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"Shiizakana" is the ninth episode of Season 2, and overall the twenty-second produced hour of Hannibal. It first aired on April 25, 2014.


The BAU investigate the scene of a truck driver's body that seems to have been destroyed by two distinctive creature species. Will meets Hannibal's bizarre new patient after one of his sessions. Resolved to discover Will's actual self, Hannibal devises a test. The results impress him.



Will Graham stands before Hannibal who is tied to a tree, a stag writhing on the opposing end of the rope. He wants Hannibal to admit what he is; in response Hannibal points to the elements of Will's personal darkness growing inside him. Will turns his head to the stag and whistles, tightening the rope around Hannibal's neck. The stag pauses, and Hannibal again poses the understanding that Will has for him. Will whistles for a second time and the stag pulls the rope once more. Will claims his promise of a reckoning as he advances toward Hannibal and with another whistle, the stag pulls the rope taut and the view changes to gouts of blood spewing high over the branches. Will wakes and his eyes move slightly as he catches his breath. It was a dream. He relaxes a clenched fist.

Hannibal prepares breakfast for Jack and himself, Sacromonte omelette with liver and sweetbreads. He and Jack talk of memory and old fears. He asks what Jack is trying to forget, and Jack admits to letting doubt in about Will. Hannibal, however, states that he can no longer speak of Will to Jack without consent, as he is now employed by the man himself, not the FBI. Jack understands, remarking that he hopes that therapy will help his friend. Hannibal’s final word notes the impact of therapy working only on those who wish to know themselves as they are, not as they would like to be.

A snowy parking lot holds the scene of a man trudging toward his eighteen wheeler, cup in hand. He gets in and takes a quick drink of coffee before setting the beverage into a cup holder. As he turns the ignition a loud bang hits the roof then passes over his trailer. He grabs a flashlight and gets out to investigate. As he checks to see if a tire blew, or something falling around or against the truck itself, he finds nothing. Returning to the driver’s side perplexed, he is met with what had been stalking his every move. His flashlight lands on the snow as he is yanked onto the roof, and the windshield runs with his blood. A creature stands over his body, ripping him apart.

Will engages Hannibal in therapy once more. They talk of regrets, and Will admits that he wished the scene at the stable had gone differently. It was a missed opportunity to feel as he did when he shot Garret Jacob Hobbs. The same as how he had felt when he thought he had killed Hannibal.


As Will leaves the office, he is greeted by another patient of Dr. Lecter. He apologizes, and she grants him the notion that he looks familiar, or she has known of him in the past. He admits to being “The guy who didn’t kill all those people.”

Hannibal connects to the patient before him with a discussion on the gauge of humanity that we all have for other people. It is here we are introduced to her as Margot Verger. She admits to meeting Will Graham and inquires to the treatment that Hannibal prescribed him, especially since he is in so much favour of her killing her brother. Hannibal refers to his reputation and bona fides, with that, she knows what kind of psychiatrist he is. She replies simply “I’m beginning to.”

Back at the gas station we are now introduced to the daylight view of the truck driver’s remains. As the BAU team takes photos, Will, Jack and Hannibal discuss the scene to the side. Jimmy Price and Brian Zeller tell them nothing was eaten or carried away, the entire body is strewn about the area. They also mention that livestock in the area have been mutilated the same way. This puts them on the track of someone who is training his beast. Urbanizing it to hunt bigger prey and not denying its natural instincts.


Will visits Peter Bernardone, who is now incarcerated, to ask about the teeth marks left on the body. Peter recognizes both bear and wolf bite shapes in the photos, then tells Will that bears and wolves can be trained to hunt together. He then infers that if he wanted to, he could train Will to do things. Lastly, he implores Will not to blame the animals, man being the only creature who kills to kill.

At an engineer’s shop we see a table littered with tools for a heavy duty project. The sounds of metallic whirring and buzzing are heard as a skull is having a tooth replaced. A thick section of wood is set between the teeth before it snaps closed, cracking the wood into pieces. A man crosses in front and sits down before the table to work on the now properly adjusted, pneumatically modified skull.

It is now night once more and the sound of servo motors turning, coupled with a man’s breath beneath the skull of a beast, is heard. In the near distance a man and a woman laugh as they exit a party to stand alone in passionate embrace by a bonfire. The creature, now revealed to be a man in a suit, rushes toward them and catches the man first, horizontally across the chest. The man falls, and the creature tears into him as the woman runs. As she attempts to escape, she loses her balance in the snow, and the murderer chases her down with ease.


