Sometimes you think a week will go by on Hannibal where it doesn’t unfurl some devastating and genuinely shocking twist. Well, not this week! “Futamono” felt like it was in a bit of a holding pattern (perfectly acceptable for a show with this much plot movement every week) but then the last 10 minutes swung around. Suddenly, I didn’t care so much that the murder of the week (a Baltimore city councilman strung into a tree) felt a little blasé, or that Will’s prison machinations as usual were one frustrating step behind his target. Cause, well, Hannibal made Abel eat his own leg and Jack found a one-armed Miriam Lass hidden in a well.
Six episodes in to a thirteen-episode season, this is clearly a hinge point for the story, with Will finally on the road to exoneration for the Chesapeake Ripper’s crimes (looks like he’ll be out and about next episode) and Hannibal tying up old loose ends while opening up some new ones. The biggest loose end, of course, is Will’s imprisonment. It’s Hannibal’s off-screen actions that imply the Ripper is still at large and responsible for every death Will was accused of. At the same time, Hannibal has publicly decided to abandon Will as a friend, a rather sane decision given that Will is trying to kill him. But Hannibal as the Ripper is intrigued by Will’s effort, and has discredited him enough that it doesn’t really matter that he’s in prison.
Current mood: Pensive
This episode is not so much about Will though, but rather what he inspires in so many other characters. His ranting about Hannibal being a cannibal gets through to Jack, who’s intrigued enough by the concept to have some of Hannibal’s dinner party food tested (of course, Hannibal is wise enough not to serve human flesh at such a grand affair). Undeterred, Jack questions where Hannibal was the night of Abel Gideon’s kidnapping, which seems to offend our favorite murderin’ psychiatrist (even though he totally did it). Could there be trouble in paradise, finally?
Unfortunately, Hannibal’s alibi for the night of Abel’s kidnapping (more on that in a minute) is that he spent allllllll night in bed with Alana Bloom, because that happened. Look, I know Mads Mikkelsen is a handsome Danish tree-trunk of a man, and Caroline Dhavernas ain’t so bad herself, but I don’t know if I need a love triangle between those two and Will Graham. This just isn’t a sexy show. I can’t watch a disemboweled man growing out of a tree and then just roll with the perpetrator doing some ordinary boning a few scenes later. Eek.
Current mood: Distressed
This is also the episode that takes care of Abel once and for all, which is for the best, because he never totally made sense as a character. He’s almost as brilliant and cunning as Hannibal Lecter, but he’s also real irrational and stupid, and pissed him off by pretending to be the Chesapeake Ripper. His relationship with Frederick Chilton is so similar to Hannibal’s relationship with him in the Thomas Harris books, and it sometimes felt like one homage too far.
So just as Abel is starting to stir up some real trouble, really seeding the idea in Chilton’s mind that Hannibal could be a killer, Hannibal kidnaps from his hospital bed (he’s put there because the orderlies hate him so much) and removes, cooks, and feeds him his leg. Reminder: this show airs on network television in the same block as Dateline. Hannibal cooks the leg in clay for some reason, and it kinda looks like a big ol’ pork chop, but that’s Eddie Izzard eating his own leg on NBC. One assumes he won’t be seen again.
Current mood: Sick
But then again…Miriam Lass! There she is at the end of the episode, missing a limb and sporting brown hair, but otherwise intact. I don’t know if I should have seen this twist coming, but I absolutely didn’t and am so thrilled to have Anna Chlumsky back on the show in whatever capacity possible. In her one episode last season as the show’s Clarice Starling imitator, a beloved mentee of Jack’s, she made a serious impression. Of course, she also figured out that Hannibal was a serial killer, so the question now is why he would choose to reveal her (and I do think he’s choosing to reveal her).
My guess is that Miriam has been brainwashed, Stockholm Syndromed, into believing Hannibal’s innocence. But the nuance of that is still hard to predict, and in lesser hands than Bryan Fuller I might be worried. I’m not too worried about this show, though. Even when you think it’s taking a week off, it gives you a closing ten minutes like this.
Current mood: Excited
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.