Hannibal Ep 2.05 “Mukozuke” as horrifying as it is beautiful

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Hannibal Season 2, Episode 5 “Mukozuke”
Directed by Michael Rymer
Written by Ayanna A. Floyd and Steve Lightfoot & Bryan Fuller
Airs Thursdays at 10pm ET on NBC

After her encounter with Hannibal in last weeks cliffhanger, the chances of Beverly coming out alive were extremely slim. But while her death doesn’t come with much of a surprise, the reveal of her fate is shocking, to say the least. Kudos to showrunner Bryan Fuller and Battlestar Galactica’s Michael Rymer, who directed “Mukozuke,” an episode crammed with stunning and unsettling images, and a tour-de-force performance from Hugh Dancy and Laurence Fishburne.

Each and every week, Fuller and co. outdo themselves. Hannibal didn’t just kill Beverly Katz, he’s taken her kidneys, sliced her up in several pieces, and preserved her body in a grotesque tableau – a tableau which mirrors her clinical and scientific persona and that takes inspiration from the work of artist Damien Hirst. Even more, he brings Beverly back to the observatory, the very same location where they discovered the missing arm belonging to Miriam Lass, and where Dr. Chilton underwent a ghastly surgery. It seems awfully risky of Hannibal to be making a public display out of Beverly Katz, not to mention returning to a previous crime scene. And if that isn’t enough to make us believe that deep down inside he wants to be caught, what of his decision to send an anonymous tip to Freddie Lounds?

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Beverly’s death has such a profound impact on Jack Crawford, that it’s easy to see why Jack calls Will in to examine the crime scene. Jack is in desperate need of a helping hand, and a friend, as his conscious is plagued with guilt. Hannibal just saved his wife from an attempted suicide, his once trusted colleague is behind bars, accused of ungodly crimes (which Jack deep down inside knows he’s not guilty of), and now he must struggle with Bev’s murder. For years Jack has felt guilt for pushing his employees too far– and now this. Only Will won’t tell Jack who ‘s responsible, because Jack must come to the conclusion himself. Laurence Fishburne is absolutely fantastic this week, handling the emotional weight of the death of Bev with very little dialogue. His response to seeing Beverly carved up and displayed is enough to leave viewers in tears. Bev’s death even managed to show a human side to Freddie Lounds, warning Jack he shouldn’t go inside because it is one of his own. In fact, just about everyone finds a ways to project the pain, shock and the guilt they feel, but no better than Hugh Dancy.

Hannibal has already featured plenty of callbacks to Silence of the Lambs, offering several parallels between Graham’s imprisonment and Dr. Lecter’s jail time in Jonathan Demme’s masterpiece. These nods to the 1991 Academy Award winning film began to appear back in the season one finale, but seeing Will being put in a straightjacket and pushed around on a dolly is incredibly unsettling. When Will initially sees his friend’s dismembered body, and holds back his tears, you can’t help but feel utter and complete remorse. Will does what he was brought in to do: enter into the mind of a killer and analyze the crime scene. And that he does. But the sight of Beverly’s corpse pushes Will over the edge.

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This week, water is the reoccurring motif in Will’s visions – a universal symbol of change that is often present at turning points in a story. Since water is often a sign of life, many times water represents life. Likewise, water can also represent death. According to Fuller, Will’s transformation is inspired by a short film retelling Titian’s Metamorphosis, made for The National Gallery in London. Graham is now in a mindset where he is capable of murder, and dreams of antlers growing out of his back. Much like his arch nemesis, Will now has the ability to kill, and he knows it.

In brining back Dr. Abel Gideon, Will continues to use Chilton’s narcism to his benefit. Will attempts to manipulate Chilton by trying to convince him that with his help, Chilton can be credited as the man who catches the Chesapeake Ripper. Meanwhile, Gideon convinces Will that, when it comes to Hannibal, the only way to catch him, is to kill him. Luckily, or unluckily for Will, his admirer is close by, a psychotic orderly who hides in the shadows of other sociopaths locked up. Now that Will finally has an ally, he uses Matthew Brown ( Jonathan Tucker) to take revenge on the death of Beverly. Even behind his prison cell, Will Graham seems to have more control/power, than everyone else.

In the end, Hannibal is placed into a position where he is the victim, something we’ve never seen before. It’s impossible to forget the religious iconography that ends “Mukozuke,” with Hannibal strung up in a Christ-like pose, his arms outstretched, a noose around his neck, wrists sliced open, his blood dripping down an altar, all while balancing on a pail. Hannibal is given two choices, kick the bucket (pun fully intended) or bleed out. Apart from the irony and beauty in the scene, what stands out most is how Hannibal still possesses a certain amount of humanity. “Life is precious,” he says, and he believes it.

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– Ricky D

Other thoughts:

“We find her kidneys, we find her killer”

I like the reveal that Brown killed the bailiff but not the judge.

Zeller and Price’s reactions are heartbreaking.

While it is nice to see Jonathan Tucker shirtless, it was also increidbly distracting.

“Mukozuke” isn’t Tucker’s first appearance in the season; he was also in “Hassun.”

Hettienne Park wrote an excellent defense of her death on her personal blog.

The diegetic music heard during the Jack and Hannibal scene is titled “La Cathédrale Engloutie,” by Claude Debussy.

Will using Freddie’s website to contact his admirer is similar to a plot point in Red Dragon.

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

 

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