*Last season on ‘Hannibal’: We left off with Will being accused of Hannibal’s crimes due to the damning evidence he literally coughed up. Mainly, Abigail’s ear. *gag* Everyone’s favorite cannibal remained out and about, gathering supplies for dinner, and the entire FBI had essentially turned their back on fair Will. Except Alana ‘cuz she’s boss.*
Hello, this is Frenchie reporting live from the battlefield…of our minds! The second season of NBC’s ‘Hannibal’ premiered this Friday night with the episode “Kaiseki” or, as I like to call it, “Cagematch In A Kitchen”. They didn’t pull any punches. That huge knife fight between Hannibal and Jack that kept being featured in previews? Yeah, the reason Bryan Fuller (is our king) was cool with that major cat being out of the bag is because it happens the MINUTE the episode starts, only to go, “aaaaaaand this is how shit got fucked up” i.e. “twelve weeks earlier”. It’s at this point that your nerves are already shot (my body wasn’t ready) and you’re preemptively laughing because you know it’s only going to get worse/better. Ahhhh, ‘Hannibal’, how we’ve missed you.
But before we jump ahead, let’s ruminate for a bit on said fight scene. Laurence Fishburne and Mads Mikkelsen not only trained for weeks prior to filming, they also filmed for about 15 hours and did their own stunts. For one scene. That lasted all of three minutes, but, oh. Oh, what a most stimulating collection of minutes it was. *_* It starts in the kitchen which is apropos as that’s Hannibal’s “center of power” and, naturally, he lays the cleverly played smackdown on Jack though they’re fairly worthy opponents, physically. And we actually feel bad for Jack because the inevitability of his death is clearly written on his face. The sentiment isn’t long lasting though as this is Jack Crawford we’re talking about. Anyhoo, yes. Current sexuality: that fight scene.
So where exactly are we 12 weeks earlier? Back at Hanni-boo’s place where he’s staging an elaborate, yet intimate, sushi dinner for himself and Jack. I see that scene mirroring and I approve! Right away, the cannibal jokes are a-flowing as freely as the wine. “I never feel guilty about eating anything.” The fish “was a flounder”. Lawwwwwwwd! Homeboy isn’t even bothering to be half-way subtle now, but the point that’s being made, and continues to be made throughout this premiere, is that Hannibal Lecter could wear a goddamned SANDWICH BOARD declaring people as his favorite organic foodstuff, and NO ONE WOULD BELIEVE HIM. It’s not just the evidence against Will that speaks to his likely guilt; it’s just so much easier to think that the person no one could really “get” must be the serial killer, not the social butterfly with the wardrobe full of paisley porn.
The conversation turns to Will Graham, as it’s wont to do, with Jack feeling guilty (as he should) and telling Hannibal that they, too, will be figuratively on trial for Will’s murders. Cue Hanni!smirk! It’s here that Mads proves, once again, why he deserves the title of “King of Microexpressions”. All the slight twitches that Hannibal was keen on suppressing in season one are things he’s now allowing to slide out more often, to the continued obliviousness of everyone else. Which, to be honest, is why he’s doing it. It’s a game! The blinder they are, the more obvious he’ll be; this is his version of Garret Jacob Hobbs’ “See?!” because he knows they don’t.
Next scene finds us at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane with Will doing his best “Jack in the Box” impression while lost in his mind palace and Chilton continuing to be the classless asshole that he is. WHY ARE YOU STILL ALIVE, DUDE?! WHY? “You’re my patient now, Will.” *insert imagined maniacal laughter here* Uggggggggggh. Will isn’t having it and is all, “I want to talk to Dr. Lecter”. Wait. Are you requesting a conjugal visit or another therapist, Will? That’s the burning question here. It’s funny to see both he and Hannibal in such odd places right now. Hannibal only framed Will to take the heat off himself, not out of malice (still a dick move) and Will is stuck with hating Hannibal’s betrayal while knowing the man is the only person to truly understand how his mind works. Dammit, why must everything about this dynamic hurt so good?!
