With just minutes left until we reach the reckoning of Season 2, Hannibal continues with the final few strides of the great chase. But what has been the objective of that chase? For Will to catch Hannibal? For Hannibal to hunt down the demonic part of Will? For Will and Jack, working together, to expose the Chesapeake Ripper? All of the above?
The bewildering nature of this week’s theme is yet again perfectly summed up in a meal Hannibal serves up: kholodets, a Ukrainian dish of which the key component is aspic, allowing for Hannibal to assemble a beautiful, edible tableau for Jack to eat. This, a shoal of fish swimming in circles that Jack dubs ‘the endless chase’, substitutes as the murder for the week, capturing the elusive and frustrating nature of Will and Jack’s case against Lecter. This is rightly pointed out by Bedelia du Maurier (Gillian Anderson), who returns this week as a key witness in the case against him. She reminds Jack that the closer you are to catching Hannibal, the closer you are to both losing him and being caught in the trap that has allowed you to get so close.
The last few episodes, showing Will seemingly slipping under Hannibal’s spell, now give way to Will returning as a man in control, engaged in a deadly game of murderous one-upmanship to prove his loyalty to Lecter and, in doing so, get the justice he longs for. This week sees Graham use the vicious Mason Verger as bait. Michael Pitt puts in another glorious turn as he portrays Mason, defeated at last. From the viciousness implied in his constant threats to feed Will and Hannibal (and often both of them) to his pigs, that Mason’s own punishment mirrors his ravenous desire to consume human flesh is fitting, especially considering his desire to have control over the future of both his and Margot’s bloodline.
We’ve seen flesh in various forms this series – gruesome murders, beautiful dinners and carnal moments – and the animal nature of the characters has been at the forefront, looking beneath the skins to reveal the motives beneath. The sheer imaginativeness of this second season has made it a joy to watch, and the final showdown (shown teasingly to us in the very first episode) will no doubt be a culmination of all that artful destruction. If we take that taster to be truth, is it Jack who will walk straight into Hannibal’s abattoir? Will this mean we get to see what it is that so shocked Beverly before her demise?
Jack and Will both claim to be good fishermen (the extent of Jack’s abilities were revealed last week with the return of Freddie Lowndes) and their forces combined seem poised to close the net around their prize. But if Episode 12’s dish is anything to go by, Hannibal is a skilled fisherman too.
Hannibal Season 2 is available on Netflix UK, as part of £7.49 monthly subscription.
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