‘Hannibal’ Returns: 5 Reasons Why Season 2 Is Getting Off to a Great Start

'Hannibal' Returns: 5 Reasons Why Season 2 Is Getting Off to a Great Start

The only problem with this season's premiere is that it ends

In its first two hours, “Hannibal's” second season elevates the surprisingly-high bar set by the first — creating binge-worthy television that makes you, like the titular character, covet for more.

Picking up where last season's finale left off, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is on the wrong side of prison bars inside Baltimore's Hospital for the Criminally Insane, framed for grizzly murders he didn't commit. The “friend” who put him there — Dr. Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) – has taken over Will's profiling duties at the FBI.

Will's friends don't believe him. Hannibal won't help him. The faster Will can unlock gruesome memories that Lecter has suppressed, the faster Will can get one step closer to freedom. Maybe.

See video: ‘Hannibal’ Season 2 Trailer: Antlers, Bodies and Will Graham Behind Bars

Outside of the premiere's opening holy-crap fist fight, the show's best moments come via Will and Lecter's slow-burn encounters, co-written by showrunner Bryan Fuller. The actors engage in the psychological equivalent of Michael Mann‘s “Heat,” as Will struggles to get out of the frame that Hannibal neatly put him in.

This conflict impacts the lives of Will's former colleagues, proving especially difficult for FBI Director Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne). Turning Will's allies into enemies twists the screws on this already-tense procedural, giving Fishburne several scenes to shine as a guilt-ridden boss, enduring an internal investigation for endangering Will's mental health.

It all goes down as the real villain, Hannibal, works grisly cases less as a seeker of justice and more like a tourist perusing carnival row.

Also read: NBC's ‘Hannibal’ Pulled by Salt Lake City TV Station

Here are 5 reasons why you need to watch, based on the first two episodes made available to TheWrap for review:

1. That fight
The premiere, “Kaiseki,” opens with a jolt: Crawford vs. Lecter, in one of the best fisticuffs to ever air on network TV. From knife throws to body slams, this brawl has everything — culminating in a “Twelve Weeks Earlier” flashback that sets up the season-long path to answering how the fight started.

2. Will's on his own
Cut off from his support team, Graham must rely on his already-frayed wits to save himself. An unlikely ally emerges in the form of co-star Hettienne Park, as her CSI tech seeks out Will's “Murder Whisperer” abilities to catch “Hannibal's” latest killer of the week. This season fins Will splitting his time between solving crimes from behind bars and accessing the aforementioned memories. In doing so, Dancy effortlessly finds subtle nuances to make us root for our very disturbed hero.

Also read: ‘Hannibal’ Boss on TV's Hottest Murder Accessory: Antlers

3. The death tableaus
Outside of ‘True Detective,” no other TV show comes close to designing increasingly-inventive murders and murderers. This week's nightmare fuel? A killer uses human bodies like brush strokes to paint his frightening masterpiece.

Seriously, this show is so damn good.

4. The haunting visuals
Ink-black stags with human heads. Fishing streams flowing with corpses. A spiral of stitched-together bodies. The only thing more poetic than the show's dialogue are its haunting visuals. Nothing else on network TV comes close.

5. Hannibal Lecter, FBI
Will knows that Hannibal's guilty. Hannibal knows Will’ s innocent. And the fun of this show — and hopefully the season — comes from how long the two can dance around the truth before too many innocent bodies pile up.

That pile isn't getting smaller anytime soon, as Hannibal is having too much fun helping killers instead of arresting them. In the first hour, Hannibal misdirects the FBI and almost definitely tampers (off-screen) with DNA evidence. That behavior is only going to increase, making it that much harder for Will to prove his innocence. This is a very inspired, very earned choice — can't wait for the fallout.

And fallout is an apt term, as Season 2 positions Will as a timebomb, counting down to either the moment he remembers the keys to his freedom or forgets what life outside a cell ever felt like.

Either way, these early episodes promise that fans are in for some damn good television.

 

  • BethSue

    Grizzly cases? As in bear attacks?

    • David Perkins

      Yup. As opposed to Drizzly cases. As in heavy rain and resulting mud slides.

  • Joshua Perkins

    The word you want is “grisly,” Mr. Pirrello, not “grizzly.”

  • vs007

    Out of 650 words, the focus lands solely on one? Your takeaway from the insightful review was a typo?

    • renamoretti1

      You say “insightful”, I say “fawning”. ;)

  • renamoretti1

    You call it brilliant, audiences called it a yawner…

    Once again TV critics are hailing as high art shows audiences don't want to see…

    It has to stop otherwise the US TV industry is in for a long, sharp fall (well it has started already – articles like this one just mask the reality).

    • D55

      Yeah we need more mindless crap for 10 year olds. Hannibal is the best tv show in years, and is how the movies should have been directed. I just hope nbc doesn't do to it what it did to freaks and geeks. I still haven't forgiven them for that.

      • renamoretti1

        I see we have very different tastes. I thought Freaks and Geeks was uber-awful. Caught a bit of a re-run without knowing what it was this week and thought “what's that awful show?” and then I recognized one of the actors…

        I'm not sure what you call “mindless crap for 10 years old” (I suspect we may agree on a number of them as I don't think much of most of today's shows) as I find most of the shows on network and cable today plain awful.

  • Benjamin Roussey

    There is the Casino Royale guy.

  • Benjamin Roussey

    I like Laurence Fishburne but I never have watched this show.

  • Benjamin Roussey

    Mitt
    Romney was right on about Russia and the Ukraine. Again, the Obama machine was
    wrong and even mocked Romney about it. Hilarious. Liberals just do not
    understand foreign policy. Obama is a punk and a very slow learner. Obama, your
    weakness on Syria has just caused an international crisis in the Ukraine. Good
    job, another black mark on your record where there is very little bright spots.

  • Benjamin Roussey

    It is called “personal
    responsibility”. We know liberals hate those two words when they are together
    because they do not want to take responsibility for their actions. It is not
    rich people’s fault you or your kids dropped out of high school. It is not rich
    people’s fault that they decided to study in high school and had the guts to
    start their own business and work at it until they had a winning product and/or
    service. It is not rich people’s fault that you chose to have a child out of wedlock
    and not listen to good advice when it was being handed to you. Most rich people
    were not born rich, they worked hard and did not spend all their spare time
    watching MTV or waiting for something to happen. They made it happen and they
    employ millions of Americans in jobs that matter. Your government job does not
    matter, most likely. And union members kill jobs but that is another story. It
    is about personal responsibility which liberals do not want to acknowledge
    because then they would have to realize their failure and stagnant professional
    is their fault and on one else’s.

  • Benjamin Roussey

    Obama covered up a missile attack from Iran in international
    waters on one of our drones. This happened about 1 week before the election
    date. So much for transparency from our nation’s president who spits out lie
    after lie.

  • Benjamin Roussey

    Benghazi
    Facts:Obama Admin request airspace approval from Libya to help our guys.Security
    Team is delayed at airport, they had to fly into an airport and try to find a
    ride to the embassy/CIA. Backup teams in place and ready to react.Nothing
    happens, our guys get slaughtered.

    Obama dispatches propagandists for 2 weeks on morning shows to cover this up
    and blame on video – because he knows this would not be acceptable to the
    American people.My Conclusion: Libya did not grant airspace approval, we
    did not want to offend Libyans or cause possible civilian casualties so we
    sacrificed the lives of our guys. We also did not provide adequate protection
    when we knew or should have known it was not enough to begin with. And we have
    not done anything about it until this date.