Hannibal Season Three: Apertivo

Apertivo, is  a beverage, usually wine,  that’s consumed before eating a meal, to clear the palette, and stimulate the appetite. This episode is  prelude to the  meal to come that is season three.

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In this episode, there’s not a lot of plot, but there is a lot of maneuvering, as the various players state their goals, and move themselves into position to resume the chase for Hannibal Lecter, who is living in exile in Florence, with Bedelia Du Maurier. Its not that nothing of consequence occurs during this episode, but we’ve spent the first three episodes of the season finding out where Hannibal and Will are, and what they’ve been doing, and this is our chance to find out who survived the Red Dinner, and  see what they have been doing since that night.

In a flashback, we see Crawford in the hospital next to his wife, Bella, who is dying of cancer. Just before she dies, she admonishes him for nearly getting killed, saying that unlike her he can stop what’s killing him, his obsession with the Chesapeake Ripper.Will Graham has gone home, back to fixing boat motors. The most startling change in the aftermath of The Red Dinner however, is Alana Bloom, who has become Mason Verger’s new therapist. Frederick Chilton encounters Alana when he visits Mason in an attempt to scheme the capture of Hannibal, but Mason rejects him, in favor of hiring  Alana. We start with Chilton and Mason Verger in a face off, as Mason takes off his mask, and Chilton removes his makeup, both of them showing off  facial scars received as a result of Lecter’s machinations.

You can see that Alana has undergone some radical emotional change, since her last encounter with Hannibal, when she was pushed out of a window by Abigail. Alana was as significantly changed by the events of that night as much as Will,  and Hannibal (who of course claims that he was not.) Alana is on a mission of revenge, but she goes about it in such a subtle manner that it’s difficult to tell what her plans are exactly, until she comes right out and states to Mason Verger that she is there to offer her services in capturing Hannibal. Mason is his usual vile self, making sexual jokes and asides to her, although I think he says these things to see how she will react to them. When she shows no reaction, (Alana has far more pressing concerns than Mason’s bullshit), we don’t see him talk that way to her again.

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This is also when Alana first meets Margot Verger, and you can immediately see that Margot is smitten  by her. Until now, we’ve been given no idea that Alana might be bisexual. Later, we see that the two of them have developed a romance, and are  working together to defeat Mason. The reason I find Alana so fascinating is that her survival of that night at Hannibal’s has really scarred her on an emotional level, to the point where her entire demeanor has changed, and she seems entirely unlike the woman we met in the first season.

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Alana has hardened. She is cool, blunt, and  pragmatic. She certainly seems less warm and motherly than she was three years ago. She is more calculating. This isn’t just the trauma of  having been thrown from a window by Hannibal’s protege. She is reacting to the final loss of Abigail ,a young woman she couldn’t save, the shame and guilt at not having listened to Will’s warning about getting close to Lecter, and whatever shame and guilt she felt as a result of having fallen for Lecter’s ruse that he loved her, and  the fact that he had been feeding her the bodies of his victims.

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Alana also dresses differently from the first and second seasons. Where before she wore pretty feminine wrap dresses, she now wears boldly patterned pants suits, with high collared coats and jackets, as an expression of power. In fact, she dresses the way Margot used to dress. What’s interesting is that Margot begins to dress in a more relaxed and casual manner than when we first met her, and I think it’s because her relationship with Alana has opened her  in a way she couldn’t express before. Remember when we first met Margot she wore a very severe wardrobe with high collars in stark colors, as a kind of armor against her brother.  In other words, Alana is good for her.


As usual though, no matter how progressive  male  showrunners believe themselves to be, they almost always fall into some of the same traps regarding female characters, by neglecting relationships between women on their shows. Often there’s just a lone female character, and when there’s more than one, the women are often in adversarial relationships with each other. This is starting to change as shows begin to hire more women writers and showrunners. I’m glad to see the show has moved away from that dynamic in the third season. We only just met Margot halfway through season two,  so don’t know enough about her other than she is a woman who knows what she wants, and has no problem making it known, and she makes it clear ,she wants Alana.

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In flashback we see Crawford visit Will Graham at his home and ask Will why he contacted Lecter to warn him that the police were coming that night. Will Confesses that he did it because Hannibal was his friend, and that he wanted to leave with him, but couldn’t. It is interesting that he and Hannibal, as far apart as they are, are emotionally sitting in the same place, regretting their actions towards each other, and missing one another terribly while  both of them are engaged in a semi-contentious relationship with a close friend.

Chilton, still scheming, goes to Crawford to ask for his help in capturing Lecter, after his rejection by Mason. Crawford tell him that he is officially out of the business of  chasing Hannibal. He says he has had enough and only wants to tend to his wife in her last days. We later find out that this is a lie, and that he has hatched a plan for Will to lure Hannibal out of hiding, so they can kill him. Or rather say, he has decided to follow Will to Hannibal. Chilton has come to the party too late, because all the key players have already formed their personal Hannibal Recapture teams.

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Eventually, Bella dies, and Crawford is enraged to find that Hannibal has sent him a condolence card. Will Graham attends the funeral and Crawford tries to talk him out of the plan to capture Hannibal. He warns Will that he will probably be killed. But Will is determined (for a number of reasons) and sets out on a boat to Florence. How does he know where Hannibal is? He simply knows Hannibal. Both Chilton and Alana are aware that Will can lead them to Lecter, but it is only Chilton who mentions this to Jack ,who follows Will to Europe. Alana elects to find out on her own, rather than attempt talking to Will again, as the last time they spoke, he rejected her.

Essentially this episode is about a bunch of horribly scarred and vengeful people teaming up to hunt down the man who did this to them before he skipped town. Its almost as if they had learned nothing from their previous inability to capture Hannibal. Later, these same scheming tactics will be in used at the tail end of the season in an attempt to not only capture the Red Dragon, but destroy Hannibal Lecter, once and for all.

Hannibal Season Two Finale: Mizumono

And so we end with a perfect cap on this season. We began in episode one, with a forecast of how the season would end, with a massive knockdown fight, between Jack Crawford and Hannibal. How did we get from them being friends to that point? The rest of the season is really just a flashback, to how we reach that moment, and its aftermath.

All season long ,we’ve watched Will Graham, thoroughly unburdened by the illness he was suffering  in that first season, at the top of his game. Most of this season chronicles Will’s  fall from grace. In his efforts to capture the Chesapeake Ripper, he finds himself in spiritual, and emotional, alignment with Hannibal. After failing to get any traction on his accusation that Hannibal is the Ripper, Will, in collusion with a newly believing Jack, after  Beverly’s death, embarked on a campaign to take down Hannibal, by cozying up to him, winning his trust, and gathering  evidence of wrongdoing. Hannibal being too canny for that plan to work, didn’t enter into their equations, and Will found himself being drawn  further down the rabbit hole of Hannibal’s machinations. Hannibal’s goal is  to make Will realize that he is just as much a killer as Hannibal, and make him his partner in death.This culminates in the death of Randall Tier at Will’s hands, in self-defense, and the seeming death of Freddie Lounds.

In this episode everything comes to a head. Jack’s predicament in allowing Will’s plan, Will’s predicament in lying to Hannibal, and the actual fate of Abigail Hobbes is revealed.

Hannibal sends Jack a letter, inviting him to dine with him and Will, and he accepts. Will and Jack discuss this Last Supper, while finalizing their plan to catch The Chesapeake Ripper. Alana is filled with doom and gloom and nightmares, as she begins to realize exactly what’s been happening, and what Hannibal is. She hasn’t been sleeping and is filled with dread that Hannibal has laid a trap for all of them.

Jack is finally successful in finding Hannibal’s therapist Bedelia Du’Maurier, who had gone into hiding, after she felt threatened by Hannibal. In his interview with her, Bedelia warns Will that Hannibal will find a way to prevail. She explains what hold Hannibal has over her. Will and Jack offer her immunity from prosecution for her testimony against Hannibal. An astute observer, she can somehow tell that Will’s loyalties have been severely compromised, and that it is Will’s weakness that will hand Hannibal his victory over their plans.

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Bella Crawford is dying in the hospital of lung cancer. Hannibal visits her and they discuss forgiveness. She says she forgives him for saving her life, and letting her die in this manner, but in return, Hannibal has to save Jack, the way Hannibal saved her. She has no idea that Hannibal didn’t save her out of caring or friendship, but as an exercise to see  what would happen, and to distract Jack from his hunt for The Ripper. She never discovers that Hannibal not only doesn’t keep his promise to save Jack but makes plans with Will Graham to kill him.

Nevertheless, Bella’s words about forgiveness come back to haunt Hannibal in season three. Unbeknownst to her she (and everyone he has met) does have an effect on him. In fact, even though Hannibal later claims that Will and the others had effected no change in him, that is a lie. Since becoming involved with the FBI, and knowing Will, Hannibal has developed close relationships with many people he would otherwise have never met. Remember  season one, when  Hannibal was a profoundly lonely man, who didn’t realize just how alone he was. After involving himself with Will, he became surrounded by people who cared about and trusted him, and although that did not prevent him from killing any of them, it has affected his attitudes and behaviors in small ways that will  play out in season three.

Will is clearly conflicted about Hannibal. As he makes plans with Jack, he also helps Hannibal destroy evidence in his office. While the two of them burn Hannibal’s files,  they make plans to run away together. Will is cagey about the commitment but it all becomes moot anyway, when Hannibal, with his keen sense of smell, scents Freddie Lound’s hair shampoo on Will’s clothes. Will had just had a meeting with her to ask her not to write any more stories involving Abigail, and to let her rest in peace, as he makes plans for Hannibal’s imminent capture.

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Will and Hannibal discuss what would happen to Hannibal if he were ever captured and Hannibal says he would live inside his Memory Palace, (something peripherally mentioned in the Silence of the Lambs), which is a place deep inside his mind, which resembles the foyer of the Norman Chapel in Palermo. Foreshadowing: This is information that Will uses to find Hannibal in season three.

Just as Hannibal has his Memory Palace, Will also has one. Fishing in the river.We saw Will visiting this place when he was in prison. At the time, Hannibal as the RavenStag, or the ManStag, was often shown infiltrating Will’s private mental space, illustrating that Hannibal (and Abigail) were never far from Will’s thoughts. Later, in season three, Will easily visits Hannibal’s Memory Palace. As an example of how intertwined their thoughts are, by that point, its not immediately clear to the viewer, whose mind we’re visiting, Will’s or Hannibal’s.

While having dinner, Hannibal asks Will to just leave with him, and not inform Jack, but Will lies to Hannibal, saying that Jack deserves to know, and puts forth the idea that Jack be killed. Hannibal doesn’t require that Jack die but he allows Will to keep lying to him. He was hoping that Will would come clean but he didn’t. Hannibal makes other plans at this point.

Kade Prunell, the Special Investigator, has caught wind of Jack’s plan. She aims to put a stop to it because its a complete violation of the law, and a private citizen’s rights. Claiming that the imminent death of his wife has compromised his logic, she suspends Jack from his position as Director. Jack, now free of any legal obligations to capture Hannibal alive, surrenders his gun and badge. Alana comes to his defense, arguing that the only way that Hannibal can be captured is in the act, , but Kade won’t hear of it. She tells Alana that Jack and Will are to be arrested for what happened to Randall Tier. Alana calls Will, to warn him about the warrants put out for his and Jack’s arrests, while Jack visits Bella in the hospital one last time.

Will calls Hannibal. Just as this whole thing began, that first season, with Hannibal’s phone call to Garrett Jacob Hobbes, (just because he was curious what would happen), Will’s phone call to Hannibal sets in motion a series of events that will end in tragedy for everyone in Hannibal’s orbit, and have repercussions far into their futures, as it sets off what fans  know as The Diner Rouge, The Red Dinner, where everyone’s  paths cross.

Jack arrives early for dinner at Hannibal’s home. They exchange pleasantries, but they both understand each other very well, in this instance. They begin to fight.

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Hannibal bests Jack and Jack locks himself in the walk-in cupboard, with a near mortal wound to the throat. Alana arrives to find Hannibal trying to batter his way in to finish off Jack. When she attracts his attention, he tells her that he tried, very hard, to keep her ignorant of what he is, expresses regret that he has to say goodbye to her, and as a courtesy, tells her she should flee. She fires at Hannibal but Hannibal had earlier removed the bullets from her gun.

Now she flees. She runs upstairs with Hannibal in pursuit, although he leaves the  kitchen knives behind. Alana is shocked to encounter Abigail Hobbes in an upstairs bedroom. Abigail pushes her out the window, and heads downstairs.

Will is just arriving. He finds Alana broken on the front steps, but alive. She warns him about Jack, while he calls for Emergency Services, then he goes inside where he finally sees that Abigail is actually alive. Shocked by this turn of events he doesn’t try to defend himself as Hannibal approaches. Hannibal says it was meant to be a surprise, the three of them going away together, as one big happy family. But that will never happen now. Just as Hannibal had his moment of complete understanding with Jack, Hannibal and Will have their moment. Hannibal is full of righteous fury about Will’s betrayal and deception.Will knows Hannibal is going to kill him and he accepts that he deserves it. What he didn’t count on was Hannibal taking Abigail away from him, again.

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To show Will his power, and to punish Will for his betrayal, (even if Will did renege at the last minute and warn him) Hannibal stabs Will in the stomach, but doesn’t kill him, although he easily could have, and as Will lays dying, Hannibal cuts Abigail’s throat in front of him. We end as we began, in season one, with Will clutching Abigail’s throat trying to save her life. Killing Abigail is also a moment of defiance because Will said he  affected Hannibal’s life for the good. Killing Abigail is Hannibal’s way of showing Will how little he changed him. After all, if he had changed him, would he be able to do this? But Will, in complete understanding, knows that the very act of killing Abigail, in defiance of Will’s assertions, is in itself, evidence of how much Hannibal has changed.

It’s also Hannibal just being petty and angry. He claims Will didn’t affect who he is, but he allowed Will to get close to him, and trusted him. Will did to Hannibal what Hannibal was doing to Alana, and that betrayal hurts. Its one of the reasons Hannibal kept himself aloof from other people all those years. Not just to protect his secret life, but the understanding that emotional connections would compromise his survival instincts. This is him showing Will that he is not compromised.

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But of course Will affected him, or he wouldn’t feel so much pain.

And this is not something out of character for Hannibal. The entire time that we’ve known Hannibal, he has tried to maintain a facade of equanimity, and dispassion, most of the time (I imagine for most of his life). He’s not emotionless. He has a deep well of emotion, but he maintains a rather impassive veneer. When he does get caught up in his emotions, and allow them to take rein, usually people die, and the Diner Rouge is no different event.

Most of the time we see Hannibal killing others from a place of clinical detachment. Killing is just something he thinks needs doing. This season we’ve seen him kill from emotion, at least once , when he killed the Judge who threw out his testimony during Will’s trial. He was insulted and outraged at his treatment, feeling lonely because of Will’s absence, and killing the Judge fell in line with removing an obstacle to his happiness. (Remember, before he decides to kill the Judge, there’s a scene of him sitting alone in his office, realizing exactly how much he played himself, when he had Will arrested, and how much he misses Will.)

At the end of season one Hannibal frames Will for survival reasons. At the end of season two, he is still in a mental  place, where he thinks more of himself, than he does the people in his orbit. He is still very much a selfish creature at the end of season one. But all during season two he has allowed himself to  care about Will, the only person he has ever allowed himself to have emotions for, since the death of his sister Misha, and he gets betrayed for his trouble. He’s not just mad at Will. He’s angry that he got suckered. Not ever having built up any kind of immunity against even the most the casual pains that human beings can inflict on each other, Hannibal is like a dangerous child, lashing out at anyone who hurts him.

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Having officially burned all his bridges, he steps out into the cleansing rain, believing that this part of his life is over, and that he can begin anew, casually stepping over Alana’s prone body, without even checking to see if she’s still alive. She meant nothing to him except as a means to control Will. He only made overtures to her when it looked like she might fall for Will, and only kept up a relationship with her so that Will couldn’t.

