The much awaited season opening of Hannibal starts with Jack Crawford walking in on Lecter preparing a meal, Jack reaches for his gun and Lecter tosses his knife, which drives straight through the back of Crawford’s hand. A battle of strength ensues, an all out fight to the death. Jack slips a tie around Hannibal’s neck and he seemingly goes limp. In mere moments we find that it’s a ruse when Lecter grabs a shard of glass and drives it into Crawford’s neck.
The next scene leaves us confused, is the previous scene what is to come? Hannibal prepares a traditional Japanese meal and serves it to a very alive Jack Crawford. He sits at the table and they discuss whether Jack feels responsible for Will Graham’s death. It’s clear now that we are getting glimpses in a non linear story line.
The scene cuts to Will Graham in the center of a stream fly fishing, peacefully, a stag approaches. The scene is all in Will’s mind, in life he’s in a cage in the mental institution being analyzed by the unscrupulous Dr. Frederick Chilton. Will belligerently refuses to talk to him, he demands to speak to Hannibal.
Under review by the FBI, Crawford and Alana Bloom sit in the office of a Federal Examiner, played by Cynthia Nixon. Bloom having filed a report is under fire instead of Jack, the Examiner tries to convince her to retract the report and make the allegations against Crawford go away. Alana refuses, and the Examiner tells her that it’s going to get ugly, Jack replies, “It already has.”
Meanwhile workers attempting to unblock a dam find a body.
Lecter meets with his Psychiatrist Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, and tells her that Will has asked to see him, and he in turn wishes to see Will. She tells him that he is obsessed with Will Graham, but lecter says he is merely intrigued. She warns him that Will will take advantage of Lecter’s obsession. Lecter says he admires Graham for the honesty within him.
Back at the jail, Will still experiencing hallucinations sees a stag approach, the stag fades and reveals the approach of Hannibal. Will tells him that he no longer thinks in his own voice, he can’t get Lecter out of his head. Will Graham reveals that he is unclear, but he will remember what Hannibal has done to him. He warns that when he does, there will be a reckoning. Hannibal says he has faith in him, he always has.
Back at the FBI lab Hannibal has a cheek swab taken by Agent Katz, the FBI has his clothing as well. Katz says that Hannibal was supposed to protect Will. She tells him that she’s disappointed that they all missed it, the clues that Will was losing himself. She states that Hannibal isn’t a suspect, he’s the new Will Graham.
We arrive on the crime scene following Dr. Lecter, Jack is already there. There are now several corpses laid out on the pavement on the bridge just above the dam. The bodies look like they were embalmed, and partially treated for preservation. Rotting from the inside out, instead of the outside in. Lecter asks if they were injected with silicon, explaining that it’s used to preserve taxidermied fish, to help them retain their shape. He explains that the killer is making human models. Jack says that you make models of things you want to keep, these were tossed in the river. Hannibal replies, “Maybe they weren’t perfect.”
Back at Du Maurier’s office Hannibal signs a document and hands it to her, he explains he is giving her consent to discuss him as a patient. She looks confused, and asks with whom? He tells her with Jack Crawford. Tensely, she asks him why, he tells her in regards to the accusations made by Will Graham. She is clearly upset by this, stating that he is maintaining the appearance of transparency, while putting her in the position to lie for him…again. He says that she’s not just lying for him. She then asks how far this flirtation with the will FBI go. He says that Jack Crawford seems less suspicious than she does. Bedelia says, “Jack Crawford doesn’t know what you’re capable of.” Hannibal replies, “Neither do you.” She swallows nervously as the scene fades.
Alana Bloom visits Will, she tells him of his dogs. His dog Winston runs away, always return to Will’s home. Will keeps firing his Lawyers, Alana promises to find him a Lawyer not affiliated with the FBI. She tells him he has a defense based upon his inability to remember. That the fever made him unable to be responsible for his actions. He asks what if he could remember how this was done to him. Alana says, “What if you could remember how you did it.” Will says that she believes Hannibal, but she reassures him that she believes the Will in front of her now is incapable of that violence. Unknown to them, Dr. Chilton is listening in on their conversation, recording it. Will asks her if she has ever helped a patient recover memories. The scene cuts to Bloom hypnotizing Will using a lighted metronome.
Under hypnosis Will no longer sees Alana as she is, he sees an ethereal flowing being, assuring him that her voice will go where he does. Floating towards him she leans in for a kiss. As her lips touch his, she evaporates into a splash of blackness, and he opens his eyes to a vision. He sits at a long table, creatures writhing on it, and at the other end sits a man with ink black skin and the horns of a stag. He looks down to his plate and there is only a severed ear, disturbed, Will shakes himself to consciousness. He tells her that it’s not working, she presses him to tell her what he saw.
Hannibal has Dr. Frederick Chilton to dinner, telling him that he has tested him, Hannibal rarely makes a meatless meal. Chilton replies that he must watch his protein intake since he has lost a kidney. He tells Hannibal that Alana visited Will that day, and explains his frustration with Will, who refuses to talk to him. He tells of the hypnosis, and how Graham claims Hannibal to be a psychopathic murderer.
The scene that follows flashes onto a young black man on the subway, a male voice tells him that he has nice skin. Later at the same man’s house, he hears a sound outside. Investigating, the murderer takes him. The man prepares his body for preservation, the victim is still alive.
Back in the FBI laboratory it’s revealed that the victims were shot up with heroin and preservatives to maintain their color. They also point out eyelet holes, telling Jack that something was threaded through them.
Agent Katz then visits Will, she has brought the files of the latest murders with pictures. She asks him to profile the case. He orders the photos of the victims and others missing, and tells her that it’s a color palette.
After Katz leaves, Will sits in his cell and eats, as he does he has a memory. He remembers Hannibal forcing a tube down his throat and pushing in the ear. He chokes on his food with the vivid recollection, seeing the ear there before reality sets back in to his plate of prison meat.
Jack Crawford goes to Will’s house, Winston is on the doorstep. Sometime later Alana enters the house looking for Winston and finds Jack and the dog on Will’s bed. They discuss Will, and his belief that Hannibal is the guilty one. Alana tells him that Will is terrified, but searching for the truth. She says that if he never remembers, he will never accept it.
Jack then visits Will in prison as well. Will tells Jack that he has recovered a memory. Jack says that the memory is useless, Will tells him, “Not to me.” Jack says they investigated Lecter, and they found nothing, that he wont listen to Will’s rantings. As Jack walks out Graham says, “You may not believe me now, but you will.”
A momentary flash to Hannibal sitting in his office before a lit fire, staring at the empty patient’s chair, then the scene moves to a group of silos. Inside, the young black male wakes to find himself naked and coated with a sort of resin, around him the bodies of many others. None but him are alive. His hand is sewn to his face, and as he realizes his surroundings he begins to scream. As the camera pans out, him yelling in horror, we see the bodies around him are arranged in a circle, a color wheel. He and several others with skin the same shade as he are at the center of the wheel. The scene fades to black, concluding episode one.
I cannot express how much anticipation I have felt waiting for this season to begin! With the phenomenal conclusion of season one, Will Graham in the very cell that Hannibal Lecter stood in the films could not have been more perfect. The relationship between Hannibal and Dr. Du Maurier grows more interesting in this episode, I can’t wait to see where that goes. The beginning episode of season 2 delivers the same fantastic visual impact and emotional suspense that viewers of this show have grown addicted to. Created by my favorite TV Writer/Director Bryan Fuller, I knew I would not be disappointed. Now the waiting game. If only Hannibal was produced by Netflix, then my impatient self could forgo that silly thing called sleep and get to the next episode!