Wow! It’s a good time to be a Hannibal fan, as the show just gets better and better as it goes along. Last week’s premiere hit the ground running, giving us a glimpse at where this season was heading and casting a cloak of tension and anxious anticipation over the proceedings. While last week focused mostly on the mind games played by our titular intelligent psychopath, this week upped the ante in every way possible, beginning with a truly gruesome sequence that just might make Hannibal the goriest and most cringe-inducing show on television.
The episode opens with the latest victim of the human mural killer, not quite dead from the heroin cocktail that turned the countless other surrounding people into corpses. Later we learn that the man was in fact a recovering drug addict, and therefore had built up a tolerance to the drugs and didn’t die like the others.
Right off the bat the guy begins ripping apart the limbs that have been fused and literally sewn together, in an unbelievably hard to watch sequence that would send chills down the spine of even the most hardcore horror fans. But it doesn’t just stop when his arms and legs are ripped apart, he’s attached to the bodies around him and must break free, leaving behind chunks of his own flesh in the process.
Just when you begin to applaud the man for surviving such an ordeal, the killer arrives at the sight, spotting the runaway and chasing after him with flashlight and rifle in hand. What follows is a truly harrowing and terrific chase sequence that builds the tension to an amazing, almost uncomfortable degree. Then, just when we think the man has escaped, jumping from a high cliff into the river below, he hits one of the rocks on the way down and dies. You weren’t expecting him to get away, were you? This is Hannibal, after all. We should be used to these heart-stopping moments by now.
We then cut to Will Graham, who’s meeting with Alana and Hannibal to discuss his case and the possibility that he may be an unreliable narrator in his own life. When they leave and Will is taken back to his cell, we see that his tears were just an act. For me, at least, there’s something gratifying about finally seeing Will being proactive. He’s done a lot of sulking and brooding in that jail cell so it’s great that the wheels are turning in his mind once again and it seems that the memory of Hannibal stuffing an ear down his throat has only strengthened his resolve. With no one left on his side, Will’s beginning to realize that he’s got to work hard to save himself from the electric chair.
This episode of Hannibal turned several things around, laying the groundwork for what will surely be an ever-moving chess game as we propel forward. Hannibal is caught off guard when he’s dumped by his own therapist, Dr. Du Maurier. She no longer feels safe around him, and is visibly afraid. We still don’t know what truly happened when she was attacked by a patient and saved by Hannibal, and though we don’t find out here, it’s too tantalizing a clue for Fuller to leave unresolved. There’s always been something inappropriate and unconventional about their patient/doctor relationship, and it’s surely taken its toll on her. She later tells Jack Crawford, “Hannibal and I are both traumatized by patients. Hannibal has his Will Graham, and I have mine.”
Whatever really happened with that attack showed her Hannibal’s true colors, and this business with Will has only brought out the darkness in him that she knew was always there, just beneath the surface. She calls him dangerous, and said it was something she’d “glimpsed through the stitching of that person suit you wear.” Could there be a more appropriate line to explain Hannibal’s true and unnerving nature? I think not, especially in an episode where he comes across a man stitching people together.