Pop Culture at its Best

Hannibal Ep 1.11 “Rôti” and breaking down Will Graham’s dreams


Hannibal Season 1, Episode 11 “Rôti?
Directed by Guillermo Navarro
Written by Scott Nimerfo & Steve Lightfoot and Bryan Fuller
Airs Thursdays at 10pm ET on NBC

Hannibal serves up another delicious course with its eleventh episode of the series, “Rôti,” as Dr. Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard) escapes and Will’s descent into madness escalates to a fever pitch. While Will turns to Hannibal for help with his continued mental breakdown, Gideon searches for the Chesapeake Ripper, leaving behind clues (body parts) so he’ll know where to find him.

In terms of plot, characterization, scientific research, dialogue, acting, editing and cinematography, Hannibal is in a class of its own. There is no other network series quite like it; none so daring and none so masterfully crafted. This week’s episode sees a huge shift in ideas – and is a major turning point to what promises to be a stunning finale. “Roti” is all about identity; mistaken identity and identity theft. We all know Gideon isn’t the Ripper and Hannibal isn’t very happy that he’s stolen his identity thanks to the unethical interference by a number of psychiatrists. “Roti” continues one of the strongest narratives this year and the parallels between Gideon and Will Graham are incredibly discomforting. After all, Will is our hero and we all care about him. Watching him suffer isn’t easy and “Roti” does a great job in raising the stakes. You can’t help but get this uneasy feeling that anything can happen and everyone is in grave danger, especially Graham. The past few episodes have focused heavily on Dr. Lecter’s psychic driving of Will, further blurring Will’s identity. Gideon needs the Ripper to confirm that they are not one and the same, which parallels Will needing Hannibal to assure him of who he really is. Meanwhile, Hannibal is prepping Will to become more like him. This is his modus operandi, to confuse and create chaos because in the end, it only serves his goals. There is a method to his madness. Hannibal is hoping Graham will eventually act on his impulse to kill. Rene Girard writes, “a psychopathic partner sabotages his victim’s life, because it provides him the opportunity to “rescue” his victim, thus increasing his or her dependency on him. In the end, Hannibal sends Gideon to hunt down Alana, knowing full well, Will will follow along. When Graham arrives, his hallucinations lead him to believe Gideon is Hobbs. The traumatic memory of killing Hobbs is repeated once again. Although he evades responsibility, Hannibal is addicted to dominance and control. He is able to assess his victims’ weaknesses as well as their strengths and uses both to ensnare his prey. The psychopath looks for a victim who has the resources and the willingness to accept responsibility, but that isn’t all they want. The psychopath sees his victim’s resources as the source of power. Like a parasite, he drains his victim until his victim is left powerless.
images (2)

“Psychopaths and narcissists rarely doubt who they are,” Hannibal tells Dr. Chilton.

Hannibal’s motivations are spelled out in his session with Du Maurier when he confesses he sees Will as a friend further suggesting that Hannibal’s motivations are just as confused as Will’s own sense of self. He is interested in Will’s madness, because it makes Will more like him. Will has completely lost a grip on reality and Hannibal is there to remind him of who he is, while manipulating him into what he wants him to be. The scenes between Mads Mikkelsen and Gillian Anderson are always a treat to watch. “Madness can be a medicine for the modern world,” Hannibal says, “a boost to the psychological immune system to help fight the existential crisis of modern life.”

But back to Will. Graham has been manipulated all season long by various characters, and not just Hannibal. The man in question seems to be sleepwalking through the entire episode and Jack Crawford doesn’t seem intent on lessening his workload. Crawford and Hannibal seem to be competing for Graham. They both need and or want him for their own personal gain. Jack tells Hannibal: “You and I are just going to have to have a difference of opinion about who Will is, Doctor.”

Hannibal season 1 Roti

Frequent collaborator to Guillermo Del Toro and world-renownded cinematographer, Guillermo Navarro returns to direct his third episode of the season, and the man does not disappoint. At this point, it becomes clear Hannibal won’t hold back in the violence and gore. Episode 11 features a gruesome operation as Gideon keeps Doctor Chilton awake while he removes his organs. It’s sick and incredibly twisted. Lounds the cold blooded tabloid journalist might seem better than ok when witnessing the affair first hand, but I’m guessing most viewers covered their eyes in horror. Meanwhile Navarro does an even better job with Will’s hallucination and dreams. The mystery of the stag horns continues to unfold and the imagery of the waves crashing down recalls Peter Weir’s masterpiece The Last Wave. The reoccurring motif of water is a nice touch as is Will’s distorted point of views. Especially memorable is the hallucination which features Jack calling him crazy while surrounded by antlers. Hugh Dancy and the writers of the show have done a great job showing him completely breaking down.  Water is an ominous symbol, perhaps warning of the giant wave of trouble headed Will’s way. I’ve spoken about dream interpretation in previous weeks: The stag is associated with the feminine energies and the maternal forces of the world, and those who align with the moose will find these forces awakened. Part of this revolves around the association with water. Water is the primal symbol of the feminine forces of the universe and of purity and fertility. Symbolically, it is often viewed as the source of life itself as we see evidence in countless creation myths in which life emerges from water. The moose can teach the ability to move from the outer world to the inner. It can teach how to cross-from life to death and back to stronger life.

Hannibal is a triumph of atmosphere and nightmare imaginings. You would be hard pressed to find a better show currently airing on network television. A new direction is also hinted at towards the end of the episode that will lead toward some big plot moments. Rumours say that Bryan Fuller hinted at a shocking and huge finale. Get excited!

– Ricky D

Extended thoughts:

The special effects was absolutely outstanding.

Colombian neckties.

Gideon making Christmas ornaments out of the organs. Wait, is it approaching Christmas time?

“I said it was mild.” – Hannibal, regarding Will’s seizure.

Recipe of the week: Aatu Kudal Kulambu / Lamb Intestine Curry


1 Comment
  1. Candy says

    It’s not a moose. It’s a stag. A male deer. Not a moose.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.