Hannibal is a show that likes to play with its audience. Ever since the first scene of season 2 the audience has had to deal with the fact that they know how it will all end. Instead of slowly tightening the noose around Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) we are instead shown how he manipulates the situation to frame others. In the last two episodes that acted as mid-season cliffhangers Dr. Chilton was eventually charged with being the Chesapeake Ripper because of the sound of his voice alone. To top it off , the only person who could recognize the voice seemingly killed Dr. Chilton so no one is around to be questioned. Though I found these episodes to be very good I did not believe they were deserving of top marks, the scripts were too well crafted and had more than a hint of being pretentious. Sadly the episodes also perpetuated the Hannibal Lecter Superman theme as he seemingly with ease brakes into a hospital to kidnap Able Gideon and frames Dr. Chilton by breaking into his house to plant Gideon’s body while the FBI are knocking on the door. In my opinion the only good thing to come out of these episodes was the increasing amount of doubt that Special Agent-in-Charge Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) has of Dr. Lecter. It makes him a far more interesting character now that we see he is not so blatantly fooled by the man he previously trusted. It brings Jack and Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) together again for the first time since season 1.
This week’s episode is of note not just because of its procedural aspects but also because it has been directed by Vincenzo Natali, the director behind Cube, Cypher and Splice. Of course fans of Natali also know he has been for some time been touted as the possible director of William Gibson’s Neuromancer. Recently there has been news that the script has been finished. We can only hope that pre-production will start soon. Neuromancer is certainly one of the most anticipated Science Fiction movies at this moment, perhaps even more so with die-hard fans than let’s say Star Wars Episode 7.
Su-zakana deals with the aftermath of the false revelation that Dr. Chilton is the Chesapeake Ripper. Jack Crawford genuinely believes Chilton was the killer but allows Will Graham’s seeming fantasy that the real killer is still at large. Hannibal seems content with Crawford’s delusion but he receives no such consideration from Will. As Will continues his therapy with Hannibal he makes it clear he still believes that Hannibal is the killer but promises to not kill him as he finally finds him interesting. Meanwhile both Hannibal and Will continue to consult for the FBI, a body of a woman has been found in a horse that recently gave birth to a still-born. To Hannibal the death seems more like a birth than a sacrifice. Will agrees and concludes that the obvious suspect, Peter Bernardone (Jeremy Davies), is unlikely to be the killer but might have placed the victim inside the horse to try and resurrect her, at least in a emotional way.
Crawford quickly settles on the case worker of Peter Bernardone. The man denies any involvement and with no evidence is released. Hannibal and Will seek out Peter Bernardone one last time to try and convince him he needs to talk about the suspect. At his barn they find all the cages of his animal collection empty. Peter Bernardone is found inside the stables sewing up a dead horse. It becomes clear that his case worker tried to kill him as he was the only one who could accuse him. Peter Bernardone managed to turn the tables on him. Extraordinarily the man is not dead but manages to crawl out of the horse and threaten Hannibal. Will holds him down at gunpoint and seems eager to shoot him. Hannibal reminds him it won’t be the same as shooting him though. Just as Will takes the shot Hannibal manages to place a finger in front the gun’s striker and prevent it firing. In a final revelation Hannibal reveals why he finds Will so interesting. Hannibal can never predict what Will does next, it is truly beyond him. Hannibal thus freely admits that he considers Will to be just like him.
Su-zakana transforms Will from a man previously accused of being a killer into a real killer, the fact that he hasn’t actually killed anyone is not important. Dr. Lecter seems to feel more of a kinship with Will now that Will finally finds him interesting, but there is also a palpable sense of danger as Will slowly transforms into the superhuman that is Dr. Lecter. Dr. Bloom continues her sexual relationship with Hannibal while keeping away from Will. In her words she can’t forgive Will for trying to kill Hannibal. She seems hell bent on continuing to see the bad-side of Will which is just fiction but also the non-existent good-side of Hannibal. As Hannibal suggests to her that Will tried to kill him to protect Dr. Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) it will be interesting to find out if she will end up being one of Dr. Lecter’s victim and if Will will try to stop it.
Su-zakana may be perceived as a somewhat uneventful episode of Hannibal but that may just be because it comes after two episodes that were jam packed with bloody victims, plot twists and dinner parties. I like Su-zakana a lot for what it is, a subtle shift away from over-imaginative killings. I say subtle because even this episode featured a serial killer who has killed 15 women without anyone finding out about until they are dug up out of the ground. It seems that in the universe of Hannibal few people die natural deaths and women especially die by quantity and men in quality.
Season 2 still has 5 more episodes to go and yet the show seems further away from revealing Hannibal as the Chesapeake Ripper than ever before. This is what is making this show so exciting, juggling Will’s admiration and hatred of Hannibal, Dr. Blooms blindness to Hannibal yet insight into everybody else as well as Jack Crawford’s slow realization of what is possible when you are being deceived.
Score; 8.6 / 10.