Hannibal "Futamono" Review: Old Friends for Dinner
With so many actual blossoms in this episode, the previews involving Alana Bloom (see what they did there?) and Hannibal Lecter kissing in bed weren't going to be a dream sequence after all, but a fact that we're going to have to live with for the rest of our days.
Romance between the unlikely pair—and we'll come back to that, don't worry—wasn't the only thing that bloomed this week. Jack may not be fully on board the "Hannibal the Cannibal" train (though he's seriously mulling buying a ticket), but he at least had the epiphany that Will's not the Chesapeake Ripper or the copycat killer, as they are, in fact, one and the same. Like the flowers in that unfortunate councilman's chest cavity, Jack's mind is now open and ready for just the right amount of pollination.
I swear that's the last flower-, bloom-, or blossom-related term I'll use. I'm nipping them in the bud right now.
OKAY. That was the last one, I promise.
"Futamono" was something of an odd episode, in part because Will's actions last week sped everything up. The episode burned through a sizable amount of plot rather quickly—setting up the romance and putting Jack in a new frame of mind AND THEN FINDING MIRIAM LASS—making for one of the quicker-moving installments of the series. Even the pace of dialogue was increased, with characters talking at a faster-than-usual clip and with fewer ominous and emotionally charged pauses. As a whole, "Futamono" lurched forward at such a rate that while I know it's far too soon, I half-wondered if Jack might be getting stabbed in the neck before the finale. Like, next week instead.
This newfound swiftness may've also contributed to the odd tonality of "Futamono." The episode veered from the show's trademark, layered threats—"I wonder how many more people are going to get hurt by what you do. I'll give Alana Bloom your best."—to the discussion of death posing as pillow talk to the delightfully humorous bits, like Brian's "varicose vines" or pretty much any line that was loosed from Chilton's lips this week (praise be to Law & Order: SVU for allowing Raúl Esparza to come and play so often).
I don't view any of these things as negative, by the way. The tonal shifts and the geared-up narrative momentum aren't a sign that the show is changing or rushing so much as they are signs that Hannibal is flexing some different muscles as it hits the halfway point of the season. It's becoming more confident in itself, and putting more trust in its audience to roll with these shifts. Last week was about earning the shock of seeing Beverly's body sliced up on put on display; this week was about Hannibal saying, "Here's what we're building to, here's what to expect as we go forward, because things are going to be a little different."
So, yeah, the hook-up. It was horrible to watch since, well, we know Hannibal, and Alana has no idea. In fact, given Will and Jack's actions, she's even less likely to suspect Hannibal of any wrongdoing at this point. It's classic dramatic irony; Alana turned to Hannibal in an emotionally vulnerable state just as we knew Hannibal was looking to hurt her in some way after his conversation with Will. So we were freaking out due to our knowledge, and the episode was encouraging us to freak out even more by shooting Alana and Hannibal's pillow talk vertically, as if they we standing up, instead of horizontally, as you normally would would when two characters are lying in bed. It was unsettling to our spatial sense of the world (and cinematography) just as much as those two having slept together unsettled us emotionally.
That being said, I can't stress how much I loved that Alana made the first move here. For all the show's strengths and continued goodness, it has struggled to find a way to make Alana fit and to make her relevant to the narrative beyond being Will's sad-eyed ally and would-be romantic entanglement. Changing her dance partner, as it were, isn't ideal as it still chains the show's only regular female character now a romantic bauble, but at least the show granted her the agency to kiss Hannibal first and to base that decision on the mixed up emotions inside of her. It did also side-step the whole "Serial killer seducing the woman" angle, which I'm all for, even if could trap Alana in a damsel position once Jack and Will find firm ground for pursuing Hannibal.
Jack's epiphany about Will arrived, as you might've guessed, a bit sooner than I had anticipated. It was going to be this season, but I didn't expect it at the halfway point. Maybe a few episodes after. In any case, it's happening, and I'm glad. Will needs someone who believes some of his story who can actually do something, and Jack is obviously willing to do things, even if he's not completely on board with the idea of Hannibal as the Chesapeake Ripper. But, c'mon, Jack. Who else could it be at this point? Who had access to all the victims in some way? Knew the cases? Hannibal can misdirect you all he wants, but the answer is right there next to you, serving you some well-aged alcohol by the fire.
Of course, the universe also rewarded Jack for coming around on Will's innocence in the form of Miriam Lass. This is perhaps the largest development of the season so far since it indicates just how close Jack is to finally catching the Ripper, and it'll likely provide a much needed boost of confidence to Jack that he didn't let this trainee die...just be trapped in a hatch for a few years...and lost an arm. I doubt Miriam's going to be much help right away, but she's bound to be some.
À LA CARTE
– "Needless to say, I will not be eating the food." In case you missed the recipe cards and Chilton's recapping of the dishes, Hannibal served heart tartare, beef roulade, Wagyu beef, and prosciutto roses. And none of it, apparently, was human. At least he has that rôti de cuisse of Gideon to hold him for a while.
– Speaking of speeding things up, lots of little pieces from Silence of the Lambs appeared in this episode, from Will's instructive chat with Jack mirroring Hannibal's discussion with Clarice about Buffalo Bill's motives to Jack finding Miriam Lass in that dark, dank hole, like where Buffalo Bill kept Catherine Martin. It's as if Hannibal isn't expecting to get to do its take on Lambs (for a host of reasons), so it's just going to incorporate elements of it now instead.
– Apart from Hannibal's own composition on the harpsichord—which had me switching to Bach's lute-harpsichord pieces while I wrote this instead of my usual Toru Takemitsu tracks—we heard more from Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words, this time Book VII, Op. 85, No. 4 as Alana helped Hannibal skewer hearts. Staruss's waltz Liebeslieder op. 114 played as Hannibal prepared food for his dinner party, and at the dinner party itself, we heard the first movement of Beethoven's String Quartet No. 3. Finally, as Hannibal prepared Gideon's thigh, it was the first movement of Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major. Oh, and "Chopsticks," the ultimate "OH, WE ARE SO ABOUT TO MAKE OUT" piece of music for TV.
– What do you make of the show's decision to have Will grow antlers, a la the manstag? This is the second or third time this has happened, and I think we should start analyzing its meaning. It seems to me that it occurs as Will is plotting, allowing a darkness associated with Hannibal to overtake him. Other ideas?
– One more item for all of us to discuss. Did Hannibal want Miriam to be found? He gave out a ton of evidence in the lures he used to string up the hospital guard. His performance at the harpsichord being intercut with Jack investigating that barn came off as decidedly triumphant to me, but did you all read it differently? Is Hannibal falling prey to his hubris? Tell me, tell me.
How did "Futamono" taste?
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