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'Hannibal' - 'Kaiseki': I've Got You Under My Skin Where the Rain Can't Get In

By Cindy Davis | TV Reviews | March 1, 2014 | Comments ()


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“You may not believe me now, but you will.” (Will Graham to Jack Crawford) And of course, we know he’s right. Half the fun of Hannibal is that we (think) we know the story; we read Thomas Harris’ books and watched the film adaptations. As uncertain as Graham (Hugh Dancy) is of himself, we are sure the tables will turn.

Is it smart to give away perhaps your most exciting scene in the season premiere, or for that matter, in advance? Watching Kaiseki’s magnificent opening fight between Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) and Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) (which I’d already viewed multiple times over the past week), I had to admit it probably drew in more viewers. Any worries over whether the episode would still stand out after the fight was done were quickly erased, as Will proclaimed his innocence to anyone who would listen, and Hannibal played mind games all ‘round the town. Of course I’d be remiss not to rave over that Crawford/Lecter dance, the Matrixy slow motion camera work on each actor’s face as Jack clearly came to a realization and Hannibal immediately knew he was in trouble. I wouldn’t have guessed the fight would be so equally weighted; Fishburne’s strength was glorious to behold (Crawford flipping Hannibal over his shoulders!) against Mads’ control and agility. But in the end, Hannibal’s mind games won out and now we’re forced to wait until season’s end to see whether Hannibal gets through that door, and if Crawford will live (or even make it long enough to tell anyone).

While the serial killer backstory was intriguing enough—the latest sicko chooses victims to fill out his color palette, abducts and injects them with heroin, then preservatives, and arranges bodies like an eyeball—it wasn’t until the episode’s last horrifying image and scream we much cared. This hour was all about the games Hannibal plays. As Dr. Frederick Chilton (Raúl Esparza) so Jan Brad-il-y complained to the man himself, “Hannibal, Hannibal, Hannibal!”

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Hannibal Plays Jack: The gentlemen lament over sashimi how they both failed to detect Will’s full psychosis and deceit. Wine and good “flounder” seem to assuage their guilt all too easily, and Hannibal throws in the evening’s catchy entendre, “I never feel guilty eating anything.” Dinner kicks off the games. Hannibal plays up the necessity of being investigated himself. Jack plays hardball with an FBI internal investigator (Cynthia Nixon) who tries to convince Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) to recant the report she made alleging Crawford’s misconduct, but Bloom is standing by Will.

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Hannibal Plays Bedelia: The show’s second most intriguing relationship is easily Hannibal and Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson). In the series’ first season, we learned that Bedelia had retired after being attacked by one of Hannibal’s patients, and Bedelia told Jack her life was only saved because the patient had swallowed his own tongue. But there’s always seemed more to that story, and perhaps we got a few more clues (or closer to the truth) in the conversations between doctor and doctor—making sense of them is another thing entirely. Is part or the whole story Bedelia gave Jack a lie; was her attacker possibly Hannibal himself? In a curious exchange, Bedelia asks Hannibal why he’s keeping Crawford so close; “You’re maintaining an air of transparency while putting me in the position of having to lie for you again.” Hannibal replies, “You’re not just lying for me.” Bedelia clearly knows something more about Hannibal, and so far she’s been adept at handling her patient, but when she remarks that Crawford doesn’t know what he’s capable of, Lecter quickly retorts—ever so threateningly—“Neither do you.” The unflappable Dr. Du Maurier is clearly shaken, evident in the thought she holds back. What secret is each holding for the other…was Hannibal there when Bedelia was attacked?


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Hannibal Momentarily Plays Beverly Katz: Here Hannibal may have underestimated his match; Katz is already suspicious of the perfectly mounting evidence against Will, though she doesn’t seem to suspect Hannibal…yet. As she collects his DNA and readies his suits for testing, Hannibal reassures her: “The beauty of your evidence…is in its certainty.” Uh, maybe don’t count those chickens quite yet, Dr. Lecter. Although we know it’s Jack who ultimately figures out Hannibal, I’m going to guess something Katz said got stuck in his head and finally made sense.

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See Hannibal and Will Play: At the heart of the matter are these two equally intelligent men, each intent on manipulating the other and dependent upon the other in twisted ways. Fuller has changed up this relationship a bit, made Hannibal bizarrely caring toward Will, and turned his scapegoat into obsession. Will knows the truth; he knows its inside him somewhere, waiting to be coughed up like a random ear. Well, not so random as we saw in that horrifying flashback Will had of Hannibal intubating him to plant Abigail’s ear inside Will. It’s time for Will to find a way to fight back, and although hypnosis only seems to bring on more hallucinatory images with a beautifully rendered scene of Alana morphing into the Hannibalstag/Wendigo, then dissolving into splashes of flowing liquid.