The final coda to this episode is Hannibal on a plane bound for Europe in the company of his psychiatrist, Bedelia Du’Maurier.


I started writing these reviews because I couldn’t find any good meta for this show that had been written after season two. I just decided, rather than scouring the internet for it, I should just write something myself.

Next up: The entirety of season three in my Hannibal re-watch.






On Tumblr: Hannibal Meta

*Yes, I’m still fascinated by this show, its characters, and its meanings. I hope some of you guys are just as interested, so here’s some Hannibal meta, that showed up on my dashboard, from when the show was at its peak. This might  spur some of you to re- watch certain episodes with a fresh perspective.
Remember Bedelia’s statement, later in the first season, about Hannibal’s careful facade and that she could catch glimpses of the real man through his human suit. This is important because Hannibal has been wearing this “person suit” from the moment Will first met him.
From: hannibalsbattlebot

On the surface, Will telling Hannibal “I don’t find you that interesting” seems unbelievably rude. Ah, we think, Hannibal must find Will special if he puts up with that. But, this early on Hannibal has only shown Will his mask, his human suit. To most people, the facade is interesting enough. That’s the point. All the trappings were put there by Hannibal to distract everyone from his real self. When Will is not impressed by this smoke screen, he has passed an important test.


*This is an essay about Hannibal’s ability to feel. I would say that yes, he does have emotions, but I would argue they are somewhat truncated, not as fully developed as they should be in a grown man, as he rarely, if ever expends emotion on anyone other than Will or himself.

It’s not that Hannibal’s emotions are fake, (although I believe in some cases they are), but when we do see him showing emotions towards others, I think that he’s simply going through the motions,  pretending to care about Jack, or Alana, for example, and when he does have genuine emotions for others, like Abigail and Will, it’s only in relation to how close/useful that person is to himself.He certainly has emotions when it comes to something directly affecting him, but something that directly affects others, not so much.

In other words, Hannibal lacks empathy.

From: slayerangels

”Will loves Hannibal because he doesn’t have emotions and so Will can be himself around him because he can’t pick up feelings from Hannibal with his empathy disorder.”

I’ve seen this idea a few times and it’s baffling. Here’s a list of reasons why that’s wrong:

1. Hannibal has emotions. Many emotions. His emotions are not fake. He shows emotions when people aren’t even observing him or in the same room. He was upset at what happened to Margot after Will left the room. He was upset that Bella died and was crying over it by himself in Italy. He moped around about Will in Italy the entire time. He missed Will so much in Sorbet he was fidgeting around and clearly upset about it. He was mad that Gideon was calling himself the Ripper. He gets super annoyed at rude people. These are all emotions.


2. Will can “read” the Ripper enough to know which crimes scenes are his and which aren’t and also give a history about his childhood to Jack. Will can also “read” the copycat. Hannibal is the Ripper and the copycat. So, Will can read Hannibal. Which is why Hannibal got super defensive about Will in Season 1 and framed him and put him in prison. Because he knew Will would find him out eventually.

3. Will can “seduce” and “deceive” Hannibal in S2 because he can empathize with him or “understand” him. Hannibal says this directly and Will agrees.

4. Hannibal and Will share a memory palace. Will goes to places he has been to “read” him, just like he does at crime scenes. Will knows Hannibal “intimately” as he says himself. If he likes being around him because he doesn’t “pick up” things from his empathy, then that makes no sense.

5. Will doesn’t automatically know who a killer is, even if he’s investigating their crimes. Tobias is a prime example. Hannibal realized Tobias was a killer immediately, Will didn’t. Another example would be Abigail. Hannibal knew she was a killer before Will did. If anything Hannibal has more insight into people than Will does. That doesn’t mean he has less empathy than Will, it means he has the same amount or more. “I can’t turn it off anymore than you can” Hannibal says to Will in Aperitif. When Hannibal was doing Will’s job in S2 for Jack he got the job done, he figured out who the killer was and why he was killing and exactly where he was, he just didn’t tell all that info to Jack because he wanted to go kill him first. Hannibal can in fact do Will’s job and he helps Will do his job better, “Will has never been more effective than he is with you inside his head”. Hannibal knows all about the Shrike enough to help Will figure out who the Shrike really is, right from the beginning of the show. “He had to show me a negative so that I could see the positive, that crime scene was practically gift wrapped.” My point being that just because Will doesn’t know Hannibal is the Ripper for a while (about 3 months) doesn’t mean that he can’t “read” Hannibal’s emotions. His empathy disorder doesn’t make him psychic and it isn’t supernatural.

I get it’s hard to understand why Will didn’t realize Hannibal was in love with him, but this is no explanation. It negates the entire show. Other explanations should be entertained. Will knows that Hannibal is very sad over him, “He sent us his broken heart” and he knows that the key to understand him is love, “No one can be fully aware of another human being unless we love them” and he knows he can take advantage of Hannibal’s feelings for him, “You’d only do that if I’d rejected you.” So, taking all that into account, the explanation that he just didn’t want to fully believe it, he was lying to himself, or wanted it confirmed by Bedelia (because he was afraid Hannibal loved her or because he believed she would know more than anyone else), or some combination of those is the most likely.


*I loved this particular meta. I have yet to start reviewing season 3, so  haven’t discussed Will’s mind pendulum  yet.

From: silkysimpona

Will’s Mind Pendulum

Has anyone else noticed the difference between Will analyzing Hannibal’s crime scene and Will analyzing someone else’s crime scene?

When he investigates the Leeds murder in The Great Red Dragon, his mind pendulum makes an appearance for the first time in season 3.


The pendulum is a way for Will to get into the murder empathy mindset, but it also represents a physical barrier between him and the subject he wants to analyze. In essence, it establishes a defensive barrier between his sense of self and his sense of the killer’s self, keeping them completely separate from each other. The stronger the pendulum, the stronger his sense of self.

Compare this to his analysis of the Hannibal’s crime scene in Primavera. Here, Will doesn’t use a pendulum. There is just a brief blur in and blur out to signify his entrance into Hannibal’s state of mind.


At this point, his mind is so intertwined with Hannibal’s that he doesn’t need the physical act of the pendulum to get him into the correct mindset. His sense of self is already almost entirely wrapped up and muddled up with Hannibal’s. Not only does he not need to use his pendulum in this moment, he probably can’t use his pendulum to put up a mental barrier between them. They’re already conjoined after all.

In Dolce, Will says to Hannibal, “You and I have begun to blur.” I think it’s pretty neat that they were able to illustrate that with the simple absence of a pendulum effect.


*This essay is about something I touched on in an earlier essay, regarding how Alana changed after her relationship with Hannibal, how she became, in the third season, harder and colder, in reaction to having known him. It also points out some interesting details about Margot.

You know what I really fucking love about Marlana? (everything)

No but really, aside from everything, one specific thing that I love about them is that they had equally interesting but “opposite” wardrobe changes as their characters developed.

Alana started out with the wrap dresses, which were usually not layered with anything, and then by season 3 she was wearing three piece suits. She armored up. Did she abandon femininity? Hell no. But she still, finally, after implicitly trusting Jack, Hannibal, and Will and being betrayed in that trust by literally all of them, learned to protect herself. She withdrew her trust and the physical armor of the suits reflected that change nicely. (One could also argue that she consciously or unconsciously was imitating Hannibal.)

Margot, on the other hand, started out with these incredibly stiff and layered outfits. Her hair buns were sleek and severe, and her lipstick reflected that. Need I say anything about the shoulder pads–designed to make her appear larger, more intimidating? Yes, Margot was protecting herself with these layers of clothing, I don’t think anyone failed to pick up on that. And then she meets Alana. And she makes this switch to softer clothing choices, and hairstyles, and makeup. But only with her.

I find this to be really awesome because both of these wardrobe choices were incredibly well-thought-through. Both of them accurately reflected the development each of them was going through. And that’s really cool because a lot of the time in media you see more masculine girls lauded for becoming more feminine in coming-of-age stories, or by contrast, feminine girls who become more masculine to redeem themselves (e.g. Regina George in Mean Girls). And what I love about Marlana is that there’s none of that, because both of their transformations were intensely personal and reflected what they personally were going through.


*This one is about the loneliness of both Will and Hannibal.

Do you ache for him?For me, these two scenes effectively sum up just how alone Hannibal and Will are without each other. We see Will desperately attempting to focus all his attention on fixing a boat motor, a problem we heard Hannibal refer to as ‘easy’ to solve in season one. The simplicity of this creates a stark contrast in relation to Will’s current state of mind regarding his feelings for Hannibal, confirmed through the series of flashbacks we see. Will is not entirely haunted by the fact that Hannibal gutted him; he is haunted by the fact that Hannibal left him. We see flashbacks of Hannibal holding Will, followed by Will falling to the ground and Hannibal bending over him. These are not the typical flashbacks generally associated with people suffering from post-traumatic stress; these flashbacks are rooted in Will’s heartbreak over the fact that Hannibal left him.

In relation to Hannibal, we see him sat in a chair, pensive as he stares ahead. This in itself is unusual as we usually see Hannibal busying himself with something or other. Again this serves to elucidate just how barren his existence is without Will. This also confirms how much Will has changed him, given that the Hannibal we met in season one was entirely self-reliant and self-serving. I believe there was a void in Hannibal’s life, an ache he couldn’t quite identify or pinpoint. Will filled that void. Independence and the isolation associated with it was something Hannibal was used to and previously drew comfort from. Now there is no comfort in his isolation. He and Will quickly realise and accept just how empty, how devoid of purpose their lives are without each other, testament of the vicious mutual co-dependency they each fostered.


Ooh, I really enjoyed this one, which outlines the various ways that people respond to threatening behavior, and specifically to how Hannibal responds to Will.

I just noticed a dynamic between these guys that I’d never quite put together before: in precise contrast to what Will thinks he wants, he will always fail to follow through on a lethal confrontation with Hannibal if (and only if) Hannibal makes a show of rolling over for him.
Bear with me for a sec because this is kind of fascinating: a while ago, I read a book called On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. The author Dave Grossman proposed a theory which jives with a lot of stuff I learned in anthropology classes, but he has a particularly pithy way of describing it. Between animals of the same species, he says, the choices of behavior in a confrontation aren’t as simple as the “fight or flight” choice we usually talk about.

Grossman calls his model “fight, flight, posture, or submit.” This model takes into account a common trait among most animals (including humans): members of the same species almost never jump immediately to the ‘fight’ option in a confrontation. Doing so would result in needless deaths, particularly among younger individuals who haven’t yet learned to defend themselves, and then to eventual depopulation and extinction.

Instead, animals tend to begin confrontations by posturing – by making a show of their superiority in an attempt to make the other party back down. If, during the posturing phase, it becomes clear that the individuals are fairly evenly matched, they are likely to start a physical fight in order to establish dominance, while still avoiding lethal attacks if possible.

However, if it becomes clear during the posturing phase that one of the individuals is definitely strong enough to defeat the other one, the weaker opponent will do one of two things: flee or submit. I’ll just quote the book here:

“Submission is a surprisingly common response, usually taking the form of fawning and exposing some vulnerable portion of the anatomy to the victor, in the instinctive knowledge that the opponent will not kill or further harm one of its own kind once it has surrendered.”

So, now that we’ve got all that context out of the way, let’s talk about Will and Hannibal!

Keep reading


*Here’s a more scholarly approach to why the show, Hannibal, is the way it is, and what that means to the larger culture.

White Collar Cannibal: the Gentrified Grotesque in NBC’s Hannibal

Hannibal Season 2: Tome-Wan

Tome-Wan would at first appear to be one of these interstitial episodes between momentous events, but a number of important events happen in this episode , so its not filler.

There are a number of confrontations, in the aftermath of Will snitching to Mason about how the whole situation between Mason, Margot, and Will was orchestrated by Hannibal.

Will tells Hannibal what he said to Mason, and when Hannibal asks why, he tells him he wanted to see what would happen, throwing back at Hannibal his excuse for why Hannibal warned Garrett Jacob-Hobbes, long ago in that first episode. There are a number of callbacks by Will to that first season.

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Hannibal asks Will to close his eyes and imagine what he’d like Mason to do to Hannibal. Will imagines Hannibal hanging from the rafters in Mason’s pigpen, wearing a straitjacket. In his mind he is the one who slits Hannibal’s throat. Will is suffering from a severe case of “lovehate”. Hannibal has been the architect of so much misery that he can’t wait to see him dead (or captured). At the same time, there’s a part of him that finds all of this exciting, and revels in Hannibal’s antics. Will gets to use his hidden  savage self in service to the state, and loves letting that part of himself of its leash. You can see it in the last episode where he confronted Mason.

Mason confronts Hannibal during his next therapy session. He’s being especially hard on Hannibal’s nerves, as he critiques his drawings, declaring them to be crap, throwing his feet onto Hannibal’s desk, and stabbing at them with a penknife, like a bratty ten year old, which is exactly where Mason is, mentally. He hasn’t evolved beyond the spoiled child stage, and doesn’t seem to realize that he is dealing with a wholly different type of animal than anything he’s ever encountered. Mason is a small fish that, because of his narcissism, thinks he’s pretty big, in a big pond. He doesn’t even conceive that he’s dealing with  Hannibal the  Great White.

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Mason tells Hannibal that he should have stayed out of Verger family business, and threatens to slit his throat. Hannibal, who never gives anything of himself away, acts completely unperturbed, so you know that Mason is  a walking dead man, and that Hannibal have to do this himself, since Will isn’t cooperating with his masterplan of having Will kill Mason. Watch Hannibal’s face during this scene. You can see he is barely holding himself back from snapping the shit outta that little fucker. (Not in the office, Hannibal! Not in the office! – In the voice of Last Week’s John Oliver.)

In Margot’s therapy session with Hannibal, she is broken and restrained. After her forced hysterectomy, (which his quite possibly one of the most heinous things ever done on this show, and that’s saying something, when you consider this is a a show about serial killers.), she has learned her lesson about trying to oppose her brother, and all her hope is lost.In fact all seems lost for everyone, as there are a number of setbacks for all the characters, in this episode.

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Jack Crawford, who is frustrated at how long its taking Will to ensnare Hannibal, has a surprise for Will. He has found and detained Bedelia Du’Maurier, Hannibal’s former psychiatrist. She tried to run away because she knew Hannibal was dangerous for her, but the FBI has done her the favor of putting her back on his radar, as he was too busy with his machinations with Will, to search for her himself.

Will questions Bedelia about Hannibal’s weaknesses. She tells him of her fear of him, how he manipulates others into doing his dirty work for him, something which Will is experiencing first hand, and confesses about the patient Hannibal set her up to kill.She says Hannibal will persuade Will to kill someone he loves, but the only person Will has left to love is Alana. Hannibal has carefully removed everyone else from Will’s life, including the idea of his unborn child.

Hannibal may  be aware of how much Will hates him, during their next therapy session, but he completely disregards the depths to which Will will sink in pursuit of him. Will accuses Hannibal of fostering co-dependency. Hannibal doesn’t want anyone in Will’s life but himself. Which, when you think about it, is one of Hannibal’s creepier aspects.

While Hannibal is drawing one evening, Mason’s henchman, Carlo, bursts in and kidnaps Hannibal, but not without a fight in which Mateo, a friend of Carlo, loses his life, after Hannibal stabs him in the femoral artery with a scalpel.. Carlo stuns Hannibal,  takes him to Muskrat Farm, and trusses him over Mason’s pigpen. This is directly from the book and movie, Hannibal, where Mason Verger has Hannibal in this same position.

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Just as in his imagining, Will is prodded by Mason to slit Hannibal’s throat. We’re not sure exactly whats going on in Will’s mind. He certainly hates Hannibal, but when given an opportunity to kill him he balks, and later when given the opportunity to capture Hannibal, he warns him instead. Does Will even know what he wants, or why? Instead of cutting his throat, Will frees Hannibal but gets knocked out by Carlo for his troubles. Hannibal just leaves Will there unconscious and spirits Mason away for some,  more private, torture.

