Hannibal Review: Dominance

at .  Updated at . Comments

There's a moment when Hannibal is kissing Alana in Hannibal Season 2 Episode 6 where he breaks the kiss and looks directly down upon her.

Frederick mentions that the ripper eats his victims as an act of dominance... and dominance is exactly what Hannibal is doing. 

His entire dinner party, and his jail break that night for Gideon, are all for show.

Hannibal uses every single detail to dominate the conversation of the ripper case, to show that he is the one who is ultimately in control. The dinner party is used to confirm his suspicions of Jack no longer being on his side and also to dominate Alana into the object he needs for an alibi.

Alana's hookup with Hannibal is just too gross.

There's just something so out of character for Alana to bond with Hannibal over their "loss" of Will. Only a few episodes ago, Alana was trying to find any means she can to free Will of the charges against him, but one attempted murder and she's fleeing towards Hannibal.

She can believe Will is the ripper of numerous people, but Hannibal is the one exception. Alana is smarter than this, or at one would hope she is.

Still, Alana's life feels fleeting now because of this alibi and hookup - and the images of death that are surrounding her. What's even worse is the flip-flop of opinion.

Alana does not follow the team, her heart or the evidence while Jack is completely working towards trying to confirm Will's suspicions. Even Frederick agrees with him. Hannibal is showing his dominance over one of Will's greatest treasures, staying one step ahead of Jack as he begins to pursue him. 

This act of dominance does not end with Hannibal.

Will, too, is displaying his own version of dominance. He's successfully convincing Frederick of his doubts and Jack is quickly starting to follow along too; yet when Will begins to have visions of himself as the stag, the visions never completely transform him.

Will is able to think like Hannibal, to see himself like Hannibal, but he can never kill like Hannibal because he knows and sees what Hannibal does and it makes him sick. 

By far, the biggest act of dominance is Hannibal's dealings with Gideon; Hannibal amputating Gideon's leg because he doesn't need it anymore, and then serving Gideon his own leg.

Gideon may have had some power in the beginning of Hannibal Season 2, but now he is confined and immobile in Hannibal's house. Gideon is one of the few who knows Hannibal's secret as such Gideon is, most likely, not long for this world.

It's the ultimate show of dominance from the creator and originator of the ripper persona to the copycat, Hannibal cooks and serves up Gideon's own leg as a show of strength and power. No matter how many times Gideon covers for Hannibal or copies him, Hannibal is the one who is in control, and Hannibal makes sure Gideon knows exactly where his place in all of it lies.

And then there's the ending, Miriam Lass is alive... sans an arm and living in below ground storage. Obviously, Hannibal leads Jack to this spot, but what does he want to prove with it?

What do you think is Hannibal's purpose for Miriam Lass?


Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
  • 4.7 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (45 Votes)

"There's just something so out of character for Alana to bond with Hannibal over their "loss" of Will. Only a few episodes ago, Alana was trying to find any means she can to free Will of the charges against him, but one attempted murder and she's fleeing towards Hannibal." I don't agree that Alana hooking up with Hannibal is out of character, and your paragraph seems to simplify the situation a great deal. In my opinion the show has been clear that Alana believed Will to be insane and not in control of his actions. Hence the scene where she is trying to help Will regain his memories. However when she learned Will( free of his sickness), used the nurse in order to kill Hannibal, she saw a man who was willing to kill a man she believes to be innocent. Therefore crossing the line to man who manipulates people, and uses them as pawns. As to why she believes Hannibal to be innocent- Well, she has known Hannibal for several years, more years then she has known Will and Jack, and there has not been a great deal in the show that has hinted that Alana is suspicious of Hannibal. Regarding " Alana does not follow the team, her heart or the evidence. Alana is a consultant, not a part of the team in every case. She knows Will and Hannibal- therefore her expertise is not needed for every stage of the investigation.
"The evidence"- again, a psychiatrist, and there is no evidence that hints that Hannibal did it( that other people know of, besides Hannibal).
"Her heart"- she believes Will did it for a while. Now- the game has changed with Will to be released, but there has been no evidence besides Will's accusation. There has been no hinting of Alana believing Hannibal to be the killer. As for there should be is another matter, but the show has shown a woman who has known Hannibal for several years, and a lack of suspicion so far is fitting for how the character has been established. Sure, you can say that she is not a very deep character, but what we know for now, is line with her character. As for her hooking up with Hannibal- she sees a man she has known for several years, and is need for comfort after the man she has been attracted to willingly tried to kill Hannibal. Therefore not a big surprise that she goes for sex, in order to focus on something else. As for her not being smart enough- well, it remains to see what happens in the next episodes.


Fantastic review - Hannibal truly was exerting his dominance over the situation. However, I have to wonder if the truly dominant one here isn't Will Graham. I think when Hannibal told him that he's more in control than he's ever been, Hannibal didn't truly understand how in control Will was. I think it's possible that Will has anticipated every move so far. Will could have asked that insane nurse to kill Hannibal when he didn't have an audience at the cage; instead, he waited till he was back in his cell where Gideon would hear. I think he anticipated that Gideon would have told on him and that Hannibal wouldn't have been killed, but rattled enough to go back on a killing spree to feel better. By that time, Will would have planted enough seeds of doubt in Jack Crawford to get him to even consider that Hannibal was a suspect. Will managed to get both Chilton and Crawford on his side - all from behind bars and with zero evidence - simply by manipulating everyone. Also, note that Will didn't seem to be too upset at the implication that Alana was on Hannibal's radar. I think Will's plan and his understanding of Hannibal is giving him confidence that Alana will come out of all of this safely, knowing that Hannibal likely thinks that his sexual dominance over Alana would hurt Will more than killing her. What do you think?

