It's Been A Slice
Katz is found, Lounds is played, and a shirtless Mads Mikkelsen is a mixed blessing.
The…"stately" pace of Hannibal recommends itself in one way, to a viewer like myself with a magpie attention span: the spiderweb of innuendo and hinting (itself hinted at by Freddie Lounds's adorbs moto sweater) is easy to trace along with, interwoven (…sorry) as it is with symbol-heavy monologues. The point of the show isn't to gotcha us on plot (we already know whodunnit), of course, and I acknowledge the show for not bothering to create false tension -- but sometimes that means it creates no tension.
Not an issue this week, as we meet the swimfan responsible for killing the bailiff in Will's trial: Matthew Brown. That he's played by Jonathan Tucker bakes the frisson of creepy right in; Tucker has somehow become known for playing…I don't know quite how to put it. Men of curdled psyche, let's say, and his unblinking overbitey brittleness is maybe not the trademark he dreamed of as a lad, but it's reliably foreboding. He admits that he offed the bailiff, but regretfully intones that someone else killed the judge, and Will correctly concludes that Hannibal is that someone else -- and asks his groupie to kill Hannibal as a "favor" to him.
Meanwhile, he's trying to lead Jack Crawford gently to the idea that the Ripper killed Dr. Katz and the Ripper is Hannibal, but without saying it directly because Jack won't believe him; and Chilton is trying to use Abel Gideon as a therapeutic tool to recover Will's memory. Everyone's using everyone in "Mukozuke" -- Jack uses Will to find Katz's killer, Will uses Freddie Lounds to find Matthew (Lounds uses him back to bag his story as an exclusive), Will uses Matthew to (try to) kill Hannibal, Hannibal uses Lounds to bring the FBI to Katz's body (and Katz's kidneys as an am-ew-se bouche), Matthew uses Hannibal to (try to) gain glory for himself as a notorious serial, and everyone's using Abel Gideon for information, either getting it or transmitting it, sometimes without knowing it.
But of course Hannibal doesn't die, despite Matthew's jank noose/anti-Christ wrist-slitting set-up. Crawford and Bloom arrive just in time to save him. But saving Hannibal might have doomed Will, because now Hannibal knows that Will asked Matthew to kill him…although Hannibal as written here would consider that a respectable chess move versus a cause for panic.
Shirtless Mads and a sickening Katz-paccio: how Hannibal-istic did it get this week?
|Food You Know Is Human Flesh That Still Looks Delish||That clip of Katz's kidney emerging from the meat grinder gets this dinged with a "no," despite other food in the episode looking quite tasty. (My esteemed colleague David T. Cole wouldn't forgive me if I didn't mention that the powdered eggs in the opening sequence looked yummy. That's why my Native American name is Institutional Starch.)|
|Décor/Attire Porn||Jonathan Tucker must have a Speedo rider ("that's what she said!") in his contract, because he seems to end up in them a lot. This is not a complaint. Hannibal also looked super-foxy in casual-Friday hair and a dark-red v-neck, preparing oysters. As for the Mikkelswimsuit, well, you know. I was with that until it was covered in wrist gore. And finally, kudos to Raúl Esparza for rocking the bespoke double-breasted suit; I'm not a fan of that cut generally but he looked fab.|
|Darkness Visible||Another reasonably well-lit episode. Freddie Lounds's approach to the observatory seemed like it might have been shot…not night-for-day, but clouds-for-sun, if that's a thing? I considered counting the pointed centering of the observatory's dark shadow in that next sunny scene, but everything is usefully visible in this ep, and as I can't imagine there isn't a conscious "things coming to light" parallel for Bryan Fuller and the DPs, I may have to retire this category.|
|Hannibal Dodges An Exposure Bullet||Will isn't about to tell anyone else in so many words that Hannibal's the Chesapeake Ripper, but soon enough, he's not going to need to. The bullet is still en route, in other words.|
|Putting The "MM" Back In "Emmy"||His "to me this is happening?" faces just after Matthew hits him with the tranq dart.|
|Pretty/Disgusting||The slices of Dr. Katz recall the Visual Human Project. Kudos also for the recombining scene where all the Lucite "pages" join up and reverse the process, particularly the sound design. As a general rule I don't pay nearly as much attention to the sensual elements of a show's design as I do to the writing, and Hannibal does sometimes verge on the overdone with them, but usually it's very thoughtful, as here.|
|Hopkins-verse Alert!||Hannibal's "travel outfit" from Silence of the Lambs gets an explicit nod when Will is brought to the observatory.|
|Matrix Fight Scene||Will inserts himself into Katz's demise, but it's not Matrix-y. Matthew K-darting Hannibal isn't an incorrect choice or anything but it's a missed opportunity for the show's trademark elaborate mano a mano.|
|Will's A Genius||Figures out the real killer is reading Freddie Lounds's website; plays her like a violin to draw the killer out; shoots down Matthew's hawk metaphor, which thank you, by sniffing that hawks are solitary, which was a Bobby Goren too far in terms of random factoid mastery.|
|Antlers O' Symbolism||Antlerman appears when Will is inspecting the Katz scene. Later, antlers sprout from Will's back.|
|"That's A Class Twee Felony"||The DP's a little too in love with the "blood/water/blood in the water" imagery, the dirty sink overflowing with blood, et cetera. The symbolism of the pool and its chlorine would have felt lighter without all the blood drops as a lead-up. Other symbology -- Chilton turning his back on Hannibal; the oysters; Bloom's (I think?) starfish necklace -- had quite a light touch, so I think this is mostly down to trying to fill time, but it's still a lot.|
|7 / 11
Hannibananas Foster and a cup of Sanka