When Will wakes up he finds blood streaked everywhere, no sign of mason and Carlo’s body, which was eaten by the pigs. He goes back to his home to find Hannibal there with Mason. Hannibal has drugged Mason and induced him to cut off pieces of his flesh, using his father’s knife, and feed it to Will’s dogs. I’m not sure how lost Will is in this scene. He seems  amused at what Hannibal is doing. Is he happy because he finally has evidence of Hannibal doing something actionable in front of him, or is he simply amused at Hannibal’s antics? In a  nastily gruesome scene, Hannibal also orders Mason to cut off his lips and nose, and eat them. What makes this scene especially grotesque is Mason’s mental state. As he happily mutilates his face, he still crack plenty of jokes, about it.

Finally disturbed , Will urges Hannibal to finish Mason, but canny predator that he is, Hannibal doesn’t kill Mason. Instead he carefully paralyzes Mason with a precise break of his neck.

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Weeks later, Jack Crawford questions Mason about what happened to him, but Mason says he fell into his own pigpen, and  sings nothing but praises for Hannibal Lecter’s care. But we know better. This shit ain’t over as far as Mason is concerned. Or maybe it is. As Jack leaves, Mason is confronted by Margot, who tells him that she will take very good care of him. She’s the one in power now. I really love this scene, for the look of deep gratification on Margot’s face, as she says this.

Later, Will and Hannibal are debating whether  to confess their sins to Jack, or not. Hannibal weighs the idea that Jack should be told, and then killed, after which he and Will will run off together.

Hannibal Season Two: Ko No Mono

(Yes! I’m still writing these, even if no one is reading them. They’re kinda fun to write, and good practice for my other essays.)

In the last episode we saw Will Graham murdering Freddie Lounds at his house, and we assume that he, and Hannibal, ate parts of her body. Alana is growing increasingly perturbed by Will and Hannibal’s relationship, as Will appears to be becoming more and more like Hannibal, in his and Jack’s scheme to capture him.

As the episode begins, we are with the Wendigo and the Ravenstag, in the forest, as the Stag falls over, and squirts blood. While we watch, a new creature, based on a combination of the Wendigo and Will Graham, claws it’s way out of the Stag’s limp body. Will is once again, as he was earlier in the season, being haunted by thoughts of Lecter. The Stag began as a kind of precursor to Lecter’s presence, always appearing to Will in moments when he was subconsciously thinking of Hannibal, and sometimes, just before Hannibal’s actual appearance. As the series progressed, Hannibal’s icon has morphed into the Wendigo, while Will has taken on the Ravenstag as a subconscious token of himself. This happens especially as he’s gotten closer and closer to Hannibal. And now, as his relationship with Hannibal nears a crescendo, he secretly fears he’s become Hannibal’s iconic twin.

This becomes obvious in Hannibal and Will’s discussion at table, as Hannibal tells him that killing Freddie Lounds has changed Will’s thinking, remarking that Will’s imperturbability is a sign of true sociopathy. During this romantic dinner, Will and Hannibal swallow  some whole, tiny, naked birds, that look not unlike little babies, but what this is symbolic of, is not made clear, unless it’s a reference to all the fighting over Margot’s unborn baby, that happens later in the show.

Bryan Fuller:  Master of Symbolism.

That evening, a figure strapped into a burning wheelchair is pushed into a parking garage. The body lands in Freddie’s parking space, so we are meant to believe this is her, which is confirmed by Team Price and Zeller, when they examine the body. Naturally, Jack calls in Will and Hannibal to examine the body as well, and they do that thing where they stand around making assertions about the killer.  I’m still confused about how these personality assumptions, based solely on looking at the burned body,  would ever help the authorities capture any kind of criminal, but this is TV, where you’re not supposed to think too deeply about stuff like that, especially when it looks cool. In the movie, Red Dragon,  it’s slightly more realistically depicted, with a team of people sitting around brainstorming about a particular crime. Watch that scene where Chilton’s burned body has been discovered, with the team guessing where the killer might have done it, and how, so as to narrow down vectors of investigation.  That’s probably a little more like real-life profiling. In the show, Will and Hannibal look like they’re just riffing.

Later, Margot admits to Will that she slept with him just to get pregnant. And it works because she’s now carrying the Verger heir, and her brother can’t threaten to boot her out of the family anymore, making her homeless and destitute. Will is understandably upset about being so callously used, but isn’t this what he’s essentially doing with Hannibal? Pretending to be Hannibal’s friend, to accomplish some personal goal. So when Will feels a sense of betrayal at what Margot did, he should understand how exactly Hannibal felt, when he learns Will has been lying to him the entire time.

Margot says she wants nothing from him (being wealthy, she’d need for nothing anyway) but says she wouldn’t mind if he wants to be a part of the child’s life. She certainly doesn’t want Mason to be an influence because look how he turned out. He’s vile, petty, arrogant, abusive, entitled and whiny. In the movies the character is slightly more nuanced, but I think that’s more due to Gary Oldman’s acting, rather then the writing. Also in the books, and movies, we never met the version of Mason that hadn’t met up with Lecter, a much bigger shark.  In fact TV Mason has few, if any, redeeming qualities. I don’t even like Mason and I’ve  only seen him onscreen for a few minutes. At that moment, he’s psychologically tormenting a small child at Muskrat Farm, making him cry, so he can collect the little boy’s tears. In the books it’s stated that Mason is a child molester, and that he, did indeed, molest Margot. In the show it’s only heavily implied and never illustrated, in keeping with Fuller’s general idea of showing characters being vile, while not actually showing their victims being victimized. There’s a minimum of running, screaming, and terrorizing, on this show, which is very thoughtful of him. Most writers and directors seem to think that the screaming and terror of victims is what creates horrific moments, and I think that’s just lazy writing. (Plus, who wants to listen to 90 minutes of constant screaming? That shit is annoying.)

Afterwards, Alana visits Will at his home, (he’s still dreaming about the Wendigo), and spurred by Freddie’s insinuations, she expresses her misgivings about Will and Hannibal’s relationship. Will is more than a little salty that she’d question his relationship with Hannibal, while she is sleeping  with him.  This is the second time he’s mentioned that to her. He’s also more than a little salty about how no one believed him, when he said Hannibal was a killer. He says no one will believe Alana now, if she says Will is a killer. But he still cares about her and shows her the only way he knows how. He warns her about Hannibal and gives her a gun. Alana looks pretty flummoxed. I guessed she really wasn’t expecting that as a response. I did get the sense that  Will isn’t just worried about Hannibal coming after her, but expects her to use the gun on him, if he gets too lost in his roleplay.

Mason Verger has taken Hannibal up on his offer of therapy, and he is as whining and and thoughtless as you’d expect. Hannibal can’t stand him. Watch his face when Mason visits his office. He’s probably wishing he could kill him right then. Even I winced at Mason’s actions, and I’m not nearly as fastidious in my behavior as Hannibal. If you’re looking to find some excuse for why Mason is so vile, such as he was horribly abused as a child, or sexually assaulted, or something, Fuller refuses to give you that out. There’s no particular reason Mason is the way he is. He was spoiled and overindulged by his father, and has simply never grown past being a rotten ten year old.  He gleefully tells Hannibal about the arrangement his father made that would cut his sister out of the will, if anything happens to him. Hannibal is the one who puts the thought in Mason’s head that his sister could always upend his plans by  getting pregnant.

A funeral is held for Lounds, while Will and Alana watch it from afar, exchanging terse words again, their friendship is totally broken at this point, even though they still care deeply for each other, but it’s something that won’t play out until the third season. That night someone digs up Freddie’s body and mutilates it to look like the Hindu Goddess Kali, posed with extra arms. This body sculpture is a pun on how Hannibal sees himself, as a godlike figure, who is both creator and destroyer, giving and taking life. This time Alana is called in to profile the person who desecrated the body and she sees a connection between Randall Tier and Lounds. She insists to Jack that it might be Will. She goes to Hannibal  and expresses the same fears about Will. Hannibal is distracted by the scent of gunpowder on her hands and she tells him she’s been paranoid.

Although Hannibal is a master manipulator, it’s been shown that he often sets things in motion, and moves people around, with no idea of the eventual outcome. He sets disastrous events in motion, on nothing more than spite, or whim, with no idea of the end results, how many people will be drawn into play, or even if he’ll walk away from them intact, just as happened between Will and Abigail’s  father. Ironically, its this inability  to keep himself from intervening, that first sets Will on his scent, beginning their narrative together.

Mason confronts Margot at the estate, hinting that he knows she’s pregnant, having been given he idea that she might be by Hannibal. Margot has no safe place on the estate. Mason can invade her spaces anytime, and knows it. I always wondered why Margot didn’t just walk out on the entire thing, but  then Ithink  that she likes the perks of being rich, too much, to leave it, and likely has no marketable skills,with which to live in the world, and make her own way. Her father would’ve seen to that, expecting her to get married, and be taken care of by a husband, and most certainly had not counted on his daughter being a lesbian.

I’m still not entirely certain Mason knows Margot is pregnant or if he is just guessing. Even if she isn’t, she could easily become so and he  makes plans to prevent that from ever happening. Margot knows he plans to harm her, possibly kill her, and while this isn’t the first time he’s ever threatened her, this time her unborn child is at stake. She attempts to flee, but Mason’s henchman, Carlos,  crashes into her car, stopping her. She wakes up in an operating room, and in one of the more horrifying moments, in a show full of them, she realizes that Mason has violated her once again, by removing her baby and her entire uterus. She will never have a Verger heir.That loophole she found in their father’s will, has just been closed. Mason’s money can pay for all manner of corrupt behavior, such as the henchman who injured her, and the doctor who mutilates her.

Alana confronts Jack about how everyone is lying to her and she can’t rust anyone, including Hannibal. That whatever they’re all up to, Jack is going to be the clear loser in their agenda. Jack, exasperated but sympathetic takes her into the other room where Freddie Lounds is very much still alive, having faked her death to capture Hannibal. I don’t know what Alana is thinking in this scene, but she looks devastated.
Will enraged is an intense sight to see. He really is like a force of nature when he’s got his blood  up. He goes to Muskrat Farm, to confront Mason, who is attending to his flock of prized pigs. He threatens to shoot him and feed him to his pigs, while dangling him over the pen. He explains to Mason that they’re all being manipulated by the grandmaster of manipulation, Hannibal Lecter, who put a bug in Margot’s ear, and Mason’s, and then encouraged Will to take revenge on Mason, for hurting another child, like Abigail, that Will is  never going to know.

He informs Mason their true enemy is Hannibal. Once again  he throws Hannibal’s plans, by doing the something he couldn’t predict.

Hannibal Season Two: Naka-Choko

In Naka-Choko (an acidic soup served as a palette cleanser during a Japanese meal) the title is appropriate for this episode, as things begin to reach a high point in Will’s “game of wills” with Hannibal. Will he be able to hold onto his civilized self or will he succumb to Hannibal’s blandishments to give in to the beast within? There has been, after all, a lot of blandishment, in the past couple of episodes, culminating in the  death of Randall Tier, by Will’s hands.



Hannibal continues in his quest to get will to release the beast within himself, and this appears to be succeeding as Will, in a flashback, imagines he is actually choking Hannibal Lecter. Like Jesse Cooper, from  Preacher, Will Graham has a deep well of violence inside him, that he likes. But unlike Jesse, he’s deeply ashamed of it. He is loathe to acknowledge its existence, except to Hannibal. When he’s acknowledged it in the past, he tried to use it for good. Like a Dexter, he used his love of violence to kill other killers. It’s part of the reason he’s so dead set on killing Hannibal. Maybe he feels if he kills Hannibal he can destroy that shameful part of himself. It’s the reason we keep seeing the conflation between the Wendigo  and the RavenStag. Both creatures are two sides of the same coin. One benign and the other malevolent.


It’s interesting. He has a deep need to experience  violence. To kill. So he goes into a profession that requires that he commit acts of violence. (Will was a cop before becoming a profiler.) In an effort to control it or tame it  he goes into a job that gives it power, and then he meets Hannibal, who, recognizing a wolf in sheep’s clothing,   manages in just one episode,  to completely undo any progress Will might have made towards that goal. Hannibal continues , throughout the following 25 episodes, to keep putting Will in situations that require him to express that violent need. He believes he’s seen Will’s true face. Hannibal already thinks of Will as an intellectual equal, now if he can share murder with him, Will would be the perfect companion.


After Will kills Randall, he takes the body to Hannibal, who is once again impressed by Will’s talent for survival. He’s like a proud father whose happy his kid beat up a bully on the playground. He lovingly washes the blood from Will’s hands, while speaking to him in encouraging tones, to help Will remain in the moment. He knows Will wants to withdraw into himself and tells him not to. Fuller stages this as a love scene, but there are also mytho-religious implications, as Hannibal washing  off the blood, and carefully wrapping the wounds, looks like Christ washing the feet of his Apostles.

(My mind also wants to interpret these scenes as a big brother, little brother dynamic, but Fuller has specifically stated that this is a love story and I accept that assertion, while also thinking I’m not wrong either.)


Will confesses that he imagined killing Hannibal instead of Randall. Hannibal asks Will how  he’ll repay Randall for the gift of his death. Hannibal believes the artistic display of the victim’s body after death is a compliment to the victim. He thinks  artistic displays of the body elevates them to more than the status of just being meat. Will and Hannibal fuse Randall with the body of the beast he believed himself to be, thereby reaching what Hannibal would think is his ultimate potential. After which we watch a grand display of acting as Will and Hannibal act out their  roles as profilers. Its hilarious, as they both go on and on, pretentiously nattering about the killer’s motives, while Jack gives both of them the side eye. He knows not only that Will killed Randall, but that both of them mutilated the body. Later, though, he does take Will to task for this. He’s in this to get Hannibal but he is beginning to doubt Will’s motivations.

Everyone is questioning Will in this episode. He’s questioning himself as he imagines Randall Tier chastising him for killing him, saying that killing him was Will’s “becoming”. So Will certainly feels he’s that much closer to being what Hannibal wants him to be, even if he did kill Tier in self-defense.


Freddie, Alana, and Jack are all questioning Will’s validity. In the case of Alana and Freddie, Will is outright lying, but these women are not stupid. Freddie  knows he’s not telling her anything useful, when he goes to her to finish his series of interviews that he promised her, insisting that Chilton was, in fact, the Chesapeake Ripper. Freddie wonders why he’s back in therapy with the man he accused of being the Ripper, and goes to Alana with this same question, which awakens Alana’s fears that something strange is going on between Will and Hannibal.

Margot, in therapy with Hannibal, is once again being encouraged to kill her brother. Hannibal believes her sentimental feelings are getting in the way of fratricide. He plants the idea in Margot’s mind that she should have a baby to get around the restrictions their father placed on the family estate. In the event that he or Mason died without a male heir, the entire fortune would go  to the Southern Baptist Church, and not Margot. Yeah, their father was as much of a piece of shit as Mason. When Mason indirectly threatens to kill her by feeding her to his prize pigs, she makes up her mind to go to see Will Graham. This show reaches high camp when Mason shows her a dummy made of meat, and dressed in her clothes, being lowered into a pigpen.


Hannibal and Alana are shown practicing the theremin, an instrument that is played by stroking the air next to it. (This is the instrument that makes that haunting wooo-wooo noise from the original Star Trek Theme song.) Naturally, Hannibal would choose the theremin, as, just like the harpsichord,  its just twee enough to catch his fancy. Hannibal would never be so gauche as to strum a guitar, or play the piano.

Afterwards, we get the fivesome. Margot has decided she wants Will to be the father of her Verger baby, and Alana and Hannibal decide this is the evening they want to snork like rabbits. The implication  is that these are simultaneous but separate events. Unbeknownst to all of the players they have been joined by Hannibal’s alter ego, the ManStag, which makes things kinda kinky. I think this is Will just hallucinating again but this also means I have to ask myself why he’s envisioning Hannibal with Alana.

