Viewing posts tagged proverbs of hell

The Proverbs of Hell 24/39: Kō No Mono

KŌ NO MONO: An assortment of pickled vegetables. Janice Poon suggests that this signals the approaching denouement, and also makes a nice metaphor about the vegetables sharpening the senses, which is what Alanna needs. The reality is that the second season is not so much going off the rails as plummeting down the gorge, watching mournfully as the rails disappear into the sky.

The script calls this the Wildigo, which is the best part of the entire conceit. That a silly portmanteau is the best part speaks to the intense and pointless violence being done to the show’s narrative principles here. “Kō No Mono” is primarily structured around a cheap and theatrical bit of audience deception, maintaining the illusion that Will killed Freddie. This is already cheap - a way to manufacture drama out of structure when you obviously don’t have it in your actual character work. This is a common way for formally inventive storytelling to run aground - when the formal complexity becomes a way of making a story work in the first place instead of working better. Mostly Hannibal avoids it, not least because it’s got the core of the Harris books, which clearly and demonstrably do work dramatically ...

The Proverbs of Hell 23/39: Naka-Choko

NAKA-CHOKO: A citrusy soup, used as a palate cleanser. Hannibal does suggest that a meat has citrus notes, but that’s a stretch. Not even Janice Poon tries to explain this one.

It is tempting to say that this episode opens with a revision of the previous one’s finale, but based on the scripts it’s more accurate to say that the previous episode’s finale was revised to be a streamlined version of this opening, cutting the actual fight scene down to Randall bursting through the glass (and making one other major change, which we’ll get to in a moment). Here we get the psychic landscape version, in which Will murders Randall-as-representation-of-Hannibal, which, in light of the cuts to the previous episode, becomes the sole and definitive version.

WILL GRAHAM: I’d say this makes us even. I sent someone to kill you, you sent someone to kill me. Even-steven.

HANNIBAL: Consider it an act of reciprocity. One positive action begets another.

WILL GRAHAM: Polite society normally puts such taboos on taking a life.

HANNIBAL: Without death, we'd be at a loss. It's the prospect of death that drives us to greatness.

The other post-shooting script revision to the end of ...

The Proverbs of Hell 22/39: Shiizakana

SHIIZAKANA: A hot pot dish, meat-based and the nominal main course. I’m going to go ahead and just call it “no relation” to the contents of the episode, because reading this as somehow forming a culminating centerpiece of the season is just too ridiculous.

HANNIBAL: Why not appeal to my better nature?

WILL GRAHAM: I wasn't aware you had one.

HANNIBAL: No one can be fully aware of another human being unless we love them. By that love we see potential in our beloved. Through that love we allow our beloved to see their potential. Expressing that love, our beloved's potential comes true. I love you, Will.

Given that it also includes Will slowly crushing Hannibal via elaborate rope bondage and the black stag, this dream sequence is firmly the slashiest scene in Hannibal.

HANNIBAL: Memory gives moments immortality. But forgetfulness promotes a healthy mind. It’s good to forget. What are you trying to forget?

JACK CRAWFORD: Doubt. I let doubt in.

For those inclined towards the “Steven Moffat was significantly influenced by Hannibal” school of thought, the similarities between this and “forgetting is the human superpower” is significant. Of course, that was Frank Cottrell Boyce, so the ...

The Proverbs of Hell 21/39: Su-Zukana

SU-ZUKANA: A palate cleanser, typically involving vinegar. A better title for last week, I suspect, but still fitting for this, which essentially starts off with all new concerns.

JACK CRAWFORD: How do you catch a fish who isn't hungry?

WILL GRAHAM: You have to change tactics. Use live bait that moves and excites them to action. Gotta make him bite even though he's not hungry.

JACK CRAWFORD: Make him act on instinct. He's always a predator.

WILL GRAHAM: You have to create a reality where only you and the fish exist, where your lure becomes what he wants most, despite everything he knows.

JACK CRAWFORD: Wrong move and he swims away.

WILL GRAHAM: I’m a good fisherman, Jack.

Will’s framework of fishing and hunting has had time to evolve in his solitude, so that fishing takes on aesthetic qualities. Of particular interest is the creation of realities, an explicitly narrativizing approach that reframes fishing as an act of artistic creation. Already the reality he needs is coming into being.

HANNIBAL: Truite saumonée au bleau with vegetables and broth, served with hollandaise sauce on the side. Beautiful fish, Will.

WILL GRAHAM: It was my turn to provide the ...

