TV Recap: Hannibal, ‘Yakimono’

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Plot: Jack Crawford’s (Laurence Fishburne) star pupil Miriam Lass (Anna Chlumsky) is found alive, she becomes the FBI’s best hope to identifying the Chesapeake Ripper, but her foggy memory complicates the search. Evidence found at the site of Miriam’s rescue exonerates Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) of any involvement in the Ripper and Copycat cases, and he is released from the asylum. Will warns Dr. Chilton (Raul Esparza) that he could be in danger due to his intimate knowledge of the Ripper case, but when Chilton tries to confide in Jack that he shares Will’s fears about Hannibal (Madds Mikelesen), he is rebuffed because no evidence has been found against Hannibal, despite the FBI’s efforts. Meanwhile, Jack wastes no time in reinstating Will on the BAU team as they hunt for the Ripper. After introducing Will and Miriam to compare notes, Jack’s suspicions of Hannibal’s involvement continue to build. Only Miriam’s memory holds the key to unlocking the Ripper’s true identity, but can it be trusted?

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

“Yakimono” is the perfect example of how strong performances and direction can navigate a show through a convoluted, chaotic and unfocused episode.

There was a bit too much going on tonight — Will’s release, the distrust between Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas), Bloom’s contempt for everyone accusing Hannibal of being the Chesapeake Ripper, Jack Crawford’s wildly changing opinions on who The Ripper is, Will and Hannibal’s relationship and the curious case of Dr. Chilton. For a show that’s been remarkably tidy and taught with its narrative, Hannibal certainly stuffed a lot into “Yakimono.”

Yet, no matter how murky the waters of the story were, the acting and directing guided it through to the promised land. Raul Esparza shines the brightest among the cast in this episode and it should come as no surprise. The actor is currently being wasted on the 15th season of SVU. His character walks the line between legal eagle and absolute incompetent, sometimes within the same episode. Yet, when he’s on Hannibal he’s amazing. He exudes the proper amount of oil, charm and self-delusion as the big-screen Chilton was, but that character didn’t have the fear and desperation that ravages the small screen version on the daily. Hats off to Esparza for challenging himself, freeing himself of his creative shackles and achieving great heights.

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

While not on screen as often, guest star Anna Chlumsky’s renaissance continues. She went from that kid from My Girl to a seasoned pro who’s killing it on Veep and seems to knock it out of the park wherever she lands. Tonight, she portrayed Miriam perfectly — as a truly fractured human being, who’s PTSD strips her of all thought and moral, which is evidenced late in the episode. It’s a don’t miss kind of moment.

The direction in tonight’s episode should be commended as we mentioned earlier. With the story for this episode riddled with complete chaos and overcrowding, the direction keeps everything on the tried and true course. No matter what happens the mantra of “find out who the Chesapeake Ripper is” drives every single character in the episode. With one, singular goal in play, it’s much easier for the cast to not getting tangled into the twisted web the writers constructed.

All and all, not one of Hannibal’s finest entries, but still totally worth watching. Seeing Anna Chlumsky own the screen and finally see Will Graham try and turn the table on Lecter was worth watching alone. There’s a lot of plot advancement here too, so even if this episode isn’t your cup of tea, you’ll still enjoy it for the sake of it forwarding multiple story lines.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named 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