Hannibal 2×12 ‘Tome-wan’: The reveal

Hannibal 2x12 Cover

Hannibal has always been a show about concealing identity.  Whether it’s Will hiding his darker tendencies from those around him or Hannibal simply concealing his identity as the Chesapeake Ripper, people are always hiding who they are in order to function within society.  Everybody has their own set of dismal secrets that they have to hide in order to be accepted by those around them, and the fact that we’re forced to hide them starts to twist us into feeling ashamed by them.

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Source: NBC

However, Hannibal isn’t ashamed by his secret.  He has always taken pride in his work, in how well he can manipulate people and how well he can harvest those around him.  Almost more so, he takes pride in his ability to conceal himself, and that pride is how Will starts to reel him in.  Du Maurier says it best when she tells Will that Hannibal’s weakness is how enamored he is by his own success.  Hannibal is so good at concealing his secret that, by the end of the episode, Will has convinced him that keeping his secret isn’t worth it.  He’s good enough that he can reveal himself and still get away with it.

This has been Will’s plan all along, to use Mason Verger as bait for Hannibal to boost his confidence enough to reveal himself.  The more that Will was willing to share of himself, the more that Hannibal was willing to share with him, all until they became partners in crime.  Will is still an apprentice of sorts for Hannibal, even though Randall was his initiation, but his role in Mason’s downfall was less about initiation and more about securing his place as a loyal acolyte of Hannibal’s.  When it is revealed that Du Maurier was another murderer manipulated by Hannibal, we see again what Hannibal wants for Will.  It’s just a matter of how long Will is useful to Hannibal.  Will may seem like a unique acolyte of Hannibal’s, but it’s as Hannibal says in the story of Achilles and Patroclus: the younger brother ends up dying while under the guise of being the older one.  The lesser falls to service the greater.  Will has been able to manipulate Hannibal into keeping him around, but how long will that work?  If Hannibal is planning on revealing himself, where does Will fit into that plan?

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Source: NBC

“Tome-wan” was certainly one of the bloodier entries in the series, from Matteo’s severed artery to Carlo’s shredded legs to Mason cutting pieces off of his face and feeding them to Will’s dogs.  It’s meant to show us just how total and complete Hannibal’s victory is, how he might want to reveal himself to Jack in order to make things more interesting for himself.  But it’s also meant to focus on one other facet of this season’s story: how Will has been subject to extreme violence and how it’s detrimentally impacting him.  In thrusting himself into the darkness that Hannibal surrounds himself with, Will is committing acts that reveal himself to Jack as the twisted person that Jack thought he was at the beginning of the season.  Will has to fight through this darkness all by himself, as revealing the full extent of his darkness to anybody is to tear himself down alongside Hannibal.

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Source: NBC

One thing that bothered me about “Tome-wan” was the absence of Alana, simply because it’s apparent that she is going to take a somewhat strong role in the finale.  She’s a character that has been under-used this season, and her sexual manipulation by Hannibal still strikes me as odd more than anything else.  So, I’m hoping that there’s more to be done with her in “Mizumoto” before the inevitable showdown that will push Hannibal to go on the run.  However, I’ve come to like Mason’s character a lot more than before, if only because pushing his characterization off the deep end was wholly entertaining.  As disgusting as his self-mutilation was, his jokes brought an oddly light tone to the situation.  Not to mention that, after what he did to Margot, there was a certain level of satisfaction that comes along with him getting what he deserves.  However, that satisfaction goes to humanize Hannibal a little bit.  Hannibal was oddly sympathetic in “Tome-wan”, even though he prompted Mason to eat his own nose.  People have an odd preoccupation with the vigilante characters, in part because those characters act out our fantasies, and Hannibal’s vigilante actions felt excusable because they brought justice.  It was a brilliant touch to a great episode because Hannibal’s sympathetic side is juxtaposed with the knowledge that he’ll either be beaten to hell and imprisoned or murder Jack, Alana, and whoever else gets in his way.

Overall, “Tome-wan” was an incredibly strong penultimate entry in another strong season of Hannibal, and it’s leading us to what looks to be a bloody and vicious finale.  We know that Hannibal will survive to the next season, but aside from him, Hannibal has been willing to kill off characters that lived far into the books and movies. “Mizumoto” is going to be a descent into hell because it’s going to feature the most unhinged form of Hannibal yet.  Because Hannibal feels as if he’s in control now.  He feels as if revealing himself was his idea.  But what will happen when Will, Jack, and Alana corner him?  Who is going to be the one to fall?

What did you think of “Tome-wan”?  And who is going to end up dead in the finale?  My money is on Alana, though who knows?  Let me know your thoughts and predictions 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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