Actually, the Manstag is there as in indication to us that Hannibal is the orchestrator of these events. He’s the one who planted the idea in Margot’s head that a pregnancy would solve her problems with Mason. The ManStag is with Alana and Hannibal to indicate to us also that he is manipulating both  Alana and Will. He’s not with her because he loves her, or even likes her, but because he doesn’t want Will to have her, because now that there’s no longer the specter of mental instability hanging over Will, their relationship becomes an actual possibility, and Hannibal can’t have Will distracted by attachments to other people.


The next day, Freddie encounters Alana and presses her to question why Will is back in therapy with Hannibal. I think her conversation with Freddie frightens her, becausegalvanizes Alana to start asking herself some tough questions. Freddie mentions the deaths of Hannibal’s former patients and that she believes Will and Hannibal are killing people together.

Mason invites Hannibal out to Muskrat Farm to view his pigs. He wants to talk about Margot, but Hannibal convinces Mason that he should come to therapy instead. Mason gifts Hannibal with one of his prize pigs. On the surface Mason and Hannibal appear to be similar sociopaths, but Mason is far out of his league when it comes to manipulating events. Hannibal is always several steps ahead of Mason, although Mason does step up his game in season three, after his mutilation.

Hannibal, Will and Alana have dinner together and Alana can see their behavior  up close. You can see she finds their behavior disquieting, but still confronts them about Freddie’s accusations. Hannibal  called her brave in Mizunomo. Yes she is. Its an awkward conversation. She can tell they are keeping some kind of secret from her.


Freddie tries to confirm her theories about Will by visiting his home where she finds parts of Randall Tier’s body in Will’s workshed. Will encounters her and chases her down. This is the closest the show has gotten to your typical serial killer chase scene and it looks frightening, but is mostly staged by Will.Unknown to Will, this is a re-enactment of the same scene, between Hannibal and Beverly, earlier in the season and I’m pretty sure its what Fuller meant to do. In the first season, Fuller made a point of not showing female victims in terror, as he said it was cliche, but he does make some exceptions in season two, with Beverly, Alana ,and Freddie.

During her attack, Freddie tries to send a call to Jack, but all it does is record her screams. Jack and Will put on a dog and pony show for Hannibal, leading him to believe that Will killed Freddie. Later, Will shows up for dinner with Hannibal and brings some “long pig”, which is a euphemism for human flesh. He claims its Freddie without actually saying so, and Hannibal invites Will to prepare the meal with him. (They are actually eating parts of Randall, that Will had set aside.) Hannibal is proud of him but chastises him because the victim “tastes” frightened. He says Freddie’s murder was an act of God. Its not that Hannibal doesn’t believe in God, but that he considers himself God’s equal.This scene is also shot as a love scene, as Will and Hannibal discuss religious philosophy, while dining on Will’s victim.


Murder husbands indeed!




Hannibal Season Two:Sakizuke

In the second episode of season two we see Will begin his long game against Lecter. This is a character who is now fully awake and aware. He is no longer sick and now has lots of time on his hands to devote to reeling in and capturing Lecter. Will is going fishing/hunting, and  has to play this very carefully, because what he’s trying to catch is highly intelligent and often two or three moves ahead of everyone else.

In The Red Dragon, (book and film), Lecter interrogates Will about how he caught him and what his weakness was. Will says something about Lecter being intelligent and Lecter’s response: “So, by that same token, you’re smarter than me, since you were the one that caught me?” In the movie, Will demurs, saying he’s not smarter than Hannibal but Fuller refutes this  statement, in the series.  Will is going to have to be smarter than Lecter, but in doing so, does he become more like Lecter?

This episode opens in an especially disgusting manner, picking up where we left off, with one of the Eye of God victims (Roland Umber) waking up in the middle of the display. He literally tears himself away and runs out into a cornfield. He jumps over a cliff into a river rather than be taken back, hits his head, and dies. (Note that Roland’s name is a pun based on “raw umber”, a now discontinued crayon color.)


At the Baltimore State Mental Hospital, Lecter and Alana are meeting with Will, who is expressing confusion and distress about his delusions of Hannibal having framed him for murder, rather than accept responsibility for the murders himself. Having seen that his words are falling on deaf ears, Will proceeds with the next element of his plan, winning Dr. Lecter’s trust by making him believe that he harbors no ill will against him and is ready to accept his wrongdoings. He tearfully begs for Alana’s and Lecter’s help. Lecter says he wants to help him.

A moment later, we find that this is just a ruse. Will’s  only been acting the part of a traumatized and confused patient.

Note: Will’s phone booth style cage, apparently, these are real things in the prison industry designed to keep the mentally ill from attacking (or pissing on) their doctors.



Bedelia comes to Lecter and informs him that she will no longer be his psychiatrist. The Truth-Teller has seen a bit too much of the truth. Initially, I thought she was leaving him because she believed him to be a serial killer, but it turns out her issue is   that Lecter has been engaging in unethical behavior with his patients, most especially a patient that died in her care. I still say she’s  an incredibly brave woman to confront him this way. He moves towards her, slowly and methodically, in an obviously menacing manner and she doesn’t really back down. Before she leaves, he tells her he is continuing his sessions with Will Graham.Puzzled, she asks “why”. He says its because Will asked for his help. Her attitude seems to be that Will deserves whatever he gets from associating with Lecter, although later perhaps she changes her mind about this, because she goes to visit Will.

After Beverly’s visit to see Will about their current crime scene, Lecter also goes to see Will. Will’s line about having a pissing contest with him, always makes me smile. Lecter cautions Will about profiling again, saying that Alana wouldn’t want him dwelling on anything too dark. He also asks Will about his thoughts on the crime scene. Will tells him that the killer is stitching the bodies together to make  art. Beverly gets the same piece of information when she arrives with more pictures. Will lets her know that Lecter knows about her visits, that he’s been to see him about the case, and Chilton listens in on all their conversations.

Beverly tells Will she’s not looking for Lecter despite Will’s insistence that that’s what she’s looking for.


Having examined the body of Roland Umber, and scented corn with his acute senses, Lecter goes out to the actual crime scene in his plastic suit. Contrast Lecter’s manner of profiling with Will’s method. Lecter accesses his deductive capabilities through his keen senses, while Will accesses his abilities through his intellect. When Will mentally examines the crime scene, he is confronted by the Stag Man, and we all know what that means.

Having discovered an opportunity to insert himself into a crime, Lecter wastes no time doing that, and encounters the killer at the scene. He sews the killer into his own crimes scene, taking the place of Roland Umber. I’m going to posit the belief that Lecter doesn’t just consume people physically but existentially, as well. He really is the ultimate predator. He parasitises and  consumes a killer’s crime scene by inserting himself in it, killing the killer and taking a piece of him, thereby turning the Eye of God Killer, and his work, into another  extension of the Chesapeake Ripper. It is as if he were eating not just the killer, but the killer’s crimes, too.

Beverly, Jack, and the team discover the hidden corn silo and Jack asks for Lecter’s attendance. Lecter gives Jack no definitive answer when he asks if the killer will keep killing. Of course he already knows the fate of the killer, having sewn the man into his own installation

Because of Will’s arrest, Jack has to undergo a psych evaluation, too. Only his therapist seems to be on the up and up, unlike Lecter and Bedelia. Jack’s therapist actually appears to be helping him cope with his guilt for having not seen Will Graham’s murderous tendencies. He tells Beverly, flat-out, that he doesn’t know what to think about Will. His instincts are screaming at him that Will is not a  killer, although no matter the outcome, he is  still responsible for Will Graham’s behavior.

Jack is dealing with an extraordinary amount of stress, which is understandable. His wife is dying of cancer, he’s under a lot of pressure to catch the Chesapeake Ripper and now, his own employee, a man he personally vetted,   has been arrested for being a serial killer. This is of course what Lecter was hoping for in the first season, that Bella’s sickness would be too much of a distraction for Jack, who would have to divide his energy between too many things to pay close attention to anything he’s doing. It seems to be working because Jack is not at the top of his game when it comes to reasoning. He does the same thing to Beverly that he did with Miriam Lass, allowing her to begin her own investigation without official overhead.


The theme of the entire second season seems to center around transformation, rather than the senses (as was the focus of the first season). People and others becoming or trying to become something else. Even Lecter is becoming something, someone else, due to Will’s influence. Lecter doesn’t seem as concerned with protecting himself as he was in the first season, (his behavior surrounding this issue is almost like an afterthought), and he seems  more focused on transforming Will into the man he thinks Will should be, and the friend Lecter thinks he needs. This  dovetails nicely with Will’s plan to capture Lecter, as the more effort Will puts into trying to out the Chesapeake Ripper, the more he becomes the man Lecter wants him to be.

Since he’s reluctant to kill Will, every moment that Will spends in jail, means he’s eventually going to convince someone,  at some point, that Lecter is the Chesapeake Ripper. Although Lecter has assured himself that Jack is well taken care of, he’s not so certain of Will’s lack of memory.



Note: For the first time we actually see Lecter eating a person, having taken the leg of the Eye of God Killer. Til now, its only been something alluded to or suggested. We’ve seen him cooking but it wasn’t always made explicitly clear that what he was cooking was human. Like Will Graham , we feel complicit in this activity, as Lecter prepares and cooks a leg.

Jack  meets with Bedelia, who says she is retiring from psychiatric practice, and needs closure. She tells him she’s no longer Lecter’s doctor, can’t help him with any Lecter related information and is recusing herself from the situation. This is meant to be a hint to Jack, that maybe Lecter isn’t what he seems, but this message goes completely over Jack’s head, and I think Bedelia gives up at that point.

Both Beverly and Lecter visit Will at the facility. Now that Will’s head is clear, and he’s the one doing the manipulating, he’s a lot snarkier than he used to be.In fact this episode could probably be called Will’s snarkiest hits. hes got a zinger for everyone who visits him, including Lecter, who has always been proud and amused at Will’s sassiness. When Beverly says she can’t concentrate on any other tasks she has, note the look Lecter gives her. (When Will looks at the case this time he starts reciting the lyrics  from Sesame Street songs, a creepily juvenile touch to this episode.)

Will tells them the killer took a piece of the victim as a trophy. He knows the killer is eating his victims but declines to mention this in front of Lecter, naturally.  Nevertheless, Lecter continues to be impressed by Will’s ability to deduce these things with little or no evidence. Lecter says the killer must have had a friend, while looking pointedly at Will, but Will lets this blatant lie slide, of course. He knows Lecter is the perpetrator and was no friend to the man.

He is visited later by Kade Prunell, who lays  out the FBI’s case against him, arguing that he is an intelligent psychopath. (Well, at least they’re half right). Will’s got some sass for her too, since he has zero fucks to give about manners, now that he’s locked in a mental facility, which is understandable. He rejects her offer to plead guilty, telling her he’ll have to save himself.


Will is dream-fishing, while the bodies of the Eye of God Killer float all around him, and the Stag, never very far away, watches from the background, when he gets his last visitor of the day, Bedelia DuMaurier. She quietly informs him that she believes him. The only person outside of himself that has any idea that Lecter is a villain, is his therapist, which is  emotionally devastating to Will. This is the foundation for their rather contentious bond  in season three. They (and Jack Crawford) are the only survivors of The Chesapeake Ripper (and Bedelia may not be, for long.)


Lecter goes to Bedelia’s home wearing his plastic suit, seeking to wrap up what he feels is a loose end, but finds her home vacant, the furniture shrouded in white cloth. Bedelia has fled. Knowing he has boundary issues, ignoring any instruction she gave him to stay away, (just as he did when she told him she was retiring and wouldn’t be seeing any patients), and knowing how keen his senses are, she leaves a bottle of her perfume for him. It almost seems like mockery. So it’s deeply puzzling to us to see her  with him in the final episode, on a plane to Europe. What did he say to her? What did he do to get her to accompany him?


Spotlight: Bedelia DuMaurier


This show has a number of strong women characters in it. Among them is Bedelia, (although I do lament the fact that almost none of these women come in contact with one another.) I would’ve loved to have see her interactions with Alana or Freddie Lounds.

I like to call Bedelia The Truth -Teller. Like Anya from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, she sees the truth of things and bluntly states them. As Lecter’s therapist, its her job and although she very probably is a sociopath, you couldn’t find a better therapist, if you want to deal with uncomfortable truths about yourself.

She bluntly tells Lecter, during his therapy, that he  wears a person suit, but she also tells him she likes him. She is one of the few people to get a glimpse through the seams of that suit and live to tell about it. Lecter admires her, wants her to like him, and like Franklyn, his own patient, tries to emulate what he considers her better qualities. He wants to be friends with her, (at least up until she betrays him), but she rejects his attempts to upset the patient therapist balance, as she should. Bedelia understands that a therapist and patient can never be friends.

Several times, she cautions Lecter about getting too close to Will Graham, and is the first to suspect that Lecter may have been engaging in unethical behavior with him, informed as she is by her experience with a hostile  former patient of Lecter’s, that  she killed in self defense. We don’t find this out until season three, after Lecter has used this piece of  information to coerce her into joining him in fleeing the country.

Meeting Will in prison and visiting Jack Crawford is the first time we see Bedelia insert herself into the narrative. Up to this point, she has merely been an observer of Lecter’s activities, cautioning him against getting too close to Will, to no effect.  She has never tried to actively thwart him or interfere. This is something that Lecter calls her on when they’re in Italy. While killing Anthony Dimmond, he asks her if she is observing or participating. She claims she’s observing but  fails to realize she stopped observing months ago, when she went to visit Will and Jack,  willfully interfering  in Lecter’s plans. Probably stunned by her level of boldness, or rightfully fearing Lecter will harm her for what she knows about him, she flees.

Bedelia  is probably one of the smartest women in the show. Informed of Lecter’s actions towards Miriam Lass, she uses that as a strategy to escape being arrested by the police for Lecter’s crime spree in Italy. Giving herself a cocktail of psychotropic drugs, she insists that Lecter brainwashed her and that she didn’t know who she was or what she was doing, believing herself to be his wife, Lydia Fell. This results in some hilarious scenes of Bedelia, bombed out her skull, interacting with Jack and the Italian police. Three years later, she has written a book and capitalized on her adventures with him, while Lecter rots in prison, she having carefully and thoughtfully thrown him under the bus.

Her bond with Will Graham is based on their survival of Lecter. They are not friends, but they do understand each other in a way no one else does, having been intimately familiar with him. She and Will are often quite bitchy with one another. She refers to the two of them as Hannibal’s wives. Will’s spiteful rejoinder is that she deserves to be eaten by Lecter, after Will breaks him out of prison.She is still the Truth-Teller, though. It is she who informs Will that Hannibal is, in fact, in love with him.

Is she a fellow psychopath, like Lecter? If her conversations with Will Graham are any indication, then the answer is yes. I think this is the foundation  for Will’s contempt of her. He understands her as well as he does Lecter, but she doesn’t emotionally resonate with him the way Lecter does, and so she doesn’t get a pass. Whether or not she was coerced into accompanying Lecter to Florence, she stayed with him, watched him murder people and made no effort to stop him, inform the authorities, or escape. Nor did she have quite enough courage to fully join him in killing, the way Will would have.

All of this indicates a high level of emotional distance, and unlike Will Graham, a complete lack of empathy. This is what makes her a lesser “wife” to Lecter than Graham. She can observe inherent truths and  Lecter can discuss philosophy with her, but she can’t understand him in the same manner as Will, nor does she seem to be able to influence Lecter the way Will does. I think this is the partly the reason for her enmity with Will. Will is Lecter’s favorite wife, child, protege, friend. She’s just Lecter’s side-piece.

And she is never going to be Will Graham.

I actually like Bedelia, though. She’s beautiful, graceful, intelligent, and brave in her own way, but just like  everyone else who made the mistake of falling into Lecter’s clutches, her future is a tragic one.

Hannibal Season Two : Kaiseki

In season two of Hannibal, there’s less emphasis on the serial killer of the week, in favor of the more operatic emotional maneuverings between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham. This is the point when you really need to start paying closer attention to what the characters say to each other, about each other. The vast majority of the time, when Will or Lecter is speaking, they’re often actually talking about themselves or each other. There are no wasted moments or conversations as everything the creators want the viewer to know, has become much more streamlined. Fuller is pretty clear exactly what story he’s trying to tell here.

