimono” because deep down, he knows Will is right. He knows that he’s next, though he miscalculates on what he is next in line for.
- I was heartbroken by Will and Alana’s reunion. I mean, how do you give me a happy dog reunion and then ALANA BASICALLY REJECTING WILL? Cruel. YOU ARE A CRUEL SHOW.
- But I have to remind myself that Alana has every reason within this story to be furious with Will about sending Matthew to kill her friend. Even if Jack, Jimmy, and Brian may be moving even closer to implicating Lecter, it’s not like they’re sharing everything with Alana. She’s at a different place in her journey than they are.
- Does that make this hurt any less? Of course not. It hurts because there was so much potential in the idea of a Will/Alana relationship. It’s painful to watch because Hannibal had intentionally wrenched these two away from one another. And really, that’s where the only blame should be placed: on Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
- It was always obvious to me that Dr. Lecter treated Miriam with the same light therapy and reprogramming that Will was also a victim of, so I appreciated that this parallel was directly addressed by putting Will and Miriam in the same room. This was one of many suspenseful scenes in “Yakimono,” and that’s because we’re always left to wonder what might be the trigger for her to remember what happened to her.
- (ha trigger HELP ME I’M ALREADY SCREAMING.)
- So when she’s alone with Will, we hope that she’ll find something meaningful in her mind by talking with someone who is the same in one regard: the Chesapeake Ripper manipulated their memories through light therapy and psychic driving. Miriam comes close to remembering her ordeal, but just like Will Graham, her mind was taken from her. Blackouts, loss of memory, manipulation of reality… she’s just like Will Graham, and it’s just so sad.
- HEY COOL LET’S STICK A SCENE WITH WILL CONFRONTING LECTER WITH A GUN HALFWAY THROUGH THE EPISODE. THAT’S A COOL THING THAT ISN’T TERRIFYING AT ALL
- what the fuck is this show. Somehow, that confrontation – which is laced with reversed power dynamics that I absolutely love – ISN’T EVEN THE MOST TERRIFYING THING IN THIS EPISODE. But it’s so important because it’s a stunning demonstration of how Will is gaining control, not just over his own life, but over Hannibal’s influence. I don’t think he was ever going to kill Hannibal; I think he wanted to show Hannibal that he could kill him. But what’s important here is the line Will speaks, the one that references their very first interaction. I’m certain that this wasn’t just a callback for the sake of it. It’s not just poetry. It’s a sign of what is to come: Will wants to figure out the one killer who has haunted him for the past six months. I don’t think he was lying when he said he found Lecter interesting.
- I will say that as much as I am giving these characters the benefit of the doubt, I was a little bewildered by Jack when he watched Hannibal use light therapy on Miriam in his office and DUDE YOU ARE LITERALLY WITNESSING THE RIPPER WALK THROUGH HIS TECHNIQUE. Though I suspect that Hannibal’s boldness is his way of feeling in control. He can openly flout his guilt, waving it in front of Jack, knowing that Jack is still under his thumb. It’s so fucking scary.
- And then Jimmy and Brian find Lecter’s fingerprint on one of the flowers, and his endgame begins to snap into place. Miriam was freed alongside Will for a very specific purpose: SO THAT BOTH OF THEM COULD POINT THE FINGER AT DR. CHILTON. Will does it unknowingly, by insisting that Jack look at how the evidence found in Lecter’s farmhouse points in the wrong direction. GODDAMN IT
- AND THEN EVERYTHING VEERS RAPIDLY IN THE WRONG DIRECTION
- YOU WERE ALL SO CLOSE
- AND THEN CHILTON GOES HOME AND OH MY GOD I CAN’T DEAL WITH ANYTHING THAT HAPPENS IN THIS EPISODE AFTER THAT. The framing here is so complete and whole that I’m simply gobsmacked at how layered it is. The drugs in Miriam’s blood are the same that Will got. Lecter and Chilton share a lot of similarities in their psychological profiles and in the way they conduct therapy. Chilton had access to everything he needed. It’s too perfect, and Hannibal knows that. I assumed that it wouldn’t go beyond planting the bodies at Chilton’s home (including Gideon’s, which confirms that he is dead), but then HANNIBAL IS THERE
- I was so confused how Hannibal was going to deal with an unconscious Chilton and… well, wait, I should explain. I thought that was Jack Crawford at Chilton’s door, so I thought we were about to get a horrible confrontation that I wasn’t ready for.
- Just kidding, WE STILL DID. Hannibal perfectly frames Chilton for two more murders.
- So I was surprised by Chilton’s appearance at Will’s house because I thought it was a variable that Hannibal hadn’t considered. But even if that’s the case, it didn’t really matter, did it? All the evidence pointed squarely at Dr. Chilton, and even if Chilton left the country, the suspicion would be off of Hannibal.
- And it must be said that this whole manipulation also exploits Alana and Jack’s rage. Hannibal knew they’d both react strongly to the idea of Chilton betraying them right under their noses, and he knew that would push them both in to being biased against Chilton, unable to consider that all of this was Hannibal’s master game.
- But it’s not until the final moments of this all that Hannibal’s true motivation is laid clear for us. Gods, I should have seen it. What does Hannibal do when he perceives someone as a threat? He eliminates the threat. Miriam’s psychic driving was never just about removing her memories of Hannibal; HE REPLACED THEM WITH DR. CHILTON.
- I suppose it’s possible that Dr. Chilton is alive. I mean, the man survived Dr. Gideon’s disemboweling last season, but fuck. FUCK. That scene may have been the most shocking plot twist yet.
- I’m curious how Will is going to operate within the narrative from here on out. He’s exonerated of the crimes against him, so will the FBI be waiting for him with open arms? What’s Prurnell’s thoughts on this? Is he going to work cases again, or will he stay away from that world? I suspect it’s the former because, as Will said earlier this season, they provide him stability. I’m absolutely thrilled about the idea of him confronting Hannibal by continuing his therapy with him because CAN YOU IMAGINE THE RIDICULOUS CONVERSATIONS THESE TWO ARE GOING TO HAVE??? It’s going to push me over the edge again, I know it.
- Just… goddamn. There’s no show I’ve ever seen that’s even remotely like this one.
The video for “Yakimono” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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