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Welcome back, Diners!

Time for another fun-filled season of Hannibal–OR, perhaps to be more in tune with the way the season is starting out, we should be calling the show Graham? (Because calling it Will would just be silly) In any case, THIS time I hope to be able to review the entire season (I missed the final two episodes due to illness).

Anyway, let’s tuck in, shall we? 

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If you will recall, last season climaxed with brilliant but monumentally unstable FBI Special Investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) finally figuring out that Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) is the elusive murderer he’s been looking for: The “Chesapeake Ripper”, and that he’s been carefully misdirecting and manipulating him–to keep Graham from realizing the truth, and to eventually frame him for his own murders. Unfortunately, at the very same time he came to this conclusion, he experienced the mild inconvenience of being arrested for the brutal murder of five people….

Ain’t that always the way?

And that’s how season one ended….Season two began with something we were not expecting:

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Yeah–Hannibal and Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) spend the first few minutes beating the ever lovin’ PISS out of each other at Hannibal’s place…..it was an exciting, well-choreographed fight–a testament to director Tim Hunter‘s skill. And just as me and my roomie were beginning to argue about which one of them is dreaming–the screen went black, and the words “TWELVE WEEKS EARLIER” appear….

A giant middle finger would have been subtler….or perhaps Nelson Muntz going: “HA-HA”

So that’s how season two’s gonna end–with a knock-down, drag-out brawl between an FBI Agent and a psychiatrist. While it seems reasonable that this means Crawford will know the truth about Lecter by the end of the season–as this very scene proved, we should not assume too much….

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Meanwhile, back in the “present day” world of Hannibal: A federal examiner (Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City fame) is trying to wrap her head around the fiasco of a multiple murderer being allowed to consult on FBI cases. Bottow line, the government is less interested in finding out why or how this happened–and more interested in making the whole mess go quickly and quietly away.

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Our boy Will is still in the insane asylum, where the amazingly inept Dr. Frederick Chilton (Raul Esparza) is trying to gain access to his unique mind–and predictably having absolutely no success. Graham refuses to speak to Chilton…he only wants to talk to Dr. Lecter.

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Lecter is himself seeing more and more (it seems) of his own psychiatrist: Dr. Bedelia DuMaurier (Gillian Anderson). he seems honestly sad and conflicted about Will’s fate….Not conflicted enough to tell the truth, mind you, but you really get the feeling that he likes Will, and would rather things had gone differently.

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Now Hannibal gets to be the new Will Graham: FBI needs a profiler, and he’s the most qualified. There’s a new killer out there: A sick twist who seems to be trying to preserve living bodies for some inscrutable reason.

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And yes, Hannibal does pay his good friend a visit in the asylum, where they have one of the famous Graham/Lecter chats that made season one so much fun. Hannibal is stil denying everything, while Will makes it very clear that somehow, some time, he will get out of the asylum, and he will prove Hannibal’s guilt.

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And this, friends, is essentially the world of Hannibal Season Two. This episode is less a complete story, and more a way to set the tone for the upcoming season.

STRONG POINTS:
I already gushed about the magnificence of the opening future-fight, but there’s so much more: Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) is back–and trying to help Will recover memories of murders we know he never committed, leading to a weird fantasy sequence where Bloom turns into some kind of liquid shadow being. I’m showing my “Nerd” here, but she looks a lot like Galadriel when she had her fantasy about the One Ring. It’s a beautiful and disturbing sequence–a difficult combination to pull off.

They introduce a fun juxtaposition in this episode–as I mentioned, Hannibal Lecter has taken on the role of the new Will Graham….at the same time, Will Graham is filling the shoes (story-wise) of Dr. Lecter. This leads to a marvelous scene where one of Crawford’s people, Beverly Katz (Hetienne Park) visits Graham in the asylum to get his insight on the “Preserver Killer”. The scene is a beat for beat recreation of when Clarice Starling visited Dr. Lecter to get his help with the Buffalo Bill case–even most of the dialogue was the same. Like many moments throughout the Hannibal series, it was a wonderful treat for fans of Thomas Harris‘ novels.

(apologies for the lack of screencaps here–there just weren’t any available)

WEAK POINTS:

It’s hard to point out much that I would like to have seen done differently. The “teaser” feel of the entire episode did leave me wanting more–but that was intentional.
“Kaiseki” is, all things considered, a remarkably well prepared first course that does a beautiful job of whetting our appetites for the rest of the feast (and yes–I AM gonna stretch the food metaphors as far as humanly possible).

Stay hungry, Hannimaniacs 😉

Category: Featured, reviews, TV

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