Hannibal 2×08 ‘Su-zakana’: A sense of freedom

Hannibal 2x08 Cover

This season of Hannibal is structured with a far different pattern than the first.  The first seven episodes of the season were their own mini-season, where Hannibal destroyed anybody with any incriminating evidence or suspicious disposition towards him.  Beverly, Gideon, and Chilton were all killed within those first seven episodes, which is a both frenetic and awfully bold action for the writers to take.  With that in mind, it’s interesting that the beginning of the season’s second half, “Su-zakana”, returns to the case of the week style that Hannibal’s first season utilized extensively, sometimes to diminishing returns.  It’s also interesting how refreshing it seems and how well it is tailored to the show’s serialized components.

Hannibal 2x08-3

Source: NBC

Its refreshing quality is something I’d attribute to how well the case of the week is used to describe the old relationship between Will and Hannibal.  Peter Bernardone is a man damaged by his past, fixated on his love for animals, a love so blinding and intense that he couldn’t fathom committing a violent act.  He’s also manipulated by his social worker, a clear psychopath who has no qualms twisting and contorting other people to cover up his sick impulse to kill.  The comparison between their relationship and Will/Hannibal’s relationship is rather obvious, but the most fascinating component is how viciously Peter struck back at the social worker.  When twisted enough, anybody will lash back at the one who imprisons them.

Hannibal 2x08-2

Source: NBC

Will is certainly a changed man, as his eyes are opened to the reality of what Hannibal is.  Hannibal is definitely leery about their relationship as psychiatrist/patient, as Will had not only tried to have him killed, but doesn’t seem like he’s backed down as all.  He still harbors a great deal of anger towards Hannibal, anger that can possibly defeat whatever plan he’s contemplating.  When Will puts his gun up to the head of the social worker, he continues to reveal that he wants to hurt Hannibal, for whatever reason.  However, on the other hand, Will may simply be continuing to create this façade of anger because it seems like a natural reaction.  Will wants to maintain a sense that nothing is out of place so that he knows the best time to strike against Hannibal.  It is true that Will has an edge against Hannibal that he didn’t have before.  Somebody knows Hannibal’s secret, and that’s enough to begin the countdown to Hannibal’s downfall.

Hannibal 2x08-1

Source: NBC

Also interesting is Hannibal’s new patient, Margot Verger.  Approaching it from the perspective of somebody who hasn’t read the books or seen the movies, Margot’s presence is interesting but not entirely enthralling.  She’s only tangentially related to anything going on in the main plot, and her presence doesn’t seem to really have a purpose in the episode.  There’s a small level of thematic resonance, as Margot is damaged by somebody who used her for the longest time (Mason Verger, another character from the books that we’ll see in the coming weeks), but that resonance doesn’t really reach as far as it should.  Margot is a character that is obviously going to factor in the serialized plot in the season’s second half, as is her brother Mason, but we’re not treated to enough of their story for it to feel like it’s worth much at this time.  However, it’s likely that the following weeks will focus Mason and Margot’s presence into something that meshes more concisely with the rest of the narrative.

Hannibal 2x08-4

Source: NBC

Side Note: It’s also likely that Mason and Margot will factor into Will’s desire to use bait to entice Hannibal.  When Hannibal said that “doing bad things to bad people makes you feel good”, part of that seemed to echo his own philosophy.  And since Mason isn’t such a great guy, that philosophy might end up being Hannibal’s downfall.

Overall, “Su-zakana” worked pretty well to refocus the narrative as the second act begins the clear descent towards the battle that opened the season.  It works with the case of the week structure that the first season utilized so well, and it does so in a way that reinvigorates instead of restricts.  While it re-establishes the status quo, showing us exactly how Will and Hannibal’s relationship is different than it was before, it also shows us how Will is planning to take down Hannibal on his own.  Will has the unique asset of being interesting to Hannibal.  Now, it’s a matter of remaining interesting, while making sure not to act so suspiciously that he ends up like the rest of Hannibal’s enemies.

So what did you think of “Su-zakana”?  Was it as impressive as it was the last few weeks or did the season’s reboot kind of stall the narrative a little bit?  Give me you thoughts in the comments!

Michael St. Charles

is just a Michigan State University grad who loves a good story. If he’s not off teaching the young ones how to solve quadratic functions or to write an expository essay, he’s watching old-school HBO shows, indie horror movies, or he’s playing Resident Evil 4.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.