Last week’s episode was a carnival of the animals, but in Episode 9, with a stripped back cast of characters, we are granted a personal audience in front of a smaller court from the animal kingdom. This week, Hannibal is all about the nature of the beast, but it’s two different types of beast that give Shiizakana its structure.
The first is the Beast itself: the one living inside us all, both our animal nature and the weaponised version of it. Do we have power over it, or does it control us? And if we don’t let it control us, do we risk someone else controlling it?
A bloodthirsty monster stalks the snowy plains surrounding Will’s home – allowing the show’s cinematography to linger longingly on snowy fields painted with bold, red, bloody brushstrokes, as well as some haunting shots of animal skulls in a sinister, late-night museum visit – while the shadowy Hannibal looms closer. While the proximity of the threat increases, Will’s beast nature struggles to break free, with the visualization of the stag – used as his instrument of revenge and torture, while guarding and guiding him like a twisted Patronus – is thrown more sharply into focus, as he envisions the reckoning he seeks to bring upon Lecter.
Alongside Will, and the vicious beast mentioned before, we are reintroduced to Margot, another of Hannibal’s patients with murderous intentions, and in whom he has tried to stir up a murderous spirit. As Will and Margot discuss their psychiatrist, who has encouraged both to embrace their violent natures, we meet the second beast. The one who holds the leash. The most vicious beast of all – the one who trains and masters the wild animal.
Following on from his role in last week’s showdown, Hannibal looks to be seeking to transform Will from neutralized threat to tamed creature. Is Will aware of how he is being tamed? Will he control and master his own animal nature? And, of course, the final question – presented boldly to us in a scene set to the swelling vocals of Faure’s Requiem – does he want to?
Hannibal Season 2 is available on Netflix UK, as part of £7.49 monthly subscription.
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Photo: Sophie Giraud/NBC