New Show Recap: Hannibal 2.09 and 2.10, “Shiizakana” and “Naka-Choko”

Hannibal has a vision, but I don’t know if any of the viewers really grasp what that vision is. Is it to shock Friday night audiences? Is it to make us empathize with killers? Is it trying to make us vegetarians? The last two episodes have picked up the rolling snowball, hurtling it even faster down the mountain. 

Episode nine opens with Will dreaming about Hannibal tied to a tree with a noose around his neck. The noose is controlled by Will, who has harnessed this instrument of death to a deer. Hannibal blathers about love, but Will is having none of it. I really love the dream sequences, especially when one is used as the show opener because it gets the viewers in the mood to be taken on a wild ride.

“I promised you a reckoning, here it is.”

Will wakes up just as the camera cuts to Hannibal making breakfast for Jack. I don’t get why people continue to eat with Hannibal given the rumors. Hannibal mentions that the inspiration for the morning’s dish is Granada, a place where Hannibal once had a memorable time. I believe Granada is also mentioned in The Silence of the Lambs.

Will, of course, comes up in breakfast conversation, and Hannibal asserts patient-therapist privilege. Hannibal does tell Jack that he is skeptical about how successful Will’s therapy will be, but I do not buy that Hannibal actually believes this.

Fade to a truck parked at a truck stop in a cold winter town. The driver begins hearing noises and feels movement. Horror trope alert: believing that you should investigate these sounds instead of leaving. His curiosity is rewarded by being grabbed upwards by a supernatural-type beast.

Will is dreams about the social worker in the stable, imagining why he didn’t kill him despite really wanting to. He sits in therapy with Hannibal where they discuss regret. Will clearly regrets not having killed the social worker.

“The mistake was allowing you to stop me.”

Hannibal wants Will to adapt, to evolve, to become someone better. He asks Will to envision the events unfolding in a way that wouldn’t have caused regret; in this vision, will shoots the social worker. Will wants to feel like he did when he killed Garrett Jacob Hobbs.

“I felt a quiet sense of power.”

Will leaves therapy just as Margot comes in. They share a moment, pausing to talk to each other. Margot wants to know how she knows Will, and Will points out that she probably saw him on TV.

During therapy with Hannibal, Margot discusses the idea of dehumanizing someone, and her brother is the main focus. Mason is everything that Margot is not. Margot also brings up that she met Will Graham. Margot imagines what Hannibal wants Will to do.

A man and a woman sit in chairs far apart in a therapy session
Hannibal has a session with Margot

The FBI team is out examining the crime scene. The body looks like it was torn apart by a Wampa. Their theory is that a bear or a wolf attacked at the command of a person. What’s highly unusual about this scenario, according to the science team, is that the body wasn’t eaten. All the body parts were accounted for, which follows a pattern for some earlier cattle slaughters. Will knows that the person doing this is a man who is evolving.

Two men look into the distance. One man stands slightly behind the other one.
Jack and Will at the scene of the first body

“It’s bloodsport.”

Will goes to meet with Peter Bernardone, the stable worker from the previous episode, to ask if the attacker was a wolf or a bear. Peter says it’s most likely a “bear wolf,” by which he means training the two animals to hunt together.

“Don’t blame the animals. Man is the only creature who kills to kill.”

That right there is the truth of this whole show.

Flashing to some sort of fucked-up taxidermy shop, we see an animal jaw being made into a trap that opens and closes at a touch. This trap is actually a mask for a person to wear.

Horror trope alert: A couple goes to have a nice date in the forest. The man from the couple gets eviscerated by the killer in a fully operational animal killing suit.

When the FBI team shows up to the crime scene, Will’s spider sense goes into overdrive as he imagines the crime. This show is stepping up its game in the unusual ways people are killed. Will uses his fugue state to imagine a deer flying down to kill the man from the couple.

At this point, Will realizes that the killer is a man who wants to be an animal. Because of this, the killings are not because of a personal vendetta; rather, each victim is prey in the animal hunt. Jack’s pretty sure that someone knows who this guy is because this type of psychosis doesn’t slip through the cracks. Will postulates that the killer knows engineering because he built his beast.

Will and Hannibal discuss the manbeast. Hannibal mentions rage, but Will thinks it’s just instinct. The man is a beast. He claimed his power, according to Hannibal. Hannibal is really prodding Will to claim his power in order to evolve. All the talk about guns and killing is beginning to push Will to the brink. Hannibal really wants to unleash the monster within. “You must allow yourself to be intimate with your instincts, Will.”