According to Fuller himself, the relationship between Lecter and Will begins as a  one-sided friendship and ends as a horrific but  platonic, Gothic Romance, with lots and lots of blood. Some people prefer to see it as a Romance romance, and that’s okay, but it’s probably more helpful to others to view it as a big brother, little brother relationship, as by the third season, Lecter refers to Will as his family, torturing Will in ways that only an elder brother could get away with.

Last season, we saw the Satanic Lecter manipulating and deceiving Will Graham into a jail sentence, (and possible death penalty), framing him for the copycat crimes that he himself committed.  In the first season, Lecter was much more focused on saving his own ass from going to prison. He spends more than a bit of time this season saving Will’s, as his priority seems to have changed from saving himself to acquiring  Will’s friendship and trust. We watch as Will Graham  takes on some of Lecter’s worse character traits, not just to get out of prison, but to capture Lecter and bring him to justice.

We see a  less passive Will Graham, who kept  having things done to him, and who has definitely been born-again hard, scheming and conniving, being assertive, moving the plot forward, in an attempt to beat Lecter at his own game. The drawback is that Will  still cares about  human life and simply doesn’t have the stamina for evil. Lecter only cares about one or  two lives. His and Will Graham’s. But Will thinks perhaps that’s enough to be his undoing.One thing that all of this has taught Will, is that Lecter doesn’t want him dead. Lecter has had plenty of opportunity to kill him and frame anyone else. Will begins to understand what  Lecter wants from him and how he can use Lecter’s feelings for him to his advantage.


We begin the season with a flash-forward to a massive knockdown, drag- out fight between Jack Crawford and Lecter, which Lecter seemingly wins, as Jack ends up in a wine closet, with a shard of glass in his neck.This is not the only fight we’ll see between these two massive foes. In season three, they have at it again with Jack coming out the clear winner, although Lecter survives by sheer luck.

At some point during the season, Jack becomes aware of who and what Lecter is and has come to wreak vengeance. The rest of the season is really just a flashback. We go back three weeks to Jack sitting at Lecter’s table eating what he believes is flounder, although the way Lecter talks about it, I suspect its people, and the commentary from Fuller,  asserts that’s what it is. Lecter references Mukozuke, the episode in which he kills one of Jack’s protégés.

“I never feel guilty eating anything.” He tells Jack.

Hannibal often tells the other characters a lot about his beliefs and thoughts. The other characters often think he’s joking  although  we, the viewers, know better. Like Lecter, we’re omniscient. We always know more than all the other people in the show. Does this make us superior to them? Does this make us godlike or just Hannibal-like?

Jack and Lecter discuss Will’s suspicions of Lecter, and because Jack still wants to work with Lecter, he has to investigate Will’s accusations. Jack is only doing this to cover his own ass, not because he believes Will. He is confounded but not by whether or not Will did these crimes. This is also the only conversation in which we will hear about Lecter’s aunt from the movie Hannibal Rising, Lady Murasaki (who shares her name with the real life woman who wrote The Tale of Genji.) Incidentally, Chiyoh from the third season, according to the books, is Lady Murasaki’s maid. She too, had a brief affair with Lecter, although I think she’s much too young, on the show, for that to have happened and seems more like a daughter to him.

The Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane is a very boring place so Will occupies himself with daydream-fishing. This is, I think Will’s version of Lecter’s mind-palace. He still can’t escape Lecter’s influence, however, as we can see the RavenStag standing watch in the background, while Chilton drones on in the foreground. Impatient with Chilton’s  mental fumbling, Will asks to see Lecter. Once again the appearance of the RavenStag prefaces  Lecter’s mention, or appearance, in the story.


Alana Bloom, the protective Mama Bear, has brought a report of misconduct against Jack Crawford and the Bureau. Katie Prunell, the Federal Investigator, advises her against it, but although she is torn between her loyalty to Jack and her friendship with Will, Alana chooses to forge ahead.(In the commentary its stated that Katie Prunell is an anagram of Paul Krendler, played by Ray Liotta in the movie Hannibal,  who had his brain eaten by Lecter.)

Lecter confesses to Bedelia his obsessive fascination with Will Graham. Is this the beginning of some deeper feelings he has for Will, that he simply doesn’t recognize, although he says Will is his friend? He gives Bedelia written permission to discuss him with the FBI. She asks what’s  the purpose of his involvement with the Bureau, saying he is putting her in a position to lie for him. The threat, for not cooperating with Lecter, isn’t stated, but it is implied.

Once again the RavenStag precedes Lecter, as you hear it’s hooves, when he visits Will at the Hospital. Will accuses Lecter of having done all this to him, and when he remembers, there will be a reckoning. He also utters one of my all-time favorite lines in the entire series:

“The light from friendship won’t reach us for a million years. That’s how far away from friendship we are.”



Which is a total lie, because in season three, Will is willing to admit, if not to Lecter, at least to Jack, that Lecter is his friend. In the second season,  all of the focus is on Will’s eyes. Its all about his ability to perceive now since his voice is mostly useless. No one wants to hear what he has to say. The trick now is to get others to see what he sees.

Alana goes romping with Will’s dogs before she visits him at the hospital. She offers to hire a non-FBI lawyer for him and that his defense will be “Automatism” -an action performed unconsciously or involuntarily, the performance of actions without conscious thought or intention. Will tells her he can hear Lecter’s voice in his mind.

Will tries to warn Alana about Lecter too, but she thinks its a delusion he adopted because he doesn’t want to face what he’s done. He asks her to help him recover his memories and the attempt is less than successful. On the other hand, like so much of the series, its a  gorgeously surreal moment.


Will envisions a long table, set with living and decaying  food and insects, with the ManStag, wearing Lecter’s face,  sitting at the head of the table, looking over the sheer amount of death that Lecter is responsible for.

We go from one overladen table to a spare one. Chilton is dining with Lecter, talking about how Will Graham won’t speak to him. He mentions fumbling at Will’s brain like a freshman pulling at a panty-girdle, a phrase uttered by Lecter, about Chilton, in the book Red Dragon, but here, attributed to Chilton. Chilton is a  gossip, who eavesdrops on all the conversations at the hospital, something that will come into play later in the season. Will knows better than to inform Chilton of anything useful, as he knows it will eventually get back to Lecter. Chilton  tells Lecter everything about Alana’s visit and what Will Graham has been saying about him.

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The serial killer case takes a back seat to the machinations of the various characters but its a reference to Lecter’s omniscient godlike nature, that he seems to know all and see all. The forensic team finds several rotting bodies damming up a river. Lecter is called in to consult on the whys and wherefores of all this death. The killer is making a color palette using human bodies. He poses them in the shape of a giant eye, that can only be seen from the top of the corn silo in which he’s hidden them. Nevertheless, Beverly and the others are stymied and she comes to Will seeking help on the case, without Jack’s knowledge. In her usual blunt manner she tells Will that she doesn’t know how to feel about him.

Lecter tells Bedelia that he got to be Will Graham for one day and that it was very unnerving for him.

Beverly returns to the lab with new ideas. Jack and Lecter can tell she’s been talking to Will. Jack chastises her at first, but afterwards gives his tacit permission for her to continue seeing Will, which will later prove her downfall. Jack loses a lot of people in this series. He lost Miriam Lass, then seemingly Will Graham, Beverly Katz and finally his wife, Bella. This series seems to be as much about Jack Crawford’s losses as it is about Will’s. Later, Jack visits Will’s home and encounters Winston the dog, who is also looking for Will. Afterwards, he goes to see Will, who  tries to tell him about Lecter but Jack won’t hear of it.

Jack is very torn. Will is his friend but part of him can’t help but accept responsibility for the things Will has done. As head of the Behavioral Sciences Dept. its his job to be able to spot and catch serial killers. If Will was a killer all along, he should have seen it. They all should have seen it.  If he didn’t, its embarrassing and smacks of incompetence. On the other hand, if Will became a killer because the job drove him insane, then its Jack’s fault for not pulling him out of the field, after he was warned to do so by Alana.

During his evening dinner Will has a memory of Lecter forcing Abigail’s ear down his throat with a tube.He’s gotten his first real memory. He’s ready to begin.


In the darkness of the corn silo, one of the killer’s victims wakes up and breaks free.


On a Personal Note: 

I was discussing these reviews with a friend and we discovered something I found puzzling. There are almost no reviews for the third season of Hannibal. There are still people discussing the show on Tumblr and a handful of people, who are probably paid bloggers, did reviews for some of the bigger websites. The Fannibals, however, didn’t.

She and I were able to find dozens of reviews of the first and second seasons of the show, but for some unknown reason, while still being fans of the show, people stopped doing reviews before the end of the second season, and then everybody (and their grandmama) reviewed the finale.

So apparently, just like me, no one watched the first half of season three and only checked in when the Red Dragon arc began. Still, plenty of people didn’t review the finale either, especially people who’d reviewed the first two seasons. My friend and I wondered what particular set of factors led to people reviewing all but the third season.

This is why I have every intention of completing these reviews. I was getting frustrated by finding these great meta-style reviews of the first two seasons, only for the reviews to abruptly stop. (In many cases the blogs and websites were quit alltogether, with no activity after the second season.)

Not only that, but we could barely find any essays or meta on the third season, although we found plenty of gif sets. People doing gif sets are apparently completists. Many of them are still doing so, long after the end of the show. Incidentally, I won’t be tagging my reviews Hannigram, yet. I’m not going to use that tag until the middle of second season,  when Hannigram becomes explicit.

If you have any links or websites that reviewed the third season, let me know in the comments. And please like these reviews, if you’re regularly reading them, although I plan to keep going until all of the seasons are reviewed, whether or not you check that particular box.

Hannibal Season One : Fromage/Tru Normand



The theme of Fromage is Friendship: Who has it? Who needs it? Who wants it? There’s the culmination of Lecter’s meeting with Tobias Budge, and a further deterioration of Will Graham’s mental state. This is one of my favorite episodes because we start to get some idea of what it is that Lecter wants from Will. Lecter begins to articulate his feelings for Will , but they are in a nascent stage and don’t stop him from experimenting with Will.

Will has now added auditory hallucinations to his repertoire. While engaged in his safety project (fixing boat motors) at home, he hears a dog in distress. (Will collects stray dogs and lives with a pack of them.) The sound of a hurt animal  could be Will’s subconscious warning him that he is in distress and needs help. All of Will’s hallucinations and dreams seem to have meaning.


Tobias Budge is making violin strings, from people intestines, in the opening credits. He murders the trombonist in the local symphony and turns the man into a musical instrument by shoving a cello down his throat. He does this as a kind of love letter or invitation to Lecter, although Lecter tells Will the letter is to him.

Will enlists Alana to help him find the animal he heard earlier that day, but of course they can’t find it. The two of them discuss the possibility of starting a relationship. This is a conversation that seems to linger in Alana’s mind for some time afterwards.


In Franklyn’s next session with Lecter, he wants to discuss his friend Tobias. Its interesting watching Franklyn progression into Lecterhood. (Its especially noticeable in his clothing choices.) Franklyn wants to diagnose Tobias as a psychopath but Lecter refuses to analyze him, although he says Franklyn may be attracted to them. The unspoken question after that sentence should be, “Are you a psychopath?” because Franklyn is clearly attracted to Hannibal.

Jack calls Will to reconstruct the trombonist’s murder. He continues to ask Will, in his own gruff way, if he’s okay with what he’s doing and Will keeps refusing to tell him that anything is wrong. At one point during the forensic examination of the body, Will directly addresses the body, as if he were the killer, and the team stares at him in puzzlement. Will is always a strange creature to them but this is new. The killers, whose minds he inhabits, are starting to bleed into all areas of his self. His forts are gradually being destroyed by the encephalitis and Lecter’s manipulations.


Lecter and Bedelia talk about Franklyn. Their conversation closely echoes the conversations between Lecter and Franklyn about friendship. Lecter says he feels protective of her after one of her patients attacked her. Patients resenting and attacking their therapists is not uncommon. Its also a theme that will play to Lecter’s benefit in the second season. Bedelia has to remind Hannibal they are not friends. I would say  they, technically,  never actually become friends throughout the entire series. Lecter certainly likes her alive for the moment, although the threat that he will kill and eat her is always present. Lecter Likes her but she doesn’t get the same level of indulgence that Will gets. Bedelia is no more than a beautiful, but compromised asset.

Will and Lecter discuss the murder, determining that the murder is a serenade to another killer. Will is constantly being asked what he sees. For Will, the focus of the show is on “sight”. One of the first messages we get about Will’s ability, or inability to see, is from Garrett Jacob Hobbes, in the first episode when he asks Will, with his dying breath, if Will can “see”.

The show is all about the senses, not just for us but for the characters too. The entire plot hinges on Will’s ability to see things other people can’t, with an extraordinary sense that no one seems able to understand. Lecter is the most sensual creature on the show, reveling in all his heightened senses.  His job as a therapist requires intense listening (hearing), he has the most acute sense of smell of anyone on the show, he delights in the act of killing (touch), the presentation (sight) and eating of  his victims (taste). I think Lecter is fascinated by Will because Lecter is a sensory creature and Will’s superpower is the one sense he doesn’t seem to have. Lecter may revel in his senses, but Will only seems to have the one sense and its destroying him.


Franklyn believes Tobias is a psychopathic killer and confesses this suspicion to Hannibal. Tobias said certain things to him, because he knew Franklyn would tell Lecter. Again, Franklyn fails to put 2 and 2 together, like why does Lecter need to know this, if the killings are a serenade to another killer.

Lecter visits Tobias’ music shop and they discuss music and killing  in an oblique manner. Lecter is curious but uncommitted. He invites Tobias over for dinner and Tobias accepts.

Will is hallucinating animals in his chimney ,when Alana stops by. They resume their conversation about dating,  and Will kisses her. She has to reject his advances though because she says Will is not good for her, or she for him. She’s a therapist with a professional interest in Will’s abilities, and she believes he is mentally unstable, as evidenced by the fact that Will has torn up his house while looking for phantom animals.


Tobias says he agreed to Lecter’s invitation because he wanted to kill him. Lecter says the same. They’re like two apex predators slowly circling each other. Tobias offers to team-up but I don’t think this town is big enough for the two of them, and Lecter doesn’t want his friendship. After all only so many predators can prey in one area, and  this particular version of Baltimore already seems to have an inordinate number of them.

Their meal is interrupted by Will, who bursts in and excitedly tells Lecter that he kissed Alana. Watch Lecter’s face during this exchange. At first he seems mildly annoyed that Will interrupted his dinner, and then he  reaches some conclusion as he tells Will to investigate Tobias.  Often Lecter is very compulsive in his behavior. Its as if he can’t help himself. Given an opportunity to create chaos, he feels compelled to step into that space and make it happen. He can’t seem to NOT do it. He heard Tobias promise to kill anyone who came after him and yet, in a fit of pique (probably for kissing Alana), he sends Will directly to him. It isn’t until much later that he thinks maybe that was a bad idea.


Will is like a little child at Christmas. I’m not exactly sure what he’s thinking but he seems euphoric that he kissed Alana. Even Lecter is somewhat taken aback at his excitement, and probably a little puzzled too,  as he tells Will that he must be happy about it because he drove an hour in the snow to come tell him that.

Speaking of which, I know the people in this world have phones, but we almost never see anyone using them. No one ever simply calls someone and when people do, its usually to set off some plot fireworks, like Lecter calling Hobbes and Miriam Lass’ phone calls to Jack. In fact,  there is a curious lack of technology in this alternate world. Freddie Lounds has a website, people have and use computers, and there are surveillance cameras, but we almost never see televisions in the background. (Of course Lecter would never be so gauche as to own one of those, I think.) No one texts anyone. Abigail doesn’t seem have a phone, for example, and what teenage girl doesn’t have a phone. Will doesn’t seem to have one, either, nor does Lecter. . Its like they’re all living in some kind of 90s limbo, where people can only speak to each other face to face. The only time we ever see anyone using technology is to advance the plot and cause mischief.

