Hannibal: Rôti   Rewatch 
November 7, 2014 4:03 AM - Season 1, Episode 11 - Subscribe

It's getting hot in here.
posted by tel3path (29 comments total)
Aside from various eyeball-related things, Chilton's vivisection has been the most disturbing thing on the show so far to me. Just, ughh
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:58 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Slightly off topic but not really: I found Alana's exact dress in Le
going particularly cheep in the Canadian store. FYI, it's the "Rude, shockingly rude!" dress from Oeuf, but in blue instead of red.

I have tried very hard to buy it, but unlike the US there don't seem to be any reshipping companies from Canada, and also it's impossible to pay with a credit card that has a non-Canadian billing address. I don't know why PayPal isn't an option, but it's not.

If any Canadian Fannibal were willing to be my hero at this time of crisis, please MeMail me. I will not only reimburse but modestly reward you with a small yet desirable item of exclusive Britishness.
posted by tel3path at 4:18 AM on November 8, 2014

I remember how emotionally devastating this episode was the first time I saw it: the rawness of Will's desire to be with Alana, the callousness of Jack (I know that this is destroying you inch by inch but I think you like it/need it, I'll ask a cursory questions about your well-being but leave you twisting in the wind anyway) and the out-and-out evilness of Hannibal's manipulating Will to murder Dr. Gideon.

This time around it just pissed me off. Will baby, they're all bastards. Fuck those guys. Let me drop by with some ibuprophen, ginger ale, chicken soup, and movies. I love dogs and I'm great at cudding.
posted by echolalia67 at 11:15 AM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I find it really upsetting and knife-twisting that Alana would say "gee it would be so nice to cosy up with your dogs" - your dogs, not you.

And then as we all know, saintly Alana takes custody of his dogs until "whenever" (which we all know is not gonna be in this lifetime) and, when he does get out, she tells him the dogs are the best part of him and she's replaced his role in her life by "literally rescuing a bitch" as rue72 once put it.

Remember how I was all infuriated about Hannibal taking over Will's job and his life and adopting his mannerisms - well, linking up this scene with what happened subsequently, it feels just like Alana was also taking over Will's life in her own way.

And offering him ASPIRIN. Fucking ASPIRIN.

At least fucking Jack marches in his true colours.

The ONE person who shows the most care for Will's well-being in this episode is a deranged murderer - and I don't mean you, Hannibal.


And Will, baby, I know you're open to unorthodox living arrangements so any time you give echolalia67 the night off I'll be glad to fill in... I do like dogs I know personally, and I'm sure your dogs are well trained to get along with my cats.

Okay look would an AMERICAN Fannibal be willing to order the Alana dress on my behalf? Reimbursement plus your choice of MUA or Sleek palettes, Yorkshire Tea, Marmite...
posted by tel3path at 11:27 AM on November 9, 2014

I tried logging into their American site and could not find the dress, which I find weird. I'll give it another try.
posted by echolalia67 at 11:40 AM on November 9, 2014

It worked! Let's side-bar.
posted by echolalia67 at 11:41 AM on November 9, 2014

Fabulous :-) check your MeMail.
posted by tel3path at 11:53 AM on November 9, 2014

Speaking of costumes, and since I'm now on my way to owning my fifth Alana dress (thanks echolalia67), I got to thinking about the starfish necklace and the symbolism thereof.

It's a Tiffany necklace in the same range as the iconic heart necklace. It's the kind of thing that's given as a gift for reaching a certain milestone in life. If it were a heart necklace, we could assume it was given to her by her husband or boyfriend, but Alana is single. Most likely, therefore, it was given to her by her parents as a graduation gift. I had the fleeting thought - could it have been given to her by Hannibal? But nah son. If nothing else, because it's mass produced and conventional. Also because Hannibal is "polite" and Alana is conventional and I don't see a piece of fine jewellery being offered or accepted between them until they were already sleeping together.

