Hannibal: Takiawase   Rewatch 
March 27, 2015 10:30 PM - Season 2, Episode 4 - Subscribe

The FBI is called in when a dead body is discovered, the skull converted into a beehive. Meanwhile Beverly Katz finds a clue about the mural killer that sends her down a deadly path.

AKA "the one with the bees" AKA "the episode made entirely out of NOPE"

The script and Cleolinda Jones' recap parts one and two.

This one holds up quite well, I think, after last week's stumble into legal drama. The killer of the week feels even more vestigial on rewatch than I'd remembered but is so viscerally horrifying that it's not until the episode's over do you realize how little that part of the story mattered. Everything else is pretty great.
posted by sparkletone (19 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The killer of the week is so incredibly important to everything that's happening throughout both series.

The killer doesn't take away her victims' pain, but she makes it so it doesn't matter any more. She does this by rendering them mindless with a lobotomy, which was a mainstream psychiatric technique in the 20th century. She also makes them part of a hive (ie. hive mind-less). Because she's only an acupuncturist, she doesn't have a licence to perform the lobotomies. But Chilton, Alana, and Hannibal do.

Chilton hasn't done lobotomies on anyone, but he admits to twisting Gideon's mind till Gideon thought what Chilton wanted him to think. He accidentally created a monster in the process, because Gideon was still a separate person, albeit a confused one. Nevertheless, I don't think Gideon could ever be held responsible for his own actions during the time period we know him.

Alana can't take away Will's pain, but she wants to make it so it doesn't matter any more. She said last week that she was hoping that a verdict would make him accept his situation. Alana's spoken of helping two people to "move forward" so far - Abigail and Will - and in both cases, being locked up in an asylum was the way she was trying to do it. Next week, Alana will say to Will that "I know you felt powerless about what happened to Beverly and you wanted to do something about it" but that grief is something that simply is. I.e., the healthy response is apathy. The thing that changes Alana's mind about Will, the thing that really enrages her, isn't that he killed GJH, that he apparently killed five other people and tried to kill Hannibal last season. It's that he made a decision to try to kill Hannibal that couldn't be attributed to anyone but himself. When Alana thought Will was under other people's control, she oozed pity for him, but when he makes it clear that he's not under control she realizes the entirety of the threat he poses, and she freaks.

Hannibal claims to want to help his soulmate to achieve clarity - by thinking exactly the way he does. And he will do all kinds of brain-interference to achieve that. By definition, Hannibal will never get what he wants, because it's a logical impossibility. In a way, this really is Hannibal's tragedy, though it sucks for other people way more if you ask me.

Bella's hand slapping his face? It's supremely eerie and triumphant, like a coffin opening and the corpse's hand reaching out to smack him one before retracting back inside and slamming the lid shut. She makes it perfectly clear what she thinks of Hannibal taking away her agency.

I think it influences Jack too. Hannibal has given him what he thought he wanted, but Jack really doesn't have a heart of stone, however much he might like to. I think the Bella incident opened up doubts in Jack's mind.

Now Beverly - she was NOT holding the idiot ball this week. Not by a long way. Beverly RESISTED HER PROGRAMMING and did something that NOBODY WAS EXPECTING HER TO DO, most importantly EVEN HANNIBAL DIDN'T SEE IT COMING. In this way, she - I'd put this in blinkenlights if I could - WHAT BEV DID IS VERY MUCH LIKE WHAT CLARICE STARLING DOES, though clarice was invited in and all that but anyway BEV NEARLY RESCUES ABIGAIL AND POSSIBLY MIRIAM TOO. IT'S PURELY BAD LUCK THAT SHE DOESN'T PULL IT OFF. Also "he's eating them"=> imminent destruction of evidence.


Because of that, Beverly earned a hero's death. Conquered, but victorious. She's the only character who can say that in this sorry mess of a Hanniverse.

There's also something about mixing the chess metaphor, Bev is the queen so she can go anywhere and make any move. When she dies, Alana (I think) sees what's going on and moves herself (pawn) into the now-vacant Queen position and dedicates herself to protecting the King. However, she doesn't realize that Hannibal is not on her side (Hannibal plays White, Alana plays Black, look at the colors she wears). The metaphor "moving pieces around the board" that she uses with Jack later on, that doesn't come out of nowhere, it reveals how she thinks.
posted by tel3path at 12:08 AM on March 28, 2015 [6 favorites]

It's also supremely important that the kotw is kind, gentle, wants nothing but the best for her patients, truly believes she's helping them, etc.

Of our psychopathic triumvirate, Chilton is the only one who's not kidding himself about his own benevolence.
posted by tel3path at 12:10 AM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's also supremely important that the kotw is kind, gentle, wants nothing but the best for her patients, truly believes she's helping them, etc.

