Hannibal's premiere hit the ground running, but it felt like half of an episode. We barely even met the "artist" behind the giant corpse-eye mural, because there was so much fallout from Will's incarceration. And this new artist still isn't much of a big deal in "Sakizuki," despite racking up the show's largest tableau to date. It's more of an elaborate metaphor.
And that's perfectly fine. Because this show isn't about a killer of the week. It's about Hannibal. And Will. And how both intelligent psychopaths manipulate the people around them to paint their own reflections. Of course, one is doing it to protect his terrible secrets (and the contents of his fridge.) The other is trying to prove his innocence. But make no mistake – Will must know that by directing attention onto Hannibal in his own way, he will be putting his friends at risk. As viewers, we saw at least Crawford's confrontation with Hannibal, but I'm most concerned about the immediate safety of Beverly and Alana.
I had wondered what Hannibal thought when he saw Will's performance for Alana. (Aside from melting just a little bit inside for Will's sad puppy eyes. Because they were just so mighty that I like to think even Hannibal couldn't resist trusting them. ) But later on, when Beverly showed her hand and made it so obvious that she was getting help from Will, you could see the spark of suspicion grow within Hannibal.
So it seems likely that Hannibal knows Will's trying to manipulate Hannibal by nudging those around him. But could Will be counting on this? Is there some crazy double-trap brewing? Following this line of questioning risks me sounding like Vizzini in The Princess Bride, with his poisoned cups of wine. Never trust a
Sicilian man facing the electric chair when death is on the line!
The only job that even comes close to the difficulty of making Hannibal one's own pawn is being Hannibal's therapist.
Is this so long for Dr. Du Maurier – and the luminous Gillian Anderson? Looks like. Maybe it's because I've been watching her in the BBC's miniseries The Fall this week and I'm extra in love with her right now, but watching Anderson and Mikkelsen interact has definitely been a highlight of Hannibal. So while I'm glad she did what too few characters living in horror stories do and got the hell out of dodge, I'll miss Bedilia's increasingly tense and loaded sessions. When she told Will she believed his accusations against Hannibal, I felt more than just Will's hopes. But then I saw Gillian Anderson is slated to star in at least two other series, so, mine were crushed. Like Will's will be when he realizes she's gone to ground. At least Bedilia rates high enough to not be killed offscreeen, so maybe one season she can return. And I can still hope for that and David Bowie.
Hannibal made some crucial errors this episode — failing to extort lies from Bedilia and losing her as a therapist and colleague, feigning ignorance over what happened to the unlucky mural survivor, getting the artist to stray from his original nihilistic design and giving Will more seeds of doubt to plant among Crawford's team. The cracks, they show…
• I was remiss to not include a link to Hannibal's best digital bonus feature: food stylist's Janice Poon's blog. This week's recipe is Osso Bucco. With limb. Hannibal having time to stitch some people together, discuss theology, and to make himself dinner from scratch is a testament to his determination. My solo dinners usually involve a bowl of Lucky Charms.
• Kade Purnell — an anagram of Silence character Paul Krendler — gets more of an introduction this week, teasing the absolute nightmare she'll be for Will in court. Not really looking forward to that.
• Beverly continues to fill a Clarice Starling-like role, complete with Will echoing Lecter's famous "Quid pro quo" proposition. Only, again, I fear Beverly could be something of an expendable character. Build her up, she's a fan favorite, now watch her get in horribly over her head and end up in a cassoulet.
• Loved the visual transition of Hannibal smelling a cornfield on the corpse of the Double Unluckiest Man Formerly Alive.
• Seriously, that poor guy in the beginning of the episode. Gotta love NBC Standards and Practices: Bare boobs in a human eyeball mural? Never! A man ripping chunks of himself off of a pile of sewn together dead bodies? Aw hell yes.
• "I love your work."
• Palate Cleanser of the Week: Imagining Hannibal in his plastic suit getting Dexter Morgan on his (dinner) table for becoming such a terribly written character.