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"Naka-Choko" is the tenth episode of Season 2, and the twenty-third produced hour of Hannibal. It originally aired on May 2nd, 2014.

PlotEdit

Will's willingness to go to dark places strengthens his bond with Hannibal -- and garners Jack's attention; Hannibal gives Margot advice about her brother's violent nature.

SynopsisEdit

Will is reliving his fight with Randall Tier, only instead of a man in a pneumatic cave bear suit, he sees the Wendigo, the half-Hannibal, half-stag creature of his nightmares. Will kills Randall by breaking his neck and takes the body to Hannibal, laying it out on his dining room table like an offering. Will's knuckles are bruised and bloody from his fight, so Hannibal gently treats and wraps them in gauze. Will admits he felt powerful when he killed Randall. "Then you owe him a debt," Hannibal says.

Jack Crawford walks into the Museum of Natural History where Randall worked. A cave bear skeleton stands there, but the top half of its skull is covered by Randall's face, which has been peeled from his skull, and the animal's limbs have been replaced by Randall's. His finger seems to point at Jack, as if accusing the FBI agent of being responsible for his death.

Jack calls in Will and Hannibal to consult on Randall's murder. The two bat ideas about the killer's psyche back and forth. Hannibal is clearly enjoying it. Will, presumably to keep up appearances, does his usual thing of closing his eyes to put himself in the killer's mind.

Will has a conversation in his mind with Randall, exploring the reasons why he and Hannibal displayed the dead man in this fashion. Then Will comes out of his dream state. "He knew his killer," he tells Jack.

Freddie Lounds has returned, and she is working on a book about the Chesapeake Ripper. She interviews Will in her motel room, where she tells him her suspicions that Hannibal, not the gravely injured Frederick Chilton, is the Ripper.

Margot Verger continues her "unorthodox" therapy with Hannibal, who reprimands her for having not yet murdered her brother Mason. "You failed to murder him because you still love him," he tells her. "You must allow yourself to hate him."

Margot rides a horse into a barn on her family's estate and finds Mason waiting for her. He wants to show her something: a maze into which he has released some specially bred pigs. An assistant lowers a lump of meat that has been molded into the shape of a person, dressed in one of Margot's suits and sprayed with perfume. Mason turns on an audio recording of human screams in order to provoke the pigs.

Rattled, Margot returns to Will, seeking comfort. They go to bed, where Will sees the face of Alana Bloom, who is at that moment in bed with Hannibal. The Wendigo makes an appearance in Will's imagination.

Hannibal goes to meet Mason himself. Mason greets Hannibal and offers the psychiatrist a pig from the batch he's been training to eat people so Hannibal can turn it into a gourmet meal. Hannibal serves the pig to Will and Alana.

Alana reveals that Freddie Lounds came to see her, curious about Hannibal's relationship with Will.

Having earlier said to Alana about teaching, "We can only learn so much and live," she is now putting that to the test by going to Will's house. When there is no answer at his door, she picks the lock on his barn and enters it. Hanging up in the middle is Randall Tier's cave bear outfit. Freddie, not knowing what it is, takes pictures anyway. Then she opens a storage freezer and finds all sorts of meat wrapped in plastic, including a human jawbone. Horrified, she slams the lid only to find Will standing there, staring at her, talking to her in a soft voice, trying to coax her into listening to what he has to say.

Freddie pulls out a gun, shoots at Will and makes a break for it. They struggle and she tears away from him, leaving a hunk of her hair in his hand. Dialing a number on her phone as she runs to her car, she is fumbling to get the key in the ignition when Will smashes in a window and drags her, screaming, back towards the barn. Back in her car, her phone has connected to Jack Crawford's, so he will get a voicemail of her terrified screams. Later, the FBI traces her cell to a tower near Will's farm and finds security footage of her filling up her car at a gas station six miles away. Will feigns ignorance, saying she was supposed to come interview him and never showed up.

In Hannibal's kitchen, Will has brought meat wrapped in butcher's paper. He wants Hannibal to show him how to cook it. Hannibal tries to guess the type of meat. "Veal? Pork?"

Will smiles. "She was a slim and delicate pig."

The two men sit in front of a fire in Hannibal's dining room, eating. Hannibal thinks the meat tastes a bit strange and unusual and guesses it was frightened at the time it was slaughtered. "The meat is bitter about being dead," Will says.

