Hannibal Ep 2.08 “Su-zakana” elevated with splashes of twisted humour and moments of bodily horror

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Hannibal Season 2, Episode 8 “Su-zakana”
Directed by Vincenzo Natali
Written by Scott Nimerfro
Airs Thursdays at 10pm ET on NBC

Hannibal’s “Su-zakana” is pretty much a palate cleanser; an episode representing a new start in the relationship between Dr. Lecter and Will Graham. Now halfway through season two, the series seems to be entering a new phase in which Will slowly lures Hannibal by using himself as live bait. Hannibal has never been subtle, and if you didn’t already guess based on the episode’s title alone (which refers to a palate-cleansing-Japanese-dish), this week is all about the concept of rebirth.

Vincent Natali (Splice) directs his first episode of Hannibal, and the results are stunning. The level of macabre imagery was amped up several fold this week with elaborately staged crime scenes that will have viewers sinking down in their seats. If the starling trapped inside a woman sewn into the body of a dead horse doesn’t grab your attention, watching a man crawl his way out of another dead horse will leave you screaming. Even if you’re afraid to see what is going to happen next, you can’t take your eyes away. “Su-zakana” is one of the best episodes yet, elevated with splashes of twisted humour and daring moments of bodily horror.

Hannibal: “I think you might want to crawl back in if you know what’s good for you.”

Jeremy Davies stars as Peter Bernardorne, a brain-damaged stable worker, manipulated by Chris Diamantopoulos’ social worker Clark Ingram. Peter at first, seems like the prime suspect responsible for the grisly murders; however as it turns out, Clark Ingram is the true culprit. Their relationship is easily reflected in the partnership between Will and Hannibal. Peter and Clark are a poor man’s reflection of what Will and Hannibal once were. Much like Will, Peter watches over animals and knows a terrible secret about a man who’s attempting to take advantage of his vulnerable state of mind.

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Peter Bernadorne: “I used to have a horrible fear of hurting anything. He helped me get over that. I feel so abnormal.”

The chemistry between Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy is wonderful, yet awkward. Hannibal may be a show about a serial killer, but season two is heavily focusing on their strange bromance. And now that the dynamic of their relationship has changed, the new Willseems to be in charge. “I don’t want to kill you, Dr. Lecter, now that I finally find you interesting, ” says Will, with a sassy smirk on his face. Will might not yet be able to prove that Lecter is the Chesapeake Ripper, but he’s technically got him on the run. Hannibal’s final line is astute: “I can feed the caterpillar, I can whisper through the chrysalis but it hatches, it follows its own nature and that’s beyond me.” Season one was all about Hannibal understanding and manipulating the caterpillar and the chrysalis, whereas the second season has found him fascinated yet fearful of the butterfly he’s helped create.

– Ricky D

Other thoughts:

In “Su-zakana,” we also meet Margot Verger (Katharine Isabelle) for the first time. In the book Hannibal, Margot is a lesbian bodybuilder who was raped as a young girl by her psychopathic, pedophile brother, Mason (soon to be played by Michael Pitt). I won’t give away any more information so as to not spoil upcoming events, but clearly she is quite different than her portrayal in the book.

Coffin birth is a real thing.

Francis of Assisi, known as the patron saint of animals.

You got to love Jack and Will’s bro-time.

From my understanding the ratings for Hannibal have dropped. It sure doesn’t help that the show now airs on Friday nights. Let’s hope the show isn’t canceled too soon. I know other outlets are interested in picking it up, but NBC gives Fuller almost-complete -creative-control, and you never know if another network will do the same.

I love the closing credits with just the sounds of birds chirping.

The score is truly great this week, especially towards the end. At times it sounds like it came out of a classic Akira Kurosawa film like Roshomon or Throne of Blood.

Will: “Peter. Is your social worker inside that horse?”

Will: “I know what it’s like to point at the killer and have no one listen. “

Can’t wait to see Michael Pitt’s Mason next week.

This is certainly the funniest episode yet. The series could use more black comedy.

Alana: “The only thing stranger than finding a woman inside a horse is seeing Will Graham back in therapy with you”

The bird being a starling is clearly a reference to Clarice.

Davies’ is perfectly cast in the role, delivering a heartbreaking performance as he desperately tries to save souls.

Alana Bloom: “The world needs a few psychopaths to keep the rest of us on our toes.”
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