Hannibal Season 2 Premiere Recap: 'I Am Not the Intelligent Psychopath You're Looking For'

Hannibal Season 2 RecapHannibal‘s second season premiere inspires a new motto that’s just aching to be cross-stitched, framed and hung over kitchen counters.

Life is uncertain. Kill your dessert first.

After all, that’s how the dark thriller ropes us back in: with Hannibal’s gourmet dinner preparations interrupted by Jack – and guess what, everyone? Jack knows. So without a word, Will’s two colleagues get into a bloody brawl right there in Lecter’s kitchen.

Jack pulls his gun. Hannibal sends a butcher knife flying through the air to lodge in Crawford’s hand. (Side note: Many visuals during the hour make me cringe in a good way; that’s the first.)

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It’s an incredibly physical fight between these two very cerebral men, with blood from Jack’s sliced hand staining Hannibal’s shirt as they go at it. No kitchen utensil is spared – at one point, Lecter beats at Jack with a pepper mill; later, a cutting board is all that comes between Jack and a slit throat – and eventually, it looks like the G-man is gonna win.

He takes off his tie, body-slams the bad doctor onto his custom tile floor and strangles Hannibal until he goes slack. But the moment Crawford lets up, Possumbal grabs a shard of glass off the ground and jams it up under Jack’s ear.

Spurting blood and gaping like a fish on land, Jack crabwalks back into the wine closet and locks himself in. Hannibal throws all his weight against the door, trying to finish off his kill. And then… we cut to to 12 weeks earlier. I guess Jack’s fate, like a bold cabernet sauvignon, will be better enjoyed if we’re made to wait for it?

Welcome back, fannibals! As Crawford bleeds out in the vino room, let’s review the major developments of the mind-twister that is “Kaiseki.”

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DOWNER DINNER | Three months before the kitchen throwdown, Jack is at Hannibal’s for a very different reason: to partake of some kaiseki – or Japanese haute cuisine – and mourn how things went so very wrong with Will. The seasonal sashimi Lecter prepares for his guest is so pretty, “I almost feel guilty eating it,” Jack notes. “I never feel guilty about eating anything,” his host responds. (If only I could approach cupcakes with the same insouciance Lecter bestows upon all his meals.) Jack notes that Will, currently cooling his heels in Dr. Chilton’s Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, might be convicted of five murders – and that as Graham’s superior, he feels responsible. Both men agree that the FBI needs a pro forma investigation of Lecter, for appearances’ sake, though neither seems especially worried about it.

Maybe that’s because Jack has bigger problems at work: Namely, a report Alana has filed, which alleges that he made some very bad decisions when it came to the care and feeding of his star profiler. The FBI admin in charge of looking into the matter (the awesome Cynthia Nixon, in serious Miranda-on-not-enough-sleep mode) tries to get Dr. Bloom to withdraw her concerns. “There is a general desire to see this go away quickly and quietly,” she says, pinch-faced. But Alana won’t budge, even though she, Jack and Winston the dog later share a sad moment at Will’s empty home: They all miss him, and they blame themselves for his downfall. (Well, maybe not Winston, given this week’s news.)

INSIDE MAN | In fact, Lecter seems to relish the idea of royally screwing with the FBI from the inside. Why else would he fill in as a profiler, give them DNA samples (who knew cheek-swabbing could look so incredibly disgusting?), let them test his wardrobe and sign a document allowing Dr. Scully  duMaurier to tell them whatever they want to know?

“You maintain an air of transparency while putting me in a position to lie for you. Again,” the shrink tells Hannibal during a session. You can tell she’s mad because her normally icy manner has gone polar vortex on his cannibal ass. But dump all the snow you want, Bedelia, because Lecter knows exactly where to stick his shovel. “You’re not just lying for me,” he reminds her, referring to… WHAT? For the love of sweetbreads, Hannibal, throw us a little backstory here. I’m dying to know what went down between these two before we met them – and why, for instance, when she says, “Jack Crawford doesn’t know what you’re capable of,” Lecter’s “Neither do you” feels like such a huge threat.

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NEW PSYCHO ON THE BLOCK | While Lecter is fulfilling his Will obsession by trying on Graham’s old job, the FBI is called in to investigate some bodies that popped up in a Maryland river. They’ve all been dosed with heroin and injected with dyes and silicon – “He’s making models,” Hannibal deduces, then realizes that the corpses in the water were the murderer’s discards.

