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For the past few weeks, Hannibal has been speeding along like a bullet train headed for the inevitable violent confrontation between Jack and Hannibal. There was no way to keep up such pacing, as doing so would have put us at that fight far quicker than the upcoming season finale. Within that in mind, I assume a slower episode, once again focused on a killer of the week was just as inevitable as the Jack-Hannibal dust-up.
“Su-Zakana” certainly isn’t a bad episode, per say, but it is definitely a let down in terms of the rest of the season up until this point. One of the joys of watching a show as well put together as Hannibal is that you don’t typically have to suffer through the type of procedural non-sense you would see weekly on a show such as CSI. Instead, you generally receive a case that serves merely as the backdrop for the continuing movement of the main plot of the season. It can be a difficult high wire walk to balance the two successfully, which is why we sometimes receive episodes with no murders or episodes solely focused on the murder and less on the overall plot.
The central case is a a fairly clear comparison to the relationship between Hannibal and Will, as the weaker and mentally compromised, but goodhearted, Peter is railroaded (or, is almost railroaded) by a man who is entrusted with his safety. All-in-all, it serves more to allow Hannibal to confront Will regarding his lingering desire to kill him than anything else.
There are some interesting plot points within the episode, despite it feeling more like a CSI episode than a typical Hannibal episode. Will, in either a fit of brilliance or idiocy, lays his cards on the table with Hannibal. Yes, he still wants to kill Hannibal, and the only reason he is participating in therapy is to keep a close eye on the good doctor. However, he’s not alone in his belief in Hannibal’s guilt. Jack informs Will that if Will can get Hannibal to confess or somehow implicate himself, Jack will be there to take care of the rest. Considering how Jack seemed convinced last week that it was Chilton (whose fate is still up in the air, as we don’t receive any confirmation of his death this week) who was the Ripper, I’m not sure when this change of heart occurred, but he certainly seems serious.
The other intriguing plot point within the episode is the introduction of Margot Verger and her pretty horrific brother Mason (only in a flashback). Fans who have seen the film or read the novel “Red Dragon” will know that these two factor heavily into its plot. As the series creeps closer and closer to having Hannibal captured for his crimes, it is also beginning to set up the plot points that are central to the “Red Dragon” storyline as well. While we only know bits and pieces regarding Margot and Mason’s television personnas, it appears that Bryan Fuller has kept the main impetus behind the characters’ motivations- Mason remains a monster and Margot is conflicted regarding her feelings towards him, expressing a desire to kill him much in the same way Will wants to kill Hannibal. I wonder if Hannibal and Mason will get along? I’m sure we will see before the end of the season.
— Bryan Fuller is clearly setting up plot points for next season’s jump into the meat of the “Red Dragon” storyline, which shows he has faith that the series will be back in some form. However, it has yet to be reviewed and is bringing in less audience than the absolutely horrific Dracula did in the same time slot this past fall. Both series are produced with foreign partners, meaning the expense to NBC is much lower than with a typical series, but I’m not sure if that will be enough to save Hannibal from the chopping block. Fuller has hinted in multiple interviews that he has had interest from other networks, but time will tell if Hannibal even gets a chance to tackle “Red Dragon.”
— Peter is played by the lovely Jeremy Davies, best known for playing Daniel Faraday on Lost. It is amazing how similar Davies looks to Hugh Dancy- and how similar their mannerisms are within their characters. Which, of course, further hits home the connections between the murders and the Will-Hannibal relationship.
— Having a bird within a woman within a horse is simply insane. I want to be a fly on the wall of the Hannibal writers room when they come up with these things.