Hannibal: Savoureux   Rewatch 
November 20, 2014 2:58 PM - Season 1, Episode 13 - Subscribe

Savoureux is like a dessert, only not sweet. Tart, like cheese. Or bitter. Or horrifying and deadly, like that Sicilian cheese that's illegal and contains jumping maggots that eat you alive from the inside if you're foolish enough to consume it, and I have no idea why anybody would be. I bet Hannibal would eat it, but actually he'd be pretending in order to gull you into eating it so he could revel in the duping delight.
posted by tel3path (24 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So, Will committed a whole bunch of elaborate murders right under everyone's noses.

While unconscious.

But, he still left a bunch of evidence lying around his house.

Which a very small set of people have ever been given a key to.

And, in his frenzy, he ate Abigail's ear. After cutting it off with a knife. Then in a frenzy, he swallowed it whole, or tried to swallow it whole for a really long time, maybe after trying to chew it, and then by some mechanism or sheer determination, he managed to get that ear down his throat. It took a hell of a lot of time and effort, but he managed to ingest that ear! In his frenzy.

Then vomit it up whole, together with no other stomach contents other than two undigested headache pills.

Or, he's a cunning psychopath. The first copycat murder happened before GJH, remember, so it's not like his illness was advanced enough at that point to excuse anything like "automatism" nor the idea that Jack pushed him over the edge.

Yeah, that's it, he's a cunning psychopath. So cunning that he left a bunch of evidence lying around in plain sight.

And swallowed an ear for no reason and with great difficulty, because... he likes ears? He's a psychopath who likes ears.
posted by tel3path at 6:56 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mmmm, delicious ears.

Come to think of it, that's one of the few organ meats that Hannibal never serves, isn't it? Which is more proof that the idea that he's in any way a cannibal is ridiculous.

Or maybe it's because it's not technically a meat, more like gristle that you can't chew no matter what.

Nah, it's because Will is a cannibal, and he never did take as good care of himself as people thought he should. Typical of him to eat one of the undesirable parts like an ear and not even marinate it first. Guy took the idea of "honoring every part" way too literally, an ear would be much better turned into a fridge magnet and used as a tea towel hook or something similar. Or you know, dogs like pigs' ears don't they? Same difference, at least to the Ripper. I mean, the Copycat. It's not like those two are the same person or anything!!!

Brings up an interesting point though. Even in his fakeouts, Hannibal gives Will the offcuts and keeps the good bits for himself. You can bet there was no gristle in the "veal(?)" that he served to Bedelia.
posted by tel3path at 7:31 AM on November 21, 2014

I've got a sudden craving for orecchiette pasta for no reason.
posted by tel3path at 7:31 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

And just looking back with nostalgia at how all this started.
posted by tel3path at 4:28 AM on November 22, 2014

Yeah, that's it, he's a cunning psychopath. So cunning that he left a bunch of evidence lying around in plain sight.

You know, that IS a pretty good point. How did they square the fact that Will turned himself in and seemed horribly shaken with him supposedly being the copycat killer?
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:23 AM on November 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think that, in Beverly's case - the most sciency, the most striving-after-objectivity and the most affiliated with Will combined with the least affiliated with Lecter - it was a matter of not wanting personal attachment to tempt her to deny the seemingly obvious.

The thing is that Bev is about trace evidence, she's not a profiler; that's Will's job. So if Will has a missing girl's ear down his throat and her DNA under his fingernails, and evidence of four other murders in his house, the obvious explanation (to her) is that he did those murders. She asks Will to interpret the evidence, and, fatally, the voice of his self-loathing and fear says out loud that he did it SHUT UP WILL ZOMG. And... sad to say... Bev does respect his opinion.

If she thought about it she'd ask WHY an ear got down his throat as well as HOW... but by then she's in shock and emotionally on the run. She isn't going to let sentimentality get the better of her so she makes the *opposite* mistake to the one Alana made in Trou Normand a few weeks ago - suddenly realizing Hannibal was involved in Nicholas Boyle's murder and was grooming Abigail for something nasty, but then slamming that insight shut because of personal loyalty.

Zeller hates Will and is delighted he's finally showing his true colours, Price is neutral, and Jack is in between Beverly and Alana: on the one hand, Hannibal is the only other viable suspect and Jack even reiterates the Ripper's profile: an exotic innocuous man with advanced surgical skills who sees himself as an artist, if only we knew of anyone who could possibly fit that description! He asks if Will could have faked the clock, but not if Hannibal could. See, it's not only Will who has left hemisphere neglect - Jack can't see anything sinister either. And he doesn't want personal loyalty to sway him towards Will. The fact that Alana is pointing her finger at Jack, and Jack knows he has been in the wrong, increases his feeling that considering Hannibal's role in this would be a copout from his own guilt.

