Hannibal "Naka-Choko" Review: Event Horizon

By Noel Kirkpatrick

May 03, 2014

Hannibal S02E10: "Naka-Choko"

I feel like we've potentially crossed a line here, a line that may push the boundaries of things just a wee bit too far. In the past, I've argued in favor of Hannibal's big, operatic impulses, but it's possible that, like Will, the show has given itself over to those impulses, and it may be a little bit lost as a result.

Killing Randall Tier was not a bad thing, per se. Will believed his life was in danger (not to mention the lives of his dogs!!!), and given his correct suspicion that Hannibal was priming Randall in some way, if Will hadn't killed Randall, Randall would've certainly killed Will. Within the confines of television narrative, we're by no means in uncharted or dangerous waters here; if anything, this sort of situation is part and parcel of the cop procedural. The killer that the protagonist is chasing makes things personal, and things get morally (and legally) gray. But then this happened...

...and now we suddenly have more than a few questions that need answering. Plus there's the matter of whatever the hell happened to Freddie. 

I remain convinced that Jack is aware of what Will is attempting to do with Hannibal—their conversation while ice fishing was all about that, while still maintaining an air of just being two dudes talking about their fishing techniques—but Jack also doesn't know the details, and he may not even want to know the details. He's on the record in thinking that Will Graham was a little off his rocker in accusing Hannibal of being the Ripper, which will help Will lure in Hannibal, but just how much of a leash can Jack afford to give Will right now? Hannibal and Will's take of the Randall tableau felt practically rehearsed for Jack's benefit, and Jack, to his credit, was casting all sorts of side-eye at it.

So Jack finds himself in the same position as most police chiefs do when, after turning a blind eye and/or saying something like, "I can't tell you to not go do this, but then again, what you do during your suspension is your thing," their vigilante cop who gets results strays too far from the reservation. There's an air of deniability—"Will's therapist said he was fine" and "We were just talking about ice fishing, I had no idea he was doing this!"—but there's also needing to pull your cop out of a hot situation if he's unraveling enough that he's possibly responsible for transforming someone into a grotesque man-beast-skeleton and killing a muckraking reporter. Jack has very much gone past the mistakes he made in Season 1; he's making whole new mistakes now.

Which is why we've arrived at a very sticky situation. I honestly don't think—or don't want to think—that Will killed Freddie. His actions toward Freddie in the barn seemed to indicate that all of what she saw was for Hannibal's benefit, but they didn't get that far. The challenge is that their short struggle and the moment when Will pulled her out of her car were shot and edited very much like a woman being abducted by a killer. Will denying seeing Freddie that day and attempting to wave away the cell phone signal was explained by Hannibal being in the room. And Hannibal is again trying to sell this notion that Will has been seduced/ensorcelled by Hannibal and his long pig ways, and is denying them to Jack.

If Will actually killed Freddie, though, there's pretty much nothing the show can legitimately do for it to make much sense with Will's state of mind. There's a darkness that's seeping out of him as he becomes a monster, but his monstrosity has largely been contained to his associations with Hannibal, whether it be the Bizarro Hannibal who was Peter Bernadorne's social worker or Randall as Hannibal's representative. But with the Randall tableau, it's become slightly difficult to ascertain the degree to which Will is actually becoming a killer because he legitimately finds power in it and isn't just pretending to be one to ensnare Hannibal.

Dinner parties with Alana and joint cooking sessions aren't helping matters, since Will seems very committed to the façade in front of Alana—"It's just hard to know where you are with each other." "We know where we are with each other. Shouldn't that be enough?"—and he all but told Hannibal that he sliced and diced Freddie. We're in sort of the same position that Alana finds herself in: uncomfortable, and maybe starting to question some assumptions.

It says a lot about this episode that I've spent more time attempting to sift through all the Will possibilities than dealing with the fact that Mason Verger (Michael Pitt) and his man-eating pigs were introduced this week. The pigs made a big impression, of course but I thoroughly grooved on Pitt's performance, particularly his riffing on Gary Oldman's voice for the character in the film Hannibal. Given Mason's generally larger-than-life psychotic attitude, I was a little worried that he might feel out of place on the show, considering how generally low-key it is, but so long as the mania is reserved for Mason, it'll probably work out all right.

I'm also glad that Mason has finally appeared, as I really wanted him around before determining how well Margot was working. They're such a connected pair, and Mason's actions motivate so many of Margot's—including sleeping with Will in the hopes of getting pregnant, despite her "proclivities" (not entirely sure why we're not saying that she prefers women even if she's willing to sleep with men). So, without him on the scene interacting with her, he was more of a phantom boogie man who enjoyed tear-infused martinis than a legitimate cause for concern.

Owning a horde of man-eating pigs, however, is definitely cause for concern, and while I'm sure Margot thinks carrying Will baby's will be her way out, should she kill Mason, there's still the matter of mustering up the gumption to do it. Or convincing Hannibal or Will to do it for her. I can't imagine that Will will be all that pleased at being an unknowing sperm donor, and I wonder how Hannibal will feel about such indirect action against Mason. Is it a delaying tactic, or just good planning on Margot's part?


