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- Episode: Ko No Mono (Season 2, Episode 11)
- Starring: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas
- Written By: Jeff Vlaming, Andrew Black, Bryan Fuller
- Directed By: David Slade
- Network: NBC
- Studio: Dino De Laurentiis Company, Living Dead Guy Productions, AXN: Original X Production
Hannibal: Ko No Mono Review
Every creative act has its destructive consequence
By Curtis G. Schmitt
May 12, 2014
Pixiepunch (tumblr) Ko No Mono fan art for Hannibal
Aside from the normal risks associated with being friends with a serial killer, being friends with Hannibal Lecter means being friends with someone who will happily set into motion a series of events that are likely to (and in fact do) result in the forced abortion of the child you were tricked into fathering. This is not an otherwise “good guy” who happens to murder people; this is a monster. And all you fans with a Hannibal fetish (the man, not the show) may want to get your heads checked.
After their relatively slow introduction over the past few episodes, “Ko No Mono” brings sister and brother Verger front and center into the plot. They’ve become additional pieces on Hannibal’s chessboard that he can use in his game with/against Will. Having encouraged Margot last episode to find someone (Will) with the right parts to give her a child, Hannibal reveals her intentions to her brother, Mason, who is none too happy about it. What follows is probably the most horrifying scene you could watch on television this Mother’s Day weekend -- Mason mutilates his sister and eliminates his competition for the Verger fortune once and for all. And when Will (still haunted by the death of “daughter” Abigail) learns the fate of his unborn child, he goes after Mason.
It’s tempting to view Will’s relationship to Hannibal in one of two ways: He’s either Hannibal’s opponent in this twisted game of chess; or he, too, is a piece on Hannibal’s chess board. But I think he’s both. Will is like the chess piece that’s self-aware. He’s the play-thing that’s playing the player. It reminds me of the album cover for Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast, which shows the devil pulling the strings of their mascot, Eddie, who’s also pulling the strings of the devil himself. Will is not free of Hannibal’s influence, but neither is Hannibal free of Will’s.
Alana Bloom, who’s been relegated to the background for several episodes, steps forward to do some emotionally moving and teary-eyed (where’s Mason Verger with his tissues?) psychological detecting. She’s becoming less and less certain of Will's guilt, just as she is of Hannibal's innocence. By the end of “Ko No Mono,” it’s clear to the viewer that Will is playing Hannibal. But what’s not clear is why is he playing Alana? He tells her, “I told everyone Hannibal was a killer, and no one believed me. Just like no one would believe you if you said I was a killer.” Is it just revenge for her doubting him? That would be my reason if I was Will. I would want to see her suffer in her wrongness about me (yes, I should probably get my head checked too). But I suspect as with anything on this show, it's a bit more complicated. Ever since Will's incarceration for murders he did not commit, he’s seemed content to let others wallow in their uncertainty. It's enough that he knows the truth. Others, like Alana and Jack Crawford before her, can find their way to it at their own pace.
This is one of the things I love most about HANNIBAL. Even in the midst of unrealistic events, characters behave the way real people do. They don't over-explain their motivations for the sake of the narrative. They have their own agenda, their own resentments, their own perspective that they obscure from the rest of the world -- and often from themselves too.
The most moving scenes of all were the two in which Will and Hannibal discuss the death of Abigail Hobbs, as directly as they can anyway. This has been a long time coming. In life and death, Abigail has been at the center of their relationship: she was Hannibal’s first test for Will (when Will saved her life after Hannibal warned Abigail’s father Will was coming for him); she was the catalyst for their emotional connection (when they bonded over their mutual father-like protection of her); and she was the wedge between them (when Hannibal murdered her and framed Will).
Hannibal all but confesses to Will, expressing as much regret as a monster is capable of. He intellectualizes his emotion as a wish that time could reverse itself, that “teacups [could] come together.” We even get a visual of a shattered teacup reassembling itself; and I may be mistaken, but the musical cue and maybe even the shot itself were from the episode in which Abigail dropped a teacup in Hannibal’s kitchen.
But as we know, and as Will knows, time will not reverse itself. Abigail is gone forever. And Will is no longer content to simply kill Hannibal Lecter. Hannibal, who loves to humiliate his victims by eating them, deserves to be humiliated too. As Will tells Mason Verger, “Dr. Lecter’s the one you want to be feeding to your pigs.”