Alana made her decision a few episodes ago - I Trust Hannibal - and is sticking to it in the only way she can while retaining hope that Will could avoid the death penalty and even (reach target) be released: the automatism defense. She also is not asking whether Hannibal could have faked the clock test, because she's permanently ruled out the idea of doubting Hannibal's character in any matter large or small.

They all think they're going by the evidence, but they aren't - it's emotional involvement that's making their decisions for them.

Also, the I Wouldn't Be That Stupid defence doesn't usually impress cops as far as I know. That there's a lot more to it than carelessly leaving evidence around - like why the hell would you try to ingest an ear - and that Will turned himself in, still isn't going to cut much ice since "the real killer framed me" is inherently implausible unless the real killer is Hannibal, which for personal reasons everyone chooses to disbelieve.
posted by tel3path at 12:39 PM on November 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Notice that I forgot the part where he turned himself in and was distressed amongst all that? So did they!
posted by tel3path at 1:27 PM on November 23, 2014

Also, Will didn't get himself to the BAU to turn himself in, Hannibal brought him there.

Given that the while context of Abigail's storyline was keeping her in the asylum so she would have a safe confiding space in which to confess, Hannibal's getting a confession out of Will is only to be admired, isn't it? It was his compassion and brilliant handling of a dangerous patient that solved a case that had been haunting them for months.

That totally makes sense if you don't think about it.

Or about the fact that the big bit of evidence against him was an inedible and unappetizing bit of gristle jammed whole and with difficulty down his throat, and the guy who brought him in was a surgeon as well as a psychiatrist. BUT THAT DOES NOT LOOK SUSPICIOUS AT ALL.
posted by tel3path at 11:39 PM on November 23, 2014

AND ANOTHER THING. Miriam called Jack "The Guru" because he has a high clearance rate, right?

But look at the crude explanations he comes up with. He came up with a bozotic story to explain away the mayhem at the Hobbs house in Potage, and now he's come up with the idea that Abigail is the Copycat.

Heck, he might be wrong about her being the Copycat but he can pin Nicholas Boyle on her and clear up the other four murders in one go with the evidence he has, and she's def guilty of at least some murders including some we might not even know about so it all works out, right? A criminal's a criminal, and getting sentimental about details is only gonna let them escape justice.

It also explains why Team Sassy Science doesn't question it more: in their experience, the details don't need to add up for the evidence to be irrefutable. Ear in throat => guilty? okay! Who cares why he has an ear down his throat, serial killers do crazy shit and if we understood them, we'd be more like them. Will is living proof of that!

Will is possibly the first person Jack has investigated that he didn't relate to solely as a criminal from the beginning. Clearly all this bollocks reasoning would be good enough for him if previous acquaintance didn't leave him with this nagging doubt.
posted by tel3path at 12:22 AM on November 24, 2014

AND ANOTHER THING about Hannibal diabolically tempting people and then punishing them for doing so.

He cut off Abigail's ear because it was her phone-answering ear, and he jammed it down Will's throat because he didn't hear the implications of "and you be the man on the phone", and even agreed to keep quiet about Nicholas Boyle. Now good luck saying anything about that, Will, cuz nobody is going to listen.

(There's also the projecting his own experience of being tricked into cannibalizing his own sister by making Will consume part of Abigail while unconscious)

It also explains why Bev's tableau wasn't punishing her for a "sin" other than that of opening up Hannibal's life and intending to expose it. She's the one character who didn't succumb to Hannibal's temptations, so he had nothing else on her.

Hannibal is one for making the punishment fit the crime In His Own Twisted Way, as we get used to saying in this fandom.
posted by tel3path at 12:44 AM on November 24, 2014

tl;dr the BAU is not an ethical agency but exists to find scapegoats. jack, with his expedient Good Intentions, is not aware of this until it gets really, really rubbed in his face by the railroading of Chilton. Kade Purnell has known all along.
posted by tel3path at 11:42 AM on November 24, 2014

In the comments on the AV Club article, some people are saying that they find the heightened reality to be just silly and unbelievable. Obviously I disagree, but I can see where they're coming from and why that might put a person off this show.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:00 AM on December 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

And, of course, zero Golden Globe nominations
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:22 AM on December 11, 2014

Yeah, just because there's a rationale for all the heightened reality, doesn't mean anyone has to like it. De gustibus non est disputandum.

The fact that it's getting ignored by the Emmys and Golden Globes means it has something in common with sci-fi and fantasy, even though it's not really either. You're a sci-fi or fantasy show, you're not a proper show and you're only allowed your little awards and you can only go to your awards party with a bunch of Klingon-speaking nerdmeisters and you're probably happier there.

