There’s no logical reason for Hannibal to be as good as it is. We didn’t need another serial killer cop drama, and we certainly didn’t need another incarnation of the tired Hannibal Lecter character. I almost didn’t watch “Hannibal” for those exact reasons. Thankfully I ignored my instincts and I’ve been blown away since its premiere over a year ago.
Many episodes of “Hannibal” I will probably never watch again. They are grotesque and complex and filled with some of the finest, nuanced acting I’ve had the pleasure to witness. (Hugh Dancy is particularly excellent at playing the maybe-he’s-crazy-but-not-really Will Graham.) I won’t watch some episodes again not because of the subject matter (which: gross) but because I can’t. Once is enough, more than, actually. I don’t want to have to go through the pain again. Hannibal is not an easy show to watch, even though it’s breathtaking in its honesty and earnestness. This show is so gorgeously shot that instead of commenting on the human beehives or the human violin I keep thinking, “Wow, look at that composition! And that creepy music! How gorgeous!” I mean, that’s not a normal reaction when looking at these horrific images. I almost feel creepy admiring it all.
Since I didn’t get to review each episode individually, and honestly, the season worked better – and made more sense – it you think of it as one long installment, I’ve written about my ten favorite tastiest moments below. This shouldn’t have to be said, but: Spoilers, obviously. (These are in no particular order; just as they popped into my head.)
1. Jack and Hannibal Fight
Season two started off in the best possible way: With a huge fight between Jack and Hannibal. No words are exchanged between the two as the audience waits with bated breath to find out how our characters ended up here. As we’re wondering what lead to this showdown, the brutal fight is over almost as quickly as it begins. We leave on Jack bleeding profusely in the pantry as the scene fades to black with the caption “TWELVE WEEKS EARLIER.” The episode then goes back in time as we work our way toward the events leading up to the fight.
2. Beverly Katz’s Death
Beverly Katz, a small player in season one, takes on a meatier role in season two. Unfortunately, she got too close to the truth and Hannibal had to take her out. She didn’t deserve the death she got, especially as Hannibal slices her up deli meat style and displays her like a piece of art.
3. Hannibal Has Abel Gideon Eat His Own Leg
Hannibal abducts Gideon from the mental hospital Will is in, amputates Gideon’s leg, cooks it in clay, and makes Gideon eat it. He LITERALLY put his foot in his mouth. The best part: How calm and collected Hannibal is during this entire plot. Mads Mikkelsen is SO good and SO creepy and yet I want him to give me a hug and feed me a gorgeous looking meal? Like, what are these feelings?
4. Face Off
In the book, Mason Verger was a lot worse than in the series. But, their fates are basically the same. Hannibal injects him with some mind altering – but not debilitating – drugs and takes him to Will’s house. When Will walks in he finds Mason feeding his face to Will’s dogs. Yes. You read that right. But, to make things even worse – and even MORE disturbing – Hannibal tells Mason to eat his nose. What does Mason do? He EATS HIS NOSE. WHAT IS THIS SHOW YOU GUYS!
5. Miriam Lass Returns
Last we saw Miriam, Jack’s FBI cadet/protégé, she found out the truth about Hannibal so he cut off her arm and teased Jack with it. When Jack finds her in a season two episode, she only wants to find the Ripper. During the years Hannibal held her hostage, he did some sort of brainwash on her that led her to finger Frederick Chilton as that of the Ripper. When she sees Chilton being interrogated, she grabs Jack’s gun and SHOOTS CHILTON IN THE FACE!!!!!!!!
Once the season arc was established, “Hannibal” had a few “killer of the week” episodes. None were as demented as the eighth episode, “Su-zakana.” Will and Jack find a woman dead inside of a dead horse. When on the autopsy table the woman “births” a bird, which later dies. But you guys, there’s one point where, like, a guy gets sewn into another horse and ohmygosh how twisted was that whole episode???!??!!?
7. Human Color Wheel
Imagine, if you will, waking up from a drug induced stupor (not self-induced, mind you) and finding out you’re sewn to a bunch of other dead people. Like, your body is covered in this disgusting glue which had melted your skin into that of another person’s skin. Disgusting. The worst part is living through that and escaping, only to die by falling off a cliff. The first serial killer we see of the season created a human color wheel, with each victim’s skin darker than the last. Less you think the guy gets away with it, Hannibal conveniently adds him to the color wheel, thus completing the palette.
8. Dr. DuMarier Makes A Confession
Hannibal framed Will at the end of season one so he spends the first part of season two in jail. Few still believe his innocence, while the rest try to get one with their lives confident the Chesapeake Ripper is behind bars. Dr. Bedelia DuMaurier (the sublime Gillian Anderson) is about to leave town because she knows the truth about Hannibal and wants to keep the truth – and her life – safe. Before leaving, however, she visits Will in prison and breathlessly whispers three words Will needed to hear: “I believe you.” Those words finally convinced Will that he was right all along: Hannibal is the Ripper.
9. Bella Tries To Commit Suicide
Gina Torres returned as Bella, Jack’s cancer stricken wife. She’s in so much pain she consumes a bunch of pain medicine for an easy way out. In a rare moment of humanity, Hannibal flips a coin which decides Bella’s fate. He decides to save her, much against her wishes. That in and of itself isn’t a particular uplifting moment, especially since Hannibal saves her because he’s not ready for her to die, but the slap she gives Hannibal was one of the most satisfying things all season.
10. Every Single Moment From the Finale
If you haven’t seen “Mizumono,” the season two finale, stop reading and do so now. It’s quite possibly one of the most beautifully crafted pieces of fiction you’ll see all year. Every single character’s life hangs in the balance as Hannibal manages once again to weasel his way out of the FBI’s reach. All of the events of season two have led us back to Jack and Hannibal’s fight in the kitchen, and what a superb piece of action that was. Alana Bloom shows up and Abigail (yes! Abigail) pushes her out of a second story window. Will shows up and gets stabbed multiple times in the stomach. Hannibal leaves all three characters lying in their own blood while Hannibal sips mimosas on a plane to Paris. How the hell are you going to end there, “Hannibal?” Can you imagine how you would have reacted if this show had not been renewed? Thankfully we will see the effects of Hannibal’s carnage when season three returns next winter.