Between its careful handling of the Tooth Fairy’s crimes, its memorable character debuts and reintroductions, and its gentle resetting of so many pieces on the Hannibal chessboard to their pre-“Mizumono” positions, “The Great Red Dragon” is a strong and exciting midseason premiere that promises a confident, more accessible end to a previously divisive season.
It feels safe to say that everyone watching the series Hannibal knows that at some point, barring a complete break from the source material, Hannibal Lecter will end up in police custody. With “Digestivo”, Bryan Fuller and company finally bring this moment to pass, catching up to the lesser informed segment of the audience—those only peripherally familiar with Red Dragon or Silence of the Lambs—and doing so in style.
I would imagine that if “Mizumono” screened in front of a live audience, it would get a ten minute standing ovation. Let’s just get this out of the way real quick: “Mizumono” will go down in the books as one of the greatest season finales of all time. There is a seriousness and an intensity here that is unlike anything on the small screen; everything that sets Hannibal apart from every other television show is contained in this season’s riveting last installment. This is a truly inspiring example of classy storytelling and unforgettable characterization, and the collaborative effort of Bryan Fuller, Steve Lightfoot, and David Slade has resulted in something very special for fans of the show.
Hannibal will have a lot to answer for in the upcoming three episodes of season two. Right now, there is so much that just doesn’t feel right, but I’m willing to give Bryan Fuller and his team the benefit of the doubt, and assume they know what they are doing. That said, it doesn’t change the fact that, after 22 episodes, Hannibal delivers a misfire.
After her encounter with Hannibal in last weeks cliffhanger, the chances of Beverly coming out alive were extremely slim. But while her death doesn’t come with much of a surprise, the reveal of her fate is shocking, to say the least. Kudos to showrunner Bryan Fuller and Battlestar Galactica’s Michael Rymer, who directed “Mukozuke,” an episode crammed with stunning and unsettling images, and a tour-de-force performance from Hugh Dancy and Laurence Fishburne.
Legendary filmmaker Peter Medak (The Changeling, Romeo Is Bleeding) directs his second episode of Hannibal; unfortunately “Hassun” is the weakest episode of the series so far. This week, Will Graham goes to court, and despite knowing his innocence, he has no choice but to play victim to mental illness in an attempt to avoid the electric chair. Amid the courtroom circus, Graham’s trial becomes complicated when Will’s lawyer opens a letter containing a severed ear. As it turns out, the ear belongs to a bailiff who is found mounted on a stag’s head in his home, just moments after it is rigged to explode. The newfound murder sheds doubts on Will’s guilt, as the bailiff was killed in the exact same way Will supposedly killed his victims. Or so it seems. The killer has perfectly replicated the presentation, only reversing the mutilation process, and making use of a firearm. We learn this when Hannibal visits Will in prison and asks him what he sees. Hannibal and Will return to their role of last season, only this time, with prison bars standing between them.
Hannibal serves up another carefully cooked up course of events with its ninth episode of the series, “Trou Normand,” as Jack and Will’s pursuit of a new killer (Lance Henriksen) takes a toll on Will’s psyche. Will is really is beginning to crack under the pressure this week. He’s suffering from time lapses (losing a total of three and half hours of his life), and teaches the killer’s design to an empty class. As we see each and every week, Will is exposed to unimaginable horror every day.