UK TV review: Hannibal Season 2, Episode 11 (Ko No Mono)
Jo Bromilow | On 19, Jul 2014
Across the last few episodes, as the supposedly well-meaning, flawed but ultimately ‘good’ Will Graham slips further and further down the path to his own destruction, you have to wonder what his parents must think of him. From taking some (ahem) press cuttings to taking playing with your food to a whole new level, his newfound pursuits are certainly not those of the good doctor he set out as – and far more like those of the good doctor whose care he is under. Far from being natural enemies, these two are now breaking bread together. They sit down for a delicious dinner during which they devour whole roasted baby birds, taking them directly out of the fiery frying pan, while elsewhere a flaming body free-wheels into view, the burning remains of Will’s first kill, and the fire from which he will rise, reborn in Hannibal’s likeness.
God created man in his own image, as the line goes. This week focuses on reproduction, a meditation on the nature of what it means to be a parent, a creator of life, or, at its basest level, what it means to be a caregiver or guardian. We’ve learned nothing of Will’s own family history, but his immediate past failing of being unable to save Abigail Hobbs, a girl he viewed as a daughter, still haunts him deeply. It looks likely to force him to exact revenge on the man who appears to have taken his other chance to be a parent away.
Hannibal, the monstrous father setting his psychotic children, or patients, against each other, looks on as Will squares off with Mason and Mason and Margot contemplate their relationship – she, the potential future of the family dynasty, and he, the man with control of that future. Their showdown occurs in a sequence made all the more powerful by the removal of grim violence, which allows the viewer to contemplate in their own head what will occur – the route to true horror.
Hannibal, bored with toying with simple creatures like Jack Crawford, has now turned his focus to detonating the time bomb that is Will Graham, then simply sitting back and watching the flames. Flames, and their transformative power, take a key role in this week’s kills, from Will and Hannibal’s dinner to the likeness of Shiva, the god of destruction and transformation, that either Will or Hannibal builds for the other out of an unknown corpse. This display – a relatively short one that will no doubt be expanded upon in the coming weeks – is a sign of something bigger, a kind of courtship ritual, as deduced by the increasingly pitiful Alana Bloom. We’ve met animals in previous weeks, and a man who imagines himself to be one. At the start of Episode 11, we see Will being born in the likeness of the horned man that haunts his nightmares and waking dreams. Like Randall Tier, he is now embracing his bestial nature, but in a calculated, measured and entirely human way.
Just as the phoenix rises from the ashes (mythology is a vein running strongly through the series), so shall Will. And the dangerous, all-consuming relationship between him and Hannibal threatens to devour everyone around them in what will eventually become the fires of retribution.
Hannibal: Season 1 to 3 is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.
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Photo: Sophie Giraud/NBC