Hannibal Season 2 Review “Hassun”

Hannibal Season 2 Episode 3 Hassun (4)

In a show with as heavy of a plot as Hannibal, it’s pertinent on occasion to work through some necessary details. At some point in this second season, Will Graham was going to have his day in court. It’s an unavoidable event, and it forced Hannibal into places where it isn’t comfortable. For all of the show’s greatness, the show doesn’t need to spend much time trying to be a legal drama. The episode tried to insert dramatic flair throughout (“It’s not law, it’s advertising” proclaims Will’s attorney), but it was to hard to notice a lot of the usual elements of a fantastic Hannibal episode missing. Some shows are able to leave their lane and do fantastic work; Hannibal does it often. However, we have found the lane where the show can’t produce an exceptional episode of television.

While the episode as a whole didn’t work, the hour had a lot of the usual terrific elements to it. The score and tone of the episode were pitch perfect. Though the episode itself played out as a courtroom drama, the music inside and the tone of the episode made it look like something entirely different. Mads Mikkelsen’s icy walk to the witness chair was shot in a way to make you feel like Hannibal was going to control the courtroom like he does the rest of the world. The fact that the justice system can render his power impotent was something truly shocking to watch. People can flee and occasionally outwit Hannibal Lecter (as Will Graham is currently trying to do), but to watch him be worked over by the justice system was maybe one of the episode’s more surprising moments. It’s a small moment, but something the audience isn’t used to seeing. Plenty of other moments throughout the episode made it feel like any other Hannibal episode. From Will Graham’s fascinating dreams to the return of the wipe-out, the show had a number of the elements we’ve come to appreciate in series. However, the surprising element of Hannibal’s courtroom appearance was an unexpected treat.

Unfortunately, those moments got wrapped up in a courtroom drama. The storyline is a necessary detour on the road to more excellent moments later this season. Still, the episode felt uncomfortable and stodgy as the characters tried to inhabit this place they’re not typically a part of. It’s probably a one-time aberration, but it seems we have found something Bryan Fuller and his team can’t pull off with the tone set by the show.

The murders in the episode seem curious as well. If it’s the work of Hannibal Lecter, than the killings are not love letters, but desperate attempts to save a friend. If they’re the work of a copycat killer fascinated by Will, then that angle has an opportunity to be considerably more engaging from a week-to-week storytelling basis. We already know where the long game goes. Hannibal could never kill another person; we’d still arrive at the same conclusion at season’s end. However, the introduction of a new pursuit for Crawford and company will give them more to do then rub their temples in consideration of the plight of Will Graham. Anything that clears the decks for Will Graham to square off with Dr. Lecter is a good thing this season.