Hannibal Season 2 Review “Tome-Wan”

Hannibal Season 2 Episode 12 Tome-Wan (1)

One of the biggest strengths of Hannibal is its ability to take the most macabre of motifs and make it into a fantastical piece of high art. Hannibal’s kitchen is the show’s best (and most frequent) example. Never has cannibalism looked so delicious. But Hannibal’s kitchen is only one of many examples where the show takes some interesting stylistic leaps with its very weighty material. In the hands of a lesser show, these motifs would seem gratuitous at best. Serial killer shows across the dial use fear and terror not as a part of a potent mixture, but the means to an end. On Hannibal, fear and terror are merely part of the equation. It’s what sets the show apart from other series in the genre. It’s what allows the show to happily have a man eat his own face. It’s shot and done in a way that makes seem like something from a fever dream. Bryan Fuller and director David Slade have created a world where these horrific things happen, but they get tempered with a fantastical flair that makes into something more than something to shock its audience.

Of course, it also helps to have an interesting cat-and-mouse game occurring between the show’s two leads. Being the show’s penultimate episode of the season, the episode took some time to let the audience in on the entire play by the FBI to catch the Chesapeake Ripper. Ultimately, I found it curious to find out Will hasn’t been as sharp as I thought he was in previous weeks. There was something strange lurking inside him, but I thought he simply channeling an aspect of himself in order to get closer to Hannibal. This week, he seems a little uncertain about what’s going on, just like the rest of us. Even Jack’s words to Hannibal about not knowing who’s chasing who gives some insight into the muddy waters we’re currently traveling in. The FBI had to resort to extreme measures to catch Hannibal, but what the ultimate cost will be remains to be seen.

Finally, we close the book on the Verger family… at least for now. I’m not entirely certain what they provided besides a medium through which Hannibal and Will could play their game, but the performances were solid enough to keep it interesting. It’s safe to say I won’t forget Mason Verger eating his own face at Hannibal’s behest. It’s not inconceivable to imagine a world where we see them again, but we certainly don’t have a reason to spend any more time with them at the moment. There are too many other interesting parts of the show to attend to now.

Looking ahead to the finale, there are several directions the show could go. It seems like there is a lot that needs to happen to get Hannibal behind bars, but the show has never shied away from a few plot surprises. We’ll definitely return to the Jack-Hannibal kitchen brawl teased at the beginning of the season, so we know Hannibal will at least be a fugitive by season’s end. When we last saw Jack in that fight, he wasn’t in the best of shape, so it’s anyone guess how that showdown plays out. In any event, the show’s season one finale has certainly set a high bar for this one. It’s exciting to think of what Fuller and company could do to match it.