Season 2, Episode 10: “Naka-Choko”
Directed by Vincenzo Natali
Written by Steve Lightfoot
* For a review of the previous epside “Shiizakana” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Ko No Mono” – click hereExcellent opener, as we revisit the events just before the finale of last episode. Randall Tier (Mark O’Brien) attacked Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) in his home, before the latter killed the former. Graham brought him to Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and literally displayed him on the dinner table. The naughty doctor loved it.
Now we see the attack and fight full-on, but not only that: Will sees Randall as a metaphor, he is the Nightmare Man fighting. It is by Hannibal’s hand Tier went to find Will, so it’s only fitting director Vincenzo Natali shows us the Nightmare Man literally fighting Will. It comes as a darkly intense scene and I find it definitely nightmarish. Cool visual bit, as is the usual for a show like Hannibal.
What I find great is this opener shows Will at Hannibal’s, and their relationship pushes even more. While Graham usually hates touch, he seemingly allows Lecter, more and more, to physically touch him. We watch as Hannibal soaks Will’s hands, cleans the wounds on his knuckles, wraps them; Natali gives us excellently framed, dream-like motion shots of this act, very beautiful, very intimate. The whole angle of Will killing Tier serves a few purposes. First of all, Will is playing Hannibal. He did kill Randall in self defense, however, he enjoyed it at the same time. So he’s using that to get into Hannibal’s arms and his trust even more than before. At the same time, as I said, Will enjoyed it; regardless of what he’s doing with Hannibal, he enjoyed killing Randall. Then finally there’s the fact Will – as Hannibal knows and so eloquently points out – used this kill as a way to work out issues with Lecter. Although it’s not the same thing, it was a vicarious killing of Hannibal. A way for Will Graham to kill him without actually killing him.
“Polite society normally places such a taboo on taking a life“
What’s even worse, Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) and the FBI come across the posed body of Randall Tier – his skin fashioned over what looks like the bones of a tiger, maybe a sabre tooth or some type. It’s a gruesome moment. Naturally, that’s why Natali was called in for such an episode. He’s great with the body horror-ish elements, as well as the animalistic stuff (we see good work from him in that same sense in Season 3).
I love when Graham goes into his reconstruction phase, but instead of reconstructing anything – seeing as how he is the killer – Will and Randall have a talk together. Tier points out he was made a monument; not to him, but to Will.
Seeing Will profile himself in front of Jack and Hannibal is sort of delightful, while at the same time sad, macabre, and very strange. All of it at once. This is an interesting episode because it’s subverting our beliefs about Graham slightly. For the time being, anyways.
“This is my becoming. And it’s yours.”
“This is my design“
More of Ms. Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) now. I like her slightly more than any other incarnation of Lounds because we’re seeing a different adaptation. This version is great, as she clearly is a smart woman in her. Lounds tells Graham she does not believe Frederick Chilton (Raúl Esparza) is the Chesapeake Ripper. So it’s interesting to see how Graham hates Freddie, yet at the same time even a broken clock is right twice a day; she isn’t as useless as anyone thinks.
Also we get to see Margot Verger (Katharine Isabelle) back in therapy with Hannibal Lecter. I like this because in Hannibal by Thomas Harris, there is a point where these two characters come together in a large way. However, I think it’s beneficial in the long run to this adaptation for Bryan Fuller & Co. to bring Margot into a relationship earlier with Lecter, especially in a professional sense. There’s almost too quick a bond between them in the novel; I won’t spoil any more than that. So I believe there are points, like with Margot Verger, where the writers of this adaptation help to give better depth to characters and situations out of Harri’s work.
We finally meet the awful, spoiled, and totally depraved brother of Margot – Mason Veger (Michael Pitt). It’s interesting to see him here because, unlike Margot, he’s actually been a character in film already with Ridley Scott’s version of Hannibal. Gary Oldman did a great job with the character. Of course, Pitt gets to work with Mason before the tragic disfigurement he suffers in the novel. So there’s aspects of the voice Oldman does, plus Pitt’s own touch, and then the whole fact Mason is not left bound to a wheelchair as Oldman was in the Scott-directed film. Fun to see Pitt and Isabelle work together; both extremely talented young actors in their own right.
