A recurring theme in “Futamono” is the paradoxical fact that even though he’s behind bars, Will Graham now has more control than he ever did once he was free. He successfully manipulated Chilton into bringing back Abel Gideon; ditto to the orderly he convinced to do the dirty work of murdering Hannibal. But “Futamono” was the episode where Hannibal regained the upper hand. “Cannibalism is an act of dominance,” Chilton observes, and this was an episode where Hannibal reasserted control: over Alana, over Gideon, and over the narrative of the Chesapeake Ripper.
Alana, Jack, and Hannibal all realize that Will put the orderly up to his grisly mock-crucifixion; each responds to it in different ways. Jack, the most discomfited by Will’s downward spiral, provides a nice foil in his confusion to Will’s dead certainty. The camera work of their exchange in the hospital shows this nicely: Will is static, staring straight ahead, while Jack is filmed constantly in motion, often through multiple layers of constricting iron bars. Between Will’s repeated accusations and an exchange with Abel recorded by Chilton, Jack’s finally ready to give Will’s theory about Dr. Lecter some credit.
Meanwhile, Alana is pushed even further away from her former love interest. As she points out to Jack, she has the longest standing relationship with Hannibal, and is thus the least likely to give up her image of him as a mentor and colleague. With his attempted murder, Will’s only proven himself beyond repair in Alana’s eyes. She still feels pity for him, but she literally replaces him with Hannibal—a development that’s both a nicely symbolic replacement and an opportunity for the Chesapeake Ripper to have an alibi.
The first half of “Futamono” is promising. Will’s grabbed the attention of those around him, convinced at least two figures of authority that Hannibal might not be what he seems, and seems to have set the chain of events that lead to Dr. Lecter’s imprisonment in action.
The second half, however, is where things fall apart. The none-too-subtle metaphor here is Hannibal’s harpsichord piece, his way of figuring out what to do next now that Will is clearly past the point of forgiving him. The first course of action is, obviously, another insanely creative murder. A Baltimore councilman responsible for a bird-endangering development deal is strung up on a tree, stuffed with poisonous flowers, and placed in the middle of a parking lot, sans most essential organs. Way to get back in the swing of things, Hannibal!
Next is a massive dinner party, the epitome of Dr. Lecter’s fussy brand of high-class civility. String quartet, check. Waiters, check. Food made out of actual food to disprove Jack’s suspicions, check. And then there’s the hair-raising seduction of Alana Bloom, whose inevitable psychological background when she figures out just who she’s placed her trust in keeps getting worse and worse. While Alana, successfully converted to Team Hannibal, sleeps in his bed, Hannibal absconds to the hospital, where he abducts Abel Gideon.
Will tells Abel early in the episode that his days are numbered. He’s attracted too much attention to himself, gotten too much in the way of the dance between Hannibal and Will. So when he goads two guards into throwing him down a staircase, Hannibal swoops in, hosting Abel for a supper made of his own leg in the very dining room he described to Will just half an hour earlier. It’s the ultimate power play, the real Chesapeake Ripper forcing an impostor to make amends. The scene is also a perversion of the many similar one-on-one dinners we’ve watched before, with dining partners like Jack and Chilton.
Between Gideon and his presentation of the guard, we have the conclusion to Hannibal’s harpsichord piece. The fish hooks used to string the victim up contain the remains of all of Will’s alleged victims, setting him free. But Will gets his freedom on Hannibal’s terms. And then there’s the Big Reveal that hits Jack’s psychological sweet spot: thanks to some tiny organisms in the tree and a piece of bark in the bait, the FBI finds an abandoned storehouse in rural Virginia.
In its basement? Miriam Lass, the long-missing FBI agent and Jack Crawford mentee.