Because it's mass produced and conventional, I think it may be primarily a symbol of socioeconomic status rather than of any deeper meaning. It suggests that she had parents who could either afford to give such expensive graduation gifts or who were willing to bust their chops saving up the money to give - a symbol of her new membership of the upper middle classes. (For instance I saw on TV once a girl who had gone to an exclusive women's college and her most treasured possession, years later, was the string of pearls her parents sacrificed to buy for her because all the other girls had one and she wanted to fit in.) But my guess is that Alana was raised upper middle class. Either way, she had parents who either had or found that kind of money and were willing to spend it on her. It's in contrast with Will, who has been alone in the world for a long time, and whose father left him with skills and memories (boat motors) rather than material things.

It might also be a symbol of that story like "a man was walking on the beach and he saw another man throwing beached starfish back into the water and the first guy was like 'why bother it doesn't make a difference' and the second guy was like 'it makes a difference - to this one'." I could see Alana investing it with that kind of meaning, for sure.

Some desperate fans are hoping it means that Alana is going to be the new Molly, because starfish -> beach, but NOPE. Alana is nothing like Molly. I often think that people can't tell female characters apart very well.

Anyway, I came thisclose to buying a Patrick from SpongeBob necklace to go with my Alana dresses. Instead, I chose a flashing LED starfish necklace because I have a professional interest in wearable electronics. It was 3 quid but sometimes it's worth paying a little more for the good stuff.
posted by tel3path at 1:02 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

In the matter of costume, the Doctor's Windsor knots have come in for some criticism:


I cannot offer an expert opinion. Is there a stylist in the house?
posted by tel3path at 3:29 PM on November 10, 2014

echolalia67, how much of what is going on here would constitute grounds for accusations of negligence? Given what each person knows or reasonably should know.

Because despite the overwhelming shittiness of every detail of the way everyone treats him, would any one of these situations add up to grounds for indicting the professional skills of anyone other than Hannibal, in any meaningful way that could actually have consequences?

For example, Will is convinced that Alana knows he's hallucinating, but it's not clear to me that she noticed that at all. And if she didn't, I don't know if she reasonably should have noticed.
posted by tel3path at 10:24 AM on November 11, 2014

Well Hannibal for sure, if by some sort of Christmas miracle. And Jack, as we see in season two, is almost held accountable for his mistakes. Alana would not be legally accountable for malpractice.

She said loud & clear for all to hear that her intentions towards Will are based in friendship, not professional interest. She was very focused on keeping the relationship personal, to the extent that she made a tragic mistake. I think that she should feel guilty about being very internally focused and having invested so much energy in trying to maintain some strictly mapped out no-man's zone of between what is flat out inappropriate, what is appropriate in the clinical sense and what is simply the honest human thing to do.

She's not just a psychiatrist, she's also an MD. As a friend, instead of getting all angst-y about feelings vs. boundaries she should have been paying better attention to what was going on with him. You know, a "Hey Will. You've been getting a lot of headaches lately and you haven't been looking so well. Do me a favor, walk me over to the Blahbedyblahblah Somethingsomething Hospital, I'm meeting a friend for lunch she can give you a quick lookover. Remember, I have brothers, I know how you guys are. Just let her take a look at you and I'll get off your back, I promise ..."

So not responsible in the civil court sense of the word, but as a friend ... yeah.
posted by echolalia67 at 7:50 PM on November 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thing is, she wasn't really his friend nor did she really want friendship with him; that was just an excuse, a holding pattern she was keeping him in so as not to let their relationship get TOO personal. She wasn't interacting with him as if he were a friend - always leaving the room rather than spending time alone with him, lest she lose control of her desires and compromise his virtue.

If her slogan of life is "I must not snog Will Graham I must not snog Will Graham I must not snog Will Graham I must not snog Will Graham" then no wonder she's inward looking, rather than "professionally curious" or even curious in any way. If she let herself pay too much attention to him, again, she might lose control of herself.

