Music may be the food of love, but it is friendship that solidifies the baseline. Human connection — a desire for sameness — is an inherent need that most of us quench with friends, lovers, and family. For the cast of Hannibal, Thursday night’s new episode proved that even murderpeople need a buddy. Even the most isolated of us a little attention, a sense of acceptance and understanding from another human. And some will go to desperate lengths to achieve it. People…people who need people! They’re the luckiest people in the world, or so says Barbra Streisand. Music can say what words cannot, and who prefers less talking more than people trying to keep a cover hidden in plain sight? Serial killers don’t just murder people, they ARE people!
Interpersonal relationships were at the center of “Fromage,” and the crescendo mounts with every step these characters take towards each other. Relationships are the most public way we display our humanity — and what’s more normalizing than feeling understood and safe in the company of another?
Will Graham, the king of “I don’t do social,” has now realized he might want more by way of companionship than his precious pooches. Why the sudden change? Probably because he’s been walking a serious mental tightrope with his FBI work, and has a very good just diving off the deep-end into something bad. He’s taking pills now and Jack still doesn’t seem to care that he’s pushing yet another protegé to the brink. Never more evidenced was Will’s unraveling than when he unintentionally embodied the persona of the murderer he attempted to catch this week. While at the morgue, he quipped with such horrific ease: “I had to open you up just to get a decent sound out of you.” Sounds like an allegory for Will and Jack’s relationship. Will’s ability to “see” the murderers that he profiles and catches has him on increasingly shaky ground. But Dr. Alana Bloom has the opportunity to recallibrate the balance, at least in his mind.
Which is why her relationship with Will has, well, accelerated in a way. He cannot escape the oncoming cries of a wounded animal. First he heard it way out in the woods, just outside Tobias Budge’s store, and then later when it found its way into Will’s fireplace. But Alana and Will are silent in their knowledge of the truth: there is no noise. It’s hard to catch a hurt and scared wild animal by yourself: especially if you’re the wild animal in question (cough Will cough).
But let’s get back to that Tobias Budge — welcome the week’s newest serial killer muderperson! You may recognize him as the creepy best friend of Hannibal’s patient Franklin from last week’s “Sorbet.” You see, Franklin — ever the psychopath obsessive who actually said the words “I’ve become you” outloud, to Hannibal (wow, he really Did have a death wish, eh?) — has an unhealthy infatuation with Dr. Lecter and Tobias has been manipulating that to attract Hannibal’s attention. Aww, Tobias wants a friend! And not the one he already has.
Tobias is hellbent on proving that he’s able to play (read: viciously and unrepentantly murder other humans) just as well as Hannibal. There’s the object of this killer serenade! In a gruesome scene that had me literally holding my own throat in horror (and imagined pain), Tobias murdered a trombone player to use his vocal chords for strings. But what we see is the bone-chilling aftermath: the man, centerstage and spotlit, dead with a cello arm thrust through his throat. I mean, how else you going to play those vocal chords, eh? It was literally every single word for “gruesome” one could imagine. The noise that bellowed forth from them was dark, brooding, and highly unsettling. Dissonance and dischord abound! (Bryan Fuller, you really outdid yourself with That one.) Tobias is a man who desires both total autonomy, but a sense of companionship. Sound familiar?
We see this desire for sameness in the way Hannibal is unhealthily fixated on Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier (recurring guest star Gillian Anderson). Turns out Hannibal is a bit of a Franklin himself! Homeboy tries to put on airs (and a smokeshow, and a couple titanium mountains…) to separate who he really is and how the world sees him, but still he desires someone else to know him. Du Maurier referred Hannibal to another doctor (since she had been in retirement following a patient’s attack on her), but he refused, claiming theirs was a relationship with more depth than that of patient-doctor. Anyone else feel like Bedelia has some faint inklings about just how devious a man Hannibal is? She and Will better watch their backs: the desire to manipulate in order to companionate (feelin’ a lil Joycean, makin’ up words) is strong with this cannibal.
And the manipulations don’t end there: Hannibal continues to attempt to destroy Will at his very core in order to build him into the strawman he wants. Sensing that Will was nearing the breaking point, he knew an encounter with Tobias could mean more disaster for Will. So, natch, he sent Will after him.
Will’s friendship may be an inadvertent byproduct of Hannibal’s obsession with him, but there’s more to it now. Now, Hannibal is convinced the two are the same type of person. They see the world in different ways, ultimately, but Hannibal knows that being criminally insane means Will understands him in a way no one else can. “It’s nice when someone sees us, Hannibal. Or has the ability to see us. It requires trust. Trust is difficult for you.” Who is worthy of Hannibal’s friendship, who’s clever enough to climb over the walls he’s built up?
– “I didn’t poison you Tobias, I wouldn’t do that to food.” may be the most hilariously wonderful line this show has ever produced.
– “Psychopaths are not crazy. They are fully aware of what they’re doing and the consequences of those actions.” – and you would know, wouldn’t you, Dr. Lecter?
– Tobias has also seen something of Hannibal that we haven’t seen ourselves.: what happened in the busyard?!
– “Every life is a piece of music. Like music we are finite events; unique arrangements.” Hannibal, always the poet.
– When asked what he sees when he closes his eyes, Will states: “What do you see behind closed eyes?” “I see myself.”
– Beverly saying, exasperatedly “yes, I played the violin,” was quite amusing.
– The stag statue left its mark on someone other than Will, and not just mentally. Just so happens to be the mark of death, but hey! What can you do, right?
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