Hannibal Season 2: Review (Spoilers)

September 1, 2014 3:29 pm

There is a moment in Season 2 of Hannibal which I feel perfectly sums up the show, in which while Mason Verger slices off portions off his own face and feeds it to Will Graham’s dogs, he informs Hannibal he is hungry, who remarks “eat your nose then,” Mason proceeds to do so before mumbling with cackle, “I’m full of myself.” I am ashamed to admit how utterly hilarious I found this.

hannibalBryan Fuller’s Season 2 of Hannibal sees the return of Hugh Dancy as Will Graham, Lawrence Fishburne as Jack Crawford and Mad’s Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lector. They are joined by new members of the cast such as Katherine Isabelle and Michael Pitt as the two Verger siblings. The first half of the second season of this gleefully dark and horrifying show focuses on Will Graham and the ensuing trial which will either mark him as an intelligent psychopath or an unstable man framed for someone else’s murderous acts-that someone being Lector of course. While these episodes are not as eventful as those of Season 1 they are infinitely more interesting, seeing the relationship between Will and Hannibal slowly decay into something of a rivalry and delving deep into the psyche of mental illness. It gets to the extent in which it’s impossible to distinguish who’s playing who, the pivotal moment here is when Will asks one of the prison guards (a fellow serial killer) to kill Hannibal, who almost succeeds. This marks the moment in which the two end their almost flirtatious game of cat and mouse and enter a stalemate of both loathing and curiosity. Hannibal is intrigued that Will has opted to deal with his problems in this fashion and tries to reach out to his inner monster, in his own turn Will becomes fearful but also embracing of the person he is becoming.

The show has lost none of the elements which makes it so unique, the cinematography is better than ever, luring audiences into thinking Hannibal is making a delicious and appetizing dish when in reality he’s butchering his latest human victim. The soundtrack runs beautifully alongside Will’s typically horrifying visions and the acting is better than ever. Unlike the first, Season 2 doesn’t adopt a killer-an-episode approach, leaving much needed room for Will and Hannibal to contextualize their relationship. Seriously, sometimes it feels like they’re going to kiss just to break the tension-the intensity they share makes for unpredictable viewing, so when surprises arise (and arise in all their glory they do) it makes them all the more impacting. Michael Pitt gives an electrifying performance not unlike Ledger’s Joker as Mason Verger, as does Katherine Isabelle as his loathing sister Margot Verger.

For the life of me I cannot fathom how Bryan Fuller gets away with some of the images the series Hannibal presents. In a previous review, I said no other show pushes the boundaries of TV like Season 1 of Hannibal, now I’ve found one that does, it’s called Season 2 of Hannibal. The last two episodes contained some of the most harrowing scenes I’ve ever seen on screen. The episode before the finale showing Will and Hannibal talking about the nature of murder while, under a hallucinogenic drug and some misguided words from Hannibal, Mason Verger proceeds to cuts his face off and feed it to dogs-with the exception of Winston, who is the Ghandi of canines. After this episode finished I thought there was no way the finale would successfully follow it up, but once again, Hannibal served up a portion of drama and horror which made everything beforehand pale in comparison. The episode sees the continuation and conclusion of the brutal fight between Jack and Hannibal we saw at the series premiere. We always knew that Hannibal wouldn’t go down without a fight, what we didn’t know was that Will would end up gutted, Alana Bloom crushed and shattered after being pushed out of a window and Abigail Hobbs revealing herself to be alive, only to have her throat cut shortly after by Hannibal. The number of ‘holy shit’ moments contained in just 60 minutes should merit its own award. And even through this massacre of blood, no character is left defiantly dead, within an inch of demise and bleeding all over Hannibal’s polished floor, maybe, but not dead.

While Season 3 of Hannibal has been cleared, it is unlikely without the mainstream audience shows like Breaking Bad possessed that NBC will be confident in renewing a Season 4. This would be a crime against filmmaking and everything it stands for as Hannibal is a precious gem rarely found on network television that is yet to be discovered by the masses.

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