written by Andy Black, Bryan Fuller, Scott Nimerfo & Steve Lightfoot (story by Andy Black) | directed by Tim Hunter
Coming halfway through the second season, it's fitting that "Futamono" changes the narrative in keys way—even if a few of them probably won't stick, for now. Above all, this was an episode where Jack (Laurence Fishburne) finally began to take Will's (Hugh Dancy) assertion that Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) is a the Chesapeake Ripper seriously, which led to some very interesting sequences of investigation. I was also glad Dr Chilton (Raúl Esparza) seems to believe Will's telling the truth about Lecter (who fits the profile of a sociopath), after overhearing him talking with Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard) about their meeting in a room Gideon shouldn't be able to describe. Chilton even coined the nickname "Hannibal the Cannibal" in this episode, during a dinner party where Jack had his team test the food Lecter's serving his guests.
However, Jack's growing concerns gradually fizzled away. Lecter was a few steps aheas of Will and Jack this episode; enlivened by his brush with death last week and now composing music, while resuming his Chesapeake Ripper activities by grafting a councilman into a living tree with a belly full of poisonous flowers. Lecter was serving regular animal meat during his party, and in one particularly clever move he slept with Dr Bloom (Catherine Dhavernas) in order to have an alibi after killing Gideon's hospital prison guard and attaching him to the roof with fish-hooks.
What does this mean going forward? Surely Miriam can point the finger at Lecter as her abductor, and the person who sawed her arm off? Why has Lecter been keeping her alive? Has Jack got a genuine break in the case, or did Lecter know they'd trace Miriam's whereabouts from tree bark? If so, why let them get to her? Has her mind been manipulated, similarly to Will Graham's, so she won't be able to tell them anything of any worth? This still all feels very risky from Lecter's perspective, but I guess he thrives on the thrill of outwitting people no matter how many chances he affords them.
The great thing about "Futamono" is how cleverly is seemed to progress the story down one path, only to backup and take us down another. My guess is that Chilton's going to remain wary of Lecter from hereon, but Jack's going to be sucked back into believing he's innocent (provided Miriam's memory of events aren't accurate or reliable after so many years in confinement). It also had some of that amazingly baroque imagery and messed up ideas Hannibal is unbeatable for: such as the murder victim whose dead body had become the trunk of a tree, and the shocking moment when Gideon was revealed to have had his leg amputated by Lecter... and then served it to eat at his captor's dinner table, which he did so he didn't appear weak. What's Lecter's plan for Gideon now, though? Lots of questions, and lots of clever changes to the direction of the season.
- Did you catch Lecter mentioning he was once rudely woken up by a man conducting an early morning census? This was a nod to the famous line in Silence of the Lambs: "a census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti".
- If Miriam's actually been kept alive, then for what purpose? Lecter's m.o didn't seem to include keeping people captive for years, so why did he do that with Miriam? And if he does occasionally keep certain victims alive, is there a chance Abigail Hobbes isn't dead either? Her ear has been the only evidence she's been killed, similarly to how everyone believed Miriam was dead because her amputated arm was found.
- How bad is Alana Bloom going to feel when she realises she not only turned her back on the innocent Will Graham, but also slept with the enemy under their noses?