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Hannibal 2×11 “Ko No Mono” Recap

“Ko No Mono,” as all of the other episodes in Hannibal‘s second season, is a part of the Kaiseki, a traditional, Japanese multi-course dinner. Ko No Mono is a dish made of pickled vegetables.

My brain feels like pickled vegetables after this episode, and I mean that in a good way.

The feathered stag topples over, dying, but gives birth, to a Will Graham stag, ribbing out of his encasements. Hannibal’s stag watches on. As always, the freaky interlude to start the ep is an aperitif that prepares us for the thematic content to come. “Ko No Mono” is all about death and rebirth, with Shiva one of the recurring images and topics of discussion. Shiva is not only the “Destroyer,” but he’s also the “Transformer,” or benefactor. Shiva is also Hannibal, and probably doesn’t have anything to do with The League.

Hannibal is serving endangered songbirds, that have been “gorged, drowned, plucked and roasted,” a ritual in Armagnac, though they’re not wearing shrouds (“I don’t hide from God.”). The birds are served literally in flame (fiery birds = phoenix, death/rebirth), and then he and Will must eat it, bones and all, in one bite. Commence sexual chewing and suggestive mouth shots.

Last week, it was made to appear that Will captured Freddie Lounds, killed her, and turned her into dinner with Hannibal’s culinary expertise. To start this one, Will flat out admits it: “I was euphoric when I killed Freddie Lounds.” That’s assuming you believe what you hear in Hannibal, which you probably shouldn’t. Will’s “design” is evolving, according to Hannibal, the Dark Passenger of this show.

We cut to more flames, where a body engulfed in flames skids through a parking lot on a wheelchair, landing at Freddie Lounds’ parking space. Do blogs have labeled parking spaces? I guess Freddie’s does. The orthodontics match Lounds, and the charred body reveals that she’s had parts surgically removed. Like the phoenix, Will believes that Freddie will rise from the ashes, and that the killer wants to be noticed. This makes Hannibal unbearably pleased. But it can also all be an elaborate plan to trap Hannibal. Is Jack in on it? Do the poor sarcastic doctors get to know anything ever? Has Will bitten off more than he can chew (forgive that sentence choice)?

Meanwhile, the other subplot that just kind of erupted out of nowhere, continues to bloom, like Margot herself. She’s pregnant, and Will’s the father. She’s made him an unwitting accomplice in her family strife. Hannibal, Will and Margot discuss the matter in the office. Katharine Isabelle is fantastic, and so clinical, using Will to create an heir, but she wouldn’t be opposed to a male influence in the boys life. As long as it’s not Mason, her psychotic older brother. “He’s not good with children.”

On cue, Mason eyes as a troupe of children file out of his stables, apart of a camp that he runs. He stops one of the kids, Franklin (Samuel Faraci), and gives him a carrot to feed the horses. Then he tells Franklin, a foster child, that he won’t be able to see his Foster mother or kitty kat anymore, because they don’t want him. He makes him cry, and then extracts one of Franklin’s tears on an absorbent wipe. Then in Michael Pitt’s high-pitch, if Billy Eichner was a serial killer voice, tells the kid to “have a chocolate,” giddy with his torture. To top it all off, he drinks a cocktail of children’s tears. WAHHHHHHHHHHHH

Will’s having sweaty dreams, normally not a good sign. Alana drops by, but “this isn’t a friendly visit.” She thinks he killed Freddie Lounds and Will is doing absolutely nothing to dispel her theories and qualms. Bloom, like a normal human (she might be the only one on the show, until she figures out that she’s shtupping a serial killer), thinks that Hannibal and Will’s relationship isn’t good for either of them. Will warns Bloom that she should be afraid, and gives her a gun to practice with, to keep her safe, in the creepiest way possible.

Mason has taken up Hannibal’s suggestion for therapy, as Mason talks out of his ass about camp, and how he’s gotten in trouble with children before, but got off with community service and therapy. It’s clear Hannibal doesn’t like Mason one bit, cutting him off and having him move seats, as Mason’s the only one we’ve seen lay down in cliche therapy posture. Hannibal, ever the manipulator pulling the strings, makes a pointed comment about other possible heirs to the Verger empire.