The minimal use of technology and popular media, and the minimal references to it, are a way of keeping the show not-of-its-time - the same way they use timelapse and obfuscate what time of day it is, what time of year it is, and how much time passes in between events. It's such a contrast with the novels, and with the two late 80s/early 90s movies which were fascinated with the technology; now all that's pedestrian and you can see it anywhere, and it also dates the material. This is the opposite of what sci-fi tends to do. Like everyone knows researchers all get our ideas from sci-fi, but in terms of technology there's nothing on Hannibal that I could use except their teleportation system, which nobody ever talks about.

Same with fantasy. I know they keep going on about how Hannibal is the devil, but so far he seems to be being portrayed as just a man, and I hope they keep it that way. In Eat the Rudecast lately they said they thought treating Hannibal like the literal devil, as was done in the book, was just bullshit and cheating and I agree. I think he's more interesting as a man. Sure he's a very heightened portrayal of a man, just as the other characters are heightened, but all of them are very distinctively acting out human strengths and weaknesses.

It still comes across as sci-fi or fantasy because it's not hiding its unreality the way genre-conventional shows do.
posted by tel3path at 11:38 AM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

It still comes across as sci-fi or fantasy because it's not hiding its unreality the way genre-conventional shows do.

Basically every crime show these days takes place in a science fictional universe with crime-solving technology decades ahead of our time.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:52 AM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well, Team Sassy Science has that too, it's just not in our faces.

What is unusual is that they have all the technology to get stuff right and still interpret it the wrong way because of cognitive bias. We don't tend to see this on other shows.

CSI explicitly extols the opposite - The Evidence Is Truth, Personal Bias Is Satan - and because they do that we can assume there are "other" analysts out there doing things the "wrong" way, but our heroes would never be among them.
posted by tel3path at 12:32 PM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is barely related to Hannibal, but: I'm watching an episode of the X-Files where Mulder has blacked out and woken up covered in blood, and the very first goddamn thing Scully says to him is "you need to go to a hospital, this could be something like early stage encephalitis."

Oh, Scully, where were you when Will needed you?
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:22 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Heh. Scully saw Mulder as a (rather annoying) person first and a potential boyfriend sixth, or maybe ninth. She basically thought he was nuts from the get-go, never made any bones about it, and only got together with him after the reality sank in that neither of them were probably going to get anyone else. Not so much UST as ESR (Eventual Sexual Resignation). It never factored into her Life Decision Making in any way that would cloud her judgement and cause her not to notice: "gee, I wonder what these symptoms mean for Mulder himself, as opposed to just his dating potential for me?"
posted by tel3path at 3:46 AM on December 14, 2014

Actually, showbiz_liz, it probably is not unrelated to Hannibal. We are supposed to take these actors' previous roles into account.

Scully might not have believed Mulder per se, but she was respectful and supportive throughout. Her questioning of his version of events was always more about keeping him grounded than true disbelief, otherwise why did she stick around as long as she did?

Bedelia is a version of the same character: notice that she's respectful in her skepticism about Hannibal and when she truly can't be supportive of him any more, she even explains that respectfully.

(Bedelia is the only character who is not once rude to anyone onscreen, no matter what the provocation. If anyone thinks that Hannibal having dinner with his girlfriend and nis new boyfriend while making jokes about how the girlfriend is livestock who will be eaten (perhaps forcefed to the boyfriend) despite being loved... if anyone thinks that's polite in any way, they are nuts. Also, consider the symbolism of stuffing a man-eating roast pig with people meat and then feeding it to somone you are describing as livestock to their face, confident that they are too dumb to get the joke. I hate you, Hannibal, by the way.)
posted by tel3path at 4:04 AM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

They're recasting Mason!
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:53 PM on December 19, 2014

Yeah, I wonder what brought that on.

I confess Mason is the one character I can take or leave in this show. It's an improvement over the book character, who I actively wished wasn't there. But then, I actively wished the book wasn't there, so.

I guess he's "worse than" Hannibal in that his shtick is molesting children whereas Hannibal would only harm a child younger than Abigail or Marissa if he "had to"... what a gent. I just find Mason to be a pointless complication.
posted by tel3path at 6:09 AM on December 21, 2014

Inside A Hospital for the Criminally Insane. BSHCI seems extraordinarily safe and secure by comparison.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:07 PM on February 18, 2015

Thanks for that, showbiz_liz. Are things different per state?

Will being considered "a real bad actor" got him isolated, and the fact that the facility is secure (therapy cages apparently are a real thing in some universe somewhere) removes a lot of the complications from the first half of s2. He wouldn't have been able to get a thought in edgewise in the Napa facility, and he only had to duck and dive for his life once in the BSHCI.
posted by tel3path at 6:43 AM on March 8, 2015

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