Season 2, Episode 2: “Sakizuke”
Directed by Tim Hunter
Written by Bryan Fuller & Jeff Vlaming
* For a review of the Season 2 opener, “Kaiseki” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Hassun” – click here
The episode starts with the Killer of the Week from the previous episode extending here. Now we’re getting a look at how one of the victims gets away.
A gut wrenching first scene that shows one of the victims coming awake, finding himself stitched into the creepy eye/iris formation at the end of the last episode. Once again, we see how Hannibal as a series does not shy away from the vicious brutality of the killers. Pretty impressive, some of the gore-like effects, especially when considering this is on NBC. After all, I think that’s actually something that has hurt the show, though, it shouldn’t. People are squeamish, and while the hardcore fans love that stuff – like myself and many others – I think a significant amount of people watching television around the time when Hannibal comes on probably find themselves rushing for the remote.
Either way, this grotesque quality that the series has is one of the draws, for me, and I suspect for many others like me who enjoy the work of Thomas Harris, part and parcel of which comes the nastiness, in all its forms.
What I enjoy most in the opening minutes is that we’re seeing Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) wake up. He’s already seen the Nightmare Stag literally morph in front of him, into the man he knows as Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). Even more so now, as we watch Will crying in front of Hannibal and Alana (Caroline Dhavernas) while in his cell – after they leave, a cold, calculated look forms in his eyes, stretching across his face. There’s a darkness in Will. What he’s doing now is exacting just the sort of manipulation Hannibal Lecter had bee impressing upon him for so long.
Graham has a right to be angry, of course. There’s no question about that. Now, we’re beginning to see the structure his revenge will take, or at least the very edges of it. Slowly within the next couple episodes, Will’s plans will come out in the open, they will become clear. At the same time, Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) has seen enough of what Lecter can do. We’ve yet to see the true relationship between the two, only trickles of light come down out of the darkness.
Now, though, Bedelia has had enough. She’s taking herself out of the whole situation because there is something hidden beneath her own veil – maybe not as much a person suit as Hannibal, but she hides behind a kind of mask herself. Recusing herself from the position of Hannibal’s psychiatrist, there’s an excellent moment with great shots in Lecter’s office where the two of them stand apart, Hannibal steps towards her, Bedelia steps back— perfectly realised moment! Genuine tension and intensity at once. Anderson and Mikkelsen have a wonderful rapport as actors and I find their chemistry almost intoxicating at times. Their scenes together are both beautiful and disturbing, a trend continuing in plentiful amounts throughout Season 3.Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) is chewing out Beverly Katz (Hettienne Park) for involving Will Graham, currently incarcerated, in an ongoing murder investigation. However, we’re still seeing Jack’s reluctance to totally let go of Will. I think part of his not wanting to see Will get washed away in the flood is worry for his own sake. He doesn’t want to be responsible for what has happened to Graham. By the same token, Jack does genuinely care about Will, as he does all the people around him under his employ. There’s just a misguided part of Jack that doesn’t want to do things the appropriate way, he always seem to be trying to play too many instruments at once. That’s simply another aspect of the Jack Crawford character, which I’d essentially break down to hubris. This stubborn headedness causes a lot of trouble throughout the whole of the Hannibal series.With Beverly Katz getting help from Graham, this sets up part of the season’s subplot that continues on until about the halfway mark, maybe a little earlier. I love all this stuff because we’re seeing the first bits of real jealousy in Hannibal. Not only is he afraid of Beverly finding out more than she ought to, Hannibal feels a jealousy that it’s no longer him and Will together, fighting crime, figuring out the methodology of the killers. Now, Beverly is going to see Will, the two of them quietly searching through clues on their own. Hannibal does not like competition in his heterosexual romance with Graham. Not one bit. So, we’ll see more intriguing scenes and situations come up moving on into Season 2 involving the Katz subplot.
The greatest part of the first two episodes in Season 2 is how Hannibal comes to track down the Killer of the Week, the one making his big eye-like portrait out of human bodies, stitching them together in an ever expanding circle.
Lecter’s amazing sense of smell leads him to the cornfields. Nearby are silos, one of which contains the killer’s masterpiece. Some wonderful moments between the killer and Hannibal. Particularly when they first see one another. Hannibal is atop the silo, looking down through the tiny hole, as the killer opens the door and comes inside. He looks ready to spray down the bodies some more with the waxy-type substance he uses to preserve his ‘work.’ Lecter can’t resist, and calls out down to the man below: “Hello. I love your work.”Lot of cheeky dialogue from Hannibal Lecter here. He’s just been at the scene, but in the meantime Will Graham and Beverly Katz have deciphered enough to figure out where the silos were located. Jack tells Hannibal to prepare himself because he’s not seen anything like this, to which Hannibal replies, tongue firmly in cheek: “I‘m sure I haven‘t.”
As I said in the previous review, Hannibal is now inserting himself into the investigation on both ends: with the FBI, and then also with the killer. He puts the killer into his own work, stitching the man in and leaving him there to be found. Not only that, Lecter takes one of the man’s legs from the knee down. Y’know, for a nice meal later on.
This is just showing the absolute arrogant cockiness of Hannibal Lecter. He’s like a peacock here, strutting, and the only one who truly sees it – so far – is Will Graham, who can do nothing while stuck behind the bars in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.
Hannibal is putting himself into the entire investigation of the Chesapeake Ripper, meanwhile getting access to all these other killers he can either possibly bond with or merely kill for his pleasure/take trophies to cook later. Furthermore, Hannibal is so cocky that he pushes things to the extreme. I mean, taking a leg from the killer he himself killed was blatant hubris – far worse than anything on Jack Crawford’s part. It’s easy to see how untouchable Lecter sees himself to be on the grand scale of things. He is truly the apex predator.
That’s another one thing— we get great food scenes again, tantalising our tastebuds towards human meat.
“If God is looking down at you, don’t you want to be looking back at him?“
Another of my favourite parts about this episode is the humour in Will Graham. In the face of all that’s happening, somehow Graham salvages scraps of humanity by trying to at least smile, even if it’s only on the inside.
Not only that, but there’s truly trouble brewing as Will is helping Beverly along, fitting the pieces where they need to go, and generally moving closer and closer, with each bit, towards the truth. Soon enough, it will all come out. Ultimately, I feel terrible for Will because it’s not only that he is being thrown in jail, accused of murders he did not committ, but still he has to deal with all the monsters in his hide, Garret Jacob Hobbs, all his victims, all the next victims and the victims after that, and the ones next year, and so on. He is receiving the torture of the damned.
Even worse, as Bedelia Du Maurier withdraws from the whole situation with Hannibal and the FBI, she reveals to Graham that she knows what is going on, and that she believes him. This is like a tease to Will, who wonders exactly why Bedelia can’t just come out and give up information to help him. There’s more to her than we’re yet able to see or understand.What an excellent second episode to Season 2. Pushed off great from the first and it’s building steam going forward. Amazingly executed episodes, both of these first two.
“Hassun” is next, my fellow Fannibals!