^^me the whole time
DON'T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED THE EPISODE
The second season of NBCs Hannibal aired tonight Fsdhfjksdfjdnfg. This show is one of my top three favorite shows, and Bryan Fuller is a geniusssss. Season one was amazeballs and I wrote a review which you can read here. But I'm thinking what will work better for shows is if I do recaps of each episode and then at the end of the season do a collective review. So here we goooooo!
I have a problem with things that come after the original; sequels for books and movies, second albums for music, and second seasons for tv shows. I find that the creators will try to gauge what worked well and then focus on that, which often just ends up feeling...contrived. Hannibal, luckily, seems to have avoided falling into this trap. The show picks up right where season one left off, with Will Graham freshly arrested and Hannibal still eating people food and making ever-so-subtle puns. The tone matched that of season one; dark, creepy, dramatic, like some sort of macabre theatre production of an Edgar Allen Poe piece but more grotesque and with three-piece suits and paisley ties.
The episode opens with the silent slicing of meat, seeing Jack Crawford's face in the glint of the knife, a mute fight between Hannibal and Jack that follows. Both seem to know the other's intentions; they are both ready to fight to the death. The fight was electrifying and didn't try to do anything showy with the choreography. When Jack is pierced in the neck with a shard of glass and runs into the *wine closet* (?) and you say to yourself this must be some sort of dream or something, it's all too surreal, the episode cuts back to 12 weeks earlier and truly begins the plot of the second season. Okay, so I was originally sort of pissed that the (I'm guessing) ending of the season was given away like that, but then I remembered- that's sort of how the show works. The show isn't a who-dun-it murder mystery- you already know who Hannibal is and his fate. I mean, this is a bestselling book series that spawned multiple movies, it would be sort of hard to keep people in the dark. So instead of wondering the whole season if someone is going to figure Hannibal out, and focusing on that, already knowing allows you to appreciate the other, more subtle aspects of the show.
I think the characters are even better built than last season. Sadly there was no Freddie Lounds to be found(s), but the sassy science squad was back (with a nice dose of character development on Beverly's part), along with Jack Crawford and his subdued guilt and internal conflict, and the creepy insane asylum overlord. Alanna Bloom is shaping up to be a much more prominent character this season. Given that she doesn't believe Will is innocent, you can't help but feel a little betrayed by her, but she's there for Will and wants to help him. She is the good in all this bad, the character that seems to remain pure through it all. I also am really loving her standoff with Jack over him having put Will into the field. The meeting at the beginning was so well- written, where you could tell that she didn't want to get Jack in trouble but also felt it was just to try to stand up for Will in whatever way possible. And omg dream Alanna just takes this show to new levels of freakish visual poetry (raven-stag-man I'm looking at you).
And now we come to Will and Hannibal. And the twisted, murder-y, psycho, cannibalistic bromance between them. So romantic. It's sort of strange in a way; the Will of this season, despite his situation, is far more relaxed and composed than last season. He has finally got a grasp of the situation, of who's who and what's what, and strangely enough, behind bars it's as if Will feels more powerful. He feels more control over himself. (It helps his brain isn't like, on fire anymore.) He can now assess what happened and what needs to happen. But you do get that he truly hates Hannibal. There is no sympathy, but there is not the kind of loathing that comes from someone betraying you; that kind of hate can be healed with time and apologies. Will detests who Hannibal is as a person, now that he can finally see it. Like he said in the first season, he sees him "as one of those things born in hospitals from time to time". On the other hand, the premiere provided an unexpected insight into Hannibal's....soft side? Ok, that might be going a little far in reference to a serial cannibal murderer, but I REALLY SORT OF LOVE WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE HANNIBAL'S THERAPIST THING. It adds an element of mystery and suspense, because it is clear that there are secrets tying them together, but it also seems as though Hannibal has power over her, and manipulates her with that power. But because he has power over her, he can tell her the things he wouldn't tell other people. He can, in a sense, open up, and that is his form of manipulation. And even though Hannibal does not have a heart-to-heart with his therapist, his act of honesty and transparency does actually point to some of his true feelings. When Hannibal says that Will Graham is his friend, I don't think that's an act. I believe him. Hannibal sees Will as an equal human being in a world full of animals, one that can match Hannibal, even challenge him to the point where Hannibal has to get him taken out of the immediate picture. Hannibal does not resent him for that: he respects him. And in some twisted way, I think Hannibal is lonely and truly does need a friend. He feels that Will understands him, and because Will knows who Hannibal really is, there's an intimacy there that Hannibal seems to really enjoy.
ALSO. This is something I really appreciated after I finished season one, and it is being done just as skillfully in season two. The show manipulates you into sympathizing with Hannibal. Or maybe that's just me. But through some witchy magic I always find myself looking at Hannibal positively. The show just won't let him be a true villain. Even the fight at the beginning, when Jack Crawford got Hannibal around the neck with his tie and was choking him, and Hannibal let out this little noise that sounded so weak, I was screaming in my head for Jack to stop hurting Hannibal. In truth, I wanted Hannibal to win the fight. Not by any conscious decision of my own, but because the show plants that idea so subtly into my mind. Why else would there be a scene like at the end, when Hannibal is sitting in his office, staring at Will's empty chair. He could have smiled, showing his satisfaction with having "won" (for now) but instead he just looks, well...sad. Not regretful; I don't think Hannibal really regrets anything he does. He is a psychopath, in the end. But he does, in whatever capacity he can, care about Will, and for that reason I still find myself caring about him.
STOP MANIPULATING MY FEELS BRYAN FULLER
Otherwise, music was spot-on as usual. Or should I say abstract sounds and vibrations. Whatever it is, it worked. The script was as beautiful as ever. Now that I'm accustomed to the avant-garde way the dialogue is spoken, I can really appreciate it. Some of the exchanges are just achingly eloquent. Cinematography= 10/10 all the stars. It's wonderful and amazing and the color palettes and depth of field and all that good stuff were perfect. My favorite scene was when Beverly came to Will in the asylum and gave him the pictures, and there was a camera shot from above of him laying out the picture, the hands over the pictures and the metal chain pulling back and forth going chk-chk-chk-chk. There was something really satisfying about how that shot was set up, and how the sound of the chain moving was emphasized.
I have a really, really great feeling about this season. I love all of Bryan Fuller's work; I think he's an artist as well as a perfectionist, so whatever he does it will be beautiful down to the smallest details. If everything else, Hannibal will never be sloppy.
Did you see the episode this week? I'd love to hear what you thought of it in the comments below, and what you're looking forward to this season!