I think that's probably why she recommended Hannibal to do Will's evaluation even though he's an obviously inappropriate choice - it still keeps her relationship with Will notionally "personal" by not doing the evaluation herself, and the more Hannibal's around, the more she can relieve the tension of her feelings for Will by triangulating them with her feelings for Hannibal. Hannibal, the suitable, *stable* partner.

Heck, Hannibal is practically the handsome prince. I mean like literally, I don't know how it worked in Lithuania but in Russia there were two aristocratic ranks: Prince or Count. She must know that he was *Count* Lecter VIII? As the prettiest princess, one wonders why she hasn't offered him her hand in marriage already; it's her fixation with the vaguely suspicious-looking woodsman that's holding her back from living her real life.

To contain her own desires, Alana must have to nail her feet to the floor and wrap herself up in barbed wire every time she gets up in the morning. Like she makes SO many decisions that, whether they seem innocuous or weird, on examination are calculated to stop her from getting carried away in Will's presence. MUST CONTROL EVIL DESIRES.

And... I actually DON'T think she fancied Will all that *much*. It could be more that she does fancy Hannibal, and feels that dating Hannibal would be the correct choice, but just somehow cannot bring herself to do it. Not that Alana doesn't desire Hannibal - I think her civilized self wants Hannibal from the bottom of its heart, and her Freudian-ly primitive self wants Will from the heart of its bottom, and since Alana is 300% dedicated to upholding civilized values it's no surprise that she ultimately throws in her lot with Hannibal, who APPEARS to embody civilization itself.

Eh, or maybe she just fancies serial killers. I mean, she does reject Will with a swift kick in the nuts when she finds out he's NOT one. All my hopes and dreams for you, Will! My whole concept of who you were!!!
posted by tel3path at 8:49 AM on November 12, 2014

Once again, I must disagree with you. If Alana is guilty of any one thing it's being a grown-up on paper (academic excellence in HS, zip through pre-med undergraduate program, get through med school at an early & speedy clip, become a resident, work, work, work for those bona fides; post-doctoral program in psychiatry, work, work, work ...) while not working at all on becoming an emotional adult. The latter is the truly hard part; too bad that we live in a culture that thinks that the former is the end-all-and-be-all.

Aside from mental health social services work, I've worked in hospitals and YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE the number of extraordinary doctors out there who have no idea how to relate to other human beings or perform the most rudimentary of workaday fix-its. If people only knew, they'd never set inside a doctor's office, but I digress.


Self-reflective, over-analyzing navel-gazing (hazard of the occupation)

+ too focused on academic & professional achievement at the expense of personal growth

+ hyper-focus on the rules (boundaries, boundaries, boundaries ...) without examining why they're important, when they're appropriate & when it's okay to loosen them

+ idealizing mentor/father figure to the point of having a blindspot the size of a six lane freeway

= Will, passed out in the snow with a raging fever and massive infection of unknown cause.
posted by echolalia67 at 3:09 PM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Will must also be held to account here. When Alana noted that he felt feverish, he waved her off by saying "I run hot" when he could just as easily said, "You know, I haven't been feeling too good lately ...".

Overall, that is where Will's hubris lies in the fall-out of season one. He's desperately lonely but holds most people at arms length and instead of cultivating platonic relationships with other people (Beverley, hello!) he puts all of his eggs in one "you-will-be-my-lover-and-best-friend-forsaking-all-others" basket.

He's outwardly hostile but in reality is a doormat completely lacking in, you guessed it, boundaries. He is so hungry for some semblance of acceptance and understanding that he only questions Hannibal's rubber stamping his return to work slip and relationship splitting in the most cursory of ways.

He's not able to help himself because he has not developed insight into his self-sabotaging ways; but up until now he hasn't really tried, has he? He is also an adult on paper: one who acts like a sullen, moody teenage boy in his interactions with others.
posted by echolalia67 at 3:45 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Okay, I was on a deadline panic and got silly. I actually agree with your interpretation of Alana as someone who makes textbook choices because she hasn't learned any better, sorry if I didn't make that clear.