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Will needs Hannibal, either to draw information from him, or to manipulate the not-so-good doctor into a slip-up, in order to prove his own innocence. As Will confidently maintains to Jack, “I am not the intelligent psychopath you’re looking for.”


Notes:

Great line straight from the book: I immediately took note of Chilton’s great remark about Will not speaking to him: “Makes me feel like I’m fumbling with his head, like a freshman with a panty girdle.” Of course it was direct (ever so slightly modified) from Harris’ Red Dragon.

That gorgeous, balletic fight was choreographed by Tommy Chang (Robocop, Pacific Rim, Nikita, X-Men). He’s also credited for “Sakizuki,” so we have some action to look forward to next week.

Bryan Fuller originally wanted Angela Lansbury to play Dr. Du Maurier; she wasn’t available so the role was reimagined younger for Gillian Anderson.

Also interesting is Bedelia’s wikia trivia: “The character’s name is a composite of the titular character in Bedelia a 1945 novel about a woman who may have murdered her husbands in a serial fashion, and the author Daphne du Maurier, who wrote Rebecca…”

Just because, here’s that fight again:


Cindy Davis, (Twitter)




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Bhammer100

    So glad Hannibal is back.
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-eJ-Q...

  • John W

    Somewhere Roddy Piper and Keith David are doing a slow clap.

  • grr arrgh

    I think that even if the story/acting of this show sucked (which it doesn't), I'd still watch for the cinematography. It's so gorgeous.

  • foolsage

    This is probably the most visually striking show I've ever seen. The use of color and texture is frankly astonishing.

  • stardust

    One of the things that consistently astounds me about this show is how well it shows the humanity in the monster. The scene where Will tells Hannibal that they are not friends and the scene where Hannibal sits alone in his office actually made me feel bad for the cannibalistic monster that brought that turn of events upon himself. I mean, holy shit. That is talent on all levels of production.

  • TacoBellRey

    I feel like I need to start watching this now. Saw the first episode when it was free on iTunes.

  • emmalita

    If you get Amazon Prime, Season 1 is free there. I think you can watch new episodes on Hulu plus.

  • foolsage

    Confirmed. The new season is on Hulu Plus.

  • RilesSD

    Absolutely. One of the best shows on tv. Everyone should be watching!

  • Billybob

    I'd forgotten just how beautiful this show is to look at. I mean, Will fly-fishing was almost as magnetic as Hannibal and Jack beating the living hell out of each other.

    Also, Winston misses Will, because Winston is awesome and Alana and Jack just have to recognise that.

  • Andrew J

    I thought they hinted that Hannibal saved Gillian Anderson by making the patient swallow his tongue? Did I imagine that?

  • Hawkeye Fierce

    This might be a callback to SotL, wherein Hannibal basically talks "Multiple" Miggs into committing suicide by swallowing his own tongue. It does bring some stuff into question, though.

    --Has it been explicitly stated that Dr. Scully was being harmed physically, or just threatened. I feel like there's been a heavy implication of violence, but somebody swallowing their tongue takes time. Maybe the patient had a gun on her and H talked him down?

    --Hannibal loves to stir shit up. Who's to say he didn't refer that patient with the intent to see what violence he could provoke? Especially if he considered Dr. Scully to be any sort of equal. We've seen how Hannibal treats his favorites. Ear via intubation, anyone?

    --What if Hannibal just made it look like the guy swallowed his tongue? Though honestly, how the hell do you fake that? How do you even swallow your tongue?

    (Yes, I am now sitting here trying to this. If you don't hear from me in 3 days, it's means i've succeeded)

  • foolsage

    That was strongly implied, yes. Hannibal did something to the patient to stop him and protect Dr. du Maurier. Presumably Hannibal felt guilty because the patient had been Hannibal's. Hannibal protects the people he forms attachments to (or at least he protects them for his own use), so naturally he stopped the patient from harming Dr. du Maurier.

  • Andrew J

    Cool, I knew I wasn't imagining things!

  • As I said above, Bedelia told Jack that story--that the patient swallowing his tongue is the only reason she's alive--but whether Hannibal was involved or not remains to be seen.

