I fell in love with the gritty, compelling, and morbidly sensual TV series Hannibal last year. Now that it’s back, I can’t wait to immerse myself in the genius and horrible machinations of Dr. Hannibal Lecter again. 😀
So fannibals, here we go…
“I’m not the intelligent psychopath you’re looking for.”
Bryan Fuller’s delectable dark thriller ropes us back in by opening with another sumptuous gourmet dinner as precursor to a bloody brawl between Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) and Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen).
The battle taking place in Hannibal’s own kitchen is so rich and out of context that we immediately assume this is a dream. The basic kitchen utensils so artfully dangled in the set become horrific weapons for murder. It’s an incredible physical showdown between two prominent characters that is so gripping and brutal. When Jack is stabbed with a lose shard of glass and panic seeps on his face, we’re also panicking that this might not be an imagination after all.
Then the scene jumps back to 12 weeks earlier. Jack and Hannibal are having a civilized meal, courtesy of the doctor’s beautiful presentation of food or “kaiseki”. The food is, as always, artful, almost sensual, and delectably horrid. The fish cuts, the sea urchin guts, the sauces; everything is beautiful but horrible. “I almost feel guilty eating it.” Jack says. “I never feel guilty about eating anything.” Lecter notes.
This scene carefully reestablishes the relationship between the two formidable characters, without losing track of the original narrative. That is, what happened to Will Graham (Hugh Dancy)? They carefully mourn over Will’s possible conviction of five murders and his detainment at a hospital for the criminally insane. They both agree that an FBI investigation on Lecter is the right thing to do.
But Jack has more problems at work. Dr. Alana Bloom has filed a complaint of misconduct against him and already the FBI are investigating the matter. Despite the implication that its best for all concerned for Dr. Bloom to withdraw her case, she persists. Later, in a shared scene between Jack, Alana, and Winston (the dog), we see that they all miss Will. (And somehow, we realize that we miss him too 😦 )
Lecter, on the other hand, seems to be toying with the FBI by agreeing to be their new criminal profiler and openly subjecting himself to scrutiny and DNA tests. (note: cheek swabbing is pretty disgusting, you guys). He’s even consented his therapist Dr. du Maurier (hi, Scully!) to cooperate with the investigation. “You maintain an air of transparency while putting me in a position to lie for you. Again,” she tells Hannibal. Her normally icy facade breaks just a little bit. “You’re not just lying for me”, says Hannibal. This reminds us that there’s still a gaping backstory between Dr. du Maurier and Dr. Lecter. We don’t have a clear concept of what happened between these two or why she says, “Jack Crawford doesn’t know what you’re capable of.” or why Lecter confidently threatens, “Neither do you.” #mindblown
Meanwhile, there’s a new psycho on the block obsessed with skin. Yep, it’s a clear nod to Silence of the Lamb’s Jame Gumb who had an obsession with transforming himself by stealing the skin of women. This psycho, as Hannibal concludes, is “making models”, noting that the corpses found on the dam are mere “discards”.
We only see fleeting glimpses of our new serial killer, subjecting us to sidelong glances and first person POVs as he stalks his prey. When he has kidnapped his newest victim, we’re given hazy scenes of the victim being injected with heroin. Unfortunately for him, the drug doesn’t kill him but only lull him to sleep. When it wore off, he wakes up and realizes that he’s been sewn or glued into an elaborate spiral formation of dead bodies. He screams. A lot.
Beverly, one of the tech forensics for the FBI, visits Will hoping that he can fill in the gaps about the criminal’s profile. With just the photos of the victims spread before him, Will immediately deduces that the killer may be making a “color palette”. Yuck!
Speaking of Will, how is he in the loony bin? Well, he’s still haunted by a black stag and a personified stag. He’s still miserably pleading guilty and claiming that Hannibal is the intelligent psychopath responsible for the “trophy” crimes. He even demands an audience with Dr. Lecter himself. Brave move, Will. “What you did to me is in my head and I will find it.” he threatens. “I’m going to remember, Dr. Lecter. And when I do, there will be a reckoning.”
Sooner rather than later, Will recovers a memory after it’s triggered by some suspicious looking steak. He remembers Hannibal shoving a plastic tubing down his throat and pushing Abigail Hobb’s ear down his pipe like it’s fucking Mario. If you remember, fannibals, the “ear” was earlier seen by Will as evidence that he really did the horrible things he dreamed of when he was lurid with encephalitis.
When Jack swings by, he’s still unimpressed by that bit of recovered memory, saying “That’s meaningless.” Will replies, “Not to me.” He adds, “I’m not the intelligent psychopath you’re looking for.”
That was a great episode, fannibals. 😀 Last season, Hannibal was spectacular and this season’s premiere is no different. Although there aren’t enough people tuning in to this gritty show, it’s a sigh of relief for us fans. It means that the producers aren’t changing the tone and pace to make it palatable to a wider audience. Instead, it will indubitably remain a “haute” show, focusing more on quality storytelling and intelligent visuals to lure us in.
If you aren’t watching this visceral and intelligent show yet, you’re missing out. 😀
***Tune in next week for my recap of Episode 2, “Sakizuki”