You must admit that Alana does behave like she's in an agony of temptation with Will, and I think the temptation and her resistance of it was driving some of her decisions, some of which were not being made for the reasons that she said. I also do not think she was Will's "friend" in any meaningful sense and that "friend" and "professional curiosity" were just PR terms to cover her if anyone noticed she was into him. Not that she was his enemy or anything, just that she was his "friend" primarily in the negative "just good friends" sense that she wasn't sleeping with him.

I think she sees dating Lecter as another worldly achievement unlocked, and I don't think the symbolism of choosing between a literal Count and a creepy woodsman is irrelevant. She wasn't sure if she was in the fairytale where the woodsman saves her and chops up the wolf, or the Cinderella one where the prince sweeps her off her feet after years of thankless toil for a bunch of ingrates upon whom she may now rightfully turn her back. The latter is the actual plot of the Hannibal novel, with the only downside being that the prince is Hannibal.

You're also right that Will entirely fails to advocate for himself throughout S1. Just because Jack won't listen to his distress doesn't mean he can't get himself to a doctor, or refuse to attend a particular scene, or even quit. He knows something is wrong and he's not a child dependent on Daddy to take time off work to look after him. It is not surprising that he becomes the scapegoat for the whole group because he practically goes around in a t-shirt that reads "I am a safe target" on the front and "kick me hard" on the back. it's as Bedelia says, "each person has an intrinsic responsibility for their own life".

I came across some speculation today that theoretically Freddie could have been the copycat, so why was nobody pointing the finger at her? For one thing, because she would turn it around on them, and do so in ways they couldn't predict. And as for Hannibal, even after they all believe he's the killer, they're totally convinced that he can't be caught by normal investigative means - whether or not he's an actual murder wizard, he sure has convinced them that he wouldn't be safe to accuse either! Meanwhile, we have Will whingeing, grizzling, sulking, threatening journalists, and finally saying "I killed Abigail Hobbs" basically out of self-loathing. He gift-wrapped himself for Hannibal in return for the copycat murders, and nobody can rightly say he didn't.
posted by tel3path at 4:02 PM on November 12, 2014

And I think that Jack is in many ways right in thinking that going out in the field is good for Will. bonearenaofmyskull wrote at length about this. I can't 100% agree that Jack is blameless and purehearted - he IS reckless and ruthless with his underlings - but just five episodes in, Will's ability to relate to people has already improved by leaps and bounds, just by making himself get out there and do it.
posted by tel3path at 4:12 PM on November 12, 2014

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that Hannibal is a father figure to Alana and that theirs is a creepy, pseudo-incestuous kind of daddy-daughter relationship. Even when they're kinda sorta flirting, there's a sense of her as the mildly rebellious & spirited child to his proud, doting, indulgent parent.

To me it explains the seemingly willful blindness she has towards Hannibal as well as why she would so easily recommend that Jack send Will to him for an evaluation - daddy is wise and perfect in everyway and is incapable of doing any wrong. It also explains their tepid "romance" and adept but clinical sex life. She snuggles into him they way an anxious child does after a particularly bad nightmare. He's her safe spot. Of course you know that Hannibal saw the "This world is scary, I need my daddy NOW!!" vibes radiating off of her from a mile away and said, "I could use this one, she seems quite useful indeed."
posted by echolalia67 at 4:21 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

And like Hannibal, Will consistently puts others in a position to prove that they're not good enough for him, or at least to misunderstand or reject him. The main reason Will is into Alana is because she's unattainable and confirms his low opinion of himself, and he continues to be into her because she continues to be unattainable. Hannibal's maltreatment of him actually is therapeutic in that it lowers people's opinion of Will to the point where Will is forced to assert the boundaries of who he is as a matter of survival. I'd like to think he'd have gotten to that point without Hannibal's, um, help, but I doubt it. Hey, surgery heals through necessary but brutal means too, right?
posted by tel3path at 4:21 PM on November 12, 2014

I have been having that thought too, TBH. He spots that Alana's diagnosis of "mild depression" in Abigail is really self-diagnosis, so what else is she saying about herself in that conversation? "It's sad to see a young girl so adrift." She doesn't want to let Abigail out of the asylum because she doesn't want to let herself out.
posted by tel3path at 4:26 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hannibal also sets himself up as a mother figure to Jack, providing caretaking in a form that was never provided to him by his real mother: home cooking. Jack becomes - gradually, a bit - more empathetic and cognizant of his duty of care towards his employees as a result of Hanni's tender mercies. In a roundabout way.