Mason and Margot have a terribly troubled relationship. Margot is shunned by her family, except for Mason in an awful and sick way, because she is a lesbian; therefore, genetically she could not carry on her father’s ‘great’ name. This whole angle is a part of the novel, but it plays out slightly different here in the series. Dark fun to see where this is all headed.Again in this episode, I like that Will Graham and Margot Verger have come together. What’s even better is how the love scenes between Hannibal and Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) are intercut with that of Will and Margot. Another of the Hannibal psychedelic love scenes – this is my second favourite to the one in Season 3 during the episode “Dolce” – and it has great effect. There’s a lot going on, as everything is juxtaposed also with Hannibal showing Alana how to play the theremin, an instrument played all through touch. So I find this entire sequence truly amazing. It has a lot of psychosexual stuff happening, as well as that psychedelia. At one point, we’re actually treated to a dreamy shot that visually drops Hannibal and Alana in bed with Will; Alana between the two. The whole time Will had been seeing Alana instead of Margot, except for a few shots, so there’s a part of this which drives home the fact Will wants Alana. And also, Will sort of wants to be with Hannibal. Then, Will starts to see the Nightmare Man in bed with Alana. Everything twists together in a hideously dark dream sequence. Very cool and also disturbing.Freddie Lounds is a sneaky little greaser, but at the same time as I said earlier she is smart. She believes Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter have been carrying on an extremely strange, and most likely dangerous, relationship instead of doing therapy like they claim. She makes reference to patients who have died under Dr. Lecter’s care, plus several who’ve died after being under his car, and then the debacle of Will Graham. So you’ve got to give Lounds credit— she can keep up with the best of them.
One of my favourite bits so far in this season is the meeting between Dr. Lecter and Mason Verger. Because for me, Verger has been the biggest affront to Hannibal’s hatred of rudeness in all of the novels. Especially under the guise of Pitt as an actor, Mason has this really ignorant, arrogant, snotty quality. At the same time he’s oddly charming. Very fun!
So when we see them meet the first time, you can actually watch Lecter cringe subtly at times listening to Mason go on and on like a braying ass. Yet there’s also curiosity bubbling in Hannibal, in regards to Mason, so it will be interesting to see another aspect of Harris being adapted here that we’ve never seen totally: the history of what led Mason to the wheelchair and his savaged disfigurement. I think that’s something which keeps me constantly interested in the series. Others want straight adaptation – I want a different adaptation, plus all the things we didn’t get to actually see/read about in the others, a way to expand upon what Harris did himself. It’s interesting and I’m excited to watch more of the Mason-Hannibal dynamic in these next few episodes of Season 2’s tail end.Dr. Alana Bloom begins to have suspicions about the relationship Hannibal and Will. She doesn’t quite let on fully that she’s believing Freddie, though, Alana does come right out and say what she thinks to both Hannibal and Will, as all three of them dine together; coincidentally, on a pig given to Hannibal by Mason.
What I like is how Alana still can’t see what’s really going on. She doesn’t quite believe Freddie, but does feel there is something not quite right about Will and Hannibal being back together in therapy. But not only is Hannibal keeping her in the dark, so is Will. For good reason.
Freddie shows up to Will’s house and ends up wandering out to the shed. She finds the killer costume Randall Tier used to dress up in, his cave bear outfit, all hung up like a trophy in Graham’s little secret shed. AND SOME TIER MEAT IN THE FREEZER!
Unfortunately for her, Will shows up. What’s impressive about this scene is that it harkens back to when Beverly Katz (Hettienne Park) was in Lecter’s basement; Hannibal shows up in the background behind some plastic sheeting, much like Will shows up in his shed behind Lounds. I love the way Hannibal as a series overall works in circular motions at times, much like this, working back to moments we’ve seen before and juxtaposing them with a new image.
Lounds and Graham have a rough fight in the shed, but Freddie breaks free. The last we see is her windshield being broken and Will pulling her from the vehicle.Then some beautiful editing, as we cut out to Freddie’s screaming on a cell in Jack Crawford’s office. He’s talking to Hannibal, Will, Alana, and is worried. Lounds was close to Will and his little farm. Uh oh!
The editing is perfect, once more. Cut to Will sliding a wrapped package of meat on Hannibal’s counter. He brought the meat this time.An incredible visual AGAIN harkening back to the first episode of this season – Will sees his reflection in a knife, as Hannibal saw his own before the fight between himself and Jack commenced. Great bit. Then, Hannibal and Will sit together at the dinner table eating. They discuss how fear tastes on meat. We’re led to believe Will has brought Ms. Lounds to the table. Hannibal is in his glee, and now we’ve moved into entirely new territory.