The Proverbs of Hell 20/39: Yakimono

YAKIMONO: A course of flame-grilled meat. There are a number of episodes this would be a sensible title for, none of which are this one. 

MIRIAM LASS: I remember a dream about drowning. Then being awake. And not awake. Being myself, and not myself. I remember I could smell salt air. We were by the sea. For weeks. Months. Longer. Days and evenings blurred, I'd wake up to the smell of fresh flowers and the sting of a needle. I wasn't afraid. Fear and pain were so far away, on the horizon, but not close. Never close.

Miriam’s description is loosely adapted from a description of Hannibal’s brainwashing of Clarice from Hannibal

ALANA BLOOM: They found a witness. A survivor. The only victim of the Chesapeake Ripper who lived to tell.

HANNIBAL: Is this witness watching me now?

ALANA BLOOM: Yes.

HANNIBAL: It seems I am the usual suspect.

ALANA BLOOM: I keep having angry, imaginary conversations with Jack Crawford about that. I wish I could tell you why this is happening.

Why are Alana’s conversations imaginary? She showed no hesitation in picking a fight with Jack in season one, nor at the beginning of season ...

The Proverbs of Hell 19/39: Futamono

FUTAMONO: A soup dish served in a lidded pot. Most obviously a reference to the final scene, in which Jack discovers Miriam in a covered hole.

WILL GRAHAM: You're moving smoothly and slowly, Jack, carrying your concentration like a brimming cup.

Another case of using one of Thomas Harris’s characteristically vivid similes in an unexpected context - originally it is Francis Dolarhyde who thusly carries his concentration as he sets up to peruse home movies and decide on his next victim.

JACK CRAWFORD: And then you told him to kill Hannibal Lecter.

WILL GRAHAM: Nothing I said made that happen, Jack. It just happened.

JACK CRAWFORD: Don't seem too broken up about it.

WILL GRAHAM: There is a common emotion we all recognize and have not yet named. The happy anticipation of being able to feel contempt.

Two Thomas Harris lines in rapid succession. This one comes from Hannibal, where the emotion play across the face of Margot Verger as she’s preparing to introduce Clarice to her brother. Its poetry comes from the fact that we do not, in fact, quite recognize the emotion, as the act of recognizing an emotion is in a large part coextensive with the ...

The Proverbs of Hell 18/39: Mukōzuke

Sorry about the slow posting schedule of late - Jack's on a brief holiday while he finishes up the Austrian School essay for Neoreaction a Basilisk, and I'm really bad at remembering to queue these on Game of Peaks night. Normal service should resume soon, and your patience is appreciated.

MUKŌZUKE: Literally “set to the far side,” which refers to the dish’s placement on the tray, a small dish of seasonal sashimi. The key detail for our purposes is that the dish is sliced.

FREDDIE LOUNDS: Send someone else, Jack. She's one of yours.

Freddie is entirely sincere here, offering a genuine concern for Jack. This is not part of some larger heel turn on her part, a fact emphasized by her photographing Beverly’s body and, subsequently, Will in his face mask. Rather, it is out of a sense of genuine horror and, more broadly, a sense of clear morality - the same one that fuels her consistent loyalty to Abigail Hobbs, even after death. The grounds on which Freddie will take actual moral stands are few, but the resulting stands are a key part of her character.

As the saying goes, there’s always doubt until you see ...

The Proverbs of Hell 17/39: Takiawase

\TAKIAWASE: A mixture of vegetables and a protein in which the ingredients are cooked separately; on the whole a fair description of an episode in which the characters are unusually segregated.

WILL GRAHAM: Your father taught you how to hunt. I'm going to teach you how to fish.
ABIGAIL HOBBS: Same thing, isn't it? One you lure, the other you stalk?
WILL GRAHAM: One you catch, the other you shoot.

Will makes a second attempt at the hunting/fishing conversation that went so unsatisfyingly in “Relevés.” This time, instead of becoming obsessed with accusing Abigail, he comes up with a suitably witty retort to her comparison. Although the difference between catching and shooting is likely academic to the fish.

WILL GRAHAM: Last thing before casting a line: name the bait on your hook after somebody you cherished.
ABIGAIL HOBBS: So you can say good-bye?
WILL GRAHAM: If the person you name it after cherished you, as the superstition goes, you'll catch the fish.
ABIGAIL HOBBS: What did you name it?
WILL GRAHAM: Abigail.

It’s an interesting and quietly revealing character beat that Will stakes his successful catching of Hannibal on the question of whether Abigail cherished ...

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