As the episode progresses, we see the new serial killer only in sidelong glances as he stalks, injects and manipulates his prey. Unfortunately for the good-looking victim selected in this episode, the heroin doesn’t kill him – it just wears off in time for him to wake up, sewn into position in an elaborate spiral of dead bodies on the floor of what looks like a remote grain silo, and scream. A lot.

When forensics tech Beverly visits Will in lock-up, she brings the file on the new killer. Because it’s not enough insult that no one believes his innocence; now the agency is going to make him work for free, too? With the victims’ photos spread before him, Will instantly picks up on what the FBI missed: Their skin tones make up “a color palate.”

NOBODY KNOWS THE TROUBLES I’VE EATEN | And just how is Will faring in the loony bin? He’s having visions of the HanniStag, decrying Lecter’s guilt to anyone who’ll listen and demanding an audience with the cannibal hismelf, who eventually shows up for a visit and refers to the two of them as “friends.”

Will’s incredulous face upon hearing this is pretty great. “The light from friendship won’t reach us for a million years. That’s how far away from friendship we are,” the profiler informs his former therapist. “What you did to me is in my head, and I will find it,” he adds. “I’m going to remember, Dr. Lecter, and when I do, there will be a reckoning.”

That moment comes sooner than Will realizes, and it’s triggered by some questionable looking Salisbury steak on his meal tray. As Will chews, he remembers Hannibal snaking some plastic tubing down his throat and dropping Abigail Hobbs’ ear down his gullet like Alka-Seltzer into a glass of water. (Side note: How could Hannibal be sure that Will would later cough up the extremity? As you’ll remember, seeing that piece of evidence was what convinced Graham he’d done the horrifying things he dreamed of. Maybe he wanted it in Will’s stomach for the same reason he planted the fishing lures in his tackle: just in case the cops checked? Post your theories in the comments, please.)

Jack swings by the hospital and is unimpressed that Will has recovered a memory. “That’s meaningless,” he says. “Not to me,” Graham replies with grit. He may not be sure of much, Will vows, but he knows this: “I am not the intelligent psychopath you’re looking for.”

Now it’s your turn.  What was your favorite image from the visually compelling episode? (For the record, mine was Alana’s inky black hair tumbling all around Will as she lulled him into regression therapy.) Do you think Jack will survive this season? Did the “you have nice skin” comment, make you think/hope for a second that the floppy haired new serial killer might be Jame Gumb? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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27 Comments
  1. Rachel says:

    Its amazing. The best show to ever be on television.

  2. Frankie says:

    I love this show. I only hope this sticks around for years to come. I originally thought that the Jack-Hannibal fight was a Will dream, but I guess not. I don’t think Jack makes it out of the season. Also,wasn’t the serial killer shown to be a woman?

  3. Barbara Guerra says:

    Hannibal inserted the ear directly into Will’s stomach, skipping most of the digestive process, coupled with it being human meat and so richer in some nutrients than the ideal, that’d cause indigestion and would make him empty all the contents of his stomach sooner rather than later, but since his stomach was empty but for the ear, he dry heaved it out. Hannibal has a medical degree, so he’d know this, although it’s High School level knowledge, really.

  4. amanda says:

    The guy bringing Will the meal tray looked like Jonathan Tucker (Bob Little on Parenthood). If it was him, I wonder what they’re going to be using him for cause there’s no way it was just pushing a meal cart.

    • Eric says:

      Considering he’s one of the stars of Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller’s upcoming TV movie High Moon, and Bryan’s track record of reusing his actors in many of the projects he’s involved in, it’s highly possible. Or maybe it was just a cameo.

    • Dan says:

      It was Jonathan Tucker. During the credits his character was billed as “Matthew Brown.”

    • k.f. says:

      I agree! I think the meal tray delivery guy (Jonathan Tucker as Matthew Brown) is the current copy cat murderer. I think he might have access to Will’s records to know things about the original Hannibal copy cat murders that were not made public (as stated by Jack Crawford to the judge). And since Will (while talking to Alana at the end of episode 3) has profiled this person as someone who will make contact with him and who wants to know him, I’m going to throw this out there that maybe this is an unknown or estranged sibling who’s been stalking/studying Will all along and now that he’s in trouble/prison, is doing what he thinks will help his brother (?). If Hannibal sees the potential killer in Will, maybe this is a family trait, but the unknown sibling ended up being like Hannibal instead of like Will… What do you think?

  5. N says:

    Love this show!