As for Will, I'm guessing maybe not outright abusive but stressed and incapacitated by poverty Dad, so Will COULDN'T be provided with what he needed growing up; mother maybe died but maybe left when Will was very young, young enough to have an implicit memory of her and feel her absence. his reaching for a smiling, happy, laughing and idealized Alana during the fivesome scene - an Alana we don't see in the bedroom scenes with Hannibal that aren't directly filtered through Will's morose imaginings - show that she is no more real to him than he is to her and that she fills the role of maternal will-o-the-wisp in his life.
posted by tel3path at 4:41 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

You know, there are quite a few people in my life who were raised with the idea that because they were bright they needed to push themselves to achieve academically so that they could go on to be successful adults. They dutifully slogged through, got their degrees and careers only to realize that doctor-lawyer-CEO jobs are not the only ways to be a successful adult. Upon that realization they start to feel mildly depressed and adrift.

I wonder if something about Abigail triggered that realization in Alana, that she had been raised to believe that academic success would open numerous choices for a promising future only to realize that the number of choices weren't all that big and she never really chose anything for herself; instead she was guided/manipulated by people who thought they knew what was best for her.
posted by echolalia67 at 7:12 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hm, Abigail was more like someone who was never going to get those things no matter what she did. She wanted to go to college, her father (who presumably didn't go) was not going to let her. She wanted to fund her own start in life, the victims' families were not going to let her. Freddie was writing a surefire bestseller, but she knew Abigail was gonna go to jail and wouldn't see a penny from it. Alana didn't see that bit but she might have heard about it... but by now, Will and Hannibal are actually listed as her guardians(!) and Alana is not around. Cast scheduling coincidence, or...?

And that was just what Alana saw.

IDK if Alana would have felt the futility of her own success through Abigail. Abigail is coded distinctly working class and her opportunities are limited, though not by her class status directly. Still I can remember my friends talking about "oh there's no way I'm going to take a high paying job" or "I wonder if I should just do the easy thing and take a high paying job" as if high incomes are something you get just because you decide to have them. Meanwhile I was worried about just being able to convince someone to give me a job that paid enough to get by, and the idea of smugly sacrificing mere income for a fulfilling career was... well, even the idea of liking one's job was foreign to me. Abigail is also concerned with surviving first and thriving secondarily. The one career ambition she mentions is the FBI, and that was clearly deluded. She was the girl who was going nowhere except to jail. Come to think of it many of my friends refuse(d) to believe I was working class because I had things in common with them, whereas their middle class concept of a working class person was really more like the underclass and someone totally alien to them.

So I don't know if Alana saw that Abigail was going nowhere and just sort of froze up? She seemed unable to answer her own question "where's she going to live?" and generally refusing to seriously consider a future for Abigail; it's Hannibal, who sees himself as the adoptive uncle to a wayward orphan, that wants to address that. I mean Alana's not going "I'll introduce you to my college friend at the publishing house, 99 percent sure she can get you an internship" or whatever. helping her into adult life, to Alana, means holding her in the hospital instead of letting Jack jail her, while making her focus on the fact that she's damaged goods and needs to find some other damaged goods to relate to. And unfortunately she does.

