Season 2, Episode 8: “Su-zakana”
Directed by Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Splice)
Written by Bryan Fuller/Steve Lightfoot/Scott Nimerfro
* For a review of the previous episode, “Yakimono” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Shiizakana” – click here“Su-zakana” begins in fine fashion. Throughout the series, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) often makes reference to fishing; being a fisherman and all. At the top of this episode, Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) is sitting out on the ice around a hole, both of them chatting like old friends once more.
“You have to create a reality where only you and the fish exist. Your lure is the one thing he wants despite everything he knows.“
The editing in Hannibal is beautiful. Case and point, right after the last line we cut to Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), once more in his grand kitchen making some beautiful cuisine. This time, a seafood dish which looks like it last sat in Davey Jones’ locker.
What I found super interesting is that Janice Poon came up with quite a wild looking dish, aside from the tentacle-like thing Hannibal lays on the table. There’s a cool fish course, which looks as if it’s eating itself – dig it, so hard. Quite the tantalizing addition to this episode. Considering the conversation before hand. It’s almost like Hannibal is taunting them, in some strange, offhand-ish way with that saucy little fish dish from his kitchen.What I personally love so much about “Su-zakana” is that Vincenzo Natali directs this episode. He is certainly a good mind for twisted, nasty gore and horror. Throughout the entire episode, there are a few incredible gory moments that just made me go WHOA! And I’m a huge horror hound, but these were intense. Great stuff on his part. Of course, I can’t not give credit to Bryan Fuller & Co. for coming up with such a perverse, depraved subplot to put into this episode. Even further, a favourite of mine Jeremy Davies has a guest spot here. I think he is a way underrated actor; a lot of people pass him off as just some weird guy, but he’s a fantastic character actor.
Another incredible addition to this episode is that we’re getting stuff straight out of Thomas Harris’ novel Hannibal. We’re introduced to Margot Verger (Katharine Isabelle) onscreen being pinned against the floor, her face squat to a fish tank that holds a slithering eel. Offscreen, her brother Mason Verger (played in Season 2 by Michael Pitt) tells her that she “should’ve taken the chocolate”. She cries, he gently soaks up her tears, then puts it in with a martini while he has a drink.
The best part of this scene is that we get excellent visuals, as always. The stuff we see is so abstract, except for Margo being pinned down. There’s brief bits of the martini glass, Mason’s ring, the eel. Very eerie stuff.Then there’s the one of many psychedelic-looking love scenes we’re treated to throughout the entirety of the Hannibal series. Hannibal and Alana are in bed once more. What I do love about this show is that there’s not so much a sexualization of these scenes. I know that has to do with the fact it’s on NBC partly, but I think either way this would’ve been the aesthetic that held throughout, no matter where Fuller landed with this series. And that’s great, because it’s refreshing instead to see something that, while showing obviously the lovemaking, strays from focusing solely on the bodies, the breasts, the sexiness of it all. While sure – it’s sexy as hell still – the focus is more on a trippy image instead of having to scream THIS IS INTERCOURSE. We already get that, so having the interesting visuals simply builds on the show’s overall aesthetic and makes it stronger for it.
Plus, Alana still cannot see Hannibal – he’s hiding in her blind spot. Bedding Bloom, he is pretty much using her. I highly doubt, sociopathic as Lecter is, that there is any part of him that cares about her genuinely. It’s all a cover. Which is interesting, later as Alana interviews a man with psychopathic tendencies; he does not like to be touched. Even Hannibal comments on this behind the glass, as others make note – an interesting little tidbit, as we’re again reminded almost how inhuman Hannibal is, but how great he is at looking/seeming/acting human. Chilling stuff.
I love the case Jack, along with Jimmy Price (Scott Thompson) and Brian Zeller (Aaron Abrams), are working in this episode. First, there’s the horse in which someone has hidden
Then, Jimmy feels a heartbeat in a dead body. Brian confirms. Jack feels it and realizes “something’s beating”. Eventually, once they open her up, a bird flies out from around the heart. I thought this was incredible! Not only is it macabre, it was just an awesome horror movie-like jump scare. Gnarly! Then I love how the case becomes another one of those things that bridges itself to themes surrounding Will and Hannibal.Jack and Will go to meet a man connected to the victim in this episode.
Peter Bernardone (Jeremy Davies) worked at the stable with the victim that was found inside a horse’s womb. He is obviously a terribly troubled man; his head was injured badly in a kick from a horse. Will recognizes he cannot look and touch at the same time, his motor skills affected due to his injury. While Jack believes it’s possible Peter may be responsible, Will defers to the possibility Peter most likely knows the person who put that woman in the horse.
So what I truly love about the case the FBI/Jack are on, along with Will, is that Peter is a man who is in a weak position; his head injury makes him susceptible to being treated any way someone else might wish. So, unfortunately for Peter, his social worker, Clark Ingram (Chris Diamantopoulos), has been manipulating him in terrible ways. Much like the relationship Will has had with dear ole Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
This is simply another way the Fuller & Co. adaptation of Thomas Harris, the stuff from Red Dragon and otherwise, is leading into extremely wonderful, interesting territory. The examination of the relationship between Will and Hannibal continually brings up these episodes where we get to see a duality between them and the subplot of the episode. Wonderful series in so many ways, of which this is but one.Will sees the weakness in Peter being exploited and manipulated by Clark Ingram. Graham understands fully what this man is going through, and it’s intriguing to watch him try and help Peter. This leads to even more wild places for the relationship between himself and Hannibal to go. Brand new territory.We’re smart enough as fans of this show to know Jack and Will weren’t simply talking about fishing. This is, hopefully, the beginning of a trap which the two of them are setting, hoping to trap Hannibal the Cannibal.
Will is letting himself fall into Hannibal’s arms. Luckily for the fandom out there, he’s almost literally falling into the arms of Dr. Lecter. There’s an intense moment at the finale of the episode, as Hannibal stops Will from actually going right ahead and killing Ingram, as he begs on his knees – bloody and full of guts after himself being forced into a horse’s womb alive. Hannibal grabs Will’s hand, takes away the gun. He pulls Will close, and there’s this look on Hannibal which speaks absolute joy and happiness; a smile that cannot be washed off. He feels as if Will is once more in his grasp.
“With all my knowledge and intrusion, I could never entirely predict you. I can feed the caterpillar, and I can whisper through the chrysalis, but what hatches follows its own nature and is beyond me.“
But is Graham really back in the palm of Hannibal? We will see how far Will might go to remain in the new friendship he’s formed with Hannibal Lecter. In the following episode’s events, the game goes up notches when Will and Hannibal form a further, even more deadlier bond than ever before.
“Shiizakana” is next.