tv review – NBC’s Hannibal, episode 2.2

On the surface ‘Sakizuki’ was mainly about resolving the color palette killer plot. The episode opener had the man’s latest victim tear himself from the human eye composed of countless bodies and flee the scene, through a cornfield and eventually into the river while he was being stalked and hunted. It was a thrilling start that dove straight into (quite familiar) horror territory and, like last week, was very effective in treating viewers to an explosive opening that immediately reeled them in. Other shows would have dedicated the entire run time to the hunt for this killer, with him being caught in the last couple of minutes. Not so with Hannibal: midway through ‘Sakizuki’ dr. Lecter traced the man down and made him end up in his own art work, a clever move that not only kept audiences on their toes, but also showed us once again that Hannibal will always be about the dynamics of its core cast of characters, while having fun with the good doctor having fun: not only did Hannibal sew the man into his own mural, he also took his leg to cook himself a nice meal. Bon appétit.

Lecter used the case to play his own games, one of which involved Will Graham of course. Much like Hannibal’s actions in series first episode, he presented Will with a negative once again, to show him the positive. A stand-out moment saw Will investigate the crime scene in his mind, which led to seeing himself sewn into the giant eye with the Wendigo looking on, all thanks to dr. Lecter’s adjustments. This season’s starting to be like a game of chess, with Will Graham now determined to get out of his cell and prove everyone wrong. Both Will and Hannibal are making moves, putting pieces in place to see what kind of response it triggers. It’s a joy watching Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen act this out: both men are expert actors who understand how powerful subtlety is. These characters are hiding their true intentions toward each other, do their best to hide their motives, and Dancy and Mikkelsen show you just enough to give you an idea of what’s bubbling away underneath the surface. Only body language, little twitches and flickers in their eyes convey what’s in their heart, and it makes these two expert manipulators immensely interesting to watch.

Bedelia Du Maurier is another intriguing part of the puzzle, played to perfection by the lovely Gillian Anderson. She stepped down as Lecter’s psychiatrist, and obviously she understood the danger involved, as did Lecter. The secret that binds the two is still not out in the open, which is both a daring move and an assured one: it not only creates mystery for the viewer, but it presents us with what is obviously a deep bond between these characters, but it’s a hard one to put your finger on. There’s a sense though that Bedelia was Hannibal’s prisoner, that he had leverage over her which allowed him to use her as he saw fit. Not anymore: Bedelia visited Will and told him she believes him. We’ve seen her break free now, but not only that: she outsmarted Lecter who broke in to kill her but found an abandoned house instead. He was impressed with her, enjoys his worthy advisaries, but this will undoubtedly motivate Hannibal to step up his game even more. A worrying thought.

‘Sakizuki’ offered thrills and surprises, but mostly intrigue. What the writers have created is an interesting web they keep adding strands to, as well as spiders vying for its center. 8/10

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