@ Robin Harry

If I remember correctly, before Will was arrested.....Didn't Alana and Will have a talk and come to the conclusion that they couldn't be together but decided to remain friends?? I fear this show isn't getting the ratings they want it to so it may not be back for a 3rd season.........it does have a great lead in with Grimm......but I don't think it's enough.......... I fully look for Hannibal to kill Chilton.........and maybe Jack too........next week with Will getting out will tell the tale...........I think Will will go straight for Hannibal.........

@ Terrie

They sort of had that talk...It was more Alana saying that and Will resigning himself to it.

@ Robin Harry

I definitely agree with you about Will. With so little screen time Will is ultimately getting so far; I tend to believe it's a distinct choice on the show's part to throw us for a loop when Will ultimately may one up Hannibal completely. The Stag imagery might be part of this idea. We never see Will completely transform. It makes me wonder if Will is only thinking like Hannibal, or thinking in a way that echoes those same parallels as Hannibal - smart, dominant, etc. But since he does not completely transform, he has not ascended to that level of brutality that Hannibal has, but merely using it as imagery in his own mind to get into Hannibal's and ultimately win his own battle against Hannibal and for control of his mind.

@ Nick McHatton

That's a great point on the imagery. That's what Will does, right? Uses empathy to see the design of killers. He missed Hannibal before because he was too close and he was sick, but it's possible that now that he's seeing him clearly, he's able to see Hannibal's design. (sigh) So awesome.

@ Nick McHatton

Your pseudo intellectualism is annoying. Sorry. I couldn't resist. LMAO Love you!


Best episode of the season in a show that just gets better and better. It's easy for me to believe Alana and Hannibal getting it on, because it was clearly described in the first season that the two have had a history together and she has known Hannibal longer than both jack and will.
The heightened reality that Fuller describes this show as having allows me to suspend my disbelief at the quickness with which Hannibal kills and sets up his tableaus. Feeding Gideon his own leg and Gideon liking it, then the reveal of Miriam top off what was already an amazing episode for me. 5/5 for me.


Next time you ask for a poll don`t show nthe next judgements. 'Alana's hookup with Hannibal is just too gross.` Why? The Hannibal is the show (entertainment) is an extremely urbane, attractive and intelligent man so why should`nt he hook up with an average looking women who is sensitive and has pretty nice hair. Please just view the show and comment on how you enjoyed the acting rather than treat it as a reality show. I don`t need to know what a good moral person you are. Leave writing about the plot to people who are actual writers. Unless you are working for the series why would you pose these questions?
Simple: don`t treat the people your audience (the people who read your review) as idiots. Hannibal is an excellent series and deserve better than your pseudo intellectual comments. Me: wow-excellent acting; scripting and what the hell is going to happen? I love the crafty wink Hannibal gave to Dr. Chilton. And Will Graham comment: "He just like to see what happens". Who doesn`t? The movie Hannibal is a cult f

@ poppy

Poppy, I'm sorry you feel that way. I'm completely open to disagreeing opinions, but I ask that you do so intelligently and with critical analysis rather than calling me names; I give the show the same treatment, and I treat all that comment as intelligent. They, after all, are the ones who make this show so much fun to write about because they are the ones who pick up on details that I may never notice. When reviewing television shows on a weekly basis, discussing the acting abilities of the actors only goes so far, nor does it delve deeply into what is truly going on. Connecting the dots, following themes, questioning character motives, and wondering about the plot are all details that need to be, and should be, discussed. It gives more to talk about in the comments, and opens the show up to more conversation by introducing guiding questions and ideas to touch upon. I encourage you to come back every week and discuss with us. I am ready to read what you have to say and to contribute to the conversation about this amazing show.

@ poppy

"Why? The Hannibal is the show (entertainment) is an extremely urbane, attractive and intelligent man..." You forgot the part where he's a cannibalistic manipulative serial killer that was sleeping with her while he had drugged her. If that's not universally gross, I honestly don't know what is. I hardly think the reviewer is treating his audience like idiots. Quite the opposite - he's treating his audience like intelligent viewers, able to see themes, parallelism, foreshadowing, symbolism. The acting is really only part of the story.

@ poppy

Perhaps your new to television reviews. They aren't like movie reviews. With a 22 episode season we delve into the story and it's plot lines. Discussing acting of the same characters week in and week out would be ridiculous unless new actors assumed the roles. Loving the crafty wink Hannibal gave to Chilton is an example of discussion of character as if Hannibal is real. The writers wrote that wink, just as they wrote Alana to sleep with Hannibal. Personally, I thought Eddie Izzard was brilliant and bought concert tickets to his upcoming show after his table scene. I also look forward to Hannibal eating Alana's heart, because that's the only way he'll truly understand what it is to have the heart of a woman. See? Appreciation of acting and immersion in the plot.

@ Carissa Pavlica

Izzard was amazing, but my favourite had to be Chilton. He walked an amazingly thin line between arrogance and intelligence in this episode, and did it so, so well. Also, he hilariously represented all of the Hannibal fandom - called out the puns AND the rhyme.

Tags: ,