Back at FBI headquarters, Alana Bloom has reported the fuck out of Jack, only to be told that it would be in everyone’s best interest to recant her story. (Hey, look, it’s Cynthia Nixon!) Jack is only to happy to go along with the idea. Lol, no. Remember that pity party we were throwing in Jack’s honor? NOT ANYMORE, BITCH! Alana is the only one who gets points for actively caring about and trying to help her friend. If it means throwing Jack under the bus? So be it. Then we flash over to the Creek of Suspicious Horror where bodies start bobbing to the surface like the proverbial apples. Dun dun dun! We certainly know THAT wasn’t Will, don’t we, Jack?
Speaking of requests for conjugal visits vs. therapy sessions! Hannibal is paying Bedelia Du Maurier a timely visit to expound on how much he misses Will and that, since his boo has requested a visit, he should totally go, right? Right?! Bedelia remains in permanent “bitch, please” mode and calls Hannibal out for being “obsessed with Will Graham” as if she JUST got the memo.
She then asks him what about himself he’s unable to suppress, inciting a coy smile courtesy of MICROEXPRESSIONS O’ DOOM. THE THING HE CAN’T REPRESS IS THAT HE LIKES PEOPLE, IN THE INGESTED WAY. RUN WHILE YOU STILL CAN, BEDELIA! WHILE YOUR COIF IS STILL FLAWLESS!
Next we find ourselves back at BSHFCI for, you guessed it, conjugal visit time at the happiest place on earth. Will tells Hannibal that his inner voices now sound
cultured and sexy like Hannibal instead of his own and it’s freaking him out. Hannibal parries by basically telling Will that “friends” tend to lose some of their individuality in each other, they blur. This, to which Will lays out the most acid of burns: “The light from friendship won’t reach us for a million years, that’s how far away from friendship we are.” OHHHHHHHHHH, SNAP. Aloe, bro, start investing in it now! Hannibal continues to try and convince his favorite puppy that he (Will) really IS a killer, despite essentially outing himself to Will during last season’s final kitchen scene. Remember that whole “come to the darkside” speech? Yeah. But Will throws down the gauntlet and lets Hannibal know that he will eventually remember what Lecter did to him, and when he does, “there will be a reckoning.” In typical fashion, Hannibal is taking this warning as foreplay.
Beverly Katz and Hannibal have a small heart to heart while she takes DNA samples from him, as a formality, to rule him out as a suspect. She excuses him for failing Will since they all failed did. Then she christens him “the new Will Graham” and succeeds in making Hannibal the happiest cannibal ever! Apparently, she’s on to something because, when he does start to act and be treated as such during this newest case? We’re all suddenly clued into how much he wanted to be Will as much as he wanted Will to be him (Hannibal). Oh, Hanni, your issues are many, varied, and only BEGIN with your penchant for long pig.
Back at ye olde River of Corpses, “the new Will Graham” struts up to muffled rap music. Okay, he doesn’t, but he does! He’s officially the wolf lying down with the sheep, doing Jack the solid of taking up Will’s abandoned reigns. It seems the bodies drawn from the water were in a state of semi-preservation; whomever was killing them, was trying to make “models” and tossing the rejects. Mmm, tasty. After imparting his wisdom, Hannibal heads back to Bedelia’s office to sign over permission for her to discuss him (as her patient) with the FBI. She is equal parts unamused and highly suspicious. The most obvious thing about this scene is that Bedelia, for all her mysterious knowledge of Hannibal, begins to realize that she’s not as safe from his proclivities as she originally thought. Hannibal gushes about how he got to see through Will’s eyes for a day before making it clear that Bedelia’s scruples aren’t his concern, nor is her continued unscathed existence. Simply put, the monster wearing the person-suit has finally bared its teeth. Pretty sure she shat her pants if the hard swallow she gave is any indication.
“Jack Crawford has no idea what you’re capable of.”
“Neither do you.” WELP.
