Hannibal: “Futamono” (2.6) - TV Recap

By Jordan Ferguson

Hannibal - Season 2

Hannibal: Season 2 Episode 6 - “Futamono”

April 4, 2014, 10:00 p.m. (EST), Network

In “Futamono,” Hannibal Lecter is composing a piece of music. We see him writing it, making changes as he goes along, course correcting to improve the final composition. He does not yet know its end, and he tells Alana Bloom that Stravinsky felt a composer lived with a piece in the back of his mind until it was completed. Ostensibly, the work Lecter is creating is intended for harpsichord, but as we have already seen in this series, a deranged mind can very easily make an instrument of man. What Hannibal is truly writing here is a much dark, much longer composition, one where lives very literally hang in the balance.

“Futamono” is the rough half-way point of season two, and it marks several major transitions. Hannibal is never quite as much about plot as it is about mood, feelings, or ideas, and occasionally, a plot heavy episode can lose the show’s eerie ethereality, but not so this week. Though major developments occur in virtually every scene, “Futamono” is still a gorgeous, contemplative, deeply emotive hour of television. It mixes the dark humor this series increasingly excels at in with deep somberness, and seasons all of it with some moments that are disturbing enough to stick with me long after the credits rolled.

Hannibal seduces Alana Bloom tonight, a move of pure genius on his part (for several reasons) that I still found sort of infuriating. From a plot perspective, this is absolutely brilliant—Lecter creates a new ally for himself just as he is losing Jack, he gets a sick sort of revenge on Will for trying to kill him, and he creates an alibi for the evening that Abel Gideon vanishes from the hospital; the evening the Chesapeake Ripper came out to play and revealed himself enough to exonerate Will Graham. As an evil plan, there’s an elegance to this that is admirable, but as a use of Alana Bloom, it irked.

Caroline Dhavernas is fantastic on this show. She makes Alana Bloom’s deep tranquility hard won, showing the damage she has withstood while ensuring she remains the bastion of sanity in this den of the insane. Yet her performance is consistently worlds better than the material she is handed here (which is often quite good, to be fair), and in “Futamono,” she is once again basically reduced to a love interest of one of the series’ leads. There is much more to Alana Bloom than who she is currently infatuated with, and Dhavernas is more than capable of playing much more complex material. I just hope, at some point, she gets the chance to try.

For now, though, she is yet another person getting too close to Hannibal in a world where that very rarely bodes well. Even Abel Gideon, who did his best to be a loyal lapdog, an odd ally and strange bedfellow to the true Chesapeake Ripper, ended up beaten, paralyzed, and served to himself for his troubles. Which brings us, inevitably, to the food. Hannibal has long depicted Lecter’s cooking as almost unimaginably exquisite, a parade of decadence and aesthetic perfection that proves almost too much to resist, even when we know there is a distinct possibility the mystery ingredient in any of his dishes is people. Again tonight, someone refers to Hannibal Lecter as the Devil himself, and “Futamono” offers up Lecter’s cooking as his greatest possible temptation. Step into the shadows with him. Come over into the darkness for a bit. Doesn’t it look delicious?

Another interesting thing the series is doing is pushing us closer, ever closer, to the monstrous acts Dr. Lecter is committing. In season one, we cut away before we could see the death of Miriam Lass (a decision that tonight proves to have served a different purpose. More on that, next week, I am sure, but for now, holy shit), and the tragic demise of Abigail Hobbs occurred off to the side. We knew she was going away, and then the show drifted from it, allowing her spirit to linger with us even as we were forced to contend with her death at Hannibal’s hands. A few weeks ago, we saw Hannibal appear, in a flash, predatory as he prepared to dispatch Beverly Katz. But then all we heard was gunfire, a body to be found only later. Here, though, we see Abel Gideon fed to himself. We don’t actually see the moment he dies, still. Lecter has more horrors to unleash on us. But the shadows are receding. The monster is becoming easier to make out.

This is Hannibal Lecter’s design. He writes this composition in blood, death, madness, and despair. He plays those around him like instruments, each with its own timbre, each with its own purpose. Lecter serves Jack Crawford food that is actually animal meat (which is either a clever bit of instruction and anticipation on Lecter’s part, or means Hannibal was not serving any of his recent victims at the dinner party), and also serves him up an alibi for a crime clearly committed by the Ripper. He seduces Alana Bloom, pulling her into his corner at a time when he needs more allies. And he sets the stage for the release of Will Graham, who has learned some of Lecter’s darkest lessons, taken control of his life, and become a worthy opponent to Hannibal in the shadowy battle of wills he has constructed. Hannibal Lecter is composing, alright, but the piece lacks an ending. It will come to him eventually, if he lives with it long enough. But it may not be the ending he imagines for himself, basking in these minor triumphs and missing the fact that the forces of light are closing in.

The Roundup

  • -“You’re moving smoothly and slowly, Jack. Carrying your concentration like a brimming cup.”
  • -“There’s a common emotion we all recognize, not yet named. The happy anticipation of being able to feel contempt.”
  • -“Hobbs ate his victims to honor them. The Ripper eats his victims because they are no better to him than pigs.”
  • -“Who does he have to kill before you open your eyes?”
  • -“Do you know what to do?” “I need to get my appetite back.”
  • -“I can’t help Will. I can’t trust him. He’s in a dark place where the shadows move, and its not safe to stand with him anymore.”
  • -“Anyone who gets too close gets got. He’s the Devil, remember?”
  • -“I’ll tell Jack Crawford everything if you tell me why Hannibal Lecter did it.” “Because he wanted to see what would happen.”
  • -“My head is filled with conspiracies. Too many versions of events.”…”My experience, that means a lot of people are lying about a lot of different things.”
  • -“He’s lying, he’s manipulating, and he’s playing a game. He’s not scared. Not anymore. That’s what’s making him dangerous.”
  • -“You think I’m in control?” “I think you are more in control now than you have ever been.”
  • -“You found a way to hurt me. I wonder how many more people are going to get hurt by what you do. I’ll give Alana Bloom the best.”
  • -“You got the right box, there, Jack. But you’re looking in the wrong corner.”
  • -“I asked her if she had eyes for me. She said no. So, I had to take them.”
  • -“I wonder who this is? Needless to say, I will not be eating the food.”
  • -“Hannibal the Cannibal. That is what they’ll call him, you know.”
  • -“Last time someone rang my doorbell this early, it was a census taker.”
  • -“You intend me to be my own last supper?” “Yes.” “How does one politely refuse a dish in circumstances such as these?” “One doesn’t. The tragedy is not to die, Abel, but to be wasted.”
82/100~ GREAT. Though major developments occur in virtually every scene, “Futamono” is still a gorgeous, contemplative, deeply emotive hour of television.
Jordan Ferguson is a lifelong pop culture fan, and would probably never leave his couch if he could get away with it. When he isn’t wasting time “studying the law” at the University of Michigan, he writes about film, television, and music. In addition to writing for Next Projection, he is the Editor-in-Chief of Review To Be Named, a homemade haven for pop-culture obsessives. Check out more of his work at Reviewtobenamed.com , follow him on twitter @bobchanning, or just yell really loudly on the street. Don’t worry, he’ll hear.