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Hannibal Ep 2.07 “Yakimono” touched with moments of crazed inspiration

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Hannibal Season 2, Episode 7 “Yakimono”
Directed by Michael Rymer
Written by Steven Lightfoot
Airs Thursdays at 10pm ET on NBC

We knew it wouldn’t be long before Frederick Chilton was a goner for several reasons, but one can’t help but think it came a little too soon. Not only has Raúl Esparza provided the series with some much needed dark humour and a superb performance, but his character has a prominent and important role in both Thomas Harris’s novels and in their cinematic adaptations. That said, this is an adaption and a very different medium, and so Fuller is wise in deviating away from the original source material. Nobody needs a page by page, word by word, reenactment of the books; so while Fuller is using Harris’s novels as inspiration, this is his baby, and based on the week to week quality of the show, we shouldn’t complain. It’s unsurprising that the many literature-based TV series currently on the air have approached their source material with varying degrees of success. The biggest thing lost, for those who’ve read the books, is the element of surprise. For those who know what’s coming, the question isn’t what’s going to happen, but how they will pull it off. Hannibal rewards fans of its previous incarnations with visual homages and similar lines of dialogue but offers fresh twists for unsuspecting fans of the source material. Using the Harris source material as more of a template, without feeling the need to follow it religiously, is a good thing.

Hannibal: “Don’t you want to know how this ends?”

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“It’s all Theatre.”

As per usual, Hannibal delivers some of the best, albeit disturbing imagery on television. Everything from the elaborately staged murder scenes at Chilton’s home to Will’s vision of of the tree man is grandiose, and occasionally absurd, but the emotional core allows Fuller to get away with it. Hannibal dazzles us with such delicate storytelling that the violence becomes distanced, somehow, and we accept it. “It’s all theatre!” Will proclaims regarding the Ripper’s tactics. Fuller adapts a famous story about a bizarre serial killer into a grand work of art, full of symbols and imagery that reach beyond previous incarnations to something primal and original – something touched with moments of crazed inspiration.

When it comes to the actual crimes, viewers have always had to suspend their disbelief when watching Hannibal. Batman’s Joker pales in comparison to Hannibal Lecter who pulls of such incredible feats, you’d think he’s a supervillain of sorts. And while it becomes easier to accept what we don’t see on camera, one has to question the believability that the F.B.I.’s most intelligent man (The Guru, Jack Crawford) would for a second believe that Chilton is physically capable of the crimes they now suspect him of. Really? While everyone else on Hannibal seems utterly delusional about Lecter’s guilt, Will Graham can see everything clearly, even without his mind palace. Graham now has a certain confidence that we’d never seen from him before; his unkempt appearance is long gone, and he’s no longer the confused pawn who was afraid of himself back in season one. “You changed me,” he tells Hannibal, and the transformation is crystal clear. It’s great to see Will out of prison since I’m not sure how many more episodes Hannibal could have stretched out with him behind bars. Now exonerated as a suspect in the Ripper killings, Will has the chance to do what he does best, and watching him and Jack working side by side should prove exhilarating.

Will: “You didn’t have to find me, Jack. You just had to listen to me.”

Will returns to the fishing metaphors once again this week, reminding Jack that it’s a lot harder to catch a fish a second time, once you let it go.” “Yakimono” marks an important turning point in the season, where Will and Hannibal are now meeting on equal terms. The question now is, will Graham continue to lure, or will be become a hunter?

– Ricky D

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Other thoughts:

Don’t forget to listen to our Hannibal podcast, with a special guest each and every week.

Laurence Fishburne once again delivers his best career work as Agent Crawford. His utter despair and regret is powerfully conveyed, as is his happiness that he is reunited with his two friends.

Anna Chlumsky is also terrific reprising her role as Miriam.

Chilton: “I have no intention of ending up on his menu.” “I would like to remain not dead for the foreseeable future.

Applesauce is so cute!

Miriam: “I remember a dream about drowning then being awake and not awake, being myself and not myself.”

Chilton: “Why didn’t Hannibal just kill you?”

Will: “Because he wants to be my friend.”

So glad to see Will reunited with his dogs.

So much for a show with strong and independent women. There seems to be nobody left now that Alana Bloom is totally useless.

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