Will Graham visits Lounds funeral, walking up to Bloom. It’s common for killers to revisit the victim after the murder, after all. Will’s basically feeding Alana Bloom’s paranoia and fear, and it’s unsettling to watch, considering these two were such a wonderful pair last season. Now, Will is either playing her, using her in his true design, or he’s just a crazy killer. Neither are especially comforting.

Will talks to Hannibal about parenthood, and if he was ever a father. He was a father to his sister Michelle, who’s dead now. I wonder how. Abby reminded him of her. He wishes he could give her back to Will, who dreams of fishing with Abby. It’s clear Hannibal means it: he didn’t want to kill Abby, but it had to be done. Hannibal drops tea cups on purpose, watching them shatter, hoping that they’ll come back together. Needless to say, they don’t. Will’s forthcoming baby may be an opportunity, to replace what he lost with Abby.

At the cemetary, Freddie Lounds’ corpose has been dug up, deified into Shiva. The chaos of her murder now becoming orderly. Alana believes that Randall and Freddie have the same killer, and that Will’s connected. She has this conversation with Jack, and Will makes cryptic/terrifying comments, yet Jack distances himself from it. It’s clear Jack has something up his sleeve, or is in on whatever Will’s got going on. Or so we hope.

As I mentioned before, Shiva is the destroyer and the benefactor. This killer is being guided (or parented), with the suggestion that the benefactor created this new image, that they’re watching a courtship, a notion that gives Alana Bloom the heebie jeebies. We see Hannibal turn into a Stag-Shiva, and it’s…weird.

Mason pays Margot a visit in the stables, making comments about her “bloom,” setting off all of the alarm bells: she knows about her baby and her plan. He tells her that he likes the idea of having an heir of his own, a little Verger to share his knowledge that he learned from Papa. For a family that owns a breeding company, there’s a lack of breeding in their family. Michael Pitt HAS to be a villain. He has shades of the Joker here (and might be one of the few people who could hope to ever do that character justice again), and it’s mindblowing to see how incredibly gifted a performer Pitt is today, when I grew up watching him as the precocious Henry Parker on Dawson’s Creek.

Hannibal and Mason have another session, where Mason tells him he’ll “have an heir, only if I die.” They also discuss killing pigs, Papa, and Margot, because those are the only things Mason talks about.

Bloom is still with Hannibal, at least for now. She doesn’t know what to believe, and knows Will isn’t doing well. “Are you questioning my therapy?” “I’m questioning everything.” She feels empty, like she’s given blood. She has, Hannibal says, and then starts kissing her arm, because that’s romantic I guess. Of course, Alana has a daydream of shooting him, but kisses him instead.

Margot has packed her bags, on the run, knowing she’s got to escape. While she’s clearly messed up and totally used Will for his spunk, we’re still rooting for her. Or at least, I am, but that’s all for naught, as Mason’s imposing henchman Carlo Deogracias (Daniel Kash) slams into her car. Margot wakes up, strapped onto a hospital table, Mason in all red scrubs. He’s going to “remove the temptation,” and signals the doctors to start the procedure of bungling her lady parts. Before he does, he gets another tear for his collection.

Bloom goes to Jack, on edge. She accuses him of lying, of Will and Hannibal lying. Everyone’s lying. What does he believe? What’s going on? She demands the truth, the stand-in for the audience. “You don’t know Hannibal…You are going to lose. You may have lost already.”

Jack calmly tells her to “Follow me,” and then he brings her into another office to find…Freddie Lounds, alive and well. “How was my funeral?” Of course/Awesome.

Will and Hannibal both stare at Margot, in a hospital bed.

While Will didn’t kill Freddie Lounds (though I’m not sure why he assaulted her or kidnapped her), he’s clearly not innocent. He stampedes into Mason’s stable, and punches him in the face. Mason tastes his own blood gleefully, knowing that he was Margot’s baby daddy (“I’m going to feed you to my pigs!”). Instead, Will holds him over the man-eating pigpen and tells him that he’s not here because it’s his idea. Margot. Mason. Will. They’re all patients of Hannibal. “Dr. Lecter’s the one you want to be fed to your pigs.”

Um, hell yes. Two more mind-#%#@ filled episodes remain, and luckily for us, another season from Bryan Fuller and company awaits us next year, since it was (almost) the only show that NBC didn’t butcher like one of Verger’s pigs.

GRADE: A