The following day, the BAU are there again to pick up the pieces. Will closes his eyes and reinvents the scene in his mind. As he indulges in the euphoria of the murders, he realizes that the killer is not training an animal, but a man who wants to be an animal. A man who wants to maul, with everything he imagines. There are no personal ties to the killings. Every one of the victims is just meat, a pander to his fantasies.

Will and Hannibal discuss the murderer at his office. It isn’t rage that is driving him to kill, but instinct. He has learned his power and is claiming it every time he kills. Hannibal reiterates that Will too should be intimate with his instinct.

At the department of the BAU, Brian and Jimmy introduce Jack to the closest resemblance to the bite marks they could find. A cave bear skull. The two men also reveal, that cave bears have been extinct for 28,000 years and are a vegetarian species, however with the right equipment and knowledge, a skilled craftsman could build a suit with pull ratchets and pneumatics. Hannibal enters the room, and Jack shakes his hand. Without breaching confidentiality, he informs Jack that he once had a patient who had similar dysphoria and tendencies. The need to indulge in savagery most prominent.

Hannibal seeks out the patient himself, before the FBI make contact. He finds him working after hours at a museum and reveals the killer is indeed his former patient, Randall Tier. He is meticulously pleased with how Randall has grown in his instincts, and expresses this in his counsel. He then informs Randall that the FBI are closing in and tells him exactly what he can say to avoid deeper scrutiny.

Jack and Will meet Randall soon after, and Hannibal’s plan works through Randall almost flawlessly. Will and Jack are not completely convinced, but at the moment can do nothing.


Margot Verger visits Will’s home in the evening to discuss Dr. Lecter’s radical quality of therapy. She reveals that she tried to kill her brother and Will reveals he tried to kill Dr. Lecter. A mutual amusement passes between them as they talk over whiskey.

The following session, Will confronts Hannibal about the off chance that patients would begin to compare notes. Randall Tier seems to be a success story. Will then discloses that Bedelia Du Maurier visited him while he was incarcerated at the Baltimore Hospital for the Criminally Insane. This revelation displeases Hannibal, but the session continues, unabated.

In the forest outside Will’s home, Hannibal gives final words of encouragement to his proxy, Randall Tier, before allowing him the solitude to revel in his instincts.


Will’s dogs are agitated and as he opens the door to look around, Buster, one of the smaller dogs, escapes into the forest only to follow with the sound of a pained yelp. Will grabs his coat and a shotgun, then runs out to retrieve him. While picking Buster up, Will realizes he is being hunted and returns to his home quickly with Buster under his arm. After turning off all the lights and preparing for the imminent attack, Randall Tier breaks in the window to his left.

Hannibal arrives at home, only to enter his dining room and find Will waiting for him. The body of Randal Tier, in human form, dead on the table. Will tells Hannibal that he considers them even on the stance of attempted murder, respectively, of one other. Hannibal concurs with a nod.


  • The episode's title, Shiizakana (強肴), refers to a large, hot dish served during a traditional Japanese multi-course dinner (Kaiseki (懐石).

Book to Show[]

