Hannibal‘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.)
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.”
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.
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!