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Hannibal 2×10 “Naka-Choko” Recap

Naka-choko refers to a palate cleanser as a part of the Kaiseki, oftentimes a light, acidic soup, if you believe Wikipedia. I’m not sure if I would call this episode a palate cleanser. Instead, the Hannibal team continues to pile on the crazy, the conflict and take Will Graham to places that may be irretrievable.

Last week, the episode ended with a bombshell, as Will dropped Randall’s body on Hannibal’s dinner table. Randall had attacked Will in his own home, and killing him would certainly be self defense. Bringing him to Hannibal and enjoying the kill is different story.

We flash back to the kill itself, as the stag crashes through the window, morphing into the Hannibal faced stag. Will throws his gun away (preferring to be intimate with his kill, as teased last week), and attacks the stag, punching Hannibal over and over. But, instead, he’s killing Randall, one of Hannibal’s other creations.

You can practically see Hannibal’s erection, as he tells Will that the prospect of death drives us to greatness. Hannibal cleans him up, and even asks if Will imagined killing him instead of Hannibal. Indeed, Will never felt more alive than when he was killing Randall. For that gift, Hannibal asks, how will he repay him?

And then the show takes Will to a place that I can’t imagine coming back from. Will displays Randall’s body in a church like a museum exhibit, Randall’s body draped on the bones of a direwolf. Jack’s arrived to find the body. Whoa. A helluva tribute.

Will and Hannibal discuss the crime scene with Jack, who couldn’t be more clueless about what’s going on, as Will defends his methods (“this is my design”), as we see Will go into empathy murder mode…except this time he actually was the one who killed Randall, and not imagining himself as such. While he was forced to kill Randall, he wasn’t forced to enjoy it. The killer (Will) got Randall, understood him, envied him, rather than empathized with him.

Freddie Lounds alert! Will comes to interview for her book, that already has movie interest (ha!). She brings up the Chesapeake Ripper, neither one of them letting that story go, but for entirely different reasons. Will backpedals on his Hannibal as the Ripper stance, stating that he was wrong, that Chilton didn’t. Lounds doesn’t buy it: he didn’t have the surgical acumen, and thinks Will is right.

At Hannibal’s office, Dr. Lecter is grooming another killer, as he chats with Margot Verger about her brother. To kill Mason, you must allow yourself to hate him. Even if Mason dies, the company doesn’t go to Margot, because her Dad was clearly as much a pig as the animals they slaughter. She doesn’t have a legacy, but Hannibal suggests she can make her own.

Then we’re introduced to Mason Verger, and it’s an unbridled delight to see Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire) inhabit the role. Margot comes back from a horseback ride into the stables, as Mason shows her the new maze for the pigs. These pigs have been trained to eat humans, and he proves it by putting a body wearing one of Margot’s suit into the pen, and a frenzy ensues. Mason knows he would have made his Dad proud, doing it all for family. He’s an absolute nutter, and Pitt is incredible, another fantastic casting get for what may be the best show on TV right now, non-Orphan Black division.

Hannibal and Alana Bloom are making music together, and I don’t mean love making. Hannibal teaches her how to play a theremin, an instrument you play without touching. Then they start touching and making their own music, as promised, and we’re intercut with Margot Verger visiting Will, and the two also engaging in some sexual congress. They begin by looking and feeling each other’s scars, Will makes an odd comment about saying he has the wrong parts for her, and then they smooch and boink anyways. By the end, Will envisions Bloom, as the two lovemaking scenes become entwined.

Lounds pounces on Bloom, though not in a sexual way. She wonders when she began sleeping with Hannibal, as a student or recently, and wonders if that’s why she’s blinded by him. Again, she suggests Will was right, but unable to beat him, Will joined Hannibal. Certainly appears that way.

Dr. Lecter visits Mason Verger, as Mason wanted to meet the man he’s paying for his sister’s well being. We learn that Hannibal used to have a sister, and ever the businessman, pitches himself as a therapist for Mason as well, which wouldn’t at all be a conflict of interest or anything. Mason considers it, and offers to slaughter a hog for him. Hannibal accepts, but wants to choose his own.

Cut to a resplendent suckled pig feast, with Will and Alana as guests. Awkward. They talk about livestock (many farmers love the animals, and then kill what they love) and Alana brings up Lounds’ visit. She wonders about Hannibal and Will’s relationship and the boundaries they’re crossing, not at all knowing what kind of boundaries they’re breaking together.

Freddie comes to Will’s house. We see Hannibal in his plastic kill suit, and expect to find him there waiting. Instead, nobody’s home, and she breaks into Will’s barn, where she finds Randall’s contraption. She begins snapping photos, discovering meat in a freezer, until Will saunters in, scary as $#!*. She runs away, and gets to her car, but Will smashes her window and drags Freddie away. WHAT IS GOING ON?! Is this allowed? What are these writers going to do? It’s as if Bryan Fuller and company are purposefully writing themselves into a corner, and relishing the problems and wildly inventive ways they’re able to escape. I’m so curious to see what happens next, because it gets crazier.

Jack brings in Will, along with Alana and Hannibal, and plays a voicemail from Freddie. She called him when trying to make her escape, and the voicemail merely replays her struggle. Will mentions that they had a meeting planned, which explains her proximity to his home, and casually points out how easy it could be to get taken in the middle of nowhere by his place. Comforting.

It gets worse: Will brings meat to Hannibal, a slim and delicate pig, he says. Will wants to cook with Hannibal, to learn, and I don’t think Lecter has ever been more happy in his life than to impart his culinary/murderous wisdom onto Will. He hands Will a knife, and we cut to a succulent meal. Hannibal, the one with the impeccable palate, knows that they are not eating pig, that the bitter taste is a result from the fear in the animal when killed. Are they eating Freddie Lounds right now?! AHHHH.

The episode ends with Will and Hannibal’s faces adjoining together, like an even more psychotic Two-Face. Hannibal, you wily bastard of a show.

GRADE: A*

*Though come back to me in a couple weeks when we find out where this is going