Mark Watches ‘Hannibal’: S02E08 – Su-zakana

In the eighth episode of the second season of Hannibal, what will this goddamn show ruin for me next? If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to watch Hannibal.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of gaslight, abuse, emotional manipulation, and SUPER GROSS GORE RELATING TO HORSES.

why why why

  • This show has ruined the following things for me: honey. All animal protein aside from seafood. (AND I JUST STOPPED BEING VEGETARIAN LAST YEAR, WHY IS THE UNIVERSE DOING THIS TO ME.) Stringed instruments. Dinner parties. Coins. Observatories. FRIENDSHIP. And now horses.
  • Picture the scene: Bryan Fuller waits in his office for his writing staff to arrive, and when they do, he waits an unearthly awkward amount of time before beginning to speak. “So, guys,” he starts, “I know what we need to do next on our show.” When prompted to explain further, he says: “Imagine this: A dead horse is discovered in her stall after delivering a dead foal a couple days before. TWIST: There are strange post-mortem sutures along the horse’s stomach and –”
  • At this point, someone interrupts to posit that maybe viewers won’t be comfortable with this, but Fuller presses on. “There’s actually a dead person inside of the horse.”
  • There’s silence.
  • “Oh, and when the BAU team is doing their investigation of the corpse, they find a living bird in her chest.”
  • There’s more silence.
  • Bryan Fuller sits back and smiles. “Yeah,” he says. “Go film that.”
  • I just experienced a living social worker climbing out of a goddamn dead horse.
  • This is what my life has become.
  • I mentioned at the very end of my video for “Su-zakana” that despite how utterly gross this episode was, I actually found the case-of-the-week format to be the strongest entry in the series thusfar. It tied in with Will’s thematic development extremely well; Peter Bernardone was developed far more than I expected (and goddamn, I love Jeremy Davies as a character actor so much); and in Clark Ingram, we got a villain who is so upfront with his terror that I actually flinched at one point when he moved toward Alana Bloom.
  • Let’s first talk about one of my favorite surprises that this show has ever given me: Margot Verger. Played PERFECTLY by Katharine Isabelle, who I recently adored over on Supernatural, she’s a character who’s vital to the story of Hannibal Lecter years down the line. (Well, that’s a huge assumption, obviously, since I still don’t know how Fuller and company are tackling the timeline of Lecter.) There are elements that are similar to existing canon here, namely that she suffers extreme degradation and violence at the hands of her spoiled brother, Mason Verger. I saw similarities between her and Abigail, especially if you think about how Hannibal grooms her to fulfill her murderous desires. He’s protective of Margot, that much is true. (I’m curious if Fuller has kept her a lesbian in this version. At the very least, I’m extremely thankful that he hasn’t taken the horrifying route that Thomas Harris did in the Hannibal novel, so be warned. If you ever read that book, Margot’s characterization is extremely gross and offensive.)
  • SO DOES THAT MEAN MASON IS GONNA SHOW UP SOON? I’m kind of eager to see who plays him. DON’T SPOIL ME.
  • It’s a bit strange to see Lecter still giving someone therapy, and in a way, “Su-zakana” is about these characters returning to their roots. It feels like a weird reset in a way? There’s a new case, Will and Hannibal resume their therapy, and Jack Crawford is back at square one in terms of suspecting Hannibal. There’s still no answer as to whether Chilton actually died. (GAH I REFUSE TO BELIEVE IT. I need more Raúl Esparza on my screen!) But as the story begins a new journey, “Su-zakana” hints at where this might go next.
  • Even in terms of the regular case, this feels different. Will’s insight leads him and Jack to Peter Bernardone, who is suffering from a host of issues due to being kicked in the head by a horse. (Obviously, his mental illness was induced by an outside force, but at the time, Jack and Will don’t realize this.) It’s clear right from the start that Peter isn’t the murderer at all. The evidence doesn’t add up, he doesn’t seem emotionally or physically capable of it, and then the mass graves are found and WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON.
  • It’s only when Will returns the bird found in the victim back to Peter that he’s able to probe further, and the true meaning of this story is revealed: Peter’s relationship with his social worker, Clark, is analogous to Will’s relationship with Hannibal. It was a powerful thing to witness because Will instantaneously provided Peter with something he never had: belief. He believes Peter when Peter accuses his social worker of murder.
  • And this is all tonally significant because of the new direction Will Graham has taken in terms of how he approaches the truth. It was comforting to see Jack and Will hang out as friends again, something I desperately wanted from the show. But their conversation is also refreshing because of the subtextual references to Hannibal. The fishing metaphor is back, but this time, Will is talking about luring Hannibal into a trap, which is certainly a ridiculously risky move. Hannibal has been so many steps ahead of these two from the beginning! But Will’s never had someone believe him as much as Jack does now. Well, no one who is currently alive. SAD FACES AND FROWNS ABOUND.
  • So when Will goes to dinner with Jack at Hannibal’s place, I found it understandable that Will was now so open. He makes a reference to Hannibal’s cannibalism; he openly admits that he sent someone after Hannibal to kill him; and he does shy away from a single uncomfortable truth. Why do this? Why be so forthright about such things?
  • Because it’s alluring to Hannibal. There’s no denying that Alana’s conjecture in this episode – that Will opened a dark place within him through Matthew – is actually true in some sense. And we know that Hannibal was trying to get Will to open up about this darkness after Will killed Garrett Jacob Hobbs. What if this is the lure? What if this is Will’s way of tricking Hannibal into coming out in the open?
  • I also love Brian’s apology to Will. too much emotion.
  • I know I’ve said it already, but Chris Diamantopoulos is so perfect as Clark that I’d probably be terrified of him if I ran into him in the street. HOW DID HE MAKE HIS EYES DO THAT? YOU LOOKED TERRIFYING.
  • And look, his interview with Alana was unnerving enough. But then we watch him attempt to gaslight Peter after he’s released, and it’s just frightening to watch. It’s frightening on a personal level because I’ve been on the receiving end of such behavior, and it’s frightening because that’s what Hannibal did to Will. Will certainly projects his own experience onto the dynamic of Peter and Clark, but can you blame him? I understand it.
  • Of course, there’s still the possibility that Will is actually actively manipulating Hannibal. At the time I watched the climactic scene of this episode, I wasn’t thinking of this. I was FREAKING THE FUCK OUT BECAUSE OH MY GOD DON’T DO THAT. DON’T WILL. OH MY GOD.

The video for “Su-zakana” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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