Recap: Hannibal 2×08, “Su-zakana”

Hannibal Title Card

In this week’s “Hannibal”, Hannibal’s creepy obsession with Will manages to confuse a man who just fell out of a horse.

[Content warning: animal abuse, animal death, sexual assault, ableism, murder, gore, violence, death, nudity, psychological abuse, guns, child sexual abuse, incest]

We begin on a snowy lake where Jack and Will ice fish and, per the modus operandi of this show, have a loaded, allegorical conversation about Will “hooking” and Jack “landing” a fish, i.e. Hannibal.  Later, Jack and Will join Hannibal for a meal centered around Will’s recently caught trout.  Will throws all kinds of shade and even gets in his own cannibal pun as Hannibal elucidates on their shared experience and the need to forgive and forget.

After the credits, we join a farmer and vet set to examine a dying horse who’s depressed over the loss of her baby.  The vet seems a little miffed at the bad cesarean, but the farmer says he knows nothing about it.  As it turns out, it’s a bit of reverse cesarean in that someone stuffed a dead woman into the horse’s womb rather than removing something.  Well, that’s creative.

Jack, Hannibal, and the remnants of the coroner crew check out the scene and realize that someone murdered the woman before she fell out of a horse.  Hannibal pontificates on the meaning of such an act and concludes that the person who stuffed her into the horse wanted to give her a rebirth or new life.  He pointedly tells Jack that he can’t take on the mindset of the person who did this, so Jack should find someone who can.

Meanwhile, Margot Verger and her brother Mason make their first appearance as Mason brutalizes Margot for her tears.  Evidently, Fuller & Co. decided that they not only want people to speaks lines directly from the novels, but they also want Mason sipping on martinis made of tears.

Mason Verger (Michael Pitt) prepares a martini made of tears in Hannibal 2x08, "Su-zakana"
Mason is all class in a glass.

Anyway, Margot’s about done with Mason’s abuse and confides in Hannibal, her new psychiatrist, that she wants to murder him.  Hannibal seems bemused by all of this, and I wonder if we’re supposed to interpret him as getting the irony here and the allegories to his relationship with Will.

Alas, the show interrupts my ponderings with another gross and out of character sex and pillow talk scene between Alana and Hannibal.  I don’t care about any of this, so I’m going to move right along to Jack and the remnants of the coroner crew examining the lady who feel out of a horse earlier.  As they examine her, Price jumps like he’s got springs in his shoes when he claims to feel a heartbeat.  They crack open her ribcage to fight a live starling bird hanging out inside her chest.

Will finally shows up at the scene of the crime in an expensive looking jacket, scarf, and glove ensemble that seems a little above his pay grade and beyond his fashion sense because, we get it show, he’s supposedly becoming more like Hannibal.  Anyway, he comes to nearly the same conclusion as Hannibal, but he suspects whoever sewed the victim into the horse didn’t murder her.  On this suspicion, Will and Jack visit with one Peter Bernardone who I recognize from “Lost.”  Peter claims to know nothing about the case, but he’s clearly hiding something. I, like Will, suspect he knows who the killer is but is afraid to speak up.

After his trip with Jack, Will visits with Hannibal for yet another of their creepy, loaded, not so therapeutic therapy sessions.  They talk at length about births and rebirths.  Will, still 110% over Hannibal and everything Hannibal chooses to be, tells Hannibal to cut the crap and stop lying to his face about the cannibal stuff. He doesn’t expect Hannibal to confess, but he does expect not to be treated like he was born yesterday (pun absolutely intended).  Will confesses to fantasizing about intimately killing Hannibal “with [his] hands” and seems disturbed by his fantasies. Hannibal seems pleased and vaguely (figuratively?) aroused.  Ew.

That night, Will, Jack, and the remnants of the coroner crew find and excavate a whole lot of graves when they figure out where this week’s killer buried the lady in the horse.  Zeller interrupts Will’s thoughts with an awkward apology and says, correctly, that maybe if he, Jack, and Price weren’t so keen on believing Will guilty, maybe Beverly would have come to them instead of investigating on her own.  You know, Beverly around would be a lot nicer than watching the menfolk shake up and make sad faces about her.

Over at Hannibal’s office, he floats the idea of Margot finding someone to off her awful brother Mason for her.  She seems intrigued, and I again wonder if Hannibal’s aware of the irony, given what happened with Will’s admirer, and internally cackling.

Later, Will re-visits Peter and figures that Peter did sew the victim from earlier into the horse but as sort of a proper send off since Peter knows who actually murdered her.  Peter’s afraid to tell because he knows no one will believe him, and he’ll catch the blame instead.  Because if the Margot/Mason, Will/Hannibal allegory wasn’t enough, here’s another one to club you over the head.  I’m vaguely uncomfortable with the show analogizing Will’s encephalitis and the havoc Hannibal wreaked with that to Peter’s cognitive disability caused by an accident for reasons I can’t put my finger on, but the show runs with it.

Alana interviews Peter’s social worker who very obviously did the thing.  She’s cool and calculating, and it’s fun to watch.  Her play of touching his hands in a friendly gesture and his recoiling being used as a sign of his psychopathy comes off more than a little ableist (says this neuroatypical recapper who hates casual touch but is probably not a psychopath). In any case, Will loudly pronounces his surety that the Social Work Sociopath (SWS) murdered those women and has set up Peter, a disabled client under his care and whom Peter once trusted, to take the fall.  Hannibal squints at Will while Jack replies they’ve got nothing on Social Work Sociopath and have to let him go.

Dr. Evil (Mike Myers) effects air quotes with the caption "Subtle"

Peter returns to his home and barn to find that SWS murdered most of the animals and even bludgeoned a horse to death with a hammer.  SWS tries to convince Peter that Peter, not SWS, did it.  Meanwhile, Hannibal and Will have another goddamn loaded conversation about their twisted relationship while they head to Peter’s house on Will’s hunch.  They arrive to find Peter’s home and the barn trashed.  Upon spotting the dead horse, Will, ever unflappable, asks, and I quote, “Peter, is your social worker in that horse?” while Hannibal looks how I feel about that line.

Hannibal Lector (Mads Mikkelson) reacts to a gruesome sight in Hannibal 2x08, "Su-zakana"
The only time Hannibal and the audience will ever have the same reaction.

Will grabs Peter and takes him somewhere private to talk about Peter murdering SWS.  Only, surprise, Peter actually sewed him up in there still alive and kicking.  On cue, SWS rips his way out of the horse while Hannibal pets a sheep and looks on in vague surprise, disgust, and amusement.  Hannibal advises that SWS crawl right back inside the horse and just die because that’s the kind of episode Fuller & Co. wrote.

Just then, Will comes in wielding a gun and demands that SWS pick up the bloody hammer he bludgeoned the horse with so Will has a reason to put a bullet in his brain.  While SWS begs for his life, Hannibal intervenes because he knows Will’s projecting super hard onto Peter and that’s why he wants to murder Peter’s social worker.  He stays Will’s hand, takes Will’s face in his hand, and gives a barely tolerable pseudo poetic speech about Will’s Hannibal driven “metamorphosis” because he’s clearly forgotten they’re in public.  Meanwhile, the Social Work Sociopath…lies on the ground defeated, covered in horse innards, and utterly confused by the display before him, I guess.

Next week: A serial killer makes himself into a beast; Hannibal urges said serial killer to listen to instructions because he’s a shithead.

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