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‘Hannibal’ Review: “Takiawase”

Hannibal Takiawase Review
NBC

Hannibal’ season 2 serves a fourth course with its latest installment, “Takiawase,” as Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Beverly work together to find evidence against Hannibal, while Jack’s wife Bella (Gina Torres) makes a difficult decision regarding her ongoing treatment.

Last week’s ‘Hannibal’ episode “Hassun” saw Will’s trial become complicated by an apparent copycat killer, while Jack found his loyalty called into question by the FBI for his lingering doubt. So, how does the fourth course of ‘Hannibal’ season 2 taste?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Hannibal’ season 2, episode 4, “Takiawase!”

Will imagines himself to be fishing with Abigail, teaching her to name the bait for someone she cherishes as a sign of good fortune, just as he named his after her. Awhile later, Beverly visits to inform Will he was right about the mural killer being stitched into his own design, though Will continually suggests Hannibal must have been the partner to stitch him in, likely leaving some clever sign of his handiwork hidden in the details. Elsewhere, the body of a man lies in the woods, in which bees appear to have made a colony to produce honey.

Will offers Dr. Chilton the chance to become his exclusive therapist, and all the cooperation and accolades that come with, in exchange for keeping Hannibal out of the loop. Meanwhile, a chemotherapy-weakened Bella Crawford meets for her session with Hannibal, revealing that she wants to end her life with her remaining dignity. Accepting the notion, Hannibal relays how Socrates’ suicide ended with a request that a rooster be given as payment to the Greek god of curing illness, as death itself was the cure to his human condition. Elsewhere, Jack and the others survey the beehive man’s death scene, learning that he’d been deliberately purposed that way.

Beverly shows Hannibal the body of mural killer James Gray, explaining that she has an arrangement with Will to trade assistance for her own investigation of Will’s innocence. Hearing Will’s suggestion that the killer’s partner must have hidden something clever in the body, Hannibal poses that she figuratively get under his skin to identify the pathology. Meanwhile at the Baltimore State Hospital, Dr. Chilton injects will with a truth-telling agent as part of his treatment, leading Will to remember that Dr. Lecter had used strobe lights in his sessions to induce Will’s seizures, compounding his earlier encephalitis and disrupting his memory.

The next day, Hannibal arrives for his session with Will, unaware that Dr. Chilton had put a stop to their treatment. Chilton explains how new information has come to light about Lecter’s use of light stimulation in his therapy, theorizing that Dr. Lecter may have been the one psychically driving Will all along. Meanwhile, Bella and Jack enjoy a bit of marijuana for her pain management, though Bella worries about Jack remembering her as begging for an end to the pain, as she remembers her own mother.

The FBI identify the bee man as Duncan Holloran, noting that he had been lobotomized before his murder. Meanwhile, an acupuncture therapist (‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”s Amanda Plummer) specializing in bee venom treatments makes her latest patient numb, before helping him to “quiet his mind” by lobotomizing him above the eyes. A while later, a young girl finds the man dazed walking through the park, missing his eyes altogether.

Agents Price and Zeller examine the body of the newly lobotomized (but still-living) man, observing how his multiple bee stings appear to hide needle punctures, something that gives Beverly an idea. Looking over the body of James Gray again, Beverly heeds Dr. Lecter’s words more literally to look under the skin of his sewing incisions, finding that the man is missing his kidney. Meanwhile, Will recovers another memory of seizing up in Hannibal’s dining room with Dr. Abel Gideon, before Lecter and Gideon discussed which among them was the Chesapeake Ripper.

Beverly brings her findings to Will that the killer’s kidney had been removed, as Will urges her to stay away from Hannibal, who was likely toying with her to point out his own handiwork. Beverly refuses to go to Jack with her findings just yet, as Will realizes that Dr. Lecter hasn’t been collecting trophies, but rather eating them, or feeding them to others. Elsewhere, Jack and the others arrive to bee venom therapist Katherine Pimms’ home, as she freely admits to “quieting the minds” of her two patients to end their suffering, and leaving them to die of natural causes, so as not to care about their pain anymore.

An increasingly weakened Bella visits Hannibal in his office, handing him the gift of a rooster coin as she admits to have taken all of her morphine, not wanting Jack to be there when her life ultimately ends. Bella admits to denying Jack a (painful) goodbye, as she allows herself a peaceful one, before she finally slips off. Hannibal considers the coin a moment, but leisurely retrieves a vial from his medicine cabinet, and resuscitates Bella. Meanwhile at the FBI offices, Beverly finds that Jack has gone to the hospital to be with his wife, learning that Hannibal will be there as well.

Bella awakens in the hospital to Jack by her bedside, but when Hannibal apologizes for his actions and hands back her coin, Bella musters what strength she can to slap him and order him out. Meanwhile, Beverly looks through Hannibal’s home for evidence, finding packaged kidney in the kitchen downstairs, before noticing a hidden basement. Beverly descends into the industrial basement to find an apparently shocking sight, before Hannibal appears in the distance behind her. Hannibal flicks the lights and runs, as we hear several shots ring out.

 OUR REVIEW:

Apologies for the lateness of this review, but as we mentioned last week, ‘Hannibal’’s difficult time-slot and increasing lack of screener availability make it difficult to have reviews up with a degree of consistency. In any case, it wasn’t as much of a problem last week, as “Hassun” took a somewhat-needed courtroom approach to the story, retreading some of the information we’d already known, however elegantly, as a new killer apparently emerged to delay Will’s trial further. This time around, “Takiawase” rings much closer to the ‘Hannibal’ we know and love, diving back into Will and Hannibal’s battle of wits, with all the gorgeous yet unnerving imagery that usually keeps us so engrossed.

Of course, even as Will continually recovered his memories and tried out a few new strategies toward incriminating Dr. Lecter, Will’ can only do so much with his immediate allies. The decision to trust Chilton quickly proved unwise, unless perhaps Will intends a longer game of funneling false information to Hannibal, while Beverly provided the real and inevitable tragedy of the hour. For as much as it violates every horror movie trope to see Beverly corner herself in Hannibal’s home without having told anyone of her whereabouts, all hour long we saw tragedy foretold, as Beverly overplayed her hand with Hannibal and ignored Will’s advice to avoid playing at all.  Now, Will seems to have lost his best ally yet, and the game must continue.

It was certainly nice to have Gina Torres back as Bella, even after the thread seemed largely abandoned by the first season. Even in her brief appearances, Bella managed to open up furthermore insight into Hannibal, as the remorseless killer seems to have a genuine fondness for her, not unlike his friendship with Jack. Bella also naturally helps to drive home themes of inevitability and tragedy, as the attempts to treat her illness prove increasingly futile, and Bella attempts to seize back some control over her mortality. We also got a nifty (if brief) appearance for Amanda Plummer as the central beehive killer, though however well fleshed out Plummer managed to make the character in her brief appearances, her insistence on taking the pain away from her patients felt a bit on the nose for Jack’s conflicted feelings about Bella.

Overall, it was good of “Takiawase” to keep things moving, and return to a few lingering threads of the first season, though we’ll certainly miss having Beverly around, and wonder what Will can do next to match wits with Hannibal without putting those he cherishes in the crossfire.

Well, what say you? Did you feel that ‘Hannibal’ season 2 hit the spot with its latest episode? Were you as surprised by the developments of “Takiawase” as we were? Stay tuned for our ongoing coverage of ‘Hannibal’ season 2, and join us next week for another all-new episode recap of “Mukozuke” on NBC!

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