– "You can slice the ginger." Oh, Hannibal, was that really necessary?

– So how about that... fivesome, I guess? Does it became an orgy at that point? Beautifully shot and all, and the first time I've really said, "This is on network TV?" with Hannibal. However, I'm not a fan of it on the whole. I've been willing to ride out the Hannibal and Alana thing (and her decision to sleep with Hannibal in the first place) to see if resulted in Alana having more to do, but it hasn't, and now she's being passed between both Hannibal and Will, even if it be in... Will's head, I think? I honestly don't know the perspective there, and we're probably not supposed to, either. Regardless, I'm not a fan of how the show has put Alana in this less-than-great position. 

– Even if Freddie isn't dead, this may be the last we see of her this season since Hannibal thinks he just enjoyed her as a meal. Which is sad. I like how all up-in-everyone's-business she is. She's the most mundane representation of immorality/amorality on the show, and there's something oddly refreshing about that.

– "That's one of my suits." "I'll buy you a new one." DANGER, WILL ROBINSON, DANGER.

– "Don't mistake understanding for empathy, Jack." Some sort of signal that Will thinks he has it all under control? 

– Your classical music selections of the week: It more Chopin with the "Raindrops" Prelude at the Will, Alana, and Hannibal dinner, while the fourth movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 5 played during Will and Hannibal's date night.

How did "Naka-Choko" taste?

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  • nachnick Dec 07, 2014

    I'm starting to think Will is playing Hannibal and Jack knows about it.

  • sangbaran May 11, 2014

    the Dinner discussion over presumambly Freddy's flesh was like meat porn

  • moon33 May 10, 2014

    Most intriguing sex scene ever

  • umacaiado May 07, 2014

    having finally met all Hannibals ( I`m reading Red Dragon ) I feel pretty comfortable in saying that Mads Mikkelsen`s is the greatest one. such elegance! such delicacy! such veiled and terrifying menace! his work is superb, he has given Hannibal the face and style he was always meant to have. Anthony Hopkins did a good job in Silence of the Lambs ( and let`s keep on ignoring the other two movies in which he appears, shall we? ), and Gaspard Ulliel isn`t bad either as the young Hannibal, but while all of those versions ( including the literary and original one ) are merely `wooden toys`, Mads` is the only real boy. of course, everybody involved in the tv series should be terribly proud of themselves, and Thomas Harris nothing but super thankful for this absolutely beautiful twist in his story and character. beautiful work! a pleasure to watch and, go Hannibal, go!

  • tidus1117 May 07, 2014

    After finishing this episode I was in shock! I agree that somehow they manage to show Will as a serial Killer. I want to think that the museum figure of Randall and he killing Freddie, its all an act of Will to capture Hannibal. There are only 3 episodes left!
    I hope this season doesn't end as Will and Hannibal both are the bad guys.

  • Deee May 06, 2014

    Did anyone else feel like Michael Pitt was doing a bit of a Heath Ledger as The Joker imitation in his interpretation of Mason?

  • ILoveTVandDDsBB May 06, 2014

    That Randall display was awesomely freaky!

  • robErob5303 May 05, 2014

    c'mon guys we all know Will did not kill Freddie. I am quite sure she is alive and well somewhere. Also the meat Will and Hannibal were eating may have been human but my guess is that it was Randall.

  • KateSullivan May 05, 2014

    The more I kept thinking of this episode (mainly through Saturday, i was busy for the remainder of that day and then tired yesterday and busy all morning), I am worried about the show.

    Even if Will didn't kill Freddie (which I think he didn't) I was sort of out of sorts about this episode. Like you, terribly uncomfortable during the elaborate sex scene (basically because I was like Will you should probably get past Alana because I don't know that she isn't totally convinced you aren't a serial murderer) and then felt like even last season when he was sick, our POV has almost always been Will. And then I felt like we were weirdly cut off this episode. Maybe I guess I don't appreciate that they decided to throw a whodunit into the mix about Will and don't let us in on the secret. On a show where we pretty much know all the secrets but are enjoying the ride.

  • Svanehjerte May 05, 2014

    I think Jack and Will kind of agreed to lure in Hannibal, but if Will really did kill and slice up Randall and ate the reporter - then he is getting as bad as Hannibal and that is not OK. I like Will... I don't want him to be a cannibalistic killer as well. Killing Randall might not be so bad since it was self defense and he was a killer, but slicing him up that way is sick. And killing the reporter was uncalled for. If he did kill her. Maybe he just got rid of her and pretended that they were eating her to fool Hannibal, when they were actually eating Randall since he had pieces of him in the freezer. Hopefully Randall is the only one he killed.

    I think Jack will die in the season finale.
    Alana is so irrelevant now, she is boring and pointless, and stupid for sleeping with Hannibal. I would rather have her die than Jack.
    Will was stupid for sleeping with Margot. I didn't like that part. And now she will get pregnant, gosh, that will suck. Why don't she just run away from home? It's pathetic to get knocked up just so you can kill your father, inherit a f'ing meat factory in order to get rid of your psycho brother.
    Mason was cool... In a crazy way.

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