  • Andrew J

    I thought there was an exchange between her and hannibal where it was implied he was there

  • stardust

    I definitely think Hannibal was involved in the death of Bedelia's patient. Actually, I think he was was there when the attack happened and killed the patient in front of her. That's my theory. It would explain why she said to him at the end of the episode that she knew what he is capable of.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    What a season opener. And it hasn't even kicked into gear, yet, with the exception of the opening and closing sequences. It been repeatedly said that "Kaiseki" is like a 14th episode of season 1. I just cannot wait till next Friday, dammit!

  • rio

    This show made seriously question by mental health because damn, I wouldn't care I was eating people if they looked and tasted that good! The show could be a cannibal cooking show and Id freaking watch it.

    Of all the disgusting things they showed, seeing Hannibal force-feeding a human hear into Will stomach took the freaking cake. Seriously Hannibal, you love Will so fucking much why don't you cook for him too you asshole?
    You are framing him for murder, cooking him a good human meal is really the least you can do!

  • emmalita

    He repeatedly cooked for Will in Season 1. And I suspect fed him stuff to make him crazy and to make him forget.

  • rio

    yeah I know, I still crave that delicious chicken (?) soup he made him when Will was in the hospital, it was more of a joke, because that was truly disgusting to watch, but I guess it come off as flat, just like my chest.

  • foolsage

    That wasn't necessary. Will's encephalitis was already making him malleable; he doubted everything about himself. Hannibal's an expert manipulator, and had plenty of openings there to guide Will into the perceptions that Hannibal wanted.

  • Brady

    "I can't place the fish." IT'S PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!

  • foolsage

    "He was a flounder."

  • Jenn TheYellowDart

    Gillian Anderson is just as calculating and methodical as Hannibal, and I LOVE IT. I just have no clue what HER game is; is she simply Hannibal's instrument, or does she have agency of her own??
    It's killing me not knowing. Especially with the teasers showing her saying to Will that she believes him!

  • Pants_are_a_must

    That Hannibal persists in making her his therapist, despite her retirement, definitely points out her obvious superior mind, as he perceives it. Maybe Bedelia was a monster like Hannibal, but now she's a monster retreated back into her cave.

  • emmalita

    I know! I can't tell if she's going to turn the tables for Will or mind fuck him worse than Hannibal.

  • grr arrgh

    .....I never thought of that as a possibility. NOOOOOOOO

  • emmalita

    It is the most beautifully violent show I've seen on network tv. I thought it was interesting that the fight scene was so much more muscular and less stylized than most of the violence on Hannibal.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I was wondering how they were going to make Jack a match for Hannibal and I think Fuller and crew found a great solution. You see how strong and powerful Jack is and how quick and agile Hannibal is. It seemed like an even fight, which made it more interesting.

  • emmalita

    I think it was important to see them as equal in ability here, because it's hard to retain one's respect for Jack as we see Hannibal fool him repeatedly.

  • foolsage

    It was just about perfect, I thought. The serial killers on this show tend to be meticulous planners, and their violence is about creating some expression of art through violence, so there's always a twisted beauty there. The fight, on the other hand, was a primal battle between two powerful men, so it was appropriate that it be raw and brutal and sincere.

  • emmalita

    Totally agree. I loved the differentiation though. I think we have seen in the past that Hannibal prefers to be artistic, but he has no squeamishness about brute force.

  • Pete Arado

    Such a great episode. Those shots of Will fishing were incredible - the demon/stag rising out of the water was absolutely horrifying. This may be the most gorgeous show I've ever seen.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Bryan Fuller said last night that the river is Will's mind palace, which to me makes it even more horrifying. Will's mind palace has no real boundaries. Everything flows into everything. The poor guy.

  • Less Lee Moore

    "Mind Palace" is another reference to Thomas Harris's books, only in those it's Hannibal who has the mind palace, not Will.

  • Pete Arado

    Jesus. I fucking love this show. I'm so nervous about it though because it's on NBC - if they cancel it before Fuller can finish his story, I will lose my damn mind.

  • foolsage

    That would be a terrible shame. We could always hope Netflix would pick it up though, which seems quite possible. Fuller has the whole series mapped out, and I want to see it, dammit. I don't care who broadcasts it.

  • RilesSD

    Same here. I've GOT to see it. I heard Amazon is a potential suitor as well.

  • Pete Arado

    Damn right. You gotta think that if NBC axes it, then FX, AMC, or Netflix would jump at the chance to acquire it. I hope it doesn't come to that, but like you said, as long as it's being broadcast by someone.

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