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Hannibal 2×02 “Sakizuki” Recap

 

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Now that the world is officially suffering from True Detective withdrawal, may I suggest dipping back into NBC’s Hannibal, which is almost as dark, brutal, disturbing and beautiful as TD?

As far as I know, and that’s not very far, Sakazuki, not Sakizuki, are shallow ceremonial cups used for Sake during weddings or special events. Sakazuki is also a One Piece character, whatever that means. I also saw Sakazuki can be used as a toast, or to describe appetizers. The Japanese culture and language is way over my head (and completely awesome).

After a drag out fight between Hannibal and Jack Crawford to open the second season (and preview where we’re headed), an even more effective and unsettling scene kicks off “Sakizuki,” picking up directly from where we left off last week. Roland Umber (Ryan Field), the most recent victim of the killer with an eye for color, wakes up, naked, and sewn into a morbid tableau of dead bodies, the centerpiece of a macabre mural. Except, he survived, and rips himself from the circle, tearing the flesh from his legs, back and shoulders like a bloody and unappetizing Kit Kat. For a network show, Hannibal is one of the goriest and grossest shows on TV, and this scene is one of the hardest to watch so far.

Roland manages to escape the silo, but the killer (Patrick Garrow) arrives as he exits, and pursues him into the corn fields and the woods. Roland reaches a cliff, and faced with certain death either way, jumps, landing with a sickening thud against the rocks, dead instantly. Then we get the eerie and haunting Hannibal credits; jeez.

At the Baltimore State Hospital, both Alana Bloom and Hannibal Lecter are visiting Will, in a series of meetings with Mr. Graham in this episode. Will doesn’t know what’s worse: believing that he actually did everything he’s been convicted of, or believing that Hannibal did it and betrayed him so thoroughly. Will’s (understandably) confused, upset and breaks down, asking for Hannibal’s help…exactly what Hannibal wants. But that goes both ways: as Will retreats back to his cell in private, his anguish melts away, and it appears the game is on.

Dr. Bedelia Du Maurer (Gillian Anderson) comes by Hannibal’s not-so humble abode, and abruptly ceases their working relationship. She can no longer be his therapist. Bedelia doesn’t believe she can help Hannibal any more, and doesn’t even offer a referral. It’s been clear for awhile that Bedelia has some idea of Hannibal’s evil and nefarious deeds, but we’ve never known what her involvement is in it all, or if she merely has suspicions. Either way, with Jack Crawford about to ask questions about Hannibal of her, she decides it’s time to bail. It seems out of character for her…but then again, we don’t know anything about her, and she mentions that recent events have questioned their past relationship when Hannibal weaseled his way back into her care following a mysterious traumatic patient (the events of which I’m dying to know). This is an awesome sequence, as she calls him dangerous, based on the “stitches of persons you wear” (a great line considering the stitching in the current murder investigation, and Hannibal’s future involvement in it), while retreating backward as Hannibal calmly but forcefully walks toward her. She manages to escape…but for how long?

Jack, Katz and company find Roland’s body, and have no idea what happened, believing it’s another reject. Hannibal doesn’t deny their hypothesis, but when is he not duplicitous? He recommends that they study the lacquer and the cracks on the body, thinking that DNA or trace evidence could be found. Hannibal doesn’t need to, he merely uses his super nose, one that would make a sommelier soil their pants, sniffing lovingly, and finds himself transported to the cornfields.

Photo: NBC

Katz isn’t subtle at all about the knowledge that Will Graham imparted on her from her secret visit, talking about the color palette and his theories as if they were her own. It doesn’t fool Hannibal or Jack, and Jack beckons her into her office, so he can say this: “How’s Will Graham? SHUT YOUR MOUTH!” and then completely backpedal and reverse course, suggesting that this meeting never took place, and that she should “do what it is your job to do.” Translation: Use Will Graham, I haven’t learned my lesson at all. There’s also an interesting moment in this scene where Katz makes the inference that Jack doesn’t think Will is guilty, as Jack says the whole thing goes against everything in his gut (and Laurence Fishburne has quite the gut these days).

Back at the BSH, Hannibal arrives to resume Will’s therapy, which was a highlight of last season that most of us assumed we had seen the last of, considering Hannibal framed Will for his murders, and Will knows it.

Katz comes back to see Will, where Will asks her to strike the guilt from her mental record (suggesting that if they find more evidence, he’s guilty, and if not…well now). Katz is clearly uncomfortable about the whole arrangement, but cares more about helping people, and thinks Will does too, and within seconds, Will realizes that Umber had survived because he used to be a drug addict (so the heroin overdose didn’t do the trick) and had tried to escape. Like much of this show, it’s a fun twist on the Silence of the Lambs mythos.

Hannibal had made the same conclusion, except he’s not behind bars, so he arrives at the cornfields, in his kill suit. He climbs atop the silo and peaks in through the small circular hole, and spies the dead body pile up, that actually looks like an eye, from this perspective. When the killer arrives, Hannibal compliments him on his work…and then adds him to the centerpiece, mimicking his methods perfectly.

The cops find the silo almost immediately thereafter thanks to Will, not realizing the killer is in the middle of it all. Will figures that out too, when he sees the picture of the “eye,” figuring that someone else killed him and took half of his leg as a trophy. This realization is intercut with Hannibal slicing and dicing this leg and making it into a delicious looking veal osso buco.

Jack, meanwhile, is having his psych eval, and admits that he failed, but the psychiatrist (Martin Donovon of Weeds fame) is very forgiving. Clearly the FBI wants to pin it all on Will and be done with this. This becomes abundantly clear when Kade Prunell (Cynthia Nixon) arrives at the BSH and tells Will Graham exactly that: he can admit his guilt and live comfortably at the BSH, or get prosecuted and given the death penalty. Will remains steadfast in his innocence, now knowing he has to prove it all himself.

Bedelia and Jack share a brief conversation, one that Bedelia makes clear is their last on the subject of Hannibal, announcing her intention to recuse herself from the proceedings. Warning bells have to be going off in Jack’s head at this point.

The final two scenes keep up the intrigue, and are two of the best since the grisly opening and the eye/osso bucco. Bedelia becomes the newest person to visit Will, and it’s easily the coolest of them all. She ignores the guard’s wishes and treads directly up to the bars, inches away from Will. Then she whispers “I believe you,” right before she’s whisked away. Will might have more allies than he thinks. Or, they might simply end up being words of encouragement, since that might be the last we see of Bedelia…

…As Hannibal arrives, in his kill suit, to her home. It appears that she’s already moved out, her furniture and belongings ready to be packed up, a bottle of perfume left as a token to Hannibal. He sniffs and smiles…and it’s unclear if the chase is on, or if Bedelia has eluded his grasp, for now.

Grade: A-