Finally, we see Alana visit Will. She brings news of the dogs, specifically Winston, who keeps running away to find Will at “home”. C’MON, BRY, THAT IS A LOW BLOW. *sobs* Alana assures Will that, even though he’s a murderer, they’re still bros because his Encephalitis was clearly to blame! It’s a double-edged sword for Will, having a supporter who still thinks he’s guilty. On a hunch, he decides to let her hypnotize him in hopes that he’ll remember how Hannibal framed him, but nothing comes from it other than a really freaky hallucination both he and we could’ve done without. *shudder* Not to mention that douche, Chilton, is listening to the conversation. Too bad the man can survive on his one remaining kidney. Speaking of which…
Hannibal has Chilton over for dinner! Sadly, Chilton is NOT the dinner itself. His presence forces Hannibal to make a vegetarian meal as the man is renally challenged post Abel Gideon and now has to watch his protein intake. HA. Something on that plate is people, Chilton. You just don’t know it. Ever the salacious gossip, Chilton informs Hannibal about Alana’s (non-conjugal) visit to Will resulting in the failed memory recall, how Hannibal is all Will talks about, and how he (Will) believes Hannibal to be a “monster”. “Well, in that case, you’re dining with a psychopathic murderer, Frederick.” *facepalm* No, Frederick, that wasn’t a joke, you buffoon!
Suddenly, we’re on a train. A faceless man lays his hand on a subway pole directly over another man’s. Then he tells him that he has nice skin. They are strangers to each other. 100% NOPE.HELLNO.COM. The guy brushes the creeper off, but ends up kidnapped by said creeper later that evening. This will not end well at all. Cut to the cooking and dosing of heroin that Team Sassy Science (Katz, Price, and Zeller) have just figured out is being pumped into the victims. Like…what? There’s only one man for this motive job and, no, it’s not you, Jack. Behind everyone’s back, Katz visits Will in hopes that he can figure out how the victims are chosen. Naturally, he gets a pretty fair idea (they form a color palette), but the heartbreaking thing here is to see how crestfallen Will is when he realizes that Katz was visiting him for purely professional reasons.
Will is just about to indulge in yet another prison-tastic meal when he gets his first flashback. It’s…not pretty, of course. To be honest, I did a lot of high-pitched squealing/whimpering as we finally learned how Hannibal got Abigail’s ear into Will. The ick factor is there, but the most disturbing part is the psychological aspects of Will having been partially aware of what was happening and Hannibal’s strangely affectionate body language AS HE SHOVED A BLOODY EAR THROUGH A TUBE DOWN INTO HIS “FRIEND’S” ESOPHAGUS. Bad cannibal! This is not how we show admiration! grioenhieao;hieao;haewhioaehae Mind you, I remain a shameless hussy for Hannibal’s ruthlessness. Still…WIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLL. Like many a victim of abuse, Will retreats into a fantasy world as a buffer from his reality. It’s a place that Jack intrudes on when he comes seeking more absolution. STAY THE FUCK HOME NEXT TIME, JACK.
The “Ballad of the Sad Cannibal” reconvenes with a shot of Hannibal alone in his office, staring longingly at the empty space Will used to occupy. The world’s smallest violin plays just for him, okay? Flash over to where we learn the fate of train dude and, yup, it’s time to get one’s whimper on again! The poor man is stitched up, alive, to a bunch of dead bodies in order to form a large scale model of the human eye. Living art…for now. We all thought, from the promos, that victims were already dead before they became part of the “ensemble”, right? In the immortal words of Miriam Lass, we were “so wrong” and the abject horror of that is deep.
Aaaaaaand that rounds out this recap! Fairly sure everyone was collectively shuddering by the end of it, thank Jeebus. The quality we continue to get from this show, without lag, is astounding and possibly even better than last season?! It may actually be more beautiful and terrifying which only serves to make you want to cuddle up with it as mingled tears of joy and anguish slide down your cheeks. THANK YOU, SIR. MAY I HAVE ANOTHER?!
‘Hannibal’ airs Friday nights at 10pm on NBC.