  • The method of Hannibal’s execution in Will’s dream copies Hannibal’s second murder, in the novel Hannibal Rising, when he executes Enrikas Dortlich in similar fashion (with a horse in place of the black stag) as punishment for eating Hannibal’s sister Mischa.
  • Hannibal having spent time in Grenada is an invention of the show.
  • Hannibal saying he frescoed the walls of his mind comes from the novel Hannibal, and is the first direct reference in the show to his memory palace, a concept which is introduced in that same novel.
  • Will’s use of the word “Become” continues the series’ recurring use of the word, stemming back to Francis Dolarhyde in the novel Red Dragon. Hannibal’s use of the words “become” and “transformation” in reference to Randall Tier similarly calls to mind Dolarhyde, and Jame Gumb in The Silence of the Lambs.
  • Will’s reference to a “quiet sense of power” is a quote from Red Dragon, where Dolarhyde is said to feel this way all the time. (Notably, in the novel, Will becomes depressed to the point of being institutionalized after killing Hobbs. Although Hannibal taunts Will by theorizing that killing Hobbs actually felt good, neither Will nor Thomas Harris gives credence to this in the novel.)
  • No meeting between Will and Margot ever appears in the novels.
  • Randall Tier’s employment at the Museum of Natural History calls to mind Clarice’s visits there in The Silence of the Lambs, and the much more benign Museum employees Noble Pilcher and Albert Roden.
  • Part of Hannibal and Randall’s initial exchange is inspired by dialogue between Hannibal and Margot in the novel Hannibal, similarly referring to the beginning of their first long-ago childhood therapy session. In particular, Hannibal inquiring, “Is that what I said?” comes from the book. (The book makes it clear that Hannibal had just “read over his interviews” with Margot in his memory palace, and knows exactly what he had said.)
  • Hannibal saying Randall bears screams like a sculptor bears dust from beaten stone comes from a description in Red Dragon of the way Dolarhyde views himself (and also believes Hannibal views him). Similarly, Randall’s reference to “ragged bits of scalp trailing their tails of hair like comets” comes from a description of souvenirs in Dolarhyde’s “great ledger.”
  • Hannibal recognizing a former patient as the perpetrator of a series of murders calls to mind his figuring out Buffalo Bill’s identity in The Silence of the Lambs, although in his pre-incarceration era he is playing the FBI more subtly by seemingly being forthcoming and providing Randall’s name.
  • The question of the heirdom to the Verger meatpacking dynasty, a key part of Margot’s motivation in the novel Hannibal, is introduced to the show. Margot’s estimates of how many cattle and pigs the Vergers slaughter a day also come from the novel. This is also the first time Margot’s sexual orientation is mentioned on the show.
  • All of Hannibal’s dialogue about God, collecting church collapses, and “typhoid and swans” comes verbatim from what he says to Clarice in The Silence of the Lambs (in addition to calling back to Hannibal’s church collapse reference in “Amuse-Bouche,” which quoted Red Dragon).
  • Hannibal bringing Randall to Will’s home calls to mind Lecter giving Dolarhyde Will’s home address in Red Dragon.
  • Randall smashing through the window in slow motion echoes a similar shot of Will Graham bursting through Francis Dolarhyde’s window in the climax of the film Manhunter (an adaptation of the novel Red Dragon, in a sequence which was invented for the film).

Cut Scenes[]

  • The script includes a shot of Will retrieving a fillet knife from his fishing jacket and facing Randall with it in “super slow motion” as Will’s dogs bark around him. This is followed by a scene in which the BAU team finds Randall’s basement workshop. Jack notes to Hannibal that they found human remains in the sink traps, and have everything they need to convict Randall Tier, except Randall Tier, who has vanished. Hannibal notes that “every therapist deals in darkness”— he only learns second-hand how accurate his treatments were when he hears the patient is back on track, or not, or that they’ve taken their own life or someone else’s. The final scene shows Hannibal discovering Randall’s body on his dining room table as an “offering” from Will, but unlike the episode, Will is not present (and Randall is wearing his animal suit). 
  • An early outline on a whiteboard in the writers’ room, glimpsed in the DVD/Blu Ray special feature This Is My Design, shows a very different initial conception for this episode. While some elements remain the same (the concept of a “mauler,” and “birdman” [Peter Bernardone] in an asylum helping with the investigation), the initial conception would have introduced “Clarice” (quotes present on the whiteboard, presumably anticipating the fact that they would have to change the character’s name for legal reasons), and would also have included the onscreen introduction of Mason Verger, which was ultimately put off to the next episode. “Clarice” is a student of Will’s, and would force an innocent perspective on Will to contrast with Hannibal’s growing influence on him. Margot introduces Will and Hannibal to Mason, and Mason kills the “mauler”’s son, whom Hannibal feeds to the “mauler.” When Mason confronts Hannibal about trying to help Margot, Hannibal wins Mason over, but Margot later reveals Mason punished her anyway. “H[annibal] witnesses Verger’s show of power @ his office,” with a reference to Admiral Motti, presumably meaning the scene would be inspired by the iconic Force-strangling of Admiral Motti by Darth Vader in the first Star Wars film. There follows a list of “Mason’s victims,” listed as “homeless men?,” “monster in the making,” “Caligula (but charming),” and “Vicious Bad Shit Bum-Fighting etc.” A final acontextual story note indicates that Hannibal invites Will to the symphony. 


Season 2 Episodes

KaisekiSakizukiHassunTakiawaseMukōzukeFutamonoYakimonoSu-zakanaShiizakanaNaka-ChokoKō No MonoTome-wanMizumono