Hannibal: “Kaiseki”- A Simple and Brilliant Return
It's been less than a year since we last left Will Graham and Hannibal Lector reenacting the classic Silence of the Lambs
moment between Clarice and Hannibal, albeit with Hannibal on the wrong side of the bars. In the ensuing break, not much has changed for our hero Will, but we are shown right off the bat that Hannibal's days are numbered in one of the most beautiful season openings I have ever seen.
I would be remiss if I didn't address the opening fight scene between Jack and Hannibal right off the bat, as it gives us our context in which to view this entire season. At some point, twelve weeks from the start of the season, the relationship between Jack and Hannibal will sour to the point that Jack will attack Hannibal and attempt to kill him. We all know that Hannibal will ultimately trade places with Will in the mental hospital, and that he will be exposed as Hannibal the Cannibal and the Ripper. But our only question was when will this exposure happen. Now we have our answer. In twelve weeks, Hannibal will become the hunted.
But we still have twelve weeks to get through first- twelve weeks of Will protesting his innocence and attempting to gather elusive memories that can lead to evidence against Hannibal. And that is the journey we are now on. I'm certain it won't take the full time frame for others to begin to believe Will, but I am very interested to see how and when these conversions happen. And what the human cost will be, as I know that Hannibal will not go willingly into captivity.
"Kaiseki" serves as an appetizer to the main action of the season, as well as the first course in the tale of our killer of the week (or, in this case, weeks). It is a chance for us to reorient ourselves within the world of the series and figure out who remains on team Hannibal and who may be coming over to team Will. As of now, the majority of our main players are convinced that Will is a psychopathic killer, although both Alana and Beverly seem to be wavering in their belief in his guilt. Poor Jack has been completely hoodwinked by Hannibal, and Dr. Lector's loyal therapist Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier has expressed her own doubts to Hannibal.
One of the most rewarding elements of Hannibal
is watching Gillian Anderson and Mads Mikkelsen engage in their cat and mouse game as Du Maurier and Hannibal, slowly circling the truth of Hannibal's violence without expressly speaking to it. Their discussion this week finally brings to light whether or not Du Maurier is aware of Hannibal's actions, and I fear her honesty (even though it was not directly discussed) may be detrimental to her future health. Her statement that Jack "doesn't know what you're capable of" being met with the response of "Neither do you" is a warning if I have ever heard one. The expression of controlled fear at that response on Du Maurier's face was a truly excellent bit of acting.
My other major highlight of the episode comes from the way in which Beverly and the two other lab techs are utilized within the hour. Last season, I often felt the three characters pulled from the weight of the series, interjecting misplaced humor where there didn't need to be any. "Kaiseki" used these characters to their full potential. Beverly's decision to go to Will with the new killer, still seeking his expertise even when believing he's guilty, is a testament to her intelligence. She also appears to have distrust for Hannibal, which is refreshing to see. Price and Zeller provide Jack with important information regarding the killer and not one-liners, increasing their importance to the structure of the FBI team. It feels like a more fluid series when all the characters fit the same tone, and it's great to see that this has been taken care of.
As expected, the episode was gorgeously shot, with clear attention to colors and imagery. In particular, the opening fight scene, with the reflections of both Jack and Hannibal in the knife, is a thing of beauty to behold. There are many procedurals on the air, and a good number deal with serial killers. But what sets Hannibal
apart from the rest is its attention to beauty. The show doesn't focus on gore or on killing, but rather on setting ambiance and expressing the art within the death. I'm thrilled to have the series back once again, and I'm looking forward to see what triggers the epic battle between Jack and Hannibal.
-- It was nice to see Dr. Chilton back after he was injured last season. So glad to see that he only lost a kidney, but retained his pomposity.
-- Is it just me, or would you watch the show even if there weren't any killer of the week? I could sit for 13 episodes watching Will and Hannibal trade verbal jabs with the occasional appearance of Gillian Anderson.
-- A hat-tip to the writing staff for making Alana a much more three dimensional character this year. I know it's only been one episode, but she already seems smarter than all of last season.
-- I do worry that Du Maurier and Alana won't make it out alive this year. They seem the two most likely to accuse Hannibal.