"This meat is not pork," Hannibal replies.

"It's long pig," Will says, using a rare slang term for human flesh. Hannibal, picking up on the reference, smiles.

Extra Edit

  • The episode's title, Naka-Choko (中猪口), refers to an acidic soup that is served as a palate cleanser.

  • The four patients who died under Hannibal’s care presumably include Franklyn Froideveaux (and possibly Benjamin Raspail from The Silence of the Lambs, whose existence was hinted at in “Sorbet”). The three who died as former patients include Neil Frank, and possibly Jeremy Olmstead, if Freddie is counting Hannibal's time in the emergency room.
  • The wendigo was added into the mix of the sex scene at the suggestion of director Vincenzo Natali (leading Bryan Fuller to dub the scene “the five-way”). Caroline Dhavernas, who plays Alana, said she did not know the man-stag would be in the scene until the day of the shoot.
  • The final shot, melding Will and Hannibal’s faces, was director Vincenzo Natali’s idea.

Book to Show Edit

  • After the show teased him in “Su-zakana,” this episode officially introduces Mason Verger from the novel Hannibal; Mason was first referenced (not by name) in the novel Red Dragon as one of Hannibal’s two surviving victims, who was on a respirator in a hospital in Baltimore.
  • This episode also introduces Mason’s henchman Carlo Deogracias, and Mason’s family mansion Muskrat Farm, both from the book Hannibal.
  • Michael Pitt said he styled his performance as Mason to be a “prequel” to Gary Oldman’s portrayal of a faceless paralyzed Mason in the 2001 film Hannibal.
  • Hannibal’s reference to Will wanting to go inside “as the glint of the rails tempts us when we hear the approaching train” comes from the novel Hannibal, where it describes Clarice’s state of mind when she feels drawn to enter Hannibal’s former cell in the now-derelict Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.
  • Randall Tier’s use of the words “Becoming” and “monument” again call to mind Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon.
  • Margot’s fondness for horse riding comes from the novel Hannibal.
  • The reference to Mason’s “Christmas epiphany” comes from the novel Hannibal. However, in the novel, Mason conceives of his pig-breeding project in the year when Hannibal escapes custody in The Silence of the Lambs, twelve years after Hannibal had paralyzed Mason, and explicitly designs the project as a revenge initiative against Lecter. Repurposing the pigs as a sadistic threat to Margot (as a substitute for the book’s child abuse, incest and rape), the series switches the timeline.
  • In the novel Hannibal, Mason and Margot’s father has died the same year Mason brings his plan to kill Lecter to near-fruition (i.e., “Papa” was still alive when Mason was disfigured and paralyzed by Hannibal, and for about 19 years afterwards).
  • Carlo is depicted as constantly chewing on something. Readers of the novel Hannibal will recognize this as a stag’s tooth (appropriate to the show’s recurring stag motif). He is also wearing an alpine hat with a boar bristle in the band, as described in the novel.
  • The meat-mannequin (scented with aftershave in the novel, perfume in the show) and recorded screams used to train the pigs, as well as the overhead mirror, come from the novel Hannibal.
  • Most of Mason’s dialogue in the Mason/Margot scene comes from narration in the novel Hannibal, including his references to feeling like Stradivarius, their father being a pioneer of livestock production, the “spark of intelligence and terrible practicality” of pigs, Margot’s voice being “tough as a livery pony [...] resentful of the bit,” how there is “some education required” to get a pig to eat a live man, and to Carlo having fed a man to pigs in Tuscany twenty years before (in the novel, the man was a “retired Nazi and bogus count” who was guilty of serial child molestation).
  • Mason’s “this little piggy” squeal comes from the novel Hannibal, as Mason is taunting Lecter just before he is to be fed to the hogs.
  • Hannibal telling Margot she has known for years that she has to kill Mason comes from the novel Hannibal, when he is speaking to Margot while imprisoned by Mason. His “begging” dialogue comes from this same chapter (with the references to when Mason “tore” Margot and letting Mason “have his way” being the show’s first explicit reference to Mason’s rape of her, which the series deliberately downplays).
  • The quote from “Papa’s will” comes from the novel Hannibal, in which Mason taunts Margot with this excerpt.
  • Freddie’s reference to interest from Hollywood comes from Red Dragon, where Lounds has heard Hollywood is “a fine place for obnoxious fellows with money.” The dialogue about Freddie being a pariah for having taken a different faith similarly comes from the novel.
  • Hannibal is shown playing a theremin. His affection for the instrument was previously referenced in “Fromage” and “Futamono,” and originates from the novel Hannibal, where he is said to have built one as a child.
  • The fact that four patients passed away under Hannibal’s care comes from Hannibal (Jack says he did exhumation orders on them “just to make sure what killed them”).
  • In the novels, Mason sees Hannibal for treatment as part of a plea deal on a molestation case. The novel is ambiguous about whether Mason or Margot saw Hannibal first (Margot first saw Hannibal “when they were doing presentencing on Mason the first time”).
  • The formula of giant forest pig as “ground note” for Mason’s pig-breeding comes from the novel Hannibal, as does Mason’s description of the pig.
  • Mason’s reference to his father being able to tell the genetic makeup of a hog by feeling its face comes from narration in the novel Hannibal.
  • Mason’s quote about Margot pissing Papa off with all her “button-stitching” calls to mind his similar line in the book about her “muff-diving.”
  • For the first time in the show, Hannibal makes reference to his sister (Mischa), from the novels Hannibal and Hannibal Rising.
  • The reference to slaughtering lambs calls to mind the backstory Clarice shares with Hannibal in The Silence of the Lambs.
  • The closing dialogue comes from dialogue between Hannibal and Clarice in The Silence of the Lambs. Will’s line about how he cannot be reduced to a set of influences was spoken by Hannibal in the novel (in the book, Hannibal accuses Clarice of having given up good and evil for behaviorism, whereas Will’s dialogue in the show paints this as a positive move). For the rest of the scene, discussing destructiveness vs. evil, Hannibal’s dialogue is his from the book while Will assumes the Clarice perspective.