  6. Liam says:

    Hannibal, the tv-series, has become the perfect monster: cerebral, visually grandiose, perfectly acted. Mads Mikkelsen plays Hannibal with such intense and ease with so many nuances. I especially like his scenes with Gillian.

  7. guest says:

    There was mention in the first series of how one of Hannibal’s patients became her patient. I assume he set him on her to see what would happen, for fun. And the patient attacked her, then died, somehow mysteriously swallowing his tongue, if memory serves. She stopped practicing after the attack. So Hannibal has firstly set one of his sicko patients on her (and he would have been well aware of what the patient was capable of and possibly wound him up to do it) and then made her complicit in covering up his part in the patient’s death and then forced his way back into her life even though she was no longer seeing patients because of what happened to her and now he is making her lie for him again, knowing this is torture for her.

  8. Ron says:

    I love this show. However, I don’t see this being a long-term series. Not because it’s not good enough to be one, because it certainly is. But I just don’t think the show is structured in a way that makes it a long-term series. I rarely say this about shows I love, but I hope it does NOT go beyond a 4th season … maybe not even beyond a 3rd season.

    • The plan is to make it six to seven seasons long, it’s a well structured plan with seasons four to six being the actual adaptations of the three Hannibal novels. I think by now we can trust Bryan Fuller knows what he’s doing.

  9. I don’t know if I’m the only one who thinks this, but to me the killer’s design isn’t exactly a color palete but actually an eye.

    • LB says:

      It’s both. The killer needs a color palette to “paint” the eye. It wouldn’t be a realistic looking eye if only one or two colors were used – you need the whole range.

    • Anna says:

      I actually thought it resembled an eye, too. Not sure the significance of that, tho. lol. I’m never sure what’s real or imagined in this show, so it always keeps me guessing.
      Great premiere! Loaded with intrigue and visually stunning.

  10. Patrick Maloney says:

    That last image was incredibly horrifying

  11. jennifer says:

    Alls I know is this show BETTER not be snubbed for an Emmy this year! It truly is one of the BEST shows on TV. It’s chilling, it’s intelligent and the Art direction is superb!!!

  12. Fluffy says:

    I love Hannibal: the actors; the writing: the imagery. Each epi is delicious.

  13. Sara says:

    This show. So, so, so good!

  14. Tad Robinson says:

    So they don’t care about the source material at all? Considering Jack is who bring Starling on to the “Buffalo Bill ” case. Great Books (all be it, the beating the dead horse Hannibal Rising), Good Movies, Crap show (which is sad because I love Mads Michelson, and the character of Lector. Should have just changed the names and passed it off for something new instead of cashing in on trademark characters.

    • BabyFirefly says:

      Considering they are basing the next 6 years on the novels, I would say they have to care a little. I for one am not interested in seeing a paint by numbers interpretation of the books. I enjoy the tweaks they have made along the way, changing up genders ( Freddie, Alana), adding new characters, etc. I believe it’s called artistic license. I don’t look at it as disrespecting the source material, as I think you are. I am also looking forward to being surprised by this show, so I’m in favor of any changes they make. It looks like they have already made one huge change from the book if I recall correctly, they swapped Will for Jack in that flash-forward scene. If they go the same route they took in the book I don’t think you will have reason to worry after all, given that outcome. Sorry if that seemed overly vague, I don’t want to spoil anything.

  15. Only show dumber is The Following. I’m shocked the FBI hasn’t sued both for slander, libel, and ludicrously stupid characters. I do give the show props for being visually disturbing compared to Following being infuriating!

  16. Gautreaux says:

    They don’t have the rights for Starling/Bill/those characters, but they have the rights for all the other movies/books. Tad, it would behoove you to research before spouting off like an impetulant child.

    • Tad Robinson says:

      @ Gautreaux, Just because they don’t have the rights to Starling and Bill, doesn’t mean killing of a central series character before the story begins makes them any closer to the source material. And I am the child when your logic is invalid, no research was needed when a character was killed off way before his story line was through. I did not suggest they introduce Starling or Bill, just that Jack has a much larger role in Hannibal series, for example he is the one who brings Will back once Lector is imprisoned to catch the “Tooth Fairy” in Red Dragon.

      So, I suggest you turn the TV off and crack a book and do some research the old fashion way.

  17. pauline says:

    The show is absolutely enigmatic! At times i find myself screaming when a scene gets too graphic but it doesn’t stop me from continuing to watch anyway.

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