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Hannibal: "Kaiseki" Review
Hannibal left off last season on a fairly big cliffhanger as we saw Will Graham framed for all of Dr. Lecter's murders. We already know that Will is not guilty but given his situation and how fragile he already was that those around him would believe that he did break. This leaves Will in a bad position, he is constantly blaming Hannibal explaining that he was set up, but all of this accusations just come off like the ramblings of a mad man looking to use those previous connections he had to set him free. Hannibal, on the other hand, still views Will as a friend and goes to visit Will at the hospital only to find a Will that is focused on reversing the situation. It is very encouraging to see that Will is no longer portrayed as a man that is fragile and instead his fragility is replaced with clarity. He knows who he is and he is comfortable with himself. He is also very calm, which makes him more relatable instead of giving off a sick puppy kind of feel. .
In light of all of that, we are also treated to a flash-forward in the very first scene of the episode. In this scene we see Jack Crawford show up at Hannibal's and the two share weary looks within another before Jack pulls a gun on Hannibal. Whoever said "don't bring a knife to a gun fight" must have never met Hannibal. With all of this being said, it goes to show just how brutal Hannibal truly is. Yes, he is a brutal killer with a terrific mind but he also has a tremendous brute strength about him that we have never seen before in a portrayal of the character. Jack also was more then capable in the brutal fight, but it also helps that both actors have had to hold their own in major action films so they seemed more natural in the scene. Aside from that, the scene ended stating that it was twelve days ahead of where we are now. It essentially gives us a countdown for the season leading up to the fight between Hannibal and Jack, and oddly enough the season is twelve episodes.
Alaina seems to be the one dealing with Will's situation the worst, but she wants to do the best she can to help his friend. She does so by helping him access some memories he had lost which led to one of the creepier scenes of the series where we see how Hannibal managed to sneak the ear of one of his victim's inside Will's stomach. Of course, this dream sequence once again used the symbolism of a man with antlers which is Will's manifestation of Hannibal inside of his own mind. Despite Will's condition and precocious situation, it was a bit surprising to see the FBI still confer with him on their new case, but at the same token he is the best of the best and they would use every asset possible. On the flip side, it does not make much sense for them to sub Will for Hannibal, as Hannibal is not trained like Will was. It is forgiven however as from a thematic sense it makes sense for the characters. It also allows Hannibal to feel closer to Will, who he is becoming more and more infatuated with. This very infatuation mixed with him being in closer proximity to the FBI will undoubtedly be Hannibal's undoing, but surely his ego believes that he can get over on anyone.
It truly is such a shame that this show does not get enough attention as it is absolutely one of the best dramas on television. The writing, the direction and the character development is all incredible. The acting from character to character is all top notch as well. NBC is not doing them any favors by placing the show on the death time slot of Friday night at 10pm and the marketing of the show is not exactly doing it any favors either. As for this season, it is again smart for them to put a clear and distinct end to this season with the penultimate fight between Jack and Hannibal as if the show does not get picked up for another season, at least it has a clear ending which most likely would lead into what we all know would be Thomas Harris' Red Dragon.
It is, again, very encouraging to see a new Will Graham, one that is very focused and calm as opposed to his usual fragile self from last season. Hugh Dancy has done a terrific job hitting all of the different notes of the character of the course of the season. While Dancy is terrific, the true star of the show would truly have to be that of Mads Mikkelsen. It is an incredibly difficult role to step into due to the hefty shoes that Anthony Hopkins had left to fill, but Mikkelsen is playing a different Hannibal as well. This version of Hannibal is very much a snake in the grass. He sees his prey and he strikes quietly. In Hopkins portrayal, people already knew that he was a vicious cannibal but thus far in the television series, only Will and Hannibal's psychiatrist truly know his true self. Mikkelsen does a terrific job in every sense of the word. All in all, this is an amazing television show and I hope this is not the final season as creator Bryan Fuller has done a masterful job of orchestrating this world of Hannibal.