TV Recap: Hannibal, ‘Kō No Mono’

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Plot: The flaming corpse of Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) rolls down a parking garage ramp, strapped to a wheelchair. Suspicion begins to fall upon Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) as Lounds disappeared on her way to his house and he’s been acting awfully weird, even for Will. Meanwhile, Hannibal (Madds Mikkelesen) is pleased with Will’s progress as both recovering patient and murderous protege. Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) is all sorts of confused at the two’s relationship and begins to re-suspect Will of being a killer. Margot Verger (Katharine Isabelle) reveals that she’s pregnant with Will Graham’s baby. Her brother Mason (Michael Pitt), now even more obsessed with his sister, is dead set on finding an heir to his empire — an idea suggested by his new therapist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

Hannibal fans, we have two reasons to celebrate this week.

Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC
Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC

The first and most important — Hannibal has been renewed for a third season. There was a ton of speculation that the show would meet its maker before season’s end. And the worries were justified as NBC seemingly cut more than half of its programming that aired in the 2013-2014 season. However, despite so-so ratings on paper, the show had gained more of an audience than its rookie season and it enjoys a healthy DVR audience. We theorize that this ratings increase was the main reason behind the series’ early re-upping. Remember, last year Hannibal had concluded its season without any word of renewal and it wasn’t till weeks into Summer 2013 that we got word that show would return. So, definitely a really positive moment in the television world.

The second reason to celebrate is that we’re given a definitive sense of what’s exactly going on in the world of Hannibal. For the past weeks we’ve been in this state of limbo — is Will Graham becoming Hannibal Lecter’s protege? And if so, what’s with this extremely weird, awkward air about everything they do? The relationship these two have carried out has been baffling with the two playing this game of human chess, spiked with very high-minded and philosophical rhetoric. We get why there’s some weirdness, they tried have each other killed, but the relationship is just saturated in ambiguity and awkwardness that it makes their scenes together less impactful than in episodes past.

Tonight, we advise you to stay glued to your television, because (don’t worry no spoilers), you will have a crystal clear idea of what’s going on by the end of it. It’s a necessary move by the series because the series had made, a conscious effort to slow everything down. We had such intense, visceral episodes for the first half of this season, that in order to really make the finale that much more exciting, the show needed to ratchet things down a bit, get a little more cerebral and create a nice, slow building story arc.

Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC
Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC

And when that slow build finally builds up to the big twist at episode’s end, it has tremendous impact. It’s that ‘Ah ha!’ eureka moment where the theories you ave built up are either proven right or proven terribly wrong.

As an episode itself, ‘Kō No Mono’ is solid. The visual imagery just continually blows me away, particularly when Will’s deranged, psychotic elk-like avatar of Hannibal turns into a massive version of Shiva. Wow. There is nothing like this on network television…not since, LOST possibly, has a show taken this many visual and artistic risks. It’s one of the many reasons this show has garnered such a hardcore fan base. Yet, outside of the visuals and the as expected stellar acting, the episode is basically one big, emotional and sometimes overly wordy, build up to the big twist.

Once the big reveal in ‘Kō No Mono’ happens, you almost go back to square one — where do they go from here? How is this season actually going to end? How do these late-in-the-game new characters the Vergers fit into the end game here? And while to some this may be frustrating, it’s actually exhilarating. The unknown on Hannibal, as opposed to other shows, is an infinite playground of possibility. The creators and writers of this show have no fear and that’s exciting. And now knowing Hannibal will return for a third sea on, the pleasure of watching the season finale will not be tainted with the fear we may never see this show again, like this last year’s finale was.

Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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