Symbols and Sociopaths: Hannibal Season 2, Episode 4


Jonathan May

This episode was really just all over the place. We start out in Will’s head as he teaches Abigail Hobbs to fish; the terrible fishing metaphors fly hard and fast (“the one that got away” could also work as a Katy Perry song title). By incorporating Abigail into his interior space, we’re able to see more clearly Will’s goal in this trial: to lure out the beast in Hannibal and expose it to the light. So Will succumbs to the greedy desire of the hospital psychiatric director for exclusive “therapy” to regain his memories. We’ll see if this pays off in the long run.

But then we segue into an apiarist serial killer who freely admits to her crimes when confronted (albeit in a controlled insane way) halfway through the episode. The swiftness with which this was handled confused me and left me wanting more.

So what did we linger on the most? We see laid out, in brutal coldness, Bella’s acceptance of death as a cure to living. Perhaps the only echo in this episode is the image of the honeycomb, Bella’s body honeycombed with cancer. Just a thought. The whole slow dance toward death Jack must acknowledge is lightened by the novel plot introduction of medical marijuana. As Jack and Bella smoke purple kush, we feel imminently the frailty of even this small moment of levity. And, as the plot gods would have it, happiness comes at great cost.

My prediction that Dr. Beverly Katz would discover Hannibal for what he was came to startling life at the episode’s end. I was riveted in my seat as she gaped in shock at something. I am so, so thankful we did not see what she saw. It’s always more horrible what we imagine ourselves. But this unfortunate interaction could lead to the demise of my favorite character.

All to say, Friday could not come sooner. I’ve been trolling the Hannibal Tumblr and Facebook page, like a dutiful #fannibal, so we’ll see if the story gods repay. If they’re out there, listening, I have but one humble request: better music. The whole episode was plagued with shrieking strings and obvious, eerie auditory leitmotifs. Let’s lay off a little moving forward.

My predictions for this week’s episode: Alas, Dr. Katz is held by Hannibal, but hopefully not killed. Will Graham moves forward with his new therapy and fills in his missing narrative. Bella lingers on; Jack feels it necessary to stay beside her, when Dr. Katz needs him most. And where the hell is Cynthia Nixon?

Jonathan May watches too much television, but he’s just playing catch-up from a childhood spent in Zimbabwe. You can read his poetry at, follow him on Twitter at @jonowenmay, or email him at

Hannibal airs Friday nights on NBC. You can read our piece about the previous episode here.

Image source: NBC

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