Hannibal 2×11 ‘Ko No Mono’: Taking control

Hannibal - Season 2

All of the biggest television shows of the past two decades have been about control.  Breaking Bad was about an emasculated man trying to wrench back power from those he believed had wronged him.  The Wire was about socioeconomic power structures and the way they attempt to control the very people they’re supposed to support.  And The Sopranos was about a mob boss who felt as if the world was caving in on him from all sides and had to keep pushing to stay in control.  It seems redundant that we still have shows today that meditate on this idea, but it’s one of the biggest ideas to explore.  Everything is about control.  Everywhere, we have to fight for control over even the smallest things.

Hannibal is another one of those shows that revolves itself around the idea of control.  Hannibal Lecter is a man who takes control just to take it, to play with his subjects like toys before he disposes of them.  He justifies that control through multiple lines of reasoning, whether it be to achieve some sense of divinity or to cultivate connections between himself and whomever he desires.  He needs that control so badly that he’s willing to kill for it, to delude himself into psychopathy for it.

Hannibal 2x11-1

Source: NBC

And that’s exactly what Will was counting on when he saw horrible Mason Verger is.  Mason is a character played with a big, bombastic edge (he literally drinks the tears of children), and it’s so that he sticks out not only in our minds, but in Hannibal’s.  Hannibal is threatened by those that believe that they have power, or disgusted by those that think they’ve achieved the divinity to obtain it, so it’s apparent that Mason is a threat.  He’s the bait that Will wants to use to catch Hannibal.  And what works so well is that Mason is so insane in the ways he tries to assume control.  He’s like Hannibal in that he feasts on those he wrenches control from; in drinking the tears of the child that he upsets, he’s ingesting his own victims’ trophies.

Hannibal 2x11-2

Source: NBC

Of course, Will’s plan isn’t without its flaws.  In focusing so intently on Mason Verger, he regrets to see how Margot may be impacted.  If Mason is so hell-bent on taking control from those around him, it makes sense that he’s do anything to people whom are trying to take it back.  When Margot gets pregnant and tries to have a boy in order to give the Verger name a new heir outside of Mason’s direct bloodline, he goes so far as to have doctors imprison her, abort the child, and effectively castrate her, all to keep her from having a child to undermine him.  What “Ko No Mono” does so well is that it effectively builds up Will’s desire to imprint his own influence on Margot’s child, which makes Margot’s fate that much more devastating.

Hannibal 2x11-3

Source: NBC

Past Mason’s presence in the episode, Will and Hannibal’s scenes are the best part.  Hannibal believes he has effectively won over Will, now that he think that Will had a part in the murder of Freddie Lounds.  He feels closer to that divinity he wants so badly, and he’s connecting to Will as a source of that divinity for him.  What he doesn’t know is that Jack and Will are working together to fake Freddie’s death, all to pull off some grand scheme that will expose Hannibal as the killer that he is.  The reveal that Freddie is still alive didn’t come until the end of the episode, so any details on that plan are yet to be revealed, but it’s quite the leap in terms of logic.  If Freddie’s death was faked, then somebody else’s charred corpse was rolled into a parking structure, all under Jack’s permission.  Hopefully, next week’s “Tomewan” will work to round out this reveal in a way that seems remotely plausible, but it’s at least ambitious that Fuller would pull out a major plot twist this close to the finale.

Hannibal - Season 2

Source: NBC

But the focus is still on Will, as he’s struggling to hold onto himself while enjoying the murders that he is committing.  When Hannibal prepares the songbird meal for the two of them, it’s a rite of passage, a way for Hannibal to commemorate Will’s transition to a killer like him.  And so Will is forced to continually play along with Hannibal in order to keep up that façade, the killing and mutilating taking its toll on him.  But it also allows Will room to talk candidly with Hannibal about things like Abagail’s murder.  It’s the reversal of last season, where Hannibal was able to contort Will, even though Will believed he had control.  Here, Will is contorting Hannibal, only he’s exposed to the darkness that radiates from him.  No matter which way the tables are turned, Hannibal still has that darkness on his side, damaging Will every second that he is exposed.  And there’s always true control in darkness, as long as the wielder understands how it affects those nearby.  It’s when there are miscalculations made, such as Hannibal is doing now, that the tables are allowed to be turned

Fuller has done a great job so far keeping us in the dark as to how Hannibal is going to be found out in the finale, as well as building up the tension between Will and Hannibal.  Hannibal considers himself in control to the extent that learning about his complete lack of control is going to send him into the same extreme as Mason.  Because, if a person lacks the empathy to care about human life at all, when how many lives will he kill in order to save himself?

So what did you think of “Ko No Mono”?  Did the twist work for you?  And how ecstatic are you that they’ve renewed Hannibal for a third season?  Let me know 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.

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