The science team hypothesizes that the hunter dresses as a cave bear, not a wolf. Hannibal and Jack talk about animals vs. humans, observing that humans are not that far removed from being animals. Hannibal thinks that the killer most likely has some sort of mental disorder. He seeks transformation. Hannibal mentions to Jack that he used to counsel someone who might fit this profile. He was a kid named Randall who identified as an animal born in a man.

“What are his needs, Dr. Lecter? Savagery.”

Hannibal knows exactly who it is. The killer works at a natural history museum, which explains why he used a cave bear skull and not a grizzly or other type of modern bear. Hannibal tells Randall that he has come very far and that they are looking for him. Randall doesn’t think he can stop and Hannibal doesn’t want him to. It is a little convenient for storytelling that Hannibal knows all the killers.

Jack, Will, and the FBI team are at the natural history museum interviewing Randall. Jack reveals that it was a cave bear skull that was used in committing the murders. Will is reading Randall for what he is. Will and Jack know about Randall’s past.

Two men stand separated by a skeleton of a saber toothed tiger
Jack meets Randall

“Do you know what it’s like when the skin you are wearing doesn’t fit?”

Randall tells them he is doing much better.

Margot drives to Will’s house because she wants to know about Hannibal’s therapy. She’d also really like to know what makes Will tick. “What’s your private carnage?” I kind of enjoy this exchange between Hannibal’s patients. Margot reveals that Dr. Lecter wants her to murder.

Will is again in therapy with Hannibal. He wants to know what Hannibal would think if his patients were to compare notes. He is definitely fishing to find out what Hannibal thinks about Margot and Randall. Will reveals that Bedelia told him she believed him. He asks if Hannibal killed her. Hannibal answers in the negative on that one at least. “What do you think about when you think about killing?”

“I think about God.”

Hannibal wants Will to have a personal conversation with Randall, which is his way of trying to manipulate Will into killing.

Randall’s suit looks like what would happen if Super Shredder mated with a Wampa. I am jealous that someone actually has the fucked-up mentality and wherewithal to build an animal mech suit. Big shocker, Hannibal is there with Randall outside of Will’s house, pushing Randall to revel in what he is.

All the dogs at Will’s place start going mad. Horror trope alert: Animal madness. One of the dogs runs out the front door when Will goes to investigate, and is wounded when Will catches up with him in the forest. Will, the mecha animal is going to get you. Will gets inside for cover, at which point Randall crashes through the window.

As Hannibal approaches his door, he notices Will is standing with the body of Randall like a cat bringing his owner a mouse. Will believes this makes them even.


Episode ten opens with Will dreaming about the last episode. In his dream, instead of Randall bursting through the window, it’s his damn deer. The deer transforms into the deer man and begins to fight Will. Will fights back as the deer man shifts into Hannibal Lecter. Will kills Hannibal as the deer man fades back into Randall’s body. I really appreciate how almost no words were spoken in this opening. The Hannibal team let actions and music do the talking.

“It was intimate.”

Hannibal is really fucking proud of himself for turning Will into such a fucked-up person. Watching Hannibal take care of Will’s injuries gives me the willies. Hannibal asks Will if he fantasized about killing him when he killed Randall.

Jack walks down some steps to find Randall’s head on one of the dead animal skeletons from the natural history museum. Jack and Hannibal begin to discuss Randall’s death while Will contemplates the crime scene. Jack thinks Randall’s killer is mocking him by putting his human face on an animal skull.  Will says it’s not mocking Randall, it’s commemorating him.

Will slips into his fugue state and begins to talk to Randall. They discuss “new Will.” Will is becoming something else, evolving, if you will. Will points out to Jack and Hannibal that the killer knew Randall.

“Don’t mistake understanding for empathy.”

Randall was murdered by a fledgling killer, according to Hannibal.

“This is the nightmare that followed him out of his dreams.”

Will sure knows how to talk about himself (the fledgling killer).

Will then visits Freddie Lounds. Freddie begins to interview him about Frederick Chilton and Hannibal. Will states that Dr. Chilton was the Chesapeake Ripper, but Freddie doesn’t take anything Will is feeding her. She knows Hannibal is the Ripper, and she tells Will that she believes Dr. Chilton did not kill Abigail Hobbs.

“You will have to kill him, Margot.”

Hannibal really wants to have everyone kill each other primarily because he really is the fucked-up psychopath we all knew he was. “You failed to murder your brother because you love him.” That is some cold shit, Dr. Lecter. Margot reveals that her father put it in the will that if Mason dies and no male heir exists, the Southern Baptist Convention gets all the money. What a fucker.