She definitely makes sense thematically, I get it, but the scenes dealing with investigating the murders she's been committing feel perfunctory to me. Like the show still wants to pretend it's a procedural and so has this aspect to it. The orderly next week and Peter later on in the season feel better-integrated into the story and not just "here's what Jack was doing at work this week while these other things were going on."
posted by sparkletone at 12:55 AM on March 28, 2015

Maybe because half his investigative team was locked up and the other half was helping the first half?

Leaving the third half to investigate the bees.
posted by tel3path at 1:20 AM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

All of that honey colored light in Amadna Plummer's apartment. Beautiful.

I honestly thought that bullet hole would come back to mean something, I mean ...something more then "she went down fighting"

The commentary says the red wine is there to tip you off that Hannibal is still in the house, he's opened a bottle of red to breathe!

Clarice goes into the basement, Bev goes into the basement, different outcomes sadly.

I still say this is when Hannibal becomes overconfident, not only does he get away with murdering one of the people investigating him, he literally has power over life and death. Considering how many times he compares himself to God, that's ...telling.

Hannibal, from this point on, gets less and less interested in maintaining his person suit and pub
If persona, and the reality of the show begins to reflect that.
posted by The Whelk at 8:46 AM on March 28, 2015 [5 favorites]

Like that coin flip, That's a prime example of Hannibal improvising (they state in the commentary over and over, Hannibal doesn't plan that far ahead, he's just really good at thinking on the fly) - the goal is to keep Jack distracted and worried and a dead wife would do that, but he can't help indulging himself (whimsy is how you'll catch him, Belida says, cause she doesn't lie) with a coin flip to amuse himself by brining her back to life to create even more confusion.

But he hadn't counted on that slap. I figure that's Jack's scales from the eyes moment, or when it became underlined.
posted by The Whelk at 9:01 AM on March 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

One of the things this time around that I hadn't thought about much at all before now... Just how incredibly creepy Will is if you take him even the slightest bit out of context. I'm assuming this is just an artifact of my past reading(s) of the show being "Will is the protagonist" and this granting him huge amounts of leeway. But good lord has it really come out for me the last few weeks.

It comes out in this episode less so than I think it has in the last few maybe, but it's still there. When he plays up to Chilton's vanity regarding having a name-making patient holy shit does he sell the hell out of it, but it's been there all along and it's not something I think I've noted heretofore.
posted by sparkletone at 10:20 AM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, but the same is true of Hannibal's creepiness. Hannibal is properly installed within the social order in ways Will isn't, though, and people don't tend to speak ill of him (because the people who do are all DEAD!), so his social proof becomes self-reinforcing.

I will say, though, that Freddie Lounds is 100% right to mistrust Will from the moment he threatened her in S1E3. Sure, she wanted to find him creepy, but once someone has threatened you, you'd have to be an idiot not to take them at their word.

I agree with this being the moment Hannibal gets overconfident. By the time Will starts flaunting "LOOK AT MEEEEE I KILLED FREDDIE LOOOOUUUUUUNNNNDDSSS" Hannibal is so lulled into a false sense of security it doesn't really perturb him at all. Yeah, he knows they're going to have to go on the run, but he's not worried.
posted by tel3path at 11:17 AM on March 28, 2015

I don't know if the slap was Jack's scales from the eyes moment, but I do think it was the beginning of the end.

If Bella is angry enough with Hannibal to slap his face, then it must have taken something pretty serious to bring that on. In the moment, he might have overlooked it as an immediate emotional reaction. But once he thought about it...
posted by tel3path at 11:25 AM on March 28, 2015

Something interesting about Freddie, she instantly pegs him as Bad News - in fact almost all* the female characters pick up on Hannibal's vampire vibe, From the very start of the season Bev keeps giving Hannibal the side eye and such.

*Alana, as the notable exception, could totally be getting that vibe but has consciously or unconsciously decided being on his good enough is a better tactic.
posted by The Whelk at 11:45 AM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

You're right. Beverly didn't pay much attention to Hannibal and interacted with him quite briefly last season, but now at the very least she thinks badly of him for failing to protect Will from himself.

I can't think of any female character who displays complete trust in Hannibal now, except for Alana.

Bella doesn't waste time wondering if it's fair to slap Hannibal, she just does it. He has a ready made excuse for her and he expects her to accept it. He's not prepared for her reaction at all.
posted by tel3path at 1:39 PM on March 28, 2015

These lines from the kitchen scene in Sorbet:

"I just want everyone to leave [Will] alone.
"It's not even about Will.
"Jack's obsessed with the Ripper and he's grooming Will to catch him."

