Mark Watches ‘Hannibal’: S02E10 – Naka-Choko

In the tenth episode of the second season of Hannibal, I feel like a mess because this episode feels like a mess. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Hannibal.

Trigger Warning: This applies not just to my commentary, but to the actual content of the episode itself, so basically IT’S EVERYWHERE. So: death, gore, blood, abuse, gaslighting, eating humans, human-eating pigs, homophobia (specifically lesbian erasure), and misogyny. 

  • Let me start out by saying this: I really, really hope there is some master plan behind some of what happens in “Naka-Choko” that helps explain what I just saw. But even if there is? There are undeniably a few things here that are just outright upsetting in a way that they don’t need to be.
  • So, Will Graham killed Randall Tier, then brought him to Hannibal Lecter so that Lecter could re-assemble him into what Randall always wanted to be. And even before that happens, we get to see exactly how it was that Will killed Randall. It’s an important sequence because of how Will’s mind chooses to view Randall. He’s the stag, then the man in black with the antlers, and then Will is beating up Hannibal, and it’s strangely cathartic to watch because we know that Will wants to do this. He wants to kill Hannibal with his hands.
  • As upsetting as Will’s growth is in “Naka-Choko,” it’s not entirely without some basis in reality, though that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach. I think the writers must know that they’re balancing on a thin line here, because if there’s no trick or set-up to what Will’s doing, then he’s just crossed over to a horrible, horrible place. But, as I said, it’s not so completely out of the realm of possibility that it’s out of characters. As much as season one chronicled Hannibal’s manipulative gaslighting of Will, it also explored Will’s reaction to having killed Garret Jacob Hobbs. I know it’s hard to unravel that bit of story from Hannibal, and admittedly, it was Hannibal’s influence that got Will to realize how much power he experienced after killing Hobbs.
  • Still…. this goes so far beyond that. SO FAR BEYOND THAT.
  • Actually, I spent most of this episode thinking what the fuck.
  • I suppose I should have suspected that as soon as any character began to look at Hannibal Lecter too closely, that meant that they were disposable to the narrative. It’s frustrating, especially since I still feel weird about Beverly Katz’s death. And it gets even more frustrating when the show teases us with so much possibility (Katz taking a bigger role in the narrative, Chilton figuring out Hannibal and openly talking about it, and now Freddie Lounds as a genuine ally to Will) and then promptly taking it away from us.
  • I LOVE THE IDEA OF WHAT FREDDIE LOUNDS COULD BE THAT’S GIVEN TO US IN THIS EPISODE. I love that she’s still a source of friction for Will even if she does believe his claim that Hannibal is the real Chesapeake Ripper. (And I’m desperately hoping that he realizes how valuable she is to this whole story. For… reasons. I’ll get to that.) But the best moment for her character here is when she approaches Alana. Alana is the only character remaining in this narrative who is outright loyal to Hannibal, and Freddie could be the one to plant doubt in her mind. I totally understand why Alana trusts Hannibal so much, and now I’ll be the one to paraphrase what Cleolinda has said already: These characters don’t know that they’re in Hannibal.
  • That being said, I’m still bothered by the way that the narrative has made Alana… lord, how do I describe this? We’re communicated Alana’s trust in Hannibal through sex, which wouldn’t be a problem if she wasn’t treated like an object by the story. That bizarre sex scene is gross for a number of reasons, but I hate the way that Alana is little more than a prop here, something that’s largely getting in the way of Will and Hannibal. It’s as if we’re literally watching that trope of a woman character being cast aside for a ship between two straight dudes!
  • Of course, the worst part about that scene is how this show took a character like Margot, who WAS ALREADY CANONICALLY A LESBIAN, and had her suddenly have sex with Will? This makes zero sense beyond the offensive, erasing implications of the act. There was so much promise in the idea of Margot and Will comparing notes as patients of Hannibal. (Especially given that this was precisely what Freddie found suspicious. Why were so many of Hannibal’s previous patients now dead?) I just… don’t even get it from a story viewpoint?
  • Taking a lesbian and having them have sex with a straight man is a trope that is as old as dirt and it’s awful and there’s no coming back from this. This is not like what we see of Freddie and Will at the end of this episode, where it’s highly likely this is a long con at Hannibal’s expense. You can’t take this back, and I see no reason why it needed to happen.
  • UGH.
  • UGH.
  • At least this season is moving forward with Mason Verger’s story, and if Fuller and company stick with canon, this is going to be so incredible to watch. Finally, we’re introduced to Mason and MICHAEL PITT IS SO PERFECT. Oh god, he’s got such an incredible acting résumé, too. AND THIS ROLE IS PERFECT FOR HIM.
  • He plays Mason not just as an abusive, controlling creep, but his version of Mason is blatant. There’s no subtlety to him at all.
  • So, yes, let’s talk about the final collection of scenes. I suppose I want to be optimistic about this or else Hannibal will have gone down such a dark path that I’m not sure I want to see what happens. So much of what happens to Freddie here is a direct visual reference to Beverly’s demise in “Takiawase,” except that Will stands in for Hannibal. Freddie finds evidence in a refrigerator that’s from a human body; Will appears behind her, and there’s a gun used in the struggle.
  • But, there’s no onscreen confirmation of her death, and the phone call that Jack receives mirrors Miriam Lass, who also was alive after meeting Hannibal. So… I just realized that we never saw Abigail’s death, did we? We only saw her ear. Well, I don’t think that is going to happen, but still. Damn, this show likes to hide people off-screen a lot!
  • I suppose I just can’t cope with the idea that Will actually cooked Freddie Lounds and fed her to Hannibal. This has to be a method to gain his trust. It has to be a trick. But where’s Freddie? How much does she know?
  • And if this isn’t the case… fuck.
  • FUCK
  • Regardless, that final scene is just so fucked up. SO FUCKED UP.

The video for “Naka-Choko” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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