written by Jeff Vlaming, Andy Black & Bryan Fuller | directed by David Slade
I will admit, there was a long period in the middle of "Kō No Mono" where I was doubting the creative direction of this season, regarding the apparent transformation of Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) into the protege of Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). Deep down I suspected his murder of Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) wasn't everything it appeared to be, but a few things made me doubt myself. The first was dumb in retrospect (Will "playing a role" for the benefit of nobody but the viewers at home when he captured Freddie), and the second much cleverer (this episode's late reveal that the entire BAU team are involved in Will's deception, as a means to catch Lecter).
I wasn't expecting Margot Verger (Katharine Isabelle) to become pregnant with Will's child, so that worked much better for me as surprises go. It was indeed a cool loophole for the fact her father's Last Will & Testament stresses the family business can only pass down through a male bloodline, and it was enjoyable to see the sadistic Mason (Michael Pitt) on the back-foot momentarily. He also had first therapy session with Lecter, and it was amusing to see Lecter struggle to hide his contempt for the man—whose entire personality is the opposite of his own. Mason's mainly interested in killing children (although the show is reticent about showing of that, so far), so at the moment it's his wealth that makes him a danger. He's the kind of person who can arrange for his sister to be involved in a "car accident", so he can have a private medical team give her a hysterectomy. (This in itself was a very uncomfortable scene to watch; as it's both a common nightmare to undergo surgery against your will, but also a particularly invasive process for any woman to experience.) The show now has a villain I'm rather keen for Lecter to kill and eat—although my guess is the show will largely follow the path Mason's character had travelled when he was first introduced in Thomas Harris's Hannibal novel.
Overall, as ante-penultimate episodes go "Kō No Mono" felt like it was teeing things up very nicely for the final two episodes. We now know that Will and Jack (Laurence Fishburne) are working together, laying a trap for Lecter, and now Freddie and Alana (Catherine Dhavernas) are in the loop. And it sounds like Will has put Mason on the tail of Lecter, implying he was the father of Margot's unborn child, so things are definitely hotting up. Of course, it does mean I'm less concerned about the fate of Jack after that fight with Lecter we know is coming. He may have been sent scurrying into a wine cellar with a spurting neck wound, but we now know he probably has backup.
- If you haven't already read, NBC have renewed the show for a third season. Thanks to the unique way it's funded, basically.
- This episodes marks the return of David Slade (Hardy Candy) behind the camera, who directed the pilot and a few season 1 episodes. As the man who set the tone and style of the show, you could tell the originator of Hannibal's look was in control. There were several fantastic shots and moments, like the reverse-photography on the shattering teacup.