“I don’t get a legacy.”

Margot is seen dismounting a horse in her barn as we finally get a glimpse of Mason. He is definitely something. He has a pig in his hand, which ups the creep factor. Margot is shown that the pigs are being raised to eat a live human. If anyone has the film version of Hannibal, you’ll know that in the movie, the pigs are being trained to kill Dr. Lecter, but here, the dummy is wearing Margot’s suit and Mason is playing female screams to the pigs. Creepy incest vibes are shared between the siblings, more on his end than hers. You really want Margot to escape, but given how women are treated on this show, I feel like I shouldn’t get too attached.

A woman and a man have a chat
Mason talks with Margot

Hannibal is showing Alana how to play the theremin. Maybe they can play The Legend of Zelda theme.

Margot shows up at Will’s house unannounced again.

The interspersing of the two scenes demonstrates the differences between these four characters, especially between Hannibal and Will. The theremin represents Will and Margot because Hannibal is playing them like instruments even though Alana tries to tell him that people are not instruments. Will does not seem shocked that Mason hurt Margot. Everyone has sex! Will sees the deer man mid-coitus as he dissociates into his most bestial state. He also sees himself in bed with both Dr. Lecter and Dr. Bloom.

Freddie follows Alana after her class. Freddie knows that Alana and Lecter are fucking. Freddie is not long for this world because she is telling everyone that Will is right about Hannibal.

“If you can’t beat Hannibal Lecter, join him.”

Hannibal meets with Mason in front of the pigs. Pigs are a great stand-in for humans. In much the same way as Hannibal sees most people as animals, Mason sees the pigs as a way to destroy someone’s humanity. Hannibal implies to Mason that he knows everything about how messed up Mason is. Hannibal even invites Mason to join him in therapy.

Hannibal gets a pig and serves it to Will and Alana for dinner. Alana brings up that Freddie is digging around. Alana says that Freddie thinks that Will and Hannibal combined are what Freddie is writing about. Will gets in a good crack about journalism. Alana is trying to get them to play nice with each other, but Will and Hannibal point out that they know where they stand with each other. Hannibal sees Will as his pupil, and Will sees Hannibal as his demon.

Horror trope alert: a single person goes to a seemingly empty place and ends up being a victim. Freddie heads to Will’s house to look for him, where he finds the animal mecha that Randall wore hanging in Will’s barn. She keeps snooping around and then sees Will. Freddie pulls a gun. Of course she does. Will is being all creepy and shit. They struggle. I do not like this Will.

Looking over the back of a woman's shoulder, a man stands in the distance
Freddie Sees Will. Will is being creepy.

Jack is meeting with Will and Hannibal to discuss Freddie’s disappearance, which happened close to Will’s home. Jack implies that it had to be Will who killed her because his house is in the middle of nowhere. Will points out that Freddie had tons of enemies and disappearing her in the middle of nowhere seems like a good way to get rid of her.

Will brings meat and groceries to Hannibal’s for dinner. The meat, though, is probably part of Randall, given that Freddie found part of a jaw in Will’s freezer. Hannibal says he cannot quite place the flavor of the meat. Will says it’s pig, long pig.

Two men are in a kitchen preparing food
Will brings meat for Hannibal and his dinner

“Is this meat an act of God, Will?”

Ok fuck, I have no idea where this show is going other than off the rails. I really like it. How do Bryan Fuller and crew keep sucking me back in? I don’t think Freddie is dead. She is probably just being kept by Will right now while he tells her everything about Hannibal. I am also really interested to see where the Margot/Mason story line goes.

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Alyson

Queer Pop Culture Junkie in the Northwest. Addicted to Coffee, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fantasy Sports, The Mountain Goats, and Tottenham Hotspur.

One thought on “New Show Recap: Hannibal 2.09 and 2.10, “Shiizakana” and “Naka-Choko””

  1. I think this last episode is the only one so far that I really haven’t liked. The sex thing was just weird for me, especially the slow-mo, artsyfartsy way it was filmed. It just felt like a very off note for me. I especially didn’t understand Will and Margo and where that came from. I just….don’t get it.

    I’m also a bit perturbed at where we seem to be going with Will becoming Hannibal himself. I keep hoping there’s some other twist coming, where Will is playing everyone in an attempt to trap Hannibal. If it turns out that Will really is losing his fucking mind and BECOMING Hannibal, I probably won’t be coming back for S3.

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