If last week’s episode, “Shiizakana,” was about Graham accepting his animal instincts (i.e., becoming a monstrous killer), then this week’s “Naka-Choko” was about Graham being that animal.
As a show, operates like locks on a river; it builds and builds its story and the suspense, and it then eases away from the tension to let the muddy water stand. It can be annoying since it leads to some useless episodes. “Naka-Choko” was hardly useless, because it gave us the opportunity to see Margot a little more intimately (both figuratively and literally) and to meet her brother, Mason.
The opening scene was the same as the closing scene last week, only from a different perspective, and more complete. We know it was Randall in his mechanical beast getup, but what Graham saw was Hannibal as a stag; as he was beating Randall, the stag turned into Hannibal, and once he was dead the body Graham saw was Abigail Hobbs’. I’m surprised it wasn’t himself that he saw as a dead body since he’s all but killed that part of himself to embrace his new animal. Maybe the writers thought of that, but decided that it was a bit too similar to Luke’s experience in the Dagobah System.
The relationship between Graham and Hannibal is clearly one of student and mentor, despite Graham’s proclamation that he is of his own volition. They’re also lovers of sorts, an aspect of their relationship that was strengthened through the imagined threesome between Graham, Hannibal, and Bloom. However you want to describe their relationship, there’s a shared affection between them, an affection that is shown through Hannibal’s desire for Graham to feel intimately connected to his murders by killing with his hands, Hannibal helping Graham clean up after killing Randall, Hannibal and Graham’s declaration of understanding the nature of their relationship, the intimate dinner that they prepare together, the communion of human flesh, and their collaborative lie to Crawford.
The intimacy of their relationship makes for an interesting contrast to the words of wisdom Hannibal gives to Margot in this episode: “In love you take leave of your senses, but in hatred you must be present to calculate your actions.” Of course, in his advice to her he goes on to tell her to allow herself to hate her brother so that she can kill him. However, in the greater scope, Hannibal is betraying himself by allowing himself to “love” Graham; he’s letting his guard down, which may be detrimental to his second life.
Urging Margot to kill her brother wasn’t the only topic of discussion; they also spoke of legacy. Upon hearing Margot say that she doesn’t get a legacy, he tells her that what “shapes us as human beings is the desire to leave a legacy,” and that she must make her own if she desires to leave one. What will Hannibal’s legacy be? Obviously one of being a cannibalistic serial killer, but what else? Perhaps mentoring countless other killers, and then killing them. Perhaps being a mastermind hiding in plain sight.
If you’ve been paying attention, then you know that Margot and the rest of the Verger family are a livestock empire. This partially accounts for Margot’s inability to kill Mason, because of a stipulation in her father’s will that says she won’t inherit the empire if her brother dies. That, and according to Hannibal, she still loves the disturbed bastard, masterfully played by Michael Pitt (Funny Games).
Now, Mason has spent his life torturing and tormenting his sister, but what he’s doing now is so messed up that Charles Manson would be impressed. He’s breeding pigs to feast on living people, and the most interesting thing he says is calling Hannibal a pig… well, not in so many words, but a pig just the same. What he says, exactly, as he explains himself to Margot is, “any pig will eat a dead man, but to get him to eat a live one… some education is required”
And let us not forget dearly departed Freddie, who told Graham that she didn’t believe Dr. Chilton was the Chesapeake Ripper, went snooping around Graham’s farm, found the mechanical beast getup and some body parts in a freezer… and then Graham found her and called her a pig.
Odds and ends:
-”Even Steven” — because it’s still funny.
-Hannibal: “It’s the prospect of death that drives us to greatness.”
-Hannibal: “Did you fantasize you were killing me?”
-Graham: “I never felt as alive as I did when I was killing him.”
-Mason named his pet pig Pavlov.
-Margot: “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” — um, yes please.
-Freddie: “Maybe what Will understands is that if you can’t beat Hannibal Lector, join him.”
-Hannibal: -“I can’t tell you what Margot and I talk about, fortunately for you I can’t tell anyone.”
Rock Hard \m/