Mark Watches ‘Hannibal’: S02E11 – Ko No Mono

In the eleventh episode of the second season of Hannibal, IT’S HAPPENING. IT’S FINALLY HAPPENING. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Hannibal.


Trigger Warning: For discussion of abuse, nonconsensual medical procedures, burning, rape and dubious consent, and incest.

WHERE DO I START. Shit, let me try to break this up by the different scenes/characters.

Margot and Mason Verger

So, this episode very quickly reveals the reason why Margot seduced Will: to get pregnant in the hopes of having a male heir that could follow Mason after his death. The fact that Margot never thought to just ask Will OR LITERALLY ANYONE EVER for their sperm is kind of never addressed at all? And neither is the concept of Will’s consent, though I admit that even I am confused about how to designate this. Both Will and Margot consented to sex, but would Will have done so if Margot had explained what she wanted from him? Does that count as rape or sexual assault when you deceive a person like this? I don’t really know, but my gut reaction is that this is super messed up regardless of what you call it. And look, this show is full of so many fucked-up things that my issue isn’t so much that a character would go against their sexual orientation to get pregnant (though that still deserves a huge eye roll, because come on). It’s the fact that the writers take this act and never give us any sort of indication that it’s dubious or creepy. No, we just barge forward with Will considering being a father with no acknowledgement that he was used. Of course, he had sex, it’s part of the risk, but this just feels sloppy.

At the same time, I understand that Margot is desperate, and if anything, “Ko No Mono” certainly chronicles Margot’s experience with Mason. If we accept that the men in Margot’s life have done nothing but ruin her, then I can see her internal justification for using Will simply to get what she wants. Men are useless to her in practically every sense. Meanwhile, Michael Pitt continues to be ridiculously unreal as Mason, and we watch as he torments TWO people in different ways just so he can LITERALLY DRINK THEIR TEARS. Christ, it hurts to watch. HE IS ALSO THE WORST, right alongside Hannibal. I’d say that they need to fight to earn the title of Literal Worst, but I truthfully can’t even watch them be horrible anymore. NO, NOPE. I’m saying this while thinking about what Mason does to Margot in this episode, and at least for the moment, Mason is worse.

I think that the scene where he’s got her immobilized, prior to the forced operation where she’ll be unable to have children, is one of the absolute saddest things this show has ever done. Katherine Isabelle conveys both a sense of horror and defeat while lying there, unable to move, and it broke my heart. Even if Mason eventually pays for what he’s done, it won’t undo what happens here, and that fucks me up, y’all. And it’s not like forced sterilization is a fictional entity invented by this show just to mess us up. It’s one of the most real things we’ve seen on Hannibal, and it’s contrasted with the horrific imagery of Mason and all his assistants in red scrubs. It’s one of many surreal sequences in “Ko No Mono,” sure, but it hit so much harder than the others. It’s a deliberately sexualized form of violence that doesn’t hide behind a metaphor or bizarre imagery.


So, putting my issues aside with the bizarre and complicated shit I just described, there is a point to why Will’s fatherhood becomes so important to the story. If Will is conduit for creating life, what does that mean for him if he just destroyed a life? (In self-defense, of course.) There are purposeful misdirections on the part of the narrative to lead us to believe that Will murdered Freddie Lounds. (I’ll discuss that at the end, since I need to freak out a lot and ask A WHOLE BUNCH OF QUESTIONS.) We see him reborn at the beginning as the stag; we watch him and Hannibal discuss Freddie’s murderer over her body, and the two playfully speak in metaphors, toying with the truth hidden under the surface; and then, Freddie’s body is dug up and structured in reference to the Hindu god, Shiva.

This is important because, as we’ll learn later, Hannibal views himself as some sort of surrogate father. He was a father to his sister, Mischa. (HOLY SHIT, ARE THEY ACTUALLY GOING TO DELVE INTO HIS BACKSTORY???) He was then a father to Abigail. And you can easily see his perversion of fatherhood acted out with Will. The common thread between all these people is that Hannibal has so far used all of them for his own gain. Abigail and Mischa were murdered – destroyed, really – for Hannibal, and I think that if Will were not enacting his own long con of Hannibal, he’d be the next one lost to Hannibal’s growth. (And lord, I would read the fuck out of an essay analyzing Hannibal’s divine fatherhood and how he views himself as a lesser version of God. I didn’t want to deny that aspect of being a father, either.)

