Hannibal Season 2 Review “Futanomo”

Hannibal Season 2 Episode 6 Futomono (1)

When it comes to the study of television, I’m not big on technical effects. When I watch television, I spend my time studying acting choices, storyline movement, and plot development. I don’t go on internet forums and wax poetic on a 6 minute tracking shot. It’s honestly just not my bag. I don’t have a keen eye for those kinds of things and my aforementioned interests keep me from really studying it fully when I watch and review an episode of television. Besides, plenty of people far smarter than I am do have a keen eye for those things, so I tend to not try to stand on their corner.

However, reviewing Hannibal is a different story entirely. The show does have phenomenal acting performances from Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, The Resurgent Laurence Fishburne (his new full name), and many other bit players along the way. The scenes shared by these great actors are always as enjoyable to watch as they are threatening in character. Watching Fishburne maneuver around Hannibal through this week’s episode was terrific. He seems to have a heightened focus, and a heightened awareness that only comes when you’re forced to compartmentalize personal trauma. Hugh Dancy didn’t have much to do, but his conversations with Fishburne and his interaction with Mikkelsen spoke volumes about the different places Dancy is able to take Will Graham. Since the beginning of the series, he has been through many different iterations of the same man as he’s struggled with madness, loss, love, and resignation. It’s really a master class in acting Dancy is conducting. I wish more people were taking note.

The acting is terrific, but the real triumph of this series is the show’s visual palate. To discuss the exemplary work of Bryan Fuller and his cast of directors (most notably David Slade) is nothing new. Still, this week’s episode in particular requires we revisit some of that commentary. So many aspects of this episode are just plain horrifying. The Tree Man is an absolutely horrifying tableau orchestrated by Dr. Lecter, but he saves his best course for last as he serves Abel Gideon his own amputated leg. In the hands of a lesser show, these images and moments wouldn’t be horrifyingly stunning, they’d be just plain horrifying. But Fuller and company treat these moments with such a fantastical flourish that it’s impossible not to appreciate what’s happening. Lecter’s preparation of Gideon’s leg is done so artistically that I’d have a hard time not eating my own leg if it were presented that way.

Even smaller moments like watching the antlers grow out of Will’s head or watching Lecter’s food turn into flowers onto the Tree Man are exquisite flourishes that make the show extend far beyond a normal serial killer drama. No show on television currently is as visually daring and stunning as Hannibal. We can debate about some of the plot points of this episode (like Will being exonerated solely because of fish hooks), but that would come at the expense of ignoring all of the glorious aspects of an episode of Hannibal. Sometimes, you just have to pay your compliments to the chef.