This review contains spoilers.
And so to the grisly aftermath of last week’s basement showdown between Hannibal and Beverly, opening with a sinister piece of artwork that makes Damien Hirst look restrained. With this emotional sucker punch and the promise that we’re down a solid cast member, we’re reintroduced to slippery journalist Freddie Lowndes. She’s welcomed briefly back into the fold by Will due to her ability to grab attention with a good headline, and the fact that she was tipped off to discover the artwork that forms this week’s one and only murder.
Will is looking to fish a little wider this week, extending his influence outwards from Freddie’s popular crime website and to a prison warden with whom he strikes up an unlikely alliance.
The theme of Episode 5, set up perfectly by the tableau Freddie finds, is layers; dissection and splitting a whole into smaller parts, from the many profile shots of the cast to large rooms full of smaller cells and a final, beautiful sequence in a split-lane swimming pool, set off by a truly electrifying percussion-based soundtrack. It’s not only physical layers, of course, but also mental ones; last week we saw all vestiges of Hannibal’s humanity slip away. Now, as he is in peril for the first time, we see that layer of sympathy being added back on, a reminder that he is as much a damaged mind as Will.
With the return of Abel Gideon – an eloquent, demented Eddie Izzard in a perfect piece of guest casting – we are also given the opportunity to see some new layers to Will. As Hannibal’s plot attempts to win back our sympathy (it comes after we see him cook and eat the body parts of a popular, recently deceased cast member, so he’s got his work cut out), Will’s does quite the opposite. By the end of Episode 5, their roles reverse: Hannibal is the victim in need of saving and Will is the many-horned stag that haunts his nightmares.
When the many layers of the Chesapeake Ripper, whose spectre looms large, are put back together, how much of Will will be stitched into the corpse?
Hannibal Season 2 is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.
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