The whole thing was so strange to watch because for those two scenes where Hannibal and Will spoke of being a father, neither character was lying. It’s the most honest they’ve ever been with each other this season because there’s nothing under the surface, at least nothing I could see. I think Hannibal truly hates that he “had” to kill Mischa and Abigail. Of course, it’s so bogus to think about because he didn’t have to do it, but Hannibal’s rawness in those scenes was a strange thing to watch.

Ortolan bunting

I’m really proud of thinking of “Hannibal’s version of Peeps” on the fly. ONE OF MY PROUDER MOMENTS.

Alana Bloom and Freddie Lounds

Truthfully, both of their stories are intertwined in one another, even though Alana doesn’t experience this until the end. But the un-fucking-believable reveal that Freddie Lounds is alive AND IN JACK’S OFFICE has just… y’all, HOW DEEP DOES THIS CON GO???

Let me back up first. Throughout “Ko No Mono,” Alana doesn’t just begin to suspect that Freddie was close to the truth; paranoia and doubt begins to consume her. Of course, she directs this almost entirely towards Will, and it’s for a good reason. It’s clear that she suspects that he is lying to her constantly, and it’s only upon talking to him that she casts her net of suspicion wider. And y’all, as frustrating as it was to see her go after Will, I was utterly thrilled to see her character developed this way. Because this is not just about the story moving forward to that inevitable fight between Jack and Hannibal. (Though it’s now more clear than ever how that’s going to come about.) This is about Abigail refusing to be a part of this mess.

And yeah, I still think that her role this season could have been a lot more involved instead of making her feel like a pawn of other characters. Still, it was refreshing to see her question what she was a part of. She confronts Will, but then she confronts Hannibal in that UTTERLY TERRIFYING SCENE where he smells the gun residue on her and YOU’RE IN DANGER, GIRL, GET OUT. She takes that doubt, and she finally goes to Jack Crawford, and she calls him on his shit, and HOLY FUCK. HOLY FUCK.

DO YOU REALIZE WHAT THIS MEANS??? Actually, I’m not certain on all the details, but let me try to guess what’s going on:

  • Will, at some point, told Jack Crawford something to convince him to allow him to set up Hannibal Lecter. Whether this was before the past episode or after, I don’t quite know. I’ll be interested to find out. My guess is that it happened during “Shiizakana.” I also think that Will had to have come up with something that would have definitively turned Jack to his side. Did he have some sort of evidence?
  • Will convinced Freddie to stay quiet and hide in Jack’s office (or somewhere where Hannibal couldn’t find her or see her), and I imagine she was promised the exclusive of the UNIVERSE if she helped.
  • Wouldn’t Brian and Jimmy have to be involved in this, too? They tested the “corpse” of Freddie for dental records, and it came back as her, so… were they in on this? WHERE DID THEY GET THE BODY? Do they know???
  • (I realized that I was wrong about what the flaming body in the wheelchair referenced. That’s from Red Dragon.)
  • They had to hold a REAL funeral so that Hannibal would think she was dead. Was their surveillance of her “tomb”?????
  • WHAT IS THEIR ENDGAME? At what point does this con stop??? Do they need a certain amount of evidence? How are they going to navigate the complication of Will killing Randall Tier and then giving the body to Hannibal?
  • And where did the “people” come from that Will served Hannibal at the end of the last episode?

I really do need the next episode right fucking now. Obviously, I have a lot of questions, but I’m also curious to figure out if Jack will find out that Will just set up Mason to kill Hannibal. Which is now the second time he’s done something like this??? But shit, that final scene is such a perfect demonstration that WILL HAS FIGURED OUT WHEN HANNIBAL IS MANIPULATING HIM. He knew that Hannibal had pushed Margot towards him; he knew that Will would react terribly when his “fatherhood” was destroyed by Mason; he knew that Hannibal manipulated Mason and revealed Margot’s plan to get pregnant to him; and he tosses it all aside. He refuses to be a pawn to someone else’s plan – kind of like Alana in this episode! – and instead, he sets Hannibal’s murder in motion.


If you’re not a video person, then: I will host liveblogs for the final two episodes this season! The posts will go up the next two Friday mornings. I’ll be watching the episodes myself on Saturday, uploading the video and posting the review that day as well. HUZZAH FOR A THIRD SEASON.

The video for “Ko No Mono” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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