NBC’s TV series Hannibal just keeps getting better and better with each passing week, and last Friday night’s episode in particular was a shocker, which saw the death of a major character and the near death of the title character.
*Needless to say, if you haven’t yet seen the episode, you may want to tread carefully within the confines of this post, because spoilers are guaranteed!*
Titled ‘Mukōzuke,’ the fifth episode of the brilliant show’s second season kicked off on an incredibly horrific note, with the death of crime scene investigator Beverly Katz. At the very end of the previous week’s episode, we saw that Katz had discovered that Hannibal is both a killer and a cannibal, and though we were left off on a cliffhanger of a note, with Katz and Hannibal coming face-to-face in the basement of his home, the reveal that she didn’t survive the encounter was nevertheless a shocking one.
What was most shocking, however, was the manner in which Hannibal went about disposing of Katz. After killing her, he froze her body and then sliced her into cross-sections, which he sandwiched between several different plates of glass and put on display at an observatory (seen above). As Will Graham noted, Hannibal pulled her apart the way she pulled apart crime scenes, and her gruesome demise was without question one of the most visually shocking in the show’s history – which is no small feat, to say the very least!
Believe it or not, the manner in which Hannibal separated Katz’s body into cross-sectioned slices was actually inspired by a real-life artist, who has for years been doing the very same thing with animals…
One of the most controversial, polarizing and successful artists on the U.K. scene, Damien Hirst (above) was born in 1965 and is quite clearly fascinated by the idea of death, a theme that is present in most of the art that he’s put out over the years. It was the use of dead animals in his work that resulted in Hirst rising to fame over in the United Kingdom, with many of his pieces featuring deceased animals on display in giant class cases.
It all began with the exhibit The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, shown off in 1992 at the Saatchi Gallery in North London, which featured a massive tiger shark encased in glass, and preserved in formaldehyde. The piece nabbed him a nomination for that year’s Turner Prize and from there Hirst expanded upon the idea, with his art soon taking an even more gruesome and controversial form.
In 1993 he debuted the piece Mother and Child Divided, which saw the bodies of a mother cow and its baby calf on display next to one another, both of them split in half and each housed inside of two different glass cases. As you can see above, the exhibit looks quite similar to the way Beverly Katz’s body was displayed last week on Hannibal, and it’s even more obvious when looking at some of his more recent pieces (particularly the one you’re about to see) that Hirst was indeed the inspiration for the show’s brutal character exit.
Check out some more of Damien Hirst’s macabre work below, and learn more about him over on his official website.
SOME COMFORT GAINED FROM THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE INHERENT LIES IN EVERYTHING – 1996
DEATH EXPLAINED – 2007
THE BLACK SHEEP WITH GOLDEN HORNS – 2009
It’s interesting to note that in 1996 Damien Hirst wrote and directed a short film called Hanging Around, which starred Eddie Izzard. Izzard plays Dr. Abel Gideon on Hannibal, and he was prominently featured in last week’s episode. Can’t help but wonder if it was Izzard who turned the show’s writers onto Hirst’s art!