Recap: “Mukozuke,” Hannibal, Season 2, Episode 5


For all its repulsive imagery, Hannibal is also a visual delight for lovers of food porn.


This season, as I’ve written over and over, is about perception, about which characters can see the truth of who Will and Hannibal are. In that context, this early shot of an observatory—a building designed for large-scale, deep-distance observation—is a great symbol.


Again: have you ever seen anything like this on any TV show? FBI agent Dr. Beverly Katz, having met a gruesome end at the hands of Lecter, is slivered and separated into a Body Worlds-style exhibit inside the observatory.


Hannibal Lecter’s sense of irony is nothing if not ultra-keen: this minute study of a single human body arranged in a facility designed for a macro-scale study of the universe.


One of the pleasures of Hannibal is to see the series toy with the plots and images established in the Red Dragon/Silence of the Lambs/Hannibal films. Here, Will is swapped into the most iconic Lecter image from Silence.


Will can literally see Hannibal (or, in this case, Hannibal’s bestial doppelgänger) lurking behind his crimes.


There’s no deep significance or metaphor in this image, just a pleasingly geometric and deep shot composition.


I just can’t get over it: meat is nowhere more disturbing than in this series. Here, a sausage is being made from Dr. Katz’s kidneys.


What an image: Hannibal Lecter arrayed like some kind of barbarian god. This man, the frame behind his head functioning almost like a halo; the horns one either side, evoking the wild and animalistic; the lights, giving the room almost a holy glow.


A week or two ago I referred to the holding cells in this room and being like a panopticon. After thinking about it more, and remembering that Dr. Chilton is indeed recording the conversations in every single room (except the meeting room for lawyers) in the hospital, it truly is a panopticon.


This is what an attack of conscience, an ethical dilemma, looks like on Hannibal.


Is there an Emmy category for location scouts and set dressers? If there is, the people working those jobs on Hannibal deserve the awards twice over. The series is constantly staging itself in the kinds of places that we hardly ever see on television.


There’s something about this image that brings to mind a religious painting (from the Middle Ages? The Renaissance?). Religious, obviously in that there’s a Christ-figure here, but there’s something about the image that feels like it’s an iconic scene designed to encapsulate a morality play.

For those interested, mukozuke is, as the titles of all the episodes of this season are, a course in a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. Mukozuke is a sashimi dish, which seems like a ghoulishly funny allusion to Dr. Katz’s fate.

(As in previous posts, I’ve slightly lightened these screenshots to make the detail easier to make out.)

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