Hannibal is talking to Bedelia about the possibility of friendship with Will Graham. She doesn’t encourage him to but doesn’t discourage him either.

Will visits Tobias’ shop but is saved from Tobias’ initial attack by the sound of a dog being hit by a car. He wanders outside while Tobias eviscerates the two cops who accompanied him. The auditory hallucinations acting as a kind of spidey-sense, for Will. He goes back into the shop, finds the bodies of the cops, and fights with Tobias, who escapes.

Tobias goes directly to Lecter’s office, where Franklyn is in the middle of his last session. Franklyn, seeing Tobias covered in blood tries to talk him down out of whatever blood-fever he is in, using some pathetic airplane analogies, until Lecter gets tired of listening to his inane patter, and snaps his neck. I suspect he’d been wanting to do that for some time, (most especially after Franklyn came in one day and took his therapist chair.)

Tobias says he just killed two cops and you can just see the faint look of pearl clutching that crosses Lecter’s face. (*gasp* Will!)


With Franklyn down, the apex predators face off. We know there’s no real doubt about who is going to win this because Lecter needs to survive long enough to be imprisoned later, but nevertheless, the fight is very suspenseful. Lecter finishes off Tobias by bashing his head in with the Stag statue, which is entirely appropriate, as that’s the figure that’s been haunting Will since the two of them met.


Later, Will walks in with Jack, and the look of sheer relief on Lecter’s face is priceless. He tells Will  he was worried about him and they share awkward smiles. Lecter tells Jack that Tobias killed Franklyn and then attacked him. Lecter says he thought it was just a case of “poor choice of friends”.

Lecter’s next session with Bedelia occurs a several days after Tobias’ attack. He tells Bedelia he’s ready to resume his duties as a therapist. It’s interesting that Bedelia has a dead patient in her past too. Lecter asks if she feels responsible for that. Bedelia says she doesn’t.



Tru Normand:


Every week Will seems to add new symptoms to his repertoire of mental instability, but losing time is not a symptom of encephalitis, so there must be some other force at work on his mental condition. This episode the theme seems to be legacies, the things we leave behind.

Abigail Hobbes is confronting her father’s legacy. He left behind a daughter who now has to deal with the decision he made to kill other girls in her name, and her legacy of guilt for having aided and abetted her father’s killings.

Will Graham is called by Jack to a rocky beach in Virginia ,where a peculiar totem made of human bodies has been erected. The bodies at the bottom are all but skeletons but there is one body, perched at the top that is freshly killed. Surrounding the totem are seven holes where the bodies had been removed. Will goes into his headspace and discerns that the killer is celebrating what he’s done. He wants the world to know about it and that the body at the top is his crowning achievement.


Will comes to awareness in Lecter’s waiting room. He doesn’t know how he got there or in what condition he drove the three hours it would’ve taken to reach the office. For the record, losing time like that is NOT one of the symptoms of encephalitis. This is something physical, and Will tries to reach that space, but Lecter keeps derailing him by making it about Will’s mental trauma. Lecter is also engaging in “psychic driving” when he introduces the idea to Will that he could hurt himself, or someone else. That’s what professional “psychic driving” looks like. Lecter is a lot more subtle with his mental manipulation than the rather ham-handed, Chilton.

Notice how Fuller introduces these concepts to us in the previous episodes so that we will recognize it when we see it in later episodes. Lecter isn’t the only person who is good at psychic driving.

Abigail finds that because of her father, she is now destitute. She owns nothing but what’s in her hospital room. This is what gives her the idea that Freddie Lounds should write a book about her. Lounds says that would and should  be her legacy. Lounds is an opportunist but she isn’t uncaring. She cares about Abigail, up to a point.

Will Graham goes to Jack and apologizes for his behavior the other day, but Jack hadn’t noticed anything different about him. Jack, puzzled by Will’s statements orders him to tell him if there’s anything wrong, but Will  says nothing. Jack keeps giving him opportunities to quit but Will won’t take them. Is it because he doesn’t want to displease Jack or himself?

Later, Alana interrupts a lecture Will is giving to an empty room, about the Body Totem. He has been hallucinating the entire time. She wants to talk about their relationship and how she’s of two minds about it, but errs on the side of caution. I think she knows Will has been hallucinating, because she asks him if he feels unstable. Will tearfully says yes and she comforts him with a hug. After a moment, Will allows himself to be comforted.


The next day Will and Hannibal visit Abigail. They don’t like the idea of her writing a book with Freddie Lounds. Initially she is rebellious towards the two of them and resentful of Will’s interference in her decision, but Lecter manages to sooth her. You can see the family dynamic asserting itself in their interactions. Will, the mom, is trying to talk some sense into his rebellious daughter, while the calm father (Lecter) tries to be logical, while smoothing over everyone’s hurt feelings.

Will Graham is often coded as stereotypically feminine in a lot of his interactions with other women. As a mother figure to Abigail, in a bitchy rivalry with Lounds, or according to Bedelia in season three, as one of Lecter’s ex-wives. Alana is the only woman with which  he doesn’t seem to have a contentious relationship.

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Jack’s forensic team figures out the identity of the Totem Pole killer, but the denouement is anti-climactic. Played by Lance Henriksen (Sqeeee!), Lawrence Wells takes full responsibility for what he’s done, and he’s too old to put up any kind of a fight.  He thinks he’s leaving something incredible behind. It turns out that he actually killed any legacy he had. The body at the top of the Totem is his own son, who he thought was the son of a man he killed for cheating with his wife, over twenty years ago.

Jack comes to a Will with the news that Nicholas Boyle’s body has been found and he wants Abigail to identify him. Everyone is against the idea, except Hannibal, who has the most to lose if Abigail isn’t strong enough to withstand Jacks interrogation.

Abigail survives Jacks questioning but Lecter tells her that in digging up Boyle’s body, she jeopardized both their lives.

Will, alone with Nicholas Boyle, sees himself kill him and sees Abigail’s face. He confronts Lecter with his knowledge and Lecter confesses what he and Abigail did. He convinces Will to keep their secret for Abigail’s sake. This is often how Lecter cements his ties to people. Like Lucifer, he simply offers them what they most want, their fondest wishes. They don’t understand that it’s a devil’s bargain and that ultimately, any relationship with Lecter, is only to Lecter’s  benefit. Including Will. Lecter wants a friend who can understand him and accept him for who he is, and sets about molding Will into the perfect friend he needs. Wills desire to save Abigail is useful to Lecter and as a result so is Abigail.

Lecter, Will, and Freddie meet with Abigail for dinner to talk about the book. It turns out the Freddie is a vegetarian. Contrast  her vegetarianism with the way she dresses and you understand why I said Freddie’s wardrobe is just camouflage to make others think she’s dangerous. In a world full of serial killers, Freddie only masquerades as a predator.

They all agree they want what’s best for Abigail, but Freddie doesn’t seem to notice all the heavy eyeballing going on between the other three guests. Later, Lecter confesses to Abigail that Will knows about what happened between the two of them and that he’ll keep their secret. Abigail finally confesses what she’s been holding back for months.


She knew what her father was doing and helped him to choose his victims. Later, her explanation for following Lecter is, she didn’t know what else to do , so she simply did what he told her to do.

What an unfortunate character, who survives one psychopath, only  to fall into the clutches of another.



Hannibal Season One : Entree and Sorbet


At this point in the season, Hannibal the series has turned again, introducing a new iteration of its main themes, from yet another angle, the theme  of thought manipulation through psychic driving, from the point of view of another recurring character. Fuller often approaches a theme from several different angles during a season. The theme of mental manipulation was touched on in Oeuf (1×04) with children being manipulated and coerced by adults. This time we see what happens when that level of manipulation is done to an adult.

A new character, Abel Gideon, is an inmate at the Baltimore Hospital for the Criminally Insane. When he kills a nurse in the style of The Chesapeake Ripper, who hasn’t killed in over two years, Jack and Will are called in to investigate the crime scene. Will’s purpose is to determine if Abel Gideon is The Ripper. Will expresses reservations about going to the hospital, fearing he might not be released.

Will: I’m afraid they won’t let me out.                                                                                             Jack: Don’t worry.  I wont leave you here.                                                                                             Will: Not today…

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This episode has more humor than past episodes. We meet Dr. Frederick Chilton, (played by Raul Esparza, who is most famous for his stint on Law&Order), the head of the Psychiatric Hospital. Bryan Fuller says Chilton is the show’s comic relief or sometimes the shows “Kenny”, as something awful happens to him every season. In the books, he was a bloviating dummy, who hit on Clarice in Silence of the Lambs, and for whom Lecter had so little respect, he would openly belittle him in front of guests. Here, he greets Will in much the same insulting manner, speaking to him  as if he were an interesting lab specimen. According to Chilton, Will is famous in the psychiatric community, which is something I find intriguing because how does that happen?


At the crime scene, Will can tell that  the murder  was not done by the Ripper, but he ‘s not absolutely sure. To be sure, he has to interview the perpetrator, the man claiming to be The Ripper, Abel Gideon. Here being played by one of my favorite British comedians, Eddie Izzard. (Please check out his “cake or death” routine, from his cross dressing days, which sadly, he seems to have given up in favor of politics.)

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Will and Alana return to the Hospital to interview Gideon, but the results are inconclusive. Gideon certainly believes he’s The Ripper. Although that’s not possible, Alana and Will  think he’s not lying. This is a very confusing scene for some people as earlier, Will and Alana said they would do the interviews separately. Later they seem to be doing the interview together.  Their scenes are shot separately and then alternated back and forth in such a way that it looks like the two of them are together. You’ll notice as the season progresses the episode directors grow more comfortable and start to make bolder decisions. As a result, the episodes start to look more surreal and dreamlike, which is appropriate considering Will Graham’s progressive mental instability. As Will becomes more detached from reality, so do we.

This episode is laced with flashbacks to the last time the The Ripper seemed to be active. At that time Jack sent a young Trainee, Miriam Lass, played by Anna Chlumsky, (mostly famous for her role in the movie “My Girl” from 1994 and most recently seen in “Veep”) to look at evidence in one of The Ripper murders. When she follows a clue that leads to Lecter’s office, she unknowingly  falls right into the killer’s hands.

Miriam’s narrative closely echoes Clarice story from Silence of the Lambs,  and Will Graham’s capture of Hannibal Lecter, from the book Red Dragon. A lot of this episode contains callbacks to the movies or the books. Earlier we see, Alana make the same hall walk at the hospital, past the inmates in their cells, to interview Abel Gideon. This is almost shot for shot like The Silence of the Lambs. How Miriam is captured by Lecter, is the same story chronicled in Red Dragon, with a couple of subtle differences.

In the books, Will, who is the investigator on the Ripper case, has a sudden revelation after several visits to Lecter’s office, upon seeing a picture called Wound Man, and noticing that  the wounds in the picture matched the ones onThe Ripper’s victims. In the movie, Red Dragon, this was changed. He and Lecter are actually consulting on the Ripper case, when Will realizes that all of the body parts taken from the victims are parts used in cooking, and notices Lecter’s cookbooks, on a shelf in his home.

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Miriam, like Clarice, gets pulled out of her classes and sent on an investigatory mission by Jack Crawford. Even her name, Lass, echoes Clarice’s, making her sound very feminine and vulnerable, like the bird, Starling. She is simply doing what Jack asked her to do, which is following up some threads of information, which lead her to Lecter. This television version more closely follows the version from the book, Red Dragon,where Will determines that Hannibal is the killer, from clues left lying out in Lecter’s office. Like  Will Graham, Miriam doesn’t actually suspect him of anything, but unlike Will, I’m convinced she still doesn’t, even after she finds his drawing of Wound Man. Miriam  disappears and Jack believes she was killed by The Ripper.

Jack visits Lecter’s office,distraught at his wife’s cancer diagnosis and that she won’t talk to him about it. He feels as if he’s losing her and in his mind connects that loss to the the disappearance of Miriam Lass. Lecter, who already knows who and where she is, is all compassion and sympathy. Later, in Sorbet, Lecter asks Will how The Ripper’s tactics are affecting Jack.

Alana and Jack, convinced that Abel Gideon isn’t The Ripper, believe that his confession, might draw the real one out of hiding. Jack, Will, and Alana meet with Freddie Lounds and make a deal to post this information on her website, knowing that The Ripper will see it. Will, still mad at Freddie for calling him insane, is hilariously bitchy during their meeting, while Lounds is the epitome of grace. This mostly has the effect of making Will look like an unreasonable child. In return for lying on their behalf, Freddie will get an exclusive interview with Abel Gideon. Have you noticed that the two most annoying characters on the show are named Fred?

All season long, I kept expecting Lecter to kill and eat Freddie Lounds. I like to think the reason Lecter doesn’t kill her, is he thinks the world is more interesting with her in it and he finds her website useful. And with some luck and manipulation, he probably thinks he can  goad Will into killing her later. After all, she’s Will’s nemesis, not his.

Lounds goes to the interview in her red, leopard print leathers. She always dresses as if to alert people that she’s dangerous..

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Lecter does read the interview and jealous, arrogant creature that he is, formulates a plan to let Jack know The Ripper is still active, without showing his hand. He knows Jack expects The Ripper to kill again in response to the article, so he skips that. The next evening Jack receives a recorded phone call of Miriam Lass asking for help, supposedly sent by the Ripper. If the caller truly is The Ripper, then Gideon is not, as he’s still an inmate at the Psychiatric hospital. Jack, however, can’t seem to convince his forensic team that he received a call at all.

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Jack: “I know when I’m awake!”, he thunders at Will, which is ironic since Will is having trouble telling when he’s awake or asleep.

Jack goes to interview Gideon but is interrupted by another phone call from Miriam. This time the call originates from his own house. His own bed. (Bella is out of town.) The forensic team find a single blonde hair on one of the pillows. It belongs to Miriam Lass. Will is the only one to suggest that Miriam isn’t dead.

Alana suggests that Abel Gideon may have  been inadvertently manipulated  by Chilton into believing himself to be The Ripper. She broaches this question to Chilton while the three of them are having dinner at Lecter’s house. Out of Alana’s hearing, Lecter tries to assess whether or not Chilton was deliberate in his manipulation of Gideon.

Lecter says psychic driving is sometimes useful in the recovery of suppressed memories. Chilton says  he became convinced Gideon was The Ripper, and thought he could use psychic driving to uncover Gideon’s memories of the murders.  All this talk of psychic driving isn’t just important as an example of what Lecter is doing to Will Graham, but also important in understanding what happens to Miriam Lass, in the second season.

Lecter is in an especially jovial mood during the dinner, joking about eating Chilton’s tongue, something that Chilton will remember next season, after he has become a vegetarian.

In his next session with Lecter, Jack tells Lecter what he believes happened to Miriam. Lecter tells Jack, he’s sorry about his trainee (something we know isn’t true.)

Jack Crawford receives another phone call, which is traced this time, to a local observatory, where Jack, Will and the forensic team, find Miriam’s severed arm.

In a flashback, we see Miriam’s capture, from Lecter’s viewpoint.

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This episode picks up the threads from the last episode and offers closure on some of them. It also introduces new plot points that will be picked up in the next. Jack is still dealing with his wife’s cancer diagnosis and his tremendous guilt over  the loss of Miriam Lass. Will’s illness is progressing and Hannibal’s level of manipulation grows.

The serial killer case doesn’t, on the surface,  seem to be directly related to this episodes issues and there doesn’t appear to be an overriding theme, although the focus is on the specific senses of the characters.

Our first sensory event is visual as the camera comes up out of the throat of an opera singer. We get some surreal visual imagery as the season progresses. As Will’s illness becomes more pronounced, the images the audience are subjected to will become stranger. From the singer’s mouth to the inside of Lecter’s ear as he enjoys a night out on the town. We go from sight to sound. The opera being sung is “Piangero  la sorte mia”.