So if her concern isn't about Will, it must be for Jack. If she's worried that Jack's obsession with the Ripper is unhealthy, that raises the question of what else Jack ought to be doing, given that the Ripper has been in his house and put Miriam Lass on his bed. What would a healthy response to that situation even look like? And, if she's not worried that Jack's obsession would run Will into the ground, then isn't putting the fastest most efficient profiler on the case a good idea? Of all things, wouldn't Will, with his 100% clearance rate, be the best chance of catching the Ripper?

Or is that what she's worried about? Just as Hannibal drops the act and starts openly flaunting his murdering, Alana starts openly trying to obstruct investigations and stuff Will back into his jail cell and isn't really trying to hide it.

If you imagine an AU where that motive was there all along, it would explain Alana's recommendation that Will not go into the field and her insistence that he go into therapy with Hannibal, and then, like herself, he would be protected by the closeness of his relationship with Hannibal, or at worst removed with a minimum of fuss. I don't actually think that's the case, but it would explain the whole pattern of her actions better than anything else, including her keeping Abigail (a witness) in the asylum, and even reading her serial killer stories while she was in a coma (don't wake up!)
posted by tel3path at 2:09 PM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Who thinks Miriam was also in the basement with Abigail?
posted by tel3path at 5:17 PM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

One my own personal head, Abigail was employed as both a kind of murder intern and Miriam's nurse while Miriam is like in a near constant hypnotic suggestive and/or drugged state.
posted by The Whelk at 5:47 PM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have to say, almost all of the bee stuff in this episode is completely incorrect.

In this image, we see the corpse with the hive in/on him. Issues:

1. Bees produce comb in vertical sheets anchored at the top, usually in an enclosed or at least sheltered space. Not exposed to the open air and weather and upholstered all over whatever random object they find. (Jupiter Ascending had the same problem.)

2. Typically, if an organism like a mouse or lizard finds its way into a beehive, the bees will kill it and then mummify it completely in propolis. This is because - obviously - having a chunk of rotting flesh hanging around your food storage is a terrible idea. Bees HATE rotting flesh! No honeybee would ever set up a nest in a rotting corpse, and if someone put them there, they would immediately fly off. You can't really MAKE bees do anything.

3. The comb is WAY too big. A cell is approximately the circumference of a bee, and these cells are twice that.

4. Supposedly this hive has been here for about two weeks, "which makes sense with how much honey is being produced." No way. A two week old hive would have a couple square feet of comb, MAYBE, and very little to no honey just lying around. The amount of comb in this image is enough to be a mature hive over a year old.

5. And, on the other hand, for the amount of comb we're not seeing many bees. This doesn't look like a healthy, thriving hive to me.

6. On the tree branch, you can clearly see where the wax sheet was cut, stretched out of alignment, and stuck on the tree!

So anyway, good episode
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:22 AM on March 29, 2015 [5 favorites]

"You can't really MAKE bees do anything."

"We're all individuals!" cried Brian, in perfect unison.

This is the problem Hannibal keeps having.

I like the idea that bees were putting trigger warnings on their Tumblr posts for rotting-flesh-o-phobia.

Tl;Dr great melodrama (see what I did there), lousy bee documentary.
posted by tel3path at 9:05 AM on March 29, 2015

I remember when they where teasing some kind of bee/honey episode I thought it was gonna be about this
posted by The Whelk at 9:49 AM on March 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Since the shooting script says Miriam says "he told me he was going to kill me last" that suggests Miriam had to have been in the basement, watching others being killed.

Also, it wouldn't have been feasible to keep her in a remote location, even for Hannibal-logistics.

So fear must have had a lot to do with Miriam's belief that Chilton did it because everything she saw after being rescued, demonstrated that they had no intention of convicting Hannibal.
posted by tel3path at 2:26 AM on April 9, 2015

I just realized how closely Beverly followed Hannibal's directive to go "deep beneath the skin".

She looks in his kitchen fridge, finds nothing.

She picks his pantry lock, finds kidneys.

She goes down into the basement, finds Abigail and possibly Miriam. And also, unfortunately, Hannibal.

Last week she remarked that the evidence against Will was "immediate and almost presentational" and "might as well have been gift wrapped". But before that, she might have stopped at the kitchen fridge and said "nope, nothing there".

The kicker is that I STILL think Hannibal was not expecting her to break in, because nobody expected it, including the audience.

Just as I am convinced he wasn't expecting Bella to slap his face.

Only because Bella slapped his face - and Jack, interestingly, only gave Hannibal a reproachful "clearly my wife would like you to leave" look instead of prioritizing smoothing things over - did Hannibal go home, and only because he was home earlier than planned did he collide with Bev.
posted by tel3path at 2:00 AM on May 27, 2015

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