Cut Scenes Edit

  • In the script, Will has pinned a “Return to Sender” note to Randall’s corpse.
  • The script includes a Hannibal/Will psychiatry scene which is not in the episode. Hannibal accuses Will of playing a dangerous game. Will references a killer who went to the funerals of his victims (Lawrence Wells from “Trou Normand”), and notes that he and Hannibal will not be suspects precisely because Hannibal’s framing of Chilton so recently exonerated them. Will says the bird is leaving the nest. Hannibal says a newly-fledged bird is at his most vulnerable and must learn to hunt. Will, quoting a medical mantra, notes, “Watch one, do one, teach one,” and says he has seen plenty. Hannibal asks how it felt to manipulate a human body into a message all his own. Will replies, “Like I wasn’t finished till I had.” Hannibal asks if Will took a trophy, noting that this would be the act of a serial killer. Will: “By definition, one body doesn’t make me a serial killer.”
  • The script includes a Hannibal/Margot psychiatry scene which is not in the episode. Margot confesses that she had sex with Will, and when Hannibal notes that Will is not a lesbian, she says “he sure made a go at it.” Hannibal smells the air and asks if Will is aware it was her intention to get pregnant (the scene was likely shot, as this line appears as voiceover in the following episode’s “Previously on Hannibal” segment). Margot suggests that it was Hannibal’s intention for her to get pregnant, and Hannibal observes that her life-threatening experience made her want to have children. Margot says that while it is a little bit about the money, she wants to have a child so some small part of her can get away from Mason. They discuss the idea of immortality and legacy, with Margot confessing that if she has a boy she will kill Mason. Hannibal “professionally” recommends such a catharsis.
  • The script punctuates the scene in Jack’s office near the end of the episode with Alana observing, “Freddie was investigating a story about Will and Hannibal committing murders together. There’s no reason to believe her, but someone believed Freddie was a threat.” Actor Caroline Dhavernas told Bryan Fuller she would say the line but had no idea what the motivation was, and Fuller ultimately agreed with her and cut it from the episode. Despite this, a snippet of Alana saying the line appears in the “Previously on Hannibal” segment of the following episode.

Navigation Edit

Season 2 Episodes

KaisekiSakizukiHassunTakiawaseMukōzukeFutamonoYakimonoSu-zakanaShiizakanaNaka-ChokoKō No MonoTome-wanMizumono

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