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I had hoped that last week’s trip into killer of the week territory might be a one-off. Unfortunately, this week’s “Shiizakana” offers us much in the same, albeit with this week’s particular killer having a clear link to Hannibal’s past. We don’t have all that much in terms of character development to work with either, although the series does work to flesh out Margot Verger a bit more, leading us to the conclusion that she, and her heretofore absent brother Mason, will begin to factor into the series more as it approaches its season finale.
Our killer this week is a former patient of Hannibal’s- one who had an obsession with animals and teeth as a teenager, which he has nurtured into the creation of an animal suit with the ability to rip apart and kill others. On one hand, it’s a truly impressive piece of engineering, while on the other it’s another sign that Hannibal might not be all that focused on curing or treating his patients with more murderous tendencies.
More evidence that Hannibal may in fact be nurturing his clients to bring out their violent sides comes from his sessions with Margot. Apparently Hannibal has been telling Margot she should attempt to murder her brother again. As she puts it, “If at first you don’t succeed,” and all of that. He instructs Randall the animal man to kill Will, and he is trying to bring out the apparent murderous impulses within Will as well- so long as they aren’t directed at Hannibal himself.
The most intriguing aspect of this episode is the interplay between Will and Hannibal. From earlier episodes, we know that Will is trying to entrap Hannibal and get him to fully admit his crimes. He’s opting to try and beat Hannibal at his own game- a particularly dangerous proposition for a man who was recently locked away from a series of crimes in a mental institution. But I can’t help but wonder exactly how successful Will is becoming. Yes, he gets Hannibal to tacitly admit he sent Randall after Will to even the score between them (and to agree to a detente where the attempted murder of each other is concerned), but is Will still playing the beat Hannibal game? Or is Hannibal actually making progress in getting Will to embrace his baser instincts and learn to crave the kill?
Up to this point in the season, I would easily argue that Will has been a reliable narrator for us to follow. The show has shown us his full hand, and let us tag along for the ride as he seeks to put Hannibal away once and for all. However, this episode really gives me pause. Will’s own fantasies show him longing to kill not only Hannibal but also last week’s killer. He speaks of how good it felt to kill Garret Jacob Hobbes. I can no longer tell if Will is simply playing Hannibal or playing directly into his hands.
Hannibal certainly seems to think that he has Will right where he wants him. As with Margot, he is slowly pushing Will to become a killer and take matters into his own hands. I’m not entirely certain how Hannibal feels knowing that Margot and Will have been comparing notes- and finding that Hannibal’s therapeutic methods may be a bit unorthodox, to say the least. One this is certain: I don’t see this detente between Hannibal and Will lasting too much longer. There are only four episodes left in the season and something will have to happen to send Jack into a murderous rage.
— I was more sad to see poor Buster hurt than I have been about nearly all the deaths on the series so far. I’m not sure what that says about me.
— This version of Margot seems much more put together than her novelization counterpart. I have to say, it’s a lovely change. We also learn a bit more about her and her family: The Verger’s are rich due to their slaughterhouses, and Margot is apparently not set to inherit the family business due to both her gender and her sexuality. Throw in a rapist brother and it sounds like a fun family to grow up in.
— No Alana this week. Considering I find Margot far more interesting than Alana after only two episodes, this doesn’t bode well for Alana’s future on the series, which is really a big shame.
— Will now appears to be dreaming in black and white, creating some incredibly gorgeous shots.