I don't think Alana ever saw Abigail as someone who was going to grow up to be like her, though whether she was blocking that because she thought Abigail was guilty or just sensed that her own lifestyle was a form of imprisonment all its own, who can say.
posted by tel3path at 12:33 AM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

tl;dr Female role model claims to want to champion disadvantaged teen to get ahead, but deep down thinks she's destined for jail; teen falls in with a bad crowd and tragedy ensues?
posted by tel3path at 12:37 AM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ha! For some reason I'm thinking of Paul Newman in The Road to Perdition: "This is the path we chose, the life we lead, and none of us will see heaven"
posted by tel3path at 1:04 AM on November 13, 2014

I just got the LED starfish necklace in the mail. It is less... tasteful than I thought it was going to be, and I didn't think it was going to be tasteful.
posted by tel3path at 11:38 AM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

"I keep hallucinating and having excruciating headaches. I think I need a brain scan."
"Dammit Will! Stop looking in the wrong corner for answers!"
"I'll look in the corner that's got a proper doctor in it then, 'cos obviously that's not you."

"You seem to be running a temperature, maybe you should take some aspirin."
"Yeah, I've been hallucinating, experiencing large gaps in my memory, sleepwalking, and having excruciating and constant headaches. But ya know, I tend to run hot."
[dialing 911]

"Are you okay? Not that anyone could be considering what we do, but are you?"
"I'm so relieved that you asked. I've been sleepwalking, hallucinating, experiencing constant headaches and am feeling more and more physically and emotionally debilitated by the day."
"Holy shit, did you say you've been hallucinating? Let's take you to the emergency room right now. I'll explain to Jack."

"If it doesn't have a physical cause, we'll have to accept that it might be [doom roll] *mental illness*"
"Where was that doom roll coming from?"
"Nowhere, Will, you're hallucinating again"
"That's good ha ha! Because the last person who should be doom-laden about mental illness is a psychiatrist ha ha! Worst case, you must have all kinds of resources for treating and managing it, right?"

"Jack, at the crime scene today, I suffered hallucinations and amnesia. I'm voluntarily handing in my badge and gun."
"But Will, lives on line, people will die blah blah blah and I don't give a shit about your well-being."
"Don't be silly, Jack! How can I save anyone else's life if I can't even take the most basic care of myself?"
"But Will! Hannibal is your doctor!"
"Yeah, I think he's just a bit rubbish. And before I go, I'd watch his involvement with Abigail - I'm beginning to think he was deliberately fostering an unhealthy enmeshment! Anyway, taxi's here."

And that concludes the alternate universe version of Hannibal, where Will Graham gave himself a nice day.

Epilogue: Will came out of the hospital after successfully treating his encephalitis, picked up the dogs from Alana, and signed up for eHarmony so he could realize his dream of having a family of his own, while screening potential dates online so that in-person interaction wouldn't overwhelm him before he had a chance to get to know them.
posted by tel3path at 2:07 PM on November 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'm gonna go further and speculate that not only did Alana's family push her towards empty success, they may have emotionally abandoned her when she was too young to cope. When she's cosying up to Hannibal over a beer in Oeuf, she says that finding a surrogate parent for Abigail would be giving her a "crutch". Um, wouldn't a helpless, recently orphaned teenager have a good case for needing a parent? Not Hannibal, but someone? Maybe Alana was told that, or told herself that, when she was Abigail's age?

Or maybe she's just possessive and wants Hannibal to be her daddy and not Abigail's daddy, but even I don't have that low an opinion of her. No adult forms that kind of emotional dependency on another adult unless there's something seriously missing in their life or history.
posted by tel3path at 9:22 AM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Rewatch time: Will is the saddest puppy, Hannibal is the absolute worst, Bedelia gives prescient advice about watching rather than participating that makes me think of S3 and laugh, and Eddie Izzard is having way too much fun.

I think this is peak Someone Help Will Graham for me. Man, he needs a hug.
posted by Stacey at 5:41 AM on November 29, 2015

He got a hug. Strangely, it failed to cure his life-threatening brain fever.

How about minimum standards of health and safety at work, a command structure free of corruption and expedient disregard for the spirit of the law, competent medical care from a set of professionals with integrity and no conflict of interest, and a friend group the majority of whom aren't a bunch of self-absorbed maladjusts with no concept of his existence beyond their own emotional needs.

And a double whisky.
posted by tel3path at 11:32 AM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

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