Mania Grade: B+
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- Episode: Takiawase (Season 2, Episode 4)
- Starring: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas
- Written By: Bryan Fuller (developed for television by)
- Directed By: David Semel
- Network: NBC
- Studio: Dino De Laurentiis Company, Living Dead Guy Productions, AXN: Original X Production
Hannibal: Takiawase Review
Oh my God
By Curtis G. Schmitt
March 24, 2014
Hannibal: Takiawase Review
Three words: Oh my God... The three final words we hear spoken at the end of this episode. Likely crime scene investigator Beverly Katz’s three final words ever. And they would have been the three words coming out of my mouth were I not such a concisely profane heathen (“Oh sh--”). But we’ll get there.
“Takiawase” opens on what we’ve come to know as Will’s happy place -- the tranquil stream he visits in his mind to find peace while his body sits in his dark, solitary cell in Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. He’s fly-fishing as usual, though this time instructing murder victim Abigail Hobbs. Abigail, remember, was daughter of serial killer Garrett Jacob Hobbes. Will rescued Abigail literally from the clutches of her father only to inadvertently introduce her to another serial killer (Hannibal) who would ultimately finish the job her father couldn’t. As I watched Will teach her how to bait the hook, all of the questions I raised last week about whether or not Will was faking his doubt about Hannibal’s guilt were resolved: He has been faking, or more accurately fishing, patiently luring Hannibal onto a hook from which he will not escape.
Interestingly, takiawase is a mixture of vegetables cooked separately and combined with tofu, fish, or meat. If you consider Hannibal the cook, he does seem to be working his games on several characters separately. Or better yet, the writers are the metaphorical cook, and Hannibal is the meat (definitely NOT tofu) -- or fish, swimming around Will’s hook.
One of the things that unites these separate characters in this episode is the theme of chance, as illustrated by my favorite scene of the night. Jack Crawford’s wife Bella, cancer-ridden and dying, returns to Hannibal’s office and confesses she has taken “every bit” of her morphine, welcoming death as “not a defeat but a cure” (repeating Hannibal’s words to her in an earlier scene). Hannibal observes her curiously as she expires right in front of him. Will he save her or watch her die? He waits a moment, tosses a coin high into the air, and decides her fate by chance: life.
Unlike Bella who needs to control the timing of her death, unlike Jack who needs to save the people he loves, unlike Will who needs to catch the killer, and unlike all the criminal justice professionals who need Will to be guilty so that the world can make sense again; unlike all of them Hannibal is comforted by randomness. He embraces it, encourages it, and even introduces a little here and there like extra spice in the recipe -- BAM!
Will takes his own big chance and ups the stakes of his game, essentially going all in psychologically when he makes his devil’s bargain with Dr. Chilton to let the doctor use sodium amytal (truth serium) to interview him. In return, he asks Chilton to cut Hannibal out of the loop concerning Will and his treatment, something which is sure to antagonize Hannibal. More bait on the hook, but to what end, exactly? Maybe it’s enough just to put Hannibal off guard and keep him guessing.
Unfortunately, for the first time this season, the storyline does stumble in a few spots. As fun as it is to see “Honey Bunny” Amanda Plummer show up as the serial killer of the week, that whole subplot felt extraneous and its resolution unsatisfyingly abrupt, as if its sole raison d’etre was to get Beverly to have her “ah ha” moment and find the clue that links a murder victim from two episodes ago to the Chesapeake Ripper. But much more egregious than that are the series of stupid “horror movie character” choices Beverly makes at the end of the episode. Yes, it was thrilling to watch her discover Hannibal’s secret “kitchen” and his basement. But not at the expense of the intelligence of the character. You find a human liver in a secret refrigerator, YOU CALL IN BACKUP. You don’t go snooping in the basement!
Relatively small gripes, though. This was another great chapter in a story that’s getting more and more exciting each week. Assuming Beverly Katz doesn’t make it out of Hannibal’s basement alive, that alone should hip Crawford and the gang to the fact that Will is not the killer they’ve been looking for. And just what was it that poor Beverly saw that made her exclaim those three final words? Oh my God, I can’t wait to find out.