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After the opera, Lecter is greeted by one of his patients, Franklyn, who we met earlier in the season. Franklyn engages in a bit of hero worship of Lecter, striving to be like him. Ironically, Franklyn wants what is happening to Will. What Hannibal wishes would happen to Will. Watch Franklyn’s costuming as the season progresses. He starts to dress like Lecter and  picks up a few of his mannerisms. Oddly, its through his sessions with Franklyn, that Lecter begins to realize that he is lonely.

Lecter sees Franklyn at the opera but can’t approach him in public. Because of patient confidentiality laws, it would be a serious breach of ethics for a therapist to approach a patient, thereby outing that person as a patient.  Lecter also can’t introduce himself as a friend because that leads the patient down unproductive avenues of thinking about their relationship and this is a problem he already has with Franklyn, who is obsessed with him. It is up to the patient whether or not they wish to acknowledge the relationship.

Saving Lecter from outlining their relationship to a stranger, Franklyn introduces himself and  his friend Tobias Budge. There’s a lot of serious eyeballing going on between Lecter and Tobias, which is something that we’ll see play out in the next episode, although Lecter mostly seems to be puzzled as to why this man is looking at him like he knows something, as he and Tobias have never met.

Jack is having bad dreams about Miriam Lass and her arm, when his sleep is interrupted by a call about another crime scene. Will, and the team arrive to find a man lying in his bathtub, covered in blood with an opening in his side. It is the assumption, because some of the man’s organs are missing, that The Chesapeake Ripper has begun to kill again. Will disagrees. He says he can see The Ripper’s work but it doesn’t FEEL like The Ripper and is adamant that it isn’t, despite  the evidence, until another body shows up with all the hallmarks of being The Ripper’s victim.

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Will knows THIS is a Ripper victim, though. He can feel it but can’t articulate why or how he knows, to the forensic team. Again what we have run into is an issue of the senses. Will has some indefinable sensory ability that regular people not only don’t have, but  don’t have a word for.

In Lecter’s next session with Bedelia we get some extreme truth telling. I think that’s an excellent name for Bedelia, The Truth Teller, even though its her job, and he is not “perfectly honest” with her. Like Will, she is one of the few people who can look Lecter in the eye and tell him the truth about himself, no matter how much it discomfits him. In this session, she tells him that he wears “a very well-tailored person suit”.


When Lecter says they are friendly, she is careful to tell Lecter  that they are not friends, taking a step back from entanglement with him, following the same advice she gives Lecter when he expresses an interest in being friends with Will. She too introduces the idea that he must be lonely.

In his next session with Franklyn, Lecter hears echoes of his relationship with Will and Bedelia,  when he tells Franklyn he has a one sided relationship with his friend Tobias. Tobias doesn’t seem to be Franklyn’s friend. I wonder if its this conversation that ignites the idea in Lecter’s mind that he would like to be friends with Will, although that idea doesn’t seem to stop him from toying with Will, or trying to hurt him.

Later, we see Lecter imitating the things he sees Bedelia doing, like offering wine to his patients, something she does after every session with him. Everybody wants to be like someone else, and not themselves, except for Will, who’d like every damn body to get out of his head. When  Will visits Lecter later, they discuss the current case. Lecter suggests there may be more than one killer.

In his next session with Franklyn, Franklyn mentions that being alone comes with a “dull ache”. This dull ache is what spurs Lecter to go looking for Will, when he misses his regular appointment time. Later, in season three, Bedelia mentions this same dull ache of loneliness to Will, when he asks if Hannibal is in love with him. (The answer is a resounding yes.)

Lecter and Will discuss The Ripper.. At first Lecter tries to deflect Will’s attention away from The Ripper’s motivations, but Will is not to be deterred and Lecter gives that up and tells the truth behind why the Ripper kills. He is  blatantly telling Will about himself. They are interrupted by an excited Jack, who thinks they’re about to catch The Ripper. Lecter is deeply amused about this. When they find the killer, Lecter is asked to step in to save the victim’s life. The look he exchanges with Will, in this moment, is fathomless.

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Later, Will visits Lecter just before his big dinner party. When Will asks why Lecter stopped being a surgeon, he ironically states that he got tired of losing patients.

Lecter’s dinner party is a huge success. Contrast his attitude to Will’s response to his class applauding his capture of Garrett Jacob Hobbes. Hannibal loves the attention and accolades. Will tells his class to sit down and shutup, and that their applause was inappropriate.

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Both Jack and Will have become completely obsessed about the Chesapeake Ripper. Will is the only one who can see the pattern that The Ripper is active and hiding behind another killer.

We spend the bulk of the episode, figuring out who the killer is, in therapy sessions with Lecter and watching Lecter prepare for his dinner party by using the organ thief’s killings as a cover for his own. He does that but Will manages to catch the deception anyway. Lecter’s  proud of him and thoroughly intrigued by Will’s ability to do this.


And yes, Tyromancy, which is divination through reading how cheese forms, is actually a thing.




















Hannibal: Amuse Bouche


This episode’s primary theme  is  Connection,  between Hannibal and Will, and Will and everyone else. We can already see the beginning of Lecter’s long game in the first episode, when he manages, through a combination of food, and flattery to breaking down Will’s resistance to therapy. This continues here. Like Eldon Stammitz, Lecter is trying to form connections to Will.

Jack and Will are visiting the cabin where Garret Jacob Hobbes took many of his victims. The cabin is full of antlers and blood stains. Jack speculates that Abigail may have been her father’s accomplice, and he never lets go of this theory through the enitre season. Will, who wants to save Abigail and believes in her innocence, rejects this idea. Often Will’s empathy spurs him to try to save the killers he’s hunting. He wants to save Abigail and fails. Later, in Buffet Froid, he empathizes so completely with Georgia Madchen that he wants to save her too. Hannibal kills several people that Will spends a lot of time trying to save. He is a jealous god that doesn’t want Will putting any other killers  before him.

Jack and Alana conspire to have Will undertake a number of psychiatric evaluations by Hannibal Lecter because of his shooting of Garrett Jacob Hobbes. One of the first of many unethical acts Lecter will perform is automatically declaring Will to be psychologically fit, so that they can continue their discussions unhindered. This is another way that Lecter ingratiates himself with Will, in an effort to inspire trust.

Will is often around people who want to examine him or question his mental state and Hannibal is one of the few people who does not treat him like a  lab specimen or unexploded ordinance, although later, Lecter will insist that Will is mentally unstable (in an effort to avoid scrutiny of his own murderous actions), at first Lecter simply talks to him like any other person. Contrast this with Will’s treatment by Chilton, in a later episode, and you can see why Will responds positively to Lecter’s treatment of him.  Lecter seems to have discerned what it is that Will wants/needs to hear about himself. After all, Will hates being psychoanalyzed, and Lecter must get past that barrier. The two of them are able to engage in more candid discussions, since its “off the record”.

Will’s deep empathy makes conversations with other people feel like an intrusion for him. Lecter doesn’t seem to intrude but that is exactly what he’s doing. He’s just slower and more subtle about it.


<Fixing boat motors is an emotional safety net for Will. It’s one of his barriers to Hannibal’s influence.>

Both Jack and Lecter engage in transference with Will, although Lecter is much better at it. Jack is trying to get Will to rely on him for stability because his foundation,as he says, is bedrock, not sand. Lecter is more successful in his  approach to getting Will to rely on him for stability and later he uses this to undermine Jack’s efforts. He can’t have Will relying on anybody but him.

For comparison of classic transference, between a patient and therapist,  we need only look to Franklyn, one of Hannibal’s patients, who has transferred some strong feelings to Hannibal and wishes, not just to be Lecter’s friend, but to become him.  Franklyn has a history of this behavior which is why he keeps being sent to different therapists. Because Franklyn’s feelings are not something which Lecter has initiated, or induced for his own benefit, Lecter declines to be his psychiatrist.

At a crime scene, Will discovers nine half-living bodies, covered in mushrooms, a “mushroom farm”. We also get our first glimpse of Freddie Lounds, played by Lara Jean Chorostecki , hard at work compromising the integrity of one of the police officers present at the scene, by unethically pretending to be a concerned mother. I grew to really like this character. Like Lecter,she’s completely amoral in pursuit of her goals, while not actually being evil. While Freddie never actually kills anyone, she is  a pain in the ass, and a horrible inconvenience to Will Graham, but her intentions are never in doubt. She is an ambitious woman, who is on her own side.

The genderbending of this character makes for an interesting dynamic between her and Will. Played by a male actor, as in the movie, Lounds is just another obnoxious impediment to Will’s happiness. Its refreshing to see a beautiful woman just being an asshole and Will being equally bitchy  in return. She seems to bring out the dark side of Will as much as Hannibal does, only much more efficiently, and without the fascination, something which Hannibal seems to enjoy.

Whenever you see Freddie, Will and Hannibal in a scene together, make note of Lecter’s expressions as Will verbally jousts with her. Lecter is  barely holding back a smile, seemingly proud of Will’s sass,  like an indulgent father cheering his rude teenager. One of my favorite moments in episode three (Potage) is Will getting snippy with  Lounds, and he and Lecter being chastised for it by Jack. Lecter’s attitude seems to be:  “Will is a grown ass-man and can say whatever he wants.”

Lecter is often greatly amused watching Will fight with other people. He enjoys seeing Will be snarky, argumentative and feisty to others, and behaves like an indulgent parent when Will is rude to him, too. Rudeness in anyone else usually merits death, but Will often gets a pass.  Throughout the series, Lecter never hesitates about sending Will up against some new adversary (Tobias Budge) , or sending someone to kill him (Randall Tier). Lecter takes great pride in Will’s ability to survive, especially in season two.

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Will becomes less resistant to therapy.

That evening, Will confesses to Lecter that he hallucinated Hobbes face on one of the mushroom farm victims. Lecter tells him its just stress and speculates that the killer is trying to use his mushroom farm as a way to connect people with each other, and what’s fascinating is the show gets this right. Its been proven by scientists that one of the purposes of fungi is to connect plants and trees to each other for easier communication, through mycelia.


This episode features one of the many discussions that Jack Crawford will have about Will’s mental state over a meal with Lecter. Contrast that with Lecter’s dinner conversation and attitude when he is having dinner with Will Graham. His manner with Will is often smugly proud and indulgent, while his attitude with Jack seems almost contemptuous. Its not that he hates Jack, but he does consider him a rival for Will’s attention and he respects Jack’s power, up to a point. He may not respect Jack very much but he never underestimates Jack’s intelligence or perseverance.

Has he contemplated eating Jack? Probably.  But Jack is also a  former soldier with Government training and discipline.He is not easy prey. It would be difficult to get Jack into a situation where he could physically best him. Lecter is typical of most serial killers in that they would prefer to prey on those they consider weaker than themselves and often catch their victims by surprise, when they’re not. It is all about control, after all.

Lecter generally doesn’t initiate  fights he might have some chance of losing. The three major fights we see Hannibal almost lose are fights initiated by  others, Tobias Budge and Jack Crawford. I’ll leave it to the viewer to parse the significance of them both being Black men, one evil and the other righteously motivated but wrong. In the two fights Lecter has with Jack,  he wins only by surprise  (Mizumono: 2×13) and deceit (Contorno: 3×5).

Hannibal tries to delve into Jack’s mindset, asking why he treats Will as if he’s delicate and is it because he doesn’t trust Will, but Jack manages to neatly sidestep his questioning. Hannibal already knows the answer to this because of  what happened to one of Jack’s other proteges, Miriam Lass. Jack, having lost one of his star pupils, is  reticent about sending Will into the field. Although, that doesn’t stop Jack from putting Will in the field. (Miriam Lass will be discussed in a later post.)

This episode also has a first meeting between Freddie Lounds and Hannibal, which is fraught with tension, as he declares she was rude for attempting to record his conversation with Will Graham and trying to deceive him by pretending to be looking for a new psychiatrist. You get the distinct impression that Hannibal could hurt her and probably wants to.


  •       “You’ve been terribly rude, Ms. Lounds. What’s to be done about that?”

He considers her vulgar and irritating but also seems faintly amused at her shenanigans, which is probably the only thing that saves her from being eaten. That and finding  Will’s bitchiness towards her entertaining. He revels in these little glimpses of Will’s dark side and probably hopes Will will kill her, if she becomes irritating enough to him, although he does not specifically encourage him to do it.

Will snaps off some great one liners at Freddie.

  • “It’s not very smart to piss off a guy who thinks about killing people for a living.” (to Freddie)(Potage: 1×3)

Will manages to suss out that the Mushroom Killer is procuring his victims by inducing diabetic comas by changing their medication, which must mean he has access to their medical histories. Some ordinary detective work leads  Jack, Will, and a SWAT team to Stammitz, a pharmacist. He just manages to escape because of  an article written by Freddie Lounds, alerting him that the Feds are close to capturing him.

The raid on Eldon Stammitz is one of the many instances of television getting profiling wrong though. In real life Jack and Will would probably not be present. Profilers (actually known as Forensic Psychologists or Criminal Psychologists)  do not go on raids with SWAT teams, nor do they physically assist in the capture of suspects. Most profilers are academics, with several degrees under their belts, who sit in quiet offices, poring  over crime scene photos that are often months or sometimes years out of date. The closest most of them get to criminals are interviews long after the killer has been captured and most don’t get to fire their weapons at all.

So, that first episode, where we see Will actively investigating and then bursting in on Hobbes to take him down, would probably never happen in the real world. Most FBI profilers don’t get called in on a case until long after the local authorities have exhausted every avenue of investigation and are stumped as to what to do next.(So that whole thing on TV, where you see the police throwing shade on the FBI, probably isn’t true either. Sometimes the police need and want their help, as they have access to resources the local police don’t.)

Forensic psychologists generally don’t get called to a live crime scene, and investigators will not “hold” a crime scene until the profiler gets there, although it is possible they may go back and  physically investigate an old one, or as in the movie Red Dragon, they may do a walk-through, after the scene has been thoroughly processed and the bodies removed. In the movie Red Dragon, we see Edward Norton’s version of Will Graham stumbling through a darkened house, talking to himself about the crime scene., which irks the Hell out of me! (Also the movie version of Will Graham doesn’t seem particular sharp.)

Paradoxically, what Will does on screen while investigating a scene, isn’t unlike the thought processes of an actual investigator. Only instead of standing in the middle of an active crime scene, staring into space, they’re looking at crime scene photos, autopsy and forensic reports, to determine what happened at the scene.  Actual profilers say they get into the minds of the killers and try to understand them. This is just taken to an extreme and  shown literally on the show.

Freddie Lounds appearance in the narrative becomes problematic for Will. She often violates crime scene integrity (although not any more or less than Will does) to write her articles for TattleCrime.com. In this case her articles alerted the killer to his imminent arrest and sullied Will Graham’s reputation. She’s very  enamored of the idea of Will’s mental instability. She’s often wrong, she lies a lot, and is careless about flinging that information around. Having read about Will’s mental instability on her website, the killer decides to target Abigail Hobbes to grow a mushroom garden from her, so that Will can establish connections with her.

Eldon Stammitz, misunderstanding the nature of Will’s mental instability,  because Freddie has no idea what she’s talking about, doesn’t understand that Will is already unnaturally connected to the world through his empathy. As Lecter said to him in Apertif, Will’s empathy bleeds into  every area of his mind because he can’t  compartmentalize fast enough, the way other people do. Will doesn’t need or want to have  more connections to people, he wants to have fewer.

Hannibal: … No effective barriers.
Will: I build forts.
Hannibal: Associations come quickly.
Will: So do forts.


Will rushes to the hospital to protect Abigail and shoots  Eldon. He seems to spend an inordinate amount of time protecting Abigail from various people, so its all the more ironic and painful for him when Hannibal finishes what began with  Garrett Jacob Hobbes at the end of season two. Of course by then Abigail’s usefulness to Lecter had come to an end.

Stammitz  is trying to create artificially, something that Will does naturally. You can already see Hannibal connecting to Will and trying to supplant Jack as Will’s anchor to reality in their conversations.

Of note:

Will has night sweats and headaches which are not necessarily symptoms of mental illness. They are, however, signs of physiological illness, and the major symptoms of encephalitis are, confusion, agitation and hallucinations, fever, headache, seizures and in children, irritability and inconsolable crying. We’ve been watching Will display all these symptoms since the first episode, popping aspirin, sleeping badly and being snappish. All of these symptoms are attributed by the characters on the show to his mental instability. Will is fragile, not because he’s mentally unstable as a result of the trauma of what he does, but because he’s physically ill and suffering  Lecter’s manipulations, and that makes him mentally unstable.


Hannibal is actually feeding Jack Crawford Roast Veal stuffed with Spinach and Mushrooms, according to Janice Poon, the food stylist for the show,  although viewers are given to understand that he and Jack are eating the lungs and liver of the Minnesota Shrike victim that Hannibal copycatted. As stated by Will in the first episode of season two, Hannibal has been feeding some of  his victims to his dinner guests. One of Lecter’s great pleasures is watching his guests eat his victims and he often jokes about it.


The theme music of this episode is Bach’s Aria de Capo.



Contrast Will’s working class attire with Lecter’s sophisticated Euro fashion sense in season one.  In season two, Will spends most of that time in a jumpsuit, but by the second half of season three, Will has identified with Lecter so much, that his manner of dress and hairstyle has changed to reflect Lecter’s influence on him. He wears  suits more often, darker colors, with subtly patterned ties. His silhouette has changed, becoming slimmer and neater.

Note Freddie Lounds fashion sense,as well. She is a bold and upfront character, with no shame in her game, and her fashion sense reflects that. Like Hannibal, she is a hunter. She often wears animal prints or bright primary colors, as if to let other, bigger predators  know she shouldn’t be eaten.  Freddie isn’t a predator like Lecter, so her coloring is all camouflage.

Contrast her fashion sense with Abigail , who actually has killed people and acted as a lure for her father’s victims. Abigail is attempting to broadcast her innocence and harmlessness and  tries to dress in a bland feminine style, not designed to draw attention and to put her father’s victims at ease. As suits her actual nature, however,  she wears a lot of hunting type jackets with an outdoorsy style.

Hannibal: The series – Apertif

Hannibal the Series is a perfect illustration of the Nietzschean philosophy that when you look into the abyss, the abyss looks also into you, and as you seek to study monsters, be careful that you do not become one.

As I’ve stated before, I’ve become totally obsessed with this show. I wish I’d paid better attention to it. When it was airing, I gave it only the most cursory attention, and felt like I simply wasn’t keeping up with the show or that it was over my head. It wasn’t over my head. Its just the kind of show you have to pay very close attention or you will be lost.

I guess, this makes me a  somewhat late-blooming Fannibal. Everyone who is into the show is already in this head-space, and I probably won’t bring anything new to an analysis of it, but if nothing else, these reviews and essays can straighten out my thinking about the show and characters, and prompt others to become Fannibals.

This series of essays and reviews are  my re-watch of seasons one-three and the thoughts that occurred to me during. Since all three seasons are available on DVD, and I’ve watched all of them, it  will contain  massive spoilers for season two and three as well. If you have never watched a single episode and don’t mind lots spoilers, then please, continue.

Season one of Hannibal is like most season one shows. It introduces the characters and main themes. Bryan Fuller himself, has stated that Hannibal is basically a non-sexual love story between two heterosexual men, Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter. It chronicles their first meeting, what types of men they are,   the supporting players and  the foundation for the second season. Most of the first season is  “killer of the week” episodes that have a particular resonance to a specific character or theme.

This first season, Hannibal Lecter spends in quiet fascination of Will Graham, who is touted as a being of pure empathy, due to some type of neurological disorder, something which fascinates Hannibal and several other characters. When we first meet Will, he is teaching at Quantico and approached by Jack Crawford, the head of a serial killer task force called The Evil Minds Research Facility, a title that Will objects to as tasteless. Later,in their first interview, Hannibal lightly jokes about Will’s tastes, one of the many little cannibal puns Lecter likes to indulge.


Jack Crawford asks Will where he is on the Autism spectrum, as one of the hallmark traits of Autism and Asperger syndrome, is the inability to make eye contact with others. Will can make eye contact but prefers not to do so, wearing his eyeglasses in such a way that they prevent him from looking directly at people, a tactic that Jack is smart enough to notice. In the episode Buffet Froid (1×10), Will  attempts to save, and bonds with, a young woman named Georgia Madchen, who can look at people’s faces, but because of a similar neurological disorder,  can’t see them. This drives her to psychosis, mirroring the instability Will has been trying to avoid because of his disorder and the influence of Lecter. Later in season two, Will bonds with Peter Bernadone (Su-Zakana: 2×8), a man with a similar disorder, due to a head injury, that won’t allow him to both touch and look at something at the same time, so this inability to SEE is a constant theme.

The first case we see Will talking about isn’t the Garret Jacob Hobbes case but a case involving a family called The Marlowes. Theirs is not one of the cases mentioned in the books but the Hobbes case is. The Hobbes case is the one that caused Will’s mental breakdown, briefly mentioned in the books, which prompted him to retire from criminal profiling. The first and the second seasons of the series is al Ike a prequel to The Red Dragon book, chronicling that breakdown, aided and abetted by Hannibal Lecter.

Jack Crawford seeks Will’s advice on the Hobbes case, which parallels one of the classic serial killer case studies in America, that of Ted Bundy. Hobbes victims are all outdoorsy young women, with dark hair. Ted Bundy was a charismatic serial killer from the 70s, who died in the electric chair in Fla. in 1989. The number of Bundy’s victims is unknown,  but most were young ,attractive, college aged females, similar in appearance to the victims in the Garret Hobbes case in the show. (If you Google the photos for the Ted Bundy case, you’ll see the resemblance.)

Garrett’s motivations however, are the complete opposite of Ted Bundy’s , which were sexual in nature. Hobbes motivation is more like Jeffrey Dahmer’s in that he sought to keep his victims close to him by eating them,(except without the sexual component, which I will get to in a moment). The victims symbolically represent Hobbes’ daughter Abigail, a young woman on the verge of leaving home and leaving her father’s life for the first time. This is Hobbes attempt to hold onto his daughter, trying to  arrest her development by killing and eating  representatives of her, over and over again, because he cherishes her, by  cherishing his victims.

This symbolic type of killing is not unusual in serial killer cases, where the killers take victims that resemble a particular woman, who they feel has wronged them, or that they covet, (as in the case of Edmund Kemper III, dubbed The Co-Ed Killer from the 1970s.) In some cases the killers are building up to killing their coveted victim, but in others, they may be reliving the death of their original victim, over and over again.

There is a deliberate choice on the part of Bryan Fuller, as he says,  to make the motivations of the serial killers on the show, non-sexual in nature. Almost all of the killings on the show are done for benign reasons, the killers often  believe they are helping their victims in some way, or echoing Hannibal’s therapeutic philosophy, they believe they are helping their victims to transcend and be their best selves. The only other killers we meet, who kill for selfsihly negative reasons, is Hannibal Lecter and  Tobias Budge in Fromage (1×8).

In fact, because of Fuller’s attempts to avoid cliches, it’s much easier to think of Hannibal as a “fantasy” show, with killing. Most of the types of killers, on the show are not like actual  real life killers, as most of them are not masterminds like Lecter.  In an attempt to avoid one cliche, however, Bryan Fuller has fulfilled the cliche of the violent mentally ill person. Most mentally ill are liable to be the victims of crime rather than the perpetrators:


The motivations of real life serial killers are most often sexual in nature. Notice that there are never rape motivations on the show, and although the victims are often mutilated after death, there is never any sexual component to that, whereas in the real world there is almost always a sexual component, right down to the choice of victims, who are often transient women, often prostitutes, who will not be missed when they are preyed upon. Serial killers  don’t like to chase and don’t often prey on those who will be easily missed. Like lazy fishermen, they prey  on people who be  easily lured into their orbit by their habits, or professions. The serial killers on Hannibal often choose very different types of victims, from all walks of life. (In season two, the fisherman motif will be brought up in conversation between Jack and Will.)

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On the show, the killers often mutilate the bodies of their victims too, but never for sexual reasons. Most often those reasons are unique to the individual situations of the killers, (like the Angel Killer in   Coquilles: 1×5), to send a message to a third party, (as Hannibal does in Apertif and Tobias Budge in Sorbet: 1×7), or a belief they are aiding the victims (as in Takiawase: 2×4)), and the bodies are often arranged in artistic tableau meant to convey meaning  to others (Randall Tier in Shizakana: 2×9) . Its more helpful for us  to think of Will’s job as reading the tableau, to determine what the killer is trying to say, something not entirely unlike how real profilers work, but that’s where the resemblance to actual criminal profiling ends.

When we first see Will, we are introduced to the  specific technique he utilizes throughout the rest of the series, to read a crime scene, the pendulum effect. This is important because it is how well Will’s mind works that determines how the  other characters behave towards him. Later, Will’s ability to access this mind-space is affected by his deteriorating mental state, and his reactions to Hannibal’s crime scenes are  changed as a result of Hannibal’s influence. Hannibal’s manipulations affect Will’s ability to see. It is Hannibal’s fascination with Will’s ability to think like any kind of person that begins their romance.

Jack Crawford first approaches Alana Bloom, to do a psychological evaluation of Will Graham and  to be his anchor in case Will gets in too deep. It is Alana  who recommends Lecter to Jack.


We first see Hannibal eating alone in his house and although we see him savoring the food, his life looks routine, possibly boring. He’s content, and seemingly happy, but there’s no real excitement. Life doesn’t become exciting until he is approached by Jack Crawford, who hires him to give a psychological profile of Will Graham, to assess whether or not Will is in a capable mental state to consult on cases.

The first meeting between Will and Lecter does not go well. Will denies Lecter for the first time here. It’s something he keeps doing throughout the series while drawing ever closer to him. We get a glimpse of Will’s dark-side, when he tells Hannibal that he won’t like him when he’s psychoanalyzed, referencing another mild mannered man who transforms into a raging beast when provoked. And he’s not wrong. There is a beast in Will, that authentic self that Hannibal senses and wishes Will to release. (Like Tony Stark from The Avengers, when he first meets Bruce Banner, Lecter is  curious. He pokes and prods Will to see what will happen.)

Having been introduced to Will and the case they’re working, Hannibal copycats the Hobbes’ case out of curiosity, to see if Will can tell the difference between the original and him. Oddly, the comparison to the copy is what spurs  Will to fully understand the Hobbes case. It is also what first puts Will onto the scent of Hannibal Lecter. The body impaled on the antlers of a deer, and the crows eating the body will become the familiar motif seen  throughout the rest of the series, known as the Dire RavenStag, which is Will’s subconscious representation of Hannibal.When Lecter questions Will the next day, he asks how Will knows that the Hobbes case, and the one he created, are not the same person.


This is  also the first time we see Lecter feeding Will, which I find fascinating as there  are several scenes of him feeding Will throughout the first season.The second instance is in Releves, (1×12), when he brings Will  Silkie Chicken Soup, as a health restorative. The giving  of food is a mating ritual among certain predatory animals, called Courtship Feeding, and is one of a number of power plays that Lecter engages in with Will, although Will doesn’t know it.

It’s  not explicitly stated, but it is implied,  that he is feeding Will meat from the “field kabuki” that  Will consulted on the previous day. Will’s rejection of Hannibal’s friendship during their  first meal is an instance of Will denying him, while  accepting Lecter’s offer of courtship. The series is full of such push and pull moments of Will both rejecting and accepting Lecter’s advances. By ingesting the body of the victim, one could argue that Will is possessed by Hannibal, and that’s when  the subconscious imagery of The Dire RavenStag, associated only  with Lecter’s killings, begins to haunt him. The Stag is also a sculpture that is one of the props found in Lecter’s office.

Later, when Will discovers Hobbes address, Hannibal calls and warns Hobbes  of his  imminent arrest. This is another test, just like the “field kabuki”, which is born entirely out of Hannibal’s curiosity of how Will is going to react. He watches Will kill for the first time  when Will shoots Garrett Hobbes, and is curious about how such pure empathy can be reconciled with taking a human life. All of their discussions afterwards are Hannibal probing what this must have felt like to Will.

Hannibal’s version of psychiatry involves the  full self- actualization of his patients, which is a legitimate psychiatric technique, but is  twisted in Hannibal’s case, as he doesn’t seem to care if his patients are violent psychopaths, or wish to become monsters. He encourages them regardless of their personal demons. He wants them to realize their authentic self and live up to their full potential, no matter how dark,  and after some amount of probing and poking, perverse creature that he is, decides Will needs to self-actualize. Later, he does this because Will becoming his true self will meet Lecter’s emotional needs.

What  ensues through the first half of season one is a tug of war between Jack Crawford and Hannibal Lecter over Will Graham’s soul, with Jack as the good Angel, on one shoulder and Hannibal as Lucifer, on the other. Bryan Fuller has stated that Hannibal is representative of Satan (i.e. The ManStag or  Horned God, that Will wrestles with in season two). Both Jack and Lecter seek to manipulate Will for their own agendas. Jack’s primary motive is using Will to catch The Chesapeake Ripper (who is actually Hannibal). Jack is walking a thin line of attempting to moderate Will’s instability, while Hannibal’s motivation seems to be encouraging it to full flower. After all, in order to build up, he must break down and that’s essentially what he’s doing to Will, breaking down all of Will’s barriers, his forts, to reach  his authentic self.

Garrett Jacob Hobbes, in desperation, tries to kill Abigail, but she is saved by Will and Hannibal, who afterwards feel responsibilities to her. The episode ends with the two of them book ending Abby’s unconscious body in the hospital. Although I suspect, the reason Hannibal is there is because he was waiting to see if Will would appear. Understanding Will’s attachment to Abigail, Lecter  uses her to manipulate Will’s mental instability, and eventually frame Will for her murder.





When we first see Lecter he is sitting down to dinner, in a dark, three piece suit and he is almost never seen wearing anything else. Note,  in his first meeting with Will, he is seen wearing  a  bland, beige outfit with a sweater vest and no tie. I suspect Lecter thinks this is how regular people do casual, and he is trying to mimic and blend in.

Most of Lecter’s suits are subtle plaids with solid shirts, with subtly patterned ties. Contrast those with Jack Crawford’s  FBI power suits, in dark, solid  jewel tones, often paired with colored shirts for that “cool black guy” effect. Will Graham often wears rumpled jackets, plaid shirts and khakis or chinos, with no tie, alluding to his working class background. Almost no one wears denim except Abigail Hobbes, who often wears dark flowery colors with a very youthful, feminine cut.


This episode features Bach’s Goldberg Variations.


Alana Bloom


Alana Bloom is not a character from the books or movies. However, Alan Bloom is briefly mentioned in both the book and movie Red Dragon. Alana is an original character to the series, and what a fearsome Mama Bear she is.

Alana Bloom is The Protector. A large part of her purpose in the series is to protect everyone. First Will Graham, who she tries to protect from Jack Crawford and Hannibal. Later, she takes Abigail Hobbes  under her wing and is fearless in this regard. She regularly dresses down Jack for his behavior towards Will, brings charges of negligence against him in season two on Will’s behalf, and is one of the few people who can get away with dressing down Hannibal, in her zeal to protect Abigail, something that Lecter meekly accepts from her..

Later, in season two, when Will has set his sights on taking down Hannibal as the Chesapeake Ripper, she tries to protect Hannibal as well. She is a mediator, the barrier between all the various male agendas and their attempts to destroy each other and themselves. And she is also a bridge, conveying messages to all of them, about each other, and is the one who facilitates Will’s and Hannibal’s first meeting.

Having been deceived and betrayed by Hannibal, she turns her attention, in season three, to Margot Verger, helping Margot to overthrow the tyranny of her brother Mason.

She is a fearless  mother figure within the narrative , who becomes a real mother by the end of the series. If Alana chooses your side in a dispute, you would be well protected from all comers.


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