Hannibal Season 2 Update (eps 1-4)

There are spoilers ahead - don't read if you don't want to know

Well, we caught you up with Will Graham's incarceration in our previous review and now we rejoin him facing multiple murder charges. Now the whole innocent thing is rather difficult to prove if you puke up the ear of one of your victims and are demonstrably present at the scene of your crimes and rather understandably Will's former colleagues have their doubts about him. The FBI is, of course, between a rock and a hard place - they took on an emotionally unstable star profiler only to discover his empathetic abilities with killers are because he has the same proclivities. The top brass, represented by Cynthia Nixon, are out for a quick trial and a damning verdict.imageTo compound his crimes, Will is now claiming that he has been set up by that nice Dr Lecter, the very man who is trying to save him. Jack Crawford won't hear of it. That the man who has helped his terminally ill wife and provided tea, very ornate and fleshy meals and sympathy...that man is a saint. Only Beverley Katz entertains a doubt about Will's guilt and that seems rather self serving given she is continuing to use his profiling skills to hunt down a peculiarly artistic killer.

Jack, though, has to follow procedure so he visits Hannibal's therapist to see if she thinks Will's accusations are groundless. Hannibal has been sharing his grief at his "friend's" situation and debating how he can help, and Jack's visit prompts a moonlight flit from Dr Du Maurier after she tells Will she knows he's right. Will appears to retract his accusations and faces his trial just as court officials disappear in similar fashion to his alleged crimes. Is Hannibal allowing him a way out?imageThese new crimes open Crawford's mind a little and Katz follows Will's advice in discovering the human mosaic killer, but not before he becomes the centerpiece of his tapestry. Will is remembering more and more and the visions he has point in one direction. He rightly considers that the mosaic killer was discovered by his tormentor first and points Beverley in a direction which will confirm his suspicions whilst exposing her to danger.

By the conclusion of episode 4, we are still awaiting an explanation for the season's opening life and death duel between Crawford and Lecter. Hannibal's modus operandi is being illustrated where previously it had been implied, and his love of haute cuisine and feeding others is finally revealed as moral poisoning, forced collusion and unspeakable insinuation. Will is struggling towards his sanity and proving his credibility, and he is learning how to play games as successfully as Lecter himself.

More time is given over to secondary characters as we proceed. Crawford, his wife, Dr Chilton and Katz share the spotlight with the two protagonists as their chess pieces and this season is all about this war of minds. The emergence of new killers is important and the obscene visual imagination of these crimes is more shocking than season one, and the sliding into fever dreams is an exquisite way of revealing Will's growing consciousness. The excellent quality and feel of the end of season one has most definitely been maintained.

For a network programme, this remains challenging and explicit stuff and the quality of actors and production is outstanding. It is though, basically about Mikkelsen and Dancy and they are supreme. The Will of season one is developing into a true equal for Hannibal, and the certain superiority of Lecter has been fatally undermined by the weaknesses Mikkelsen has subtly suggested. This interplay, amidst a great feast of creepy sound, amazing images and great acting, is magnificent and the equal of the relationships in the motion pictures. That is how good Hannibal has become...

Sky Living shows Hannibal on Saturday, you can catch episodes 1-4 on SkyGo here




out of 10

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