Hannibal Season 2 Review “Shiizakana”

Hannibal Season 2 Episode 9 Shizakana (9)

Hannibal is a show of absurdity. It’s measured absurdity dressed in the finest tailored suits, but there’s still a level of absurdity to the proceedings. Will Graham seems to have the mental capabilities of a Professor X, and Hannibal Lecter is one of the better supervillians anybody could cobble together. That being said, much of what occurs in the show (acting, direction, visual palate) rises above the actual absurdity of its larger premise. The story of Hannibal and Will Graham has been handled with great care, and a lot of the ancillary parts fit in well with the world. Along the way, the show has proven capable of doing some really fascinating serial killer of the week episodes. However, the previous two episodes have shown the potential limits of this format. Will and Hannibal have reached a heightened tension in their face-off. As a result, it makes episodes like “Shiizakana” feel like a distraction from our main course.

Distractions are always welcome, but I don’t think this case quite fit the bill. Once again, the show tried to use another serial killer to touch on a theme of Will and Hannibal’s therapy sessions. There exists the ugly possibility that Will Graham is transforming into the thing Hannibal Lecter wants him to be. Of course, we’ve now seen a few people who are exactly what Hannibal Lecter wants them to be. I do appreciate the idea Hannibal turns people into serial killers for his own amusement, but whatever Will turns into (or almost turns into) will be far more fascinating then Bear Man. It was just a bridge too far for me. Yes, the show has turned people into gardens, trees, and angels in the past, but those killers made for many fascinating scenes. Here, the serial killer is played as an afterthought to the larger mental battle that’s going on between Will and Hannibal. As a result, the scenes with Bear Man and any other combination of people felt flat. The episode just didn’t do enough heavy lifting to make him interesting. It usually does. It makes you wonder how many episodic stories the show feels it can tell.

Aside from Bear Man, there were plenty of quality moments throughout the episode. Though a book reader spoiled me on Margot last week (BOOKS!!!!!), I find her to be an interesting person to interject into this situation between Will and Hannibal. She’s quite appealing, and the show has put her together in the way that allows her to fit perfectly into the Hannibal world. We shall see what the show has in store for her for going forward, but I am currently engaged in her storyline, especially if she’s as interested in Will Graham as Hannibal Lecter is.

After a couple of palate cleansing episodes, I expect the show to come back very strong next week. With only four episodes left in the second season, it’s time to get to the main course. My napkin is placed perfectly in my lap, and I